February 7, 2022By Christine Pasalo Norland

Virtuous Con: Black History Month

UPDATE: The Hello Barkada YouTube channel links to 15-minute playbacks of each of our panels. To see all of the playbacks in full, become a Virtuous Con Power Pass Patron today!


The second annual Virtuous Con: Black History Month took place virtually on Saturday and Sunday, February 12–13, 2022!


Founded in 2021 by award-winning science fiction author Cerece Rennie Murphy, Virtuous Con is a vehicle for independent science fiction, fantasy, and comics creators to grow an audience for their work. This year's Virtuous Con: Black History Month event once again featured a robust mix of online programming and an interactive virtual vendor floor. Programming ran from 11:00 AM–6:00 PM EST and the virtual vendor floor was open from 12:00 PM–7:00 PM EST.


There was no need to mask up or leave home! Those who registered for $10 via the Virtuous Con Eventbrite page were able to join all of the livestream programs, interact with the virtual vendors, and mingle with other comics and sci-fi fans.


Hello Barkada is proud to have collaborated with an esteemed group of creators and thinkers to contribute three panels to the weekend's event, each of which took place in the Dwayne McDuffie panel room! Scroll down to learn about our panels and who appeared on them.

Photos of panelists Bianca Xunise, Steenz, Lawrence Lindell, Breena Nuñez, and Sharon Lee De La Cruz appear left to right on a blue textured background.

WE NEED THE PUNK

Livestreamed on Saturday, February 12, 2022 5:00 PM EST Dwayne McDuffie Room

WATCH A 15-MINUTE CLIP Become a Virtuous Con Power Pass Patron to watch the full playback


Comics creators Bianca Xunise, Steenz, Lawrence Lindell, and Breena Nuñez join fellow creator Sharon Lee De La Cruz to talk about embracing punk as a look, a way of resistance, and a way of storytelling. They’ll each share what “punk” means to them, and how they incorporate it into their approaches to life, the art they consume, and the art they make. Inspired by De La Cruz's panel "Punk Feminism" for the 2021 Latinx Comics Arts Festival.


Bianca Xunise (she/her/they) is a cartoonist from Chicago who is part of the "Six Chix'' collaborative comic distributed by King Features Syndicate, and is regarded as the first nonbinary cartoonist to be syndicated in the mainstream press. In 2017, they won an Ignatz for their self-published zine Say Her Name. Their first graphic novel memoir Punk Rock Karaoke comes out in 2023 by Penguin Teen.


Steenz (they/them) is an award-winning St. Louis-based cartoonist who became the second nonbinary cartoonist to draw a syndicated comic strip when they took over the series "Heart of the City" in April 2020. They are also the co-creator of the Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality. Their first “Heart of the City” anthology called Heart Takes the Stage is set to release in May 2022 by Andrews McMeel Publishing and is currently available for pre-order from a variety of online booksellers. Their nonfiction graphic novel Side Quest: A Visual History of Role Playing Games comes out in 2023 by Clarion/HMH Books.


Lawrence Lindell (he/him/they) is an artist, musician, and educator from California who runs Laneha House, a small press co-founded with his wife Breena Nuñez. His comics works are self-published as zines, as well as appear in The New Yorker: Daily Shouts. Lindell has two graphic novels set to release in 2024: Blackward published by Drawn & Quarterly and a middle grade graphic novel called Buckle Up published by RH Graphic.


Breena Nuñez (she/her/they) is a cartoonist and educator from the Bay Area in California. Her comics works are self-published as zines through Laneha House, as well as appear in publications such as The New Yorker: Daily Shouts and The Nib, the award-winning anthologies Draw Power and Be Gay, Do Comics!, and in the Hello Barkada Comics series and zine Isang Mahal. As an educator at the California College of the Arts (CCA), Nuñez is striking with other CCA Staff and Adjuncts for living wages and fair working contracts. CCA Staff and Adjuncts have posted a schedule of activities and teach-ins from Tuesday, February 8, to Friday, February 11. Please help raise awareness!


