Roy M. Eavins II is an entertainment industry machine. He is the Founder and President of his own broadcast network, Jericho Broadcast Networks, and he has used this company to produce a variety of content focused on African American. In addition to publishing comic books, Eavins is expanding further into the world of comic books by creating his own comic convention, The Urban Nerd Con (TUNC). Wanting to learn more about his career and Urban Nerd Con, I was able to interview Eavins for ScifiPulse.
Nicholas Yanes: What comic books did you enjoy when growing up? Are there any you still enjoy revisiting?
Roy M. Eavins II: I was into Archie and Mad comics. I actually don’t read any now because I write and I don’t want to take a story subconsciously.
Yanes: When did you know you wanted to have a career in the entertainment and media fields?
Eavins: Coming out of high school I knew I wanted to be in the media just didn’t know in what area. My first real stint was when I started working at WAMF the campus radio station at Florida A&M University
Yanes: Under the umbrella of the Jericho Television Network, you published two comic books. What were these comic books about? Do you have any future goals for these properties?
Eavins: Actually the comics were published under Pyramid Comix, a division of the Jericho Broadcast Networks. Pyramid was the first media property I created. We are in the process of developing Phase 1 of a Saturday morning line up featuring several of our comix properties along with about five other independent comic creators.
Yanes: The main reason I wanted to talk to you was to discuss Urban Nerd Con. So, could you give a brief summary of what Urban Nerd Con?
Eavins: The Urban Nerd Con was created for 3 particular reasons:
#1 To provide A space where creators, scifi, gaming and cosplay fans of African descent can have a space to enjoy all that the genres has to offer.
#2 To provide a space where people of other ethnic groups can come and see great content by creators of African descent.
#3 To create a space that will nurture the creative minds of young children of African descent and inspire them to create a future of scifi that is very inclusive of their culture.
Yanes: With all the comic book and entertainment conventions out there, when did you begin to realize that something like Urban Nerd Con was needed? Was there a specific moment in which this idea crystallized for you?
Eavins: Honestly, it was back in 1994 when I went to an early MegaCon in Orlando, FL as a vendor. I was the only black creator in the event as well as having the only books that had lead characters that were black. I had a fellow creator come up to me whose son had purchased our Falchion VI title, because he liked the cover, and she had read it the night before. She came to my booth the next day and asked a little more about that story line and our others. She was surprised that they were totally original and had as much depth as they did. She said that she had never seen a black comic book like ours and wondered if there were more out there. At that moment I knew we needed a genre focused event for creators like me. It just took a little longer than I thought! LOL
Yanes: Despite several films and television shows being made in Atlanta, there is still a lack of diversity in mainstream media. How are you hoping that Urban Nerd Con can change this?
Eavins: TUNC is actually one part of our plan for that. We must have media companies that are focused on and dedicated to telling stories about and by people of African descent. Many shows about people of color are written by Caucasians which distorts people’s view of others. The Jericho Broadcast Networks will be that platform that will change the narrative and show the diverse nature of people of African descent.
Yanes: From a business perspective, what are some of the biggest hurdles you encountered when creating Urban Nerd Con?
Eavins: Like with any first year event funding is our biggest challenge. Cons are normally built on star power and that power cost a good bit. But we are dedicated to making this event a success. Also, letting people know that although our focus is creators of African descent, we are open to having people of other races come out to enjoy, participate, and vend at the con!
Yanes: Ten years from now, what are your hoping for Urban Nerd Con to become?
Eavins: I’m hoping that it is the largest Con focused on creators of African descent, and one of the fastest growing Cons in the country that will have a very large and diverse group of fans attending.
Yanes: When the inaugural Urban Nerd Con finishes on August 12th, what do you hope people take away from this experience?
Eavins: Mainly I want fans of different ethnic groups to see that there is so much more out there than just what you see in the mainstream. Also, that characters of African descent have some amazing stories that anyone who enjoys the genres will like.
Yanes: Finally, what are some other projects you are working on that people can look forward to?
Eavins: Well we have several TV series that we will be taking into production for our network including three dramas, a comedy, and two scifi/action shows to go along with the Saturday morning lineup I mentioned before. One of the ones I’m most excited about is a show called Yesterday Once More. As you might be able to guess, it is a show about time travel!!! It has been really fun putting the science together with the writing team for this one!