(originally posted on tumblr)
As much as I’d love to, I just can’t get to all the comic conventions, because, alas, my budget and my schedule just won’t allow it. A con that missed that I really wanted to attend was ONYXCON last month, and as luck would have it, ONYXCON President, Joseph R. Wheeler, III was very understanding and actually reached out after the con for an interview. So if you missed ONYXCON (like I did), here’s the highlights. Enjoy!
Q1: How many years has ONYXCON been produced?
In 2015 we hit our seventh year! It’s been an incredible journey thus far. It is a labor of love, a commitment to community, the ARTS, and a dedication to quality over quantity!
Q2: What made this year special?
The ONYXCON INSTITUTE featured a panel discussion with international soul/R&B superstar singer/songwriter DONNIE, PROFESSOR GRIFF of Public Enemy, and DAWUD ANYABWILE co-creator/illustrator of BROTHERMAN COMICS! Then we had WOLFPACK ATL perform live with DONNIE at the opening of our ONYXCON Official Art Exhibition that is on view through September 11th at our venue Southwest Arts Center (915 New Hope Rd, Atlanta) which we proudly held the convention for Saturday and Sunday August 15-16th! It was our first summer event with Sunday added.
Artist/vendor and Cosplayer Jansmine Dawson
Q3: What is the ONYXCON Institute?
The ONYXCON Institute is our series of ongoing workshops, panels and lectures including online interviews and articles that have been archived at ONYXCON.com. We currently have interviews online with Aaron Toney (stunt man for The Falcon in The Avenger’s films), Yumy Odom (Founder of the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philly), and there is an interview I did with actor Damion Poitier on our Youtube Channel at ONYXCONAtl.
Q4: Please share some highlights from the Dawud Anyabwile, Prof. Griff and Bruno Gaston Institute Panel.
Donnie made a major statement about the importance of musicians working with other genres of the Arts to create sustainability in the new music industry where no one can rely on a ‘deal’ or selling albums alone. He will release his 1st album in eleven years in October and plans to have a comic book released that will visualize this conceptual album called The American Mythology! Dawud announced the return of Brotherman in the new graphic novel Revelation coming in 2016. And Griff dropped more science than I can write discussing his new comic book entitled Who Stole The Soul which illustrates Hip Hop’s original values and conscious purpose through the metaphor of a character’s battle with societal ills in popular culture. It was heavy and historic!
Dawud Anyabwile of Brotherman Comics wearing a custom T-shirt for Brotherman’s moniker available at Brothermancomics.com
Q5: Was the Donnie Performance well attended?
Absolutely! Wolf Pack and Donnie drew an energy from the crowd that was magical. I’m not just saying this as president of ONYXCON, but to see local high school marching band members led by Wolf Pack’s leader, Grammy Award Winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams performing with his professional band and Donnie… It was the best live show I have seen in five years! Absolutely Incredible!
Donnie with Joseph R. Wheeler
Q6: What films/artists were featured in the film festival and art gallery?
The art exhibition featured works from Glyph Award winning indie and mainstream comic book artist, N Steven Harris . A new oil painting by Marcella Muhammad was unveiled, Brian Hebert produced a stunning work on wood, and Nicole Smith had a mixed media on canvas salute to the superhuman might of women’s liberation in Liberia. I contributed a new mixed media piece, and Day Black comic pages by Keef Cross were also featured. Day Black was the headliner of the ONYXCON film festival with the most unique 20 minute short! The Glyph Award winning comic is about a Black vampire named Merce, who lives in a fictitious part of Atlanta covered in smog pollution that blocks the sun in the day so he may roam about freely. He owns a tattoo shop/bar where he extracts his blood supply with a rigged tattoo gun which draws blood from clients while imprinting the skin.
Q7. Was the convention well attended?
We had our usual crowd on convention days. We will have to rebuild for Sunday to match Saturday but the word is out worldwide and it’s safe to say in Atlanta – 1 out of every 5 people have heard of, are attending, or are dying to finally make it to ONYXCON!
Artist Brian Hebert at the counter for Sugar Mama’s Cakes and Catering showcasing the #1 reason other than comics, films, and related arts for why you never miss an ONYXCON. It’s the food! Especially THE COOKIES!
Q8. How many vendors did you have?
We had roughly 25 vendors this year from all over the country with unique comics, games, toys, art prints, and even a special booth for ONYXCON’s official T-shirt partnership ‘Lazy Nerds Designs’ of Florida who even set up an onsite screen printing service to make T-shirts while-you-wait. That was awesome!
Lazy Nerds Designs owner Aaron Escort
“Nia Griggs” creators Carlton Hargro and Darrick Hargro
Q9. What would you like to see happen with ONYXCON in the future?
I want ONYXCON to be established as the home of the African Diaspora in films of action/adventure, science fiction, fantasy, horror, animation, TV series, Web-series and more. Our fans expect to see comics, but I want film to be an anticipated element. One day stars and press will visit ONYXCON just because of it’s uniqueness and reputation. I strive to create a quality convention for discerning attendees that want to get the best, most unique stories, network with the bosses in the biz and soak up new developments in diversity for the African Diaspora’s influence in popular arts. We will have the exclusives before they drop anywhere else!
Stay in touch! And consider buying a WOLFPACK or ONYXCON tee, now available at ONYXCON.com and direct order to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info about ONYXCON check their online locations below.