Sharon Lee De La Cruz (she/her/they) is a storyteller, educator, and activist based in New York whose debut graphic memoir I’m a Wild Seed published in 2021 to critical acclaim. She is a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, a TED residency, and is the 2021-22 Red Burns Teaching Fellow at ITP-NYU. Learn more about De La Cruz, her approach to work, and her self-published zine The Itchies in our January profile, "Practitioner of Play."

Photos of panelists Jonita Davis, Starr Rocque, Jeandra Lebeauf, and Christine Pasalo Norland appear left to right on a blue textured background.

CALLING OUT COLONIZER CRITICISM

Sunday, February 13, 2022 1:00 PM EST Dwayne McDuffie Room

WATCH A 15-MINUTE CLIP Become a Virtuous Con Power Pass Patron to watch the full playback


Following the work of bell hooks and Toni Morrison on cultural criticism, Jonita Davis, Starr Rocque, and Jeandra Lebeauf discuss the ways that film critics impact the consumption of movies, frame the concept of “colonizer criticism” and how they’ve seen it at work, and speak to the role of independent reviewers in resetting and reclaiming conversations around film. Based on Davis’s Medium essay, “Why I Am Calling Out All Colonizer Criticism and What That Means for You.” Moderated by Christine Pasalo Norland.


Jonita Davis is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Black CAPE Magazine, Producer and Host of the podcast “Creators on COVID,” and a film critic, culture critic, and writer.


Starr Rocque is the author of the novel Bloggers Can’t Be Trusted, as well as a branded content writer and freelance journalist. Her writing credits include Fast Company, Complex, Essence, VIBE, BET, and EmblemHealth.


Jeandra Lebeauf is the creator, producer, and host of BadCulture TV. She is a self-taught journalist who regularly contributes to such outlets as RollingOut.com, BoxingInsider.com, and BlackGirlNerds.com.


Christine Pasalo Norland is the founder and president of Hello Barkada.

Photos of panelists Barbara Brandon-Croft, Tara Nakashima Donahue, and Christine Pasalo Norland appear left to right on a blue textured background.

THE STORY OF "STILL..."

Sunday, February 13, 2022 2:00 PM EST Dwayne McDuffie Room

WATCH A 15-MINUTE CLIP Become a Virtuous Con Power Pass Patron to watch the full playback


In mid-February 2020, the exhibit "STILL… Racism in America: A Retrospective in Cartoons" opened at the Medialia Gallery in New York. It featured over 100 cartoons from the comic strips "Luther" (1968–1986) by the late Brumsic Brandon Jr. and "Where I'm Coming From" (1989–2005) by his daughter Barbara Brandon-Croft, the country's first/only father and daughter who were each syndicated in the mainstream press. In displaying their works together, which were originally published decades apart, the exhibit reflected on the ways the country has and hasn't progressed between and since their publication. Cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft and curator Tara Nakashima Donahue share the origin story of the exhibit, the influence of Brumsic Brandon Jr., photos of the exhibit, and archives from "Luther" and "Where I'm Coming From." Moderated by Christine Pasalo Norland.


Barbara Brandon-Croft became the nation's first Black woman to be internationally syndicated in the mainstream press with her comic strip "Where I'm Coming From" which ran from 1989 to 2005. An anthology of Brandon-Croft's works will be in stores on February 2, 2023 by Drawn & Quarterly. For original cartoons by Brandon-Croft on current events, follow @barbarabrandoncroft on Instagram.


Tara Nakashima Donahue is a comics curator at the Medialia Gallery in New York, and curates and consults for the Brumsic Brandon Jr. Art Trust.


Christine Pasalo Norland is the founder and president of Hello Barkada.


UPDATED FEB 13 TO REFER TO THE EVENT IN THE PAST • TAGS: ART NEWS, EVENTS

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