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Black Comic Book Convention Reaches out to Caribbean Americans

ATLANTA – The youngest amongst a family of Black comic book conventions is making a formal push to reach a community of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. ONYXCON is seeking to build global support for ONYXCON III by reaching out to Caribbean American media and targeting immigrant communities that represent the region.

ONYXCON president, Joseph Wheeler III says Caribbean Americans have always been a part of the African American community and ONYXCON wants representatives of the African image conceived in other parts of the world.

“Caribbean Americans are my extended family,” he said. “The impact of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the exploration of first Africans to the ‘Western’ Hemisphere far before the slavery crisis brought many peoples of Africa into the Americas.”

Jason Walker, who produces WRFG-FM’s “Caribbean Runnings,” says that the invitation should be well received.

“There are so many stories that up to this point have only been orally passed on that would have new life breathed into them when set in comic form in the African American market,” he said. “This could facilitate a new cultural exchange between these communities, especially among the youth.”

ONYXCON is held annually in Atlanta and is one of four comic book conventions that represent the Black Age comic book genre nationally. The Black Age is a genre of comics and artistic illustration based on characters and creators of African descent. The original Black Age of Comics Convention was launched in Chicago by Black Age founder, Turtel Onli in February 1993 and had since spawned the East Coast Black Age of Comics in Philadelphia and the Motor City Black Age of Comics in Detroit. ONYXCON is the first Black Age convention in the Southeast.

“The black comic genre itself is often overlooked and to have it hosted in the city of Atlanta which is known for being a cultural melting pot speaks volumes,” said Junia Blackburn who is the Public Relations Officer for Atlanta Caribbean Carnival Bandleaders Association. (ACCBA)

ACCBA is producing the 2011 Atlanta Caribbean Carnival.

“It’s encouraging to see the Caribbean American community included in an event such as this given metro Atlanta’s strong and vibrant Caribbean community.”

Wheeler says ONYXCON is also open to doing satellite events in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

“Just imagine an ONYXCON Caribbean cruise,” he said. “The possibilities are endless, and the impact of these Arts do and will continue to inspire generations.”

“ONYXCON reaching out to the Pan African area of the Caribbean the area would be extremely beneficial to both communities,” Walker said. “There are so many heroes and sheroes that are spoken about in Caribbean Culture, from Anansi the Spider to Nanny of the Maroons to Toussaint L’Ouverture to Robert Nesta Marley.”

ONYXCON III will be held at the Fulton County Southwest Arts Center on August 19th and 20th. The convention averages about 500 attendees and is hoping to produce a documentary on the event this year.

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