Do you remember how you heard about ECBACC and began attending?
Like it was yesterday! It was 2005. I was working at a cafe called Picnic. My coworker, Alex Smith came in with a flyer for ECBACC and I was stunned. I was like, "A Black comic book convention in Philly? What?!" I called the number and spoke to Maurice who I didn't know from a can of paint, and said that I needed to be a part of this. Anything they needed me to do.
I was just a baby bird, just drawing for fun. It wasn't a career yet. That's how I found out about BlackSuperhero.com. I met one of my first major clients from doing my first ECBACC.
What's a cherished memory from ECBACC?
This is not hyperbole when I say that ECBACC changed my life. I was still drawing a lot of white and Asian characters. I thought that was what I was supposed to be drawing. I always talk about what Maurice, Yumy, and Akin did for me. They challenged me by asking, "Where are your Nubian characters?" I remember going home and thinking, "I'm changing everything!"
I remember preparing for my first ECBACC convention, going to Kinkos super late, hand stapling a little ashcan comic just to be ready and have something to sell. That was one of my first conventions. I had another memory of me, Yumy, Eric Battle, and Akinseye taking a road trip to set up a table at another convention in New York. I just remember getting so much wisdom being on the road with them!
You've partially answered this, but how has ECBACC influenced your work as an artist and entrepreneur?
ECBACC is where I got all my first clients. Also, they made me the head of their comic book networking group, Synergy, which was the direct catalyst for forming my own networking group, Xion. If it wasn't for working with those guys and learning from them, there probably would not have been a Xion. Maurice was the first one to tell me about blacksuperheroes.com where I started posting up my artwork. You have to remember this is back in 2005. There was no Instagram. This was the place I met all the people who would become the Street Team crew. Everything started with ECBACC. Those guys shaped my life.
Talk a bit more about Synergy.
Yumy and the board wanted to bring comic book creators together more than just once a year at the convention. They selected me to head up the Synergy group for Black indie artists in Philly. I didn't do a good job at constructing it. I was inexperienced. I was still working a 9 to 5. It was all over the map, so it wasn't as strong as it could have been. I knew I had to step down because I wasn't doing it justice.
I remember going to them later and getting their blessing for Xion because I didn't want to step on any toes. It's not only for Nubian creators, it's for any indie comic book creator. I wanted to let them know that it was through them that I got the strength to create a networking group in a different direction. I wanted to make sure it was ok and they're great guys so they said it was fine.