"My studies have been about reality and history, but my excitement about ECBACC is about what [the future] could be. "
Dr. Kelli Mickens Ph.D
How Many ECBACCS: 15
Favorite Indie Franchise: Black Sands, the Seven Kingdoms
Favorite Mainstream Fandom: Star Trek/Black Panther
Favorite Character: Michael Burnham
But wait, there's more: Philadelphia Freedom Schools Paperback
What does ECBACC mean to you?
The concept of Afrofuturism sounded attractive but I didn’t know what it was. Then I went to ECBACC and I saw it in action. ECBACC is about the Black imagination in science fiction and fantasy in both utopian and dystopian ways. I really love that at ECBACC you see a whole host of artists’ renderings of the way the world can be, wants to be, or cautions that it will be. I love that part. My studies have been about reality and history, but my excitement for ECBACC is about what [the future] could be.
What’s a cherished memory from ECBACC?
I have a few. I love the marketplace. I love that every year it’s a reunion of sorts. I always love seeing the AfriCoz. At first, cosplay to me was something I would see as a punchline like it’s the kind of thing to be made fun of or whatever. What I loved about ECBACC is that they just took it so seriously. This is not a joke. Folks really embody these various characters that [promote] certain values, certain ways of being, certain codes that I think are so valuable to adults and kids alike. I didn’t grow up with all of this, so this was a Sankofa moment where I had to “go back to fetch it.” I didn’t get it as a kid, so I’m getting it now. I love seeing powerful Black people asserting themselves in these wonderful ways.
What do you want to see for the future of ECBACC?
Prayerfully, post-COVID, I hope it at least returns to the size that it was and continues to grow and inspire other folks to do it as well. I see advertisements for other cities. I haven’t traveled to these other conventions, but I know that ECBACC has seeded these things. It makes me feel proud of our city and Brother Yumy for doing something so amazing.
I’d love to see something as large as a DragonCon or ComicCon, something that draws people internationally. I know it influences people beyond these borders. I love that it’s just so accessible because it means that it can influence a generation of children that may not have the financial means to go to other cons. They can be in community with these amazing artists, and that can spawn their talents and desires to take it to the next level.
What do you hope to see in the indie Black comic/media scene in the future?
I’m seeing some of it already, but I want to continue to see Black people, women especially, claiming our spaces where we are the powerful actor in the midst of whatever circumstances and behaving in our own best interests. I would love to see a character like Sekhmet. Sekhmet was a protector of the good and an annihilator of the wicked. I would love to see that character come to life.