10 Ways to Really Support Diversity in Comics

We have reached a crucial crossroads when it comes to diversity in comics, and I fear that if things don’t change, we will lose ground. It is not enough to demand diversity in comics, we must support what’s out there now, or there won’t be more in the future. Money talks, and those that want diversity in comics must learn to use the system currently in place, while also creating a new system of sales and promotion.

To that end, here are ten lessons in Comics & Diversity, via twitter.

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Old Film Reviews: One-Armed Swordsman

Originally published at BadAzz Mofo

The Shaw Brothers studio in Hong Kong was responsible for producing some of the greatest Wushu martial arts films of all time. In the 1970s kung fu flicks flooded American drive-in theaters and grindhