Crown Heights comic book fair to highlight queer creators for Brooklyn Pride Weekend

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Work by artists John Jennison and Bill Roundy will be on display this weekend at the Brooklyn Pride Comic Book Fair.
John Jennison/Bill Roundy

A Crown Heights comic book fair will commemorate Brooklyn Pride Weekend by featuring work from some of the borough’s own queer artists.

The Brooklyn Pride Comic Book Fair will take place on Sunday outside Anyone Comics, and will include the work of more than a dozen local cartoonists, which the organizer hopes will serve as a means for residents to reconnect and celebrate gay pride as the city emerges from the pandemic.

“With the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] loosening restrictions, we wanted to do something for the artists on the safer side,” John Jennison told Brooklyn Paper, adding that he organized the comic book fair in a span of three to four weeks, gathering some of the best queer comic book creators in Brooklyn.

Featured artists include Sam Johns and Isaac Goodhart, who both have done work for DC Comics, as well as Jennison himself.

For the organizer, bringing the Brooklyn Pride Comic Book Fair to life was initially very daunting.

“We got a lot of responses, but people were still uncomfortable, as we are a marginalized group gathering during a pandemic — and rightly so,” Jennison said. “That aspect has been difficult, but I think as more people are vaccinated and we get closer to the event, more people are excited.”

Despite these concerns, Jennison maintained that the event’s purpose is to get artists’ work in front of the fans and continue to build their community.

“I think that for the comic book community it’s important we feature more queer creators,” the organizer said.

Although companies like DC Comics and Marvel put out comic book anthologies for pride month, Jennison argued that these only highlight “big-name” creators.

“[The event] could put eyes on smaller creators, shine light and give them the opportunity to share their work in a new and larger format,” he said.

A panel from Bill Roundy’s “Orientation Police.”Bill Roundy

Former Brooklyn Paper arts editor Bill Roundy will also be featured at the comic book fair, where he’ll display three comics: a superhero story called “X in the City,” a tale of a love triangle called “Yes, Master,” and a story on dating transgender men called “Orientation Police.”

“I’m excited for it — it’s going to be a welcoming change since we’ve all been so isolated. This is the first time I’m going to have seen these people in more than a year,” Roundy said. “It’s a great community and I’m thrilled to be able to see these people again and make connections.”

Roundy, who’s been drawing for almost two decades, said that making comics can be an “isolating hobby — sitting over a drawing table all the time, so events like this are a good way to get out there.” 

As the celebration of pride month continues, the June 13 event aims to highlight some of Brooklyn’s best queer comic book talents and Roundy hopes that people of all orientations will attend.

“I hope we can build more connections between queer cartoonists so we can meet each other and members of the non-drawing public can see themselves expressed in some of these comic books,” Roundy said.

Jennison echoed Roundy, emphasizing the importance of queer expression, especially during pride month, and saying that comic books are the “ultimate form of expression.”

“I know I would not have gotten through a lot of my personal battles without [creating comics] and a lot of these creators have similar experiences,” Jennison said. “Creating these books allows them to tell a story they might not have been able to express. These emotions and feelings help them to grow and help the reader to grow.”

The comic book fair will take place from 12-5 pm outside of 1216 Union St.

Afterward, Jennison said, all are welcome to attend an afterparty around the corner at Branch Ofc (225 Rogers Ave.), featuring a burlesque and drag show.

“Brooklyn Pride Comic Book Fair” at Anyone Comics [1216 Union St. between Rogers and New York avenues in Crown Heights, (347) 350-8422, www.anyonecomics.com]. June 13 from 12-5 pm. Free.