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Back at the ECBACC

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This year’s East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention proves to be a great source for indie comics.

Out of all the smaller conventions I attend, the one most deserving of greater recognition is the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, or ECBACC. This is a show held each year to honor black creators and black characters in comics.

This year’s show was just a couple weeks ago (May 17) and I think it was their best one yet. I can understand how its specific focus might keep a larger audience away, but it really shouldn’t. This convention is about celebrating an aspect of comics that doesn’t get enough recognition or representation, not about excluding anybody.

And the show is a lot of fun. It has an excellent mix of a rather scholarly approach, as the show is at Temple University and some of the organizers are professors, with a relaxed community feel. They were playing Lauryn Hill in the showroom as we were setting up (though the black female exhibitor next to me didn’t know who she was because she only listens to heavy metal).

But the biggest reason I love this show is because of its strong identity and focus. With all the shows these days that try and incorporate everything, it’s nice to go to one where the organizers, exhibitors, and attendees all know why they are there.

And as a vendor, it’s nice to know that if I have the kind product that people are coming to buy, there’s a good chance they will actually purchase it. There’s a lot less of the “browsing” mentality that seems to have permeated other shows, caused by people who aren’t really sure why they’re there, or gamers who’ve wandered too far and are hopelessly lost in the small press section.

The other reason why I love the show is that it is an excellent source for finding great independent comics. There are titles that I’ve been following for the last few years and I was able to pick up the latest issues from this year’s show. These comics are definitely worth checking out if you get the chance.

First off, there was a new issue of Yume & Ever by Alitha Martinzez. This is a very fun series with some wonderful artwork. Though the inside black & white linework is very strong, the absolutely beautiful watercolored covers and images leaves one wishing that the whole issue could be done in this style. My only actual complaint is that the series seems to be a little numerically challenged. It began with a number 1, then went to a Yume & Ever Special #1, and the latest issue is a number 0. Alitha, you’re taking the sequential out of sequential art!

   

Thankfully a number 2 issue did come out this year for Abraham, a superhero title by writer and artist Black Star. One thing that jumps out at you with this title is that the issues are extra large, somewhere between Golden Age comic book size and magazine size. And believe me, the extra room is barely able to contain the artwork. Black Star excels in the bold “in your face” style of drawing. It was great to finally get a hold of the follow up issue to the number 1 that came out two years ago. And as an extra treat, he had the first issue of a new series that he’s working on with writer, Dan McNeal. It is called Daft and Black Star has taken a different approach with his artwork, choosing to use more of a wash to create a grittier tone rather than the bright colors he used for his superhero title.

But the comic that’s outdone them all as far as production goes is Ashley A. Wood’s Millenia War. She had issues 4 & 5 out this year. This is an epic story where the lives of elves and humans intersect, and Ashley is moving right along with it.

   

The other comic of note from the show was the new “motion” comic called Zulu: Mech 1 by Mshindo I. and Brother G. It’s supposedly presented by Wesley Snipes. I’m not exactly sure of his involvement other than the fact that he’s backing it and stars in a 5-minute live action sequence that goes along with the comic. I didn’t get chance to see the panel presentation of the comic, as I was busy manning my table, but the comic is available on iTunes and in the iPhone App store.

That about wraps up my coverage for this year. I’ll be sure to go again next year, and anyone else who’s interested should seriously consider trying to make it out to the EBACC as well.

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