Arts

A Conversation On Comic Books And Superheroes

Comic book illustrators Brian Stelfreeze and Afua Richardson and comic book author Van Jensen joined Lois Reitzes to talk about the revitalization of superheroes and how that equates to comic books.
Comic book illustrators Brian Stelfreeze and Afua Richardson and comic book author Van Jensen joined Lois Reitzes to talk about the revitalization of superheroes and how that equates to comic books.
Credit Miranda Hawkins / WABE

As many of our most recognizable comic book heroes hit TV and the big screen alike, it can be argued we are in the second Golden Age of superheroes.

Brian Stelfreeze, the current illustrator of “Black Panther,” Afua Richardson, illustrator of a “Black Panther” companion, and Van Jensen, who authored several issues of “The Flash” and “Green Lantern,” joined us on “City Lights” to talk all things superheroes and comic books.

“Honestly, I think lately there’s been sort of a loss of hope and all the comic book characters boil down to, if you had the ability to do something, these are the things that you would do,” said Stelfreeze about the revitalization of superheroes.  “And I think right now, people are looking for that altruistic escape.”

Richardson said she gravitated more toward the weirdos, aliens and outcasts because even though they weren’t accepted they did what they thought was right. She laughed as she said these characters inspired her teenage self to chase down a thief on a New York subway station who stole her friend’s book bag.

While superheroes are taking over the big screen, that doesn’t necessarily translate to the sale of comic books. It’s not one specific reason, as Jensen, Stelfreeze and Richardson discuss, but a change in demographics, a saturation of media, and how people choose to consume their media.

Still, there’s one day a year meant for comic books and the artists that bring them to life. Free Comic Book Day is held the first Saturday in May. It’s when publishers release new comics, dust off old ones, and stores host illustrators and authors to meet their fans. Not only can fans and soon-to-be fans pick up free comics, but stores also have huge sales.

Although this year’s Free Comic Book Day has already come and gone, there’s always next year.

And while comic book authors and illustrators might not wear capes or have secret identities, they are definitely superheroes in their own way.

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