Rock Bottom Comics is a small local comic book store by the west entrance of Fretboard Coffee. As an homage to Black History Month, owner John Evans has partnered with the True/Love weekend event by the True/False film festival to encourage more people to shop at local businesses. For the event, Evans is showcasing stories of black comic book characters and the works of black authors and artists.
“It’s important because they’re really cool,” Evans said. “Because there has been at least some representation and some focus on the characters, I think at this point in the culture, anything that gets more diversity out there is a great thing.”
The showcase includes many popular characters such as Luke Cage, Cyborg, Black Panther, Shuri and many more. However, it wasn’t always normal for fictional characters to be African American. With this event, Evans wants to show his customers that these characters and the people who created them were instrumental to comic book history.
“Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, where a lot of these books came from, it was kind of risky [to write black characters],” Evans said. “If more people, in general, were more aware of this stuff, there would be more interest in it; it’s gotten pushed to the side by all the other stuff out there.”
Customers can see the effort and care that Evans has put into the exhibit when they come in. Rock Bottom Comics employee Bailey Ripplinger loves to see the representation of these great characters.
“There’s so many cool characters you can get into, and I think that’s so awesome,” Ripplinger said. “I like the Golden Legacy ones because I studied social studies and education, so it’s a lot of history.”
The exhibit shows some of history’s more notable characters that may not have been seen as groundbreaking at the time. Customer Kelly Jacobi was very happy listening to the story behind the exhibit.
“A lot of people just don’t get to see themselves reflected in stories except in harmful stereotypes,” Jacobi said. “It’s really important to be able to see yourself in those kinds of stories and see that you can be more than what other people think you are.”
Rock Bottom Comics has used this opportunity with True/Love to showcase an underrepresented minority group. With this exhibit, Evans and Rock Bottom Comics hope to bring to light many diverse superhero characters and authors.
“I’ve been a collector for 40 years,” Evans said. “There’s this impression that any minorities and women have been given short shrift and to some degree it’s true, but there’s really a lot more out there; we just don’t know about it.”
Edited by Sophie Stephens | firstname.lastname@example.org