I just published an article about ECBACC on CNN

east-coast-black-age-comics-convention-article-images-philadelphiaI wrote an article about the The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, or ECBACC, for CNN iReport. You can read the article below, or Click Here to see the original story on CNN. See all of my reports for CNN at ireport.cnn.com/people/ByHandMedia.

The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, or ECBACC, returns to Philadelphia this weekend for its 13th year and will again present its Glyph Awards at the African American Museum tomorrow night, beginning with a special reception at 6:30 PM. honor comic book excellence by presenting the Glyph Comics Awards, which recognizes the best in comics made either by, for, or about people of color. Recipients of Glyph awards are not exclusively authors and artists of African descent, however all have made great contributions to the portrayal of people of African descent in graphic novels, comic strips and comic books. By hosting these awards, organizers hope to encourage more diverse and high-quality comics work, as well as inspire new creators to add their voices to the field.

The ECBACC convention itself, which takes place this Saturday at The Enterprise Center on Market Street in Philadelphia, includes a comic book marketplace, special children’s programs, creator panel discussions and workshops. All of these events are meant to foster inspiration within communities that otherwise might not be aware of what the comics world has to offer youth, either on a consumer – or potentially professional – level.

Organizers of ECBACC include: Founder & President Yumy Odom, who has lectured on and written about the importance of acknowledging the place of Global Pan-African imagery in world mythology for 30 years; Illustrator Akinseye Brown, owner of indie publisher Sokoya Comics; ECBACC Workshop Coordinator Shenkarr Davis, who believes comic books can foster creativity and a love of reading (something lacking in many communities these days); ECBACC Project Manager Stephanie Brandford, a chemical engineer by trade; and Glyph Comics Awards Chairperson Pamela Thomas, who is also the Founder & Curator of The Museum of UnCut Funk.

According to the ECBACC official website, the event was originally slated to be called the Pan-African Comic Convention (PAC-Con) or First World Komix Con (1st World Con). The annual gathering draws comic book artists, writers, comics fans and retailers that are interested in comic books, art and related material by or about superheroes of African descent. What may be the most important part of ECBACC for attendees interested in becoming a part of the comics field, are the panel discussions, self-publishing and graphic arts workshops that are presented during the annual convention. These activities offer a window into a field that is quickly becoming a global arts and culture experience, tied deeply into all forms of media, including film and television.

The past shows us that any community or culture that develops an enlightened and knowledgeable youth population will cultivate artists that create richer & more inciteful work, and in general adults with diverse interests & contributions to society. My own upbringing may be an example of this. While I grew up in what might be termed “the inner city,” my mom regularly took me and my brother to SOHO art museums and Broadway shows (even though at that age both sometimes bored the hell out of me). We also had a large library of books at home, and magazines – yes MAGAZINES of all types – flowed through our place regularly.

Find out more about and the Glyph Comic Awards and the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention at www.ecbacc.com.