Naseed Gifted's Masterpiece: Khemfest 2018
The Khem Comic Book Festival (Khemfest) brought Comic Book Artists, Writers, Cosplayers and Performers to Central High School in Newark, New Jersey.
The founder of Khemfest, Naseed Gifted, wanted to put this event together as a way to give New Jersey and Black culture its own Comic Book Festival. “We wanted to represent a culture that most people overlook and not ever represent in a great light. I always go to several Black comic book festivals throughout the country and there’s definitely isn’t anything in New Jersey,” Gifted said.
The festival allowed people to show off their work and exchange tips and information to anyone who wanted to get their work to the next level. “Being able to connect with the creators of today, with the creators of tomorrow and also bridging the gap, showing some of the children as well as some of the adults that there are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) careers just from being interested in comic books, animation and gaming,” said Gifted.
I manage to meet with some of the vendors at the festival to get the chance to pick some of their brains. Check out some of the incredible work and tips below from the following vendors.
Underground Comixxx's Eric Mann Cooper (EMC)
EM: How do you make it in the Literacy Business?
EMC: It’s not hard to get in the field, it’s mainly do you have a story to tell and if you have a story to tell how passionate are you about telling that story. What’s your basis, find out what your passionate about, find out if your willing to cry about it and does the story need to be told to someone else as well not just you. Don’t be afraid, just go out there, always make sure you do it with a good purpose. If it’s just for entertainment it’s not going to last, if it’s to teach someone a lesson then it’s going to last. We make sure to keep our stuff right where no one owns our stuff, we own our own product. Owning your own product is the main drive. It’s best to have your own product, promote your own stuff and keep all your own ownership at all times. It’s a business and you have to run it like a business, but make sure it has a heart behind it because it will last.
Work From EMC:
MANGA O KAKA SHIN KA
Malcolm Graham: Financial Manager Duche (Dutch) Murray: Manager Levi Fari-Raqub: Artist
EM: What has been the feedback you have gotten regarding the drawing style of your work? Are people ready for the manga base style of drawing as propose to the standard drawing styles?
Dutch: Hasn’t been much to be honest with you; we haven’t extended ourselves that far. We always have had pretty good feedback so we’re trying to add to that positive image, but you do have some people who are not used to the style or drawing that he uses. Some people are more accustomed to the standard Marvel and DC drawing style, but he brings different flavor to the table; bring some new assets. Some people are just not ready for it yet, but for the most part everyone accepts it for what it is. They may not understand the dialogue or the structure of the sentences, but overall people are accepting of it.
Ashley Taylor: Concept Artist, Character Designer (AT)
EM: What do you enjoy sketching the most?
AT: I enjoy sketching mainly Medieval Bestiaries which people called animals during the Middle Ages. Bestiaries consist of Griffins, Dragons, Unicorns, Basilisk, Caladrius and other Mystical creatures.
Finally, towards the end of the evening, several cast members from the Black Panther Movie stopped by for a Q&A segment. Cast members included Marija Abney, Jeremy Sample and Niahlah Hope (featured below).
In conclusion the festival was considered a success for it fulfilled all its purposes according to Gifted. “Being able to see family and friends, I think it has definitely been a festival where we can connect and bring unity to a community and that is what this festival is representing for the individuals here in Newark as well as the greater Newark area”.
Furthermore, when asked about the future of Khem Fest, Gifted was very optimistic about where Khem Fest would be heading. “We’re looking to expand the Khem Fest hoping to add thousands of people being able to attend. Also being able to have this as a training ground for the next generation. Almost like a Khem Fest camp. Kemp Fest training ground for those interest in gaming, interested in comic books, interested in developing animation. You can come to Khem Fest and learn how to do these things and that’s the next level of this whole event”. Khem Fest is undoubtedly the beginning of something great for residents of Newark, New Jersey as a whole and I personally recommend this event to anyone who wants to get a better grasp of what it takes to make in the general art and writing industry.
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