You've been involved with ECBACC from the start. How did you get involved?
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at the Wizard World downtown, and I had a table. At any con, the Black folks find each other. There's kind of a conference underneath the conference. Brother Yumy had a table too. Wizard had what a lot of cons have, "THE BLACK PANEL" that was supposed to represent everybody, which is impossible, and the guys on the panel would often say that. We had decided that we weren't going. I wasn't offended by them, I was just offended at the idea of somebody representing all of who we are. I distinctly remember Yumy saying he had a space at Temple we could meet up the next day. That was the first ECBACC. We went there, and had the time of our lives. There was a small crowd. We just laughed and bought each other's stuff. It was great! That's what it's been from the very beginning.
What's a cherished memory from ECBACC?
I was stunned to meet Bert Fitzgerald who was in the generation before me. He did the Golden Legacy series. I just introduced myself to him. He was very forthcoming and he signed things for me. I invited him to come out to my college. He was a really lively guy. I was always inviting people out. I taught a Graphic Novels class. You never knew who you'd meet, and you never knew who you were going to influence. I had young guys come up to me and say, "Professor Foster, this character is named after you because you inspired me to write my book." I'd always say, "You were obviously already on your way. I can't take credit for that. I'm just a bystander on the path you're climbing!"
How do you think ECBACC has contributed to the comic book space?
The Glyph Awards. It's like if you had a family reunion and gave out awards. It started off like that but then it just grew. The awards you get from the mainstream media are one thing, but the awards that you get from us are totally heartfelt. Judges looked at the work carefully. We were very serious. Thank the brothers and sisters who worked on that because that just increased our presence. We had people who came from great distances to be there, and we made them feel totally at home.
Where would you like to see BHM go in the future?
I would like to see ECBACC continue into the future promoting young artists like we always do and bringing back older artists because that's our life's blood. It's a continuum. It makes sense that it takes place in Philadelphia because the first Black comic was published in Philadelphia in 1947, the All-Negro Comics. It was created by a former newspaperman from the Philadelphia Tribune. Philadelphia has a lot to offer, it's not just the 76ers, even though we support them as well. We have a number of things we do and folks need to find out about it. That's what ECBACC has always done.