Luke Cage: Harlem’s Super Hero

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This HARLEM WEEK virtual panel discussion celebrates the 20th anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, the largest international annual comic book event, with an exploration of Harlem-based superhero, Luke Cage. Learn from comic creators and television producers about his rise from the comic book page to hit Netflix series while tackling the issues of gentrification, policing, and racism.

Panelists include New York Times best-selling author Brian Michael Bendis; Cheo Hodari Coker, creator and former showrunner and executive producer of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix; former Marvel writer and editor Jo Duffy; and award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker, journalist, and educator David F. Walker. Featuring analysis by Professor Jonathan W. Gray whose forthcoming project, Illustrating the Race, investigates the representation of African Americans in comics and moderated by Apollo Community Programs Director and former comic book editor, L. Adé Williams.

Community Partners for this event: HARLEM WEEK, Inc. & Midtown Comics, Inc.

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Panelists

Brian Michael Bendis

Brian Michael Bendis

Brian Michael Bendis

Brian Michael Bendis is an Amazon and New York Times bestselling author. He has had lengthy runs on such Iconic properties as Ultimate Spider-Man from 2000(a run on the title that last over 150 issues), and the New Avengers from 2004 for Marvel Comics. With more recent runs on Action Comics (beginning with the landmark 1,000th issue in 2018) and Superman from that same year. He is currently in the midst of a run-on Justice League which began earlier this year at DC. Characters he has co-created that have or soon will make the transition from the page to the screen include, Jessica Jones (Netflix) Miles Morales: Spider-Man (Into the Spider-Verse), RiRi Williams (Disney Plus original series Armor Wars) and Naomi (expected to be featured on a CW Pilot produced by Ava DuVernay) On the creator-owned side of the ledger, Jinxworld is home to many of his best-selling works including 2018’s Pearl and 2019’s Cover.  

Cheo Hodari Coker

Cheo Hodari Coker

Cheo Hodari Coker

Cheo Hodari Coker, 48, is the creator and former Showrunner and Executive Producer of Marvel’s Luke Cage. The critically acclaimed drama ran two seasons, from 2016-2018 and is popularly known as “the show that broke Netflix.” A 1994 graduate of Stanford University, Coker started his career in journalism as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times Pop Music section. He also contributed to Rolling Stone, Premiere, Vibe, The Source, XXL, Essence and numerous national publications, and has been featured on VH-1’s Behind The Music and Netflix’s Hip-Hop Evolution. He’s the author of the book “Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G.” Coker co-wrote (with Reggie Rock Bythewood) 2009’s Fox Searchlight Notorious BIG bio-pic NOTORIOUS, and segued into television writing for SouthLAnd, where he eventually rose to Supervising Producer and won a 2013 NAACP Award for the Season Four episode “God’s Work”.

Jo Duffy

Jo Duffy

Jo Duffy

Jo Duffy has written articles and critical reviews, novellas and short stories, co-written movies, and is known for her work on a number of comics series, including Power Man and Iron Fist, Star Wars, Fallen Angels, Catwoman, Glory, Nestrobber, Conan, Batman, Defenders, Crystar, and the English-language editions of Japanese hits Akira and Naruto.  She has also edited a number Marvel and Epic series including Micronauts, ROM Spaceknight, Doctor Strange, She-Hulk, Daredevil, and Elektra:Assassin. She joined the staff of Marvel Comics in 1977 — thanks to the kind offices of friend-of-friend, and eventual mentor Stan Lee.  She has had the lifelong pleasure and privilege of working with a host of amazing and wonderful creators, from the titans of the Golden Age to the up and comers of today.

Professor Johnathan Gray

Professor Jonathan Gray - Guest Analyst

Professor Jonathan Gray - Guest Analyst

Jonathan W. Gray is Associate Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center and John Jay College-CUNY. His first book, Civil Rights in the White Literary Imagination traces changes in white literary production during the period between the Brown case and the death of Martin Luther King. His forthcoming project, Illustrating the Race, investigates the representation of African Americans in comics and graphic narratives published since 1966. Gray co-edited Disability in Comics and Graphic Novels for Palgrave McMillan and contributed essays and criticism to The New Republic and NYU Press’s Keywords in Comics Studies.

 

David F. Walker

David F. Walker

David F. Walker

David F. Walker is an award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker, journalist, and educator. Walker is best known for his work in graphic novels and comics, which includes The Life of Frederick Douglass and The Black Panther Party (Ten Speed Press), the Eisner Award and Ringo Award-winning series Bitter Root (Image Comics), and the Eisner Award-nominated series Naomi (DC Comics). He has written for Marvel Comics (Luke CageOccupy AvengersPower Man and Iron FistNighthawkFury, Deadpool) and DC Comics (CyborgYoung Justice). He also teaches part time at Portland State University.

Ade Williams

L. Adé Williams - Moderator

L. Adé Williams - Moderator

 L. Adé Williams is the Apollo Theater’s Director of Community Programs. He was an editor at DC Comics and he writes comic-related articles and chapters in publications such as the Amsterdam News, the Daily News, and Black Panther: Paradigm Shift or Not?

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