On Representation and the Black Comix Expo

Bay Ridgite Jerome Walford wrote and drew the comic “Nowhere Man,” and edited an anthology of work by immigrant comics creators, titled “Gwan.” (Photo by Kevin Duggan via Brooklyn Paper)

The Black Comix Expo, now in its second year, will celebrate comic book creators, writers and illustrators of color at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Feb. 10. Among the 20 or so artists featured is Jamaican-American Jerome Walford of Bay Ridge, the writer and artist behind “Nowhere Man.” He speaks to Kevin Duggan of Brooklyn Paper.

Walford grew up reading comics but did not see his own experiences reflected on the pages of classic comic books. So he made his own.

In high school, he invented the character who developed into the star of “Nowhere Man” — Jack Maguire, a black police detective who discovers futuristic technology that lets him walk through walls, create blasts of energy, and hack communications, among other abilities. But the state sees the super-cop as a threat, and unleashes a paramilitary force to hunt him down, racially profiling and harassing black men in his neighborhood.

Walford said that his protagonist reflects the black experience in modern-day New York.

“In the context of relations between the African-American community and law enforcement, I wanted to create a character that would walk both lines and ‘Nowhere Man’ came about organically,” he said. “We have this scene where the chasers go into the communities and use aggressive tactics to try and hunt down Jack. We see interactions, and we begin to realize that this looks very current and very relatable.”

Go to Brooklyn Paper for more on the increasing representation of people of color in comics, the Afrofuturism movement and what will be in store for the Black Comix Expo.

Also at the daylong event will be artist and molecular biologist Ashley Baccus-Clark who will speak on a panel about representations of Black women in sci-fi. Ahead of the Expo, she sits down with BRIC TV.

Finally, go to Amsterdam News for a profile on Marvel Comics’ first Black artist, Billy Graham, who worked on “Black Panther” and “Luke Cage.”

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