Sunday, May 25, 2014

#SciFiSunday: East Coast Black Age of Comic Books Convention, Recap & Resources

Courtesy of evolveseries on Instagram
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:

Below is a highlight of some artists/resources/goodies I manage to talk to and support through dollars that I feel are worth checking out if you're looking for some new comics to consume. Additional time was spent with Kia T. Barbee of the Evolve web series. Look for more on Evolve and Kia during our #SciFiSunday series June 1st.

As a Philly dweller, I am happy to spread the word about founder and president 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:

Regine Sawyer, owner, writer, and creator of Lockett Down has been making the rounds on promoting the prosperous nature of diversifying comics for quite some time. The Eating Vampires series is one I'm personally interested in learning more about. I picked up some prints based on the amazing look alone. Her interviews and commentary on women in comics can be found on the publications main site and stay updated on Facebook as well as Twitter.

If this synopsis of the story doesn't get you pumped to purchase this self-published comic, I don't know what will:
(H)afrocentric stars a posse of disgruntled undergrads of color as they navigate their way through Ronald Reagan University.  Follow the self proclaimed radical Black feminist, Naima Pepper (who has a White mama), as she deals with the contradictions of her own life in various ways—lashing out in Tourette Syndrome-like rants about gentrification, white supremacy, and apathy.  Both she and her brother, Miles Pepper, grew up in a mostly White and Asian neighborhood. Miles Pepper reflects a popular culture aesthetic and mindset. As they navigate through the world with their best friends, Renee Aanjay Brown and El Ramirez, their identities and neighborhood start to change in front of their eyes.

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.

(H)afrocentric can be found on Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Facebook, and Tumblr!

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 

Sketch Bravo

Jaycen Wise
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