East Coast Black Age of Comics, Part 1: The Glyph Awards
(Click any of the above images or view the whole set for my coverage and commentary).
Photos from the Glyph Comics Award Ceremony on May 18, 2007 at Philadelphia's African-American Museum, the kickoff for the 6th Annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. Check out Glyph Awards founder Rich Watson's blog for a full list of nominees and winners and extensive Glyphs coverage. Keith Knight, Kyle Baker and Larry Fuller accepted their awards in person, but one of the highlights was Stagger Lee writer Derek McCulloch accepting one of several awards via speakerphone cellphone (with the help of Prof. William Foster). McCulloch gave a moving speech and joked that he was speaking to us from a bathroom.
My fiancé Masheka Wood was a nominee for Rising Star, and although he didn't win, it "was an honor to be nominated" (and the award went to the amazing Spike, for her strip Templar, Arizona, so hard to be too bummed about it).
Plus we got to present the award for Best Comic Strip to amazing fellow Cartoonist With Attitude Keith Knight, for his strip The K Chronicles (a second-time winner!). Keith took photos of his own butt on the way up to the podium and remarked that it was nice to be at a convention where no one mistook him for Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder. He also later noted that the food at ECBACC (BBQ, meatballs, rice, jerk chicken, fried chicken, and other delights) was far superior to the usual comics convention concessions (typically suspiciously gray hot dogs and burgers).
Masheka and I also got to meet and/or hang out with:
- Host Jamar Nicholas ("The Jamar Chronicles," "Detective Boogaloo"), who instructed the mostly-non-Philly audience on proper cheese-steak-ordering etiquette.
- Kyle Baker, accepting the award for Best Artist, said it was nice to be at a convention where he didn't have people asking "Who's Nat Turner?" He also donned sunglasses as a way, he said, of distinguishing himself from all the other guys with dreadlocks--not typically necessary at your average 95% white comic convention.
- Eye Trauma's John Jennings and Damian Duffy (the curators of Other Heroes and Out of Sequence. They're currently working on their stunning science fiction horror graphic novel about racism and consumer culture, The Hole:
- Joseph Wheeler III & Iyabo Shabazz.
- Cheryl Lynn, of Digital Femme (and founder of the rapidly expanding Ormes Society for black women cartoonists), who spoke on a fantastic panel called "Having Our Say: Black Women Discuss Imagery." More on that panel when I post the pictures. For now, here's a recent quote from her blog:
What do women want from comics?That sums up a large part of ECBACC's mission, as does the work of...
The answer isn't important. Here's all you need to know:
No reader wants to be made to feel that he or she is inherently less than a member of another group when he or she picks up a book to enjoy.
- Professor William H. Foster III, whose current exhibit at MOCCA NYC is called "Looking for a Face Like Mine." From MOCCA:
Blacks were deliberately left out of comics and American society for many years,” Foster noted. “On those rare occasions when we were included, we were misrepresented as savages, cannibals, simpletons, and worse. My research documents this important history both fair and foul, for all time, while there are still traces of it left.”
- The tireless Rich Watson, Glyph Comics Awards founder and editor of the excellent new Urban Voice of Comics magazine (which describes itself as "Wizard meets Vibe.")
- Underground comics legend Larry Fuller, who accepted the Glyphs Pioneer Award.
- Our table buddy, Ayo (more on him in the Saturday post). Ayo was a bit bummed out by his ECBACC sales, but I think that had more to do with our poor choice of table location than anything else--we got there really early and thought it'd be great to be right by the door, but folks walked right past the door to get to the main convention. Oops.
- Syndicated cartoonist Jerry Craft (Mama's Boyz), who was the only presenter to open his envelope with a dagger.
- Dwayne McDuffie, of Static Shock fame, and Dwayne McDuffie forum moderator Stephanie Brandford (mutate20).
- Omar Bilal, of the Museum of Black Superheroes.
- Vampire Huntress author L.A. Banks.
- And many more awesome comics artists and writers and fans, some of whom I will mention tomorrow.
Coming up: photos from the convention itself (including one of me asleep with a Keith-Knight-penned "please buy my comics" sign pinned to me), and photos and coverage of the panel "Having Our Say: Black Women Discuss Imagery."
Update: See "Part 2: Convention Photos."
P.S. Buy Masheka's book, Deep Doodle!