"The mainstream industry had to start paying attention to what was going on. .... 'Wait a minute, they don't care about these carrots we've been dangling anymore because they've planted their own gardens!' "


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Eric Battle

Illustrator

How many ECBACCs: 14

Favorite Indie: Killadelphia, The Works of Akenseye Brown, and The Works of Turtel Onli

Favorite Mainstream: Game of Thrones

Favorite Character: The Hulk

But wait, there's more: Battle Lines Drawn

You've been with ECBACC almost from the beginning, can you talk about how you got involved?

I remember going to the very first ECBACC. I believe it was probably through Akinseye. It was held over at Temple University. There were familiar faces and unfamiliar faces. I was able to forge friendships with people. Paris Cullins was there. I believe he still lived in the city at the time. He's a Philadelphia comic legend. I just fell in love with the positive energy that was present. Meeting Maurice Waters and Yumy were a big part of that, of course. It was nice to be a part of something where the work was appreciated.


How has ECBACC influenced the industry as a whole? What are some encouraging trends you've seen in the comic book space?

I think the whole Black comic book movement made the mainstream industry take notice. From that initial ECBACC, I remember some creators talking about their frustrations with how creators of color were being treated in the mainstream industry. That's what made events like ECBACC so important to creators of color. It felt like home. We could connect with other creators and people who appreciated what we were doing. It let us know that we could start to create our own playing field.


The mainstream industry isn't the end-all-be-all. We were acknowledging each other's abilities, and more indie projects started to come out of those meetings. The mainstream industry had to start paying attention to what was going on. They would always dangle carrots at us then they were like, "Wait a minute, they don't care about these carrots we've been dangling anymore because they've planted their own gardens!"


That's been the absolute best thing to come out of all this. The mainstream industry has ebbs and flows, and you can't control how that wave moves. But one of the best things about the Black comic book movement was it made us reassess what our priorities and values were. Once we took the reins in our hands, the mainstream industry had to start paying attention too. When indie projects started getting just as much notoriety as some of those mainstream projects, they had to readjust how they move too. It helped set up a new paradigm. I think right now it's probably one of the best times to be a creator of color in this industry. We've been able to pave a way for ourselves that's not controlled by other people. As long as we can continue to do that, it'll just grow bigger and stronger.


Where would you like to see BHM go in the future?

I would love to see more focused projects come out of ECBACC. At some of those earlier ECBACC events, I remember talking with a handful of creators about putting out specialized content. People got distracted, and the details of doing that sort of thing got complicated. I would love for ECBACC as a whole to generate exclusive content that one could only get at an ECBACC event.


So like when people do a ComicCon Exclusive?

Yeah, like that. That's what I'd like to see. That kind of thing could only make it stronger. That way, you galvanize the creativity that's in your own backyard.