BCAF Hosts Black Religion in Comics Panel at WonderCon


In an engaging and enlightening session at WonderCon, the Black & Brown Comix Arts Festival (BCAF) hosted a panel that explored the rich tapestry of Black religion in comics.

The panel, entitled "Ancient and Contemporary Black Religion in Comics," featured notable voices in the field: John Jennings, acclaimed for his graphic adaptations of Octavia Butler's works, including Kindred and The Parable of the Sower, and BCAF's own Stanford Carpenter, a scholar of comics and culture.

Moderated by NorcalMLK's Executive Director Aaron Grizzell, the discussion ventured deep into the historical and modern representations of Black spirituality in comic books. The panelists examined how these visual stories reflect and reinterpret Black religious experiences, highlighting ancient traditions and contemporary practices alike.

Comics, as Jennings and Carpenter illustrated, serve as a unique platform to dissect and display the spiritual beliefs, rituals, and cultural significance within Black communities. They also discussed how these narratives bridge past and present, bringing to the forefront the portrayal of faith, deities, and the intersections of spirituality with social justice.

The session not only shed light on the often-overlooked aspects of Black spirituality in popular media but also sparked conversations about the role of comics in cultural education and preservation. As the panelists navigated through various examples, from mainstream heroes to indie comics, they emphasized the power of comics to tell complex and compelling stories about identity, resilience, and faith.

This panel at WonderCon was a critical reflection on the vibrant and varied portrayals of Black religion in comics, offering attendees a profound understanding of how these narratives can influence and inspire both creators and readers alike in understanding the depth of Black spiritual and cultural life.