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Black Comic Book Creators Converge in Philadelphia to Encourage Youth Literacy

Black Comic Book Creators Converge in Philadelphia to Encourage Youth Literacy

Annual Convention Celebrates the Black Experience in Comic Books and Promotes Youth Literacy with Workshops

"Underworld 3" Actor and Screenwriter Kevin Grevioux to Appear

Comic book artist Eric Battle greets a young comic book fan Michael Sheen stars as "Lucian" and Kevin Grevioux stars as "Raze" in Screen Gems' Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans 2009

Philadelphia, PA ( - Concerned by the decrease in literacy rates among urban youth around the country, the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, Inc. (ECBACC, Inc.) dedicates its 8th annual comic book convention to increasing youth literacy and expression through writing and drawing comic books. ECBACC, Inc. welcomes back Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans screenwriter, actor and creator of the blockbuster movie series Underworld, Kevin Grevioux. This is Grevioux's second appearance at the Convention. Internationally-renowned illustrator (Green Lantern, Supergirl and Firestorm) Jamal Igle also returns as a special guest.

The Convention kicks off on Friday evening, May 15, 2009, 7 - 9 p.m. with a FREE reception and awards ceremony at the Main Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, located between 19th and 20th Streets on the Parkway in Philadelphia. The Convention continues on Saturday, May 16, 2009, from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia-Center City, 1800 Market St., filled with a day of celebrity appearances, networking, panel discussions, a book fair, adult and youth workshops. Admission for Saturday is $15 for adults; FREE for youth 12 and under.

"ECBACC Inc. recognizes that the literacy rate among youth is critically low and needs to be more directly addressed," said Yumy Odom, founder and president of ECBACC Inc. "This is why we are offering workshops and activities dedicated to promoting literacy and achievement."

This marks the 8th year for this informative and enlightening conference that connects comic book creators with their fans, as well as a Kid's Corner featuring a myriad of youth activities. Open to all young people who attend the Saturday convention.

The Kid's Corner will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering youth a chance to learn how to take their own ideas and create their own superheroes, stories and comic books.

Four comic book creators: Alex Simmons, Aaron Beatty, Jerry Craft and Eric Battle, will be on hand to teach basic comic book, comic strip and cartoon creation skills. For those creative youth, artist Zweena Richardson will give a hands-on instruction on creating personally decorated books and journals, a great way to bind and store comic stories and pictures. The Convention also features a "kick back zone," complete with comic books to read after touring the convention floor.

Adults will be entertained and educated at the ECBACC 2009 as well, with professional workshops, animation, and film screenings. The ECBACC marketplace is one of the largest gatherings of rare collectible comics on the East Coast.

The ECBACC brings together African-American comic book creators, artists, writers and their fans from across the country to dissect, examine and explore the images and depictions of African Americans in comic books and cartoons. Some of the headlining artists scheduled to appear at ECBACC 2009 include:

* Eric Battle: Philadelphia native and artist who has worked for DC, Marvel and Milestone. Some of his recent work includes DC titles: Batman and Vampirella.

* Alex Simmons, co-creator of Orpheus, an African American hero that appears in DC's Batman, and creator of the award-winning Black Jack,

* Reggie Byers, creator of Kidz of the King, a Christian comic book distributed nationwide by Urban Ministries, Inc., has worked on a number of projects, including The Official Philadelphia Soul Football Team Comic Book,; and more.

For the full list of panelists and participating artists, visit

On Friday evening, May 15, from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m., The Glyph Comics Awards recognizes the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year. While it is not exclusive to black creators, it does strive to honor those who have made the greatest contributions to the comic book medium in terms of both critical and commercial impact. The awards are named for the blog Glyphs: The Language of the Black Comics Community ( started in 2005 by comic book journalist Rich Watson.

The ECBACC dares to go where other conventions do not, and fills a chasm that has been gaping in the industry for some time.

"If the state of Black existence in comic books concerns you, this is an event you can't afford to miss," says the ECBACC Event Coordinator Maurice Waters. "It represents a great opportunity to network with Black publishers, artists and writers in the industry and have open and honest discussions about the Black experience in this genre. People need to make it their business to be there."

Friday's Reception and Awards Ceremony will take place May 15, 2009, 7 - 9 p.m. with a FREE reception and awards ceremony at the Main Library of Philadelphia 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (between 19th and 20th Streets on the Parkway).

The Full day of the convention occurs on Saturday, May 16, 2009, from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia-Center City, 1800 Market St. For more information, visit

Yumy Odom, Director

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