Ray Billingsley's 'Curtis'

The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) Pioneer/Lifetime Achievement Award was inaugurated in 2004 to honor those men and women, many unsung, who have made innovative, dynamic and lasting contributions to the industry and who have paved the way for others.

Nominations are solicited from and submitted by a select consortium of comic book historians, writers, artists and aficionados who make their own independent submissions.

This year's lifetime achievement award goes to five veteran cartoonists, four African-Americans and one international African and Nigerian cartoonist, who are modern-day creative pioneers and who have maintained a consistent presence in the industry for more than three decades.

They are Ray Billingsley (Curtis), Barbara Brandon-Croft (Where I'm coming from), Jerry Craft (Mama's Boyz)Nigerian Tayo Fatunla (OUR ROOTS) and Ralph Stevenson (Concepts in Communication, Inc.)