NNPA NEWSWIRE — One relatively unsung product of Oakland’s liberal sway is the founder of the annual AfroComicCon, Michael James. Now in its third iteration, AfroComicCon is a three-day event showcasing comic books and pop culture related to (but assuredly not limited to) the African Diaspora.

By Gregg Reese, Our Weekly Contributor, with additional reporting by Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

The Bay Area is the most progressive bastion of the historically liberal state of California (although the sweep towards gentrification may soon turn the political tide in the opposite direction) and none of the cities and towns within it upholds the standard of progressiveness higher than the East Bay municipality of Berkeley.

One relatively unsung product of its liberal sway is the founder of the annual AfroComicCon, Oakland’s Michael James. Now in its third iteration, AfroComicCon is a three-day event showcasing comic books and pop culture related to (but assuredly not limited to) the African Diaspora.

The event is held in the cities of Oakland and neighboring Emeryville, California and aims to be an inclusive entity as opposed to other, similar conventions geared towards special groups and demographics. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the Oakland Technology and Education Center.

Comic book conventions showcase comic books and related areas of entertainment, and feature exhibits, panels, and features of interest.

Initially, low-brow affairs concentrating solely on comics and special interest groups (the first San Diego Comic-Con was held in a hotel basement with perhaps 300 people in 1970), these “cons” have mushroomed to multi-genre affairs drawing tens of thousands of participants and showcasing gaming, sci-fi, horror, and other facets of pop culture.

Film and television companies use these venues to showcase their wares and gauge public response to shows prior to general release.

Monetarily, they are a financial windfall, generating millions in revenue and contributing significantly to the surrounding community’s economy. A major component of these events is the practice of cosplay, in which fans dress up as their favorite superheroes and animated characters.

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