Saturday, May 27, 2017


Previously in Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing...

Sainted Wife Barb and Tony drove to Philadelphia for the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. After a day of sightseeing, a quick meal and freshening up, they are leaving the Courtyard Mariotte to go to the TECH Freire Charter School for the ECBACC reception and kick-off, which will include the presentation of the Glyph Comics Awards...

Barb and I decided not to pull our car out of the hotel parking. What with TECH Freire being a short drive from our hotel and what with the Courtyard’s friendly bellmen happy to hail us a taxi, we figured that was the way to go.

The reception was starting at 6:30 pm. We knew we had enough time to get there and probably get there early. Unfortunately, the cab ride was a little longer than we had anticipated. Because, when we were just a few blocks from the school, our cab driver decided he should make a phone call and not pay attention to our destination.

So the driver is on the phone trying to make some sort of deal with some other guy who clearly doesn’t want to do business with him. We knew this because the driver’s phone was loud enough for us to hear both ends of the conversation.

When we realize we’re just about to arrive at the school, we tell the driver our stop is just ahead. He doesn’t stop because he’s arguing with the guy on the phone.

When we pass the school, we start telling him loudly he has passed the school. Four blocks further, we start yelling at him that he’s  passed the school. He finally hears us and makes a U-turn, almost hitting another car in the process.
We still got to the school early, which gave me time to introduce Barb to ECBACC friends like Yumy Odom, Akinseye Brown, Professor  William Foster, Gretchen Foster, Maurice Waters, Dionne Stallworth, Stephanie Brown, Bill Johnson, Shenkar Davis and others. I also got to introduce Barb to Don and Marsha McGregor and to meet Marsha for the first time. We repeated that with our pal Frank Lovece and his wife Maitland McDonagh. It was my first time meeting Maitland. Other pleasant surprises were seeing Brian Saner-Lamken, my friend of many years, and Alex Lu, who’s my new editor on the Garfield books I do for Papercutz. I’m leaving out a whole lot of other people here, but I’d like to keep today’s bloggy down to a reasonable length. 

In case you're wondering, the above photo shows Don, Yumy, and me.

The reception opened with refreshments and conversation. ECBACC had a nice spread of food and snacks. If Barb and I hadn’t eaten just a few hours earlier, we could have made a meal out of the goodies provided by the convention.

ECBACC President Yumy Odom made the welcoming remarks, followed by Glyph Comics Awards Chairperson Shenkarr Davis and GCA Host Jamar Nicholas. My friend Jamar always does a terrific job in his role as host. Then it was time to hand out some well-deserved awards.

This year, I didn’t get a chance to read as many of the nominees as I would have liked. No matter, the nominees will serve as a reading list for the rest of the year. You can find the nominees via this link. Here are the winners...

The Glyph Awards are voted on by a distinguished panel of judges. Except for this first award, which is decided by online voting of all interested readers.

Fan Award for Best Work

M.A.S.K. – MOBILE ARMORED STRIKE KOMMAND; Brandon Easton, writer, Tony Vargas & Tommy Lee Edwards, artist

Best Reprint Publication


Best Comic Strip or Webcomic

TUSKEGEE HEIRS: FLAMES OF DESTINY; Marcus Williams & Greg Burnham, writers, Marcus Williams, artist

Rising Star Award

TUSKEGEE HEIRS: FLAMES OF DESTINY; Marcus Williams & Greg Burnham, writers, Marcus Williams, artist

Best Female Character

Lily Brown; MALICE IN OVENLAND VOLUME #1; Micheline Hess, writer and artist

Best Male Character

Matt Trakker; M.A.S.K. - MOBILE ARMORED STRIKE KOMMAND; Brandon Easton, writer, Tony Vargas & Tommy Lee Edwards, artists

Best Artist

Brian Stelfreeze, artist; BLACK PANTHER

Best Writer

Congressman John Lewis & Andrew Aydin, writers; MARCH: BOOK THREE

Best Cover

BLACK #1; Kwanza Osajyefo, writer, Khary Randolph, artist

Story of the Year

MARCH: BOOK THREE; Congressman John Lewis & Andrew Aydin, writers, Nate Powell, artist

I was asked to present the award for Best Artist. In years past, I have generally written my own remarks. This year, I went with the remarks prepared for me:

Art is, in the simplest of terms, magic. It is the creatively displayed visualizations of beauty, with properties of psycho-emotional magnetism. It excites us. It invigorates us. It empowers us. I believe art is magic because from a single blank page, comic panel or computer screen, the viewer can be totally drawn in and immersed into the world the artist created. When art is able to work in tandem with great writing, the spell is complete and what is concocted becomes worthy of praise and recognition. I’ve been working in the comics business for a long time. I can remember a number of artists whose work I thought was magic. I am honored this evening to add new names to my long list of talented magicians.

Brian Stelfreeze, artist; BLACK PANTHER
Jamal Yaseem Igle, artist; BLACK
Jerome Walford, artist; GWAN ANTHOLOGY
Micheline Hess, artist; MALICE IN OVENLAND VOLUME #1
Nate Powell, artist; MARCH: BOOK THREE

I opened the envelope and announced the winner:


I’d come up with that joke the day after the Oscar Awards mix-up, figuring I’d use it at the Glyph Awards. I was on the fence about using it right up to the moment I opened the envelope. Fortunately, it got a good laugh.

The other presenters were: Brittany Marriott, Regine Sawyer, Eric Battle, Len Webb, Sheeba Maya, Naseed Gifted, Mshindo Kuumba I, N. Steven Harris and Professor William H. Foster III. That's Sheeba, Len and Regine in the above photo.
This year was the second for the Heruica Character Creation Awards which provide “a venue for graphic artists (character creation) to be placed in the spotlight.” This year’s winner was Queen Malika, created by Roye Okupe.

The awarding of the Heruica award was followed by an “In Memoriam” moment of silence for actor Ron Glass (July 10, 1945 – November 25, 2016), best known for his roles as Detective Ron Harris on Barney Miller (1975–1982), and as Shepherd Derrial Book on Firefly (2002) and its sequel film Serenity.

Next would be the Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Awards presentation. I need to take a breath before writing about that, so we will pick this up again in tomorrow’s bloggy. See you then.

© 2017 Tony Isabella


  1. I'm glad to read that you had a great time. I hope you didn't tip that taxi driver; in fact, he should have cut the far in half or even let you off for free.

    Andrew L.