I was very excited to find out that my first attendance at ECBACC, The East Coast Black Age of Comics convention's nucleus this year was Equilibrium: The Power of Black Women Storytellers:
From the ancient Kemetic oracles, to a loving mother sharing family history, to the modern mhadithi, djeli and griot, Black women have been storytellers for more than 10 thousand years... These women shared tales that empowered, encouraged, entertained, enthralled and propelled the listener forward into a world of the past, present, or future.
Here at ECBACC, we follow the philosophy that at every given opportunity people should speak for themselves, tell their tales and share their stories....
Rounding out the past and present emergence of Black women content creators in the realm of science fiction and comics present were Kia T. Barbee, Barbara Croft, Jennifer Crute, Delia Gable, Micheline Hess, Arie Monroe, Regine Sawyer, Tiana M. Scott, and Juliana Smith. I truly enjoyed learning about how sisters are utilizing comic books for education as well as showing off their own writing/illustrating skills that are clearly a labor of love. The marketplace was intimate and the crowd was wealthy, not overwhelming. Black cosplayers came to show off gracefully, including a Graveyard Shift Sisters favorite Michonne from The Walking Dead:
|Courtesy of evolveseries on Instagram|
Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc.
Ariell Johnson's master plan to blerd up the Fishtown neighborhood with a Black owned comic book/caffeine infused haven that will bridge both mainstream and independently published comics by Black creators. Amalgam's additional element is youth engagement with comics for education and creativity, a commitment Ariell makes during waking hours when not feeding her entrepreneurial spirit. Stay updated on the status Amalgam's pending opening on Twitter and look out for the homepage sometime this year.
Rat Ronin Studios
The trifecta that is Keith Miller (Creative Developer - Writer), Chuck Collins (Creative Developer - Artist), and Richard Zeitler Jr. (Legal) is making a business out of speculative fiction that finds inspiration from our favorite pop culture references with a smooth balance of originality. I was able to pick up this awesome print signed by Chuck that demonstrates just one of the Black female experiences in the speculative realm:
If this synopsis of the story doesn't get you pumped to purchase this self-published comic, I don't know what will:
Equally impressive is Juliana Smith's tenure as an educator who uses comic books to help her students think "about the presumptions around race, class, gender and sexuality through character dialogue. Her practice focuses on the links between racial justice, gender equity, and political literacy; using creativity to facilitate dialogue." Art & illustrations were created by Ronald Nelson.
Philadelphia artist Keith Howard is building an empire with Blaq Mythology. After being questioned about the lack of female heroes in his pantheon, he's put effort into creating Sheena Blaze, Flying Dagger, and Pink Smoke. This looks to be a promising series and if you've ever imagined Marvel a bit browner. Blaq Mythology may be another counter balance you're looking for.
Other resources I'm able to share include:
Black Science Fiction Society