WSU student film group to host double-feature night before black comic convention

November 8, 2017

What good’s a superhero without a sidekick? After all, Batman has Robin. Captain America’s got Bucky.

For their annual gathering at the Wayne State University Student Center Building on Saturday, Nov. 18, the organizers of the Motor City Black Age of Comics Convention (MCBACC) have joined forces with Wayne State University student film group Kino Club 313.

As part of this collaboration, Kino Club 313 will screen a double feature the evening before the convention, an effort to promote the event and heighten awareness about diversity in comics and film. At 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, in 285 Student Center, Kino 313 will present ‘70s cult kung fu classic Black Belt Jones, followed by contemporary blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite.

“I was so excited to learn that a comic con was happening at Wayne State that I reached out to the event organizer and asked what I could do to get involved,” explained Kino 313 president Shelby Cadwell, a graduate teaching assistant at WSU. “We decided that a film screening co-hosted by Kino Club 313 and the MCBACC would be an excellent way to pool our resources and cross-pollinate between our groups of followers.”

After agreeing to screen a pair of movies, the organization created a Facebook poll to survey members and convention fans about what to show.

“We thought Black Belt Jones and Black Dynamite would pair well together,” Cadwell said, “The former is a traditional blaxploitation film and the latter is a more recent film that both satirizes and pastiches the blaxploitation genre.”

A veteran comic-book buff, Cadwell said the idea of teaming up with MCBACC to promote diversity is satisfying and exciting.

“I have been a longtime fan of comics, especially comics that feature marginalized characters and/or are written by marginalized people,” said Cadwell. “The goal of the MCBACC — to introduce the Detroit community to a diverse range of art and storytelling — overlaps with the goals of Kino Club 313 and my personal goals as a fan, researcher and educator.”

Cadwell said increasing multicultural perspectives in comics is vital to the industry.

“Because of the impressive reach of comics, it is crucial that they reflect the diversity and variety of the real world,” said Cadwell. “For so long, comics have been a medium associated with white men — as producers and consumers — but now it is becoming clear that comics are for everyone.”