The duality of justice was always central to Black Lightning, the character I created for DC Comics in 1976. He was born as much out of my quest for fairness, for justice, as anything else. From my years as a comics fan, I knew there were many comics readers and very few comics characters who were black. When I started working in the industry, I tried to address that imbalance. Did I succeed even a little? Did I screw things up? Is there more I can do in address the imbalance that still exists?
These are some of the questions I will likely ask or be asked at the 5th annual EAST COAST BLACK AGE OF COMICS CONVENTION, which will be held in Philadelphia on May 19 and 20. I'll be attending as a guest of the show and participating in a panel discussion with BLACKJACK publisher and writer Alex Simmons, cartoonist Tim Jackson, Bronze Age BLACK LIGHTNING artist Trevor Von Eeden, and historian Professor William Foster, author of LOOKING FOR A FACE LIKE MINE [Fine Tooth Press; $9.95], a collection of essays and interviews on African-American comics and creators, which, by the way, I recommend quite highly. The ECBACC is the first of the two comics conventions I'm attending this year, the other being MID-OHIO-CON.
There will be a reception on Friday, May 19, at Philadelphia's African American Museum to honor artists and writers who paved the way for the work being done today. This is also the first year the Glyph Awards will be presented. The Glyph Awards recognize the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color. While it is not exclusive to black creators, it does strive to honor those who have made the greatest contributions to the comics medium in terms of both critical and commercial impact. The Awards hope to encourage more diverse and high-quality work across the board and inspire new creators to add their voices to the field.
The convention is on Saturday, May 20, at Temple University's Anderson Hall. Workshops in Drawing, Graphics/Technology, Writing, and the Business of Comics are free to attendees with the price of admission. There will also be two panel discussions and an all-day marketplace to buy and sell comics-related items.
Attending conventions has become increasingly problematic for me in recent years, but the ECBACC, central as it is to so much of what I've tried to do in comics, is simply too important an event for me to miss. Besides the panel discussion, I'll be signing as many books and answering as many questions as time and circumstance allow. I'm looking forward to meeting my BLACK LIGHTNING, COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE, and online readers there.
For more information, visit the ECBACC website at:
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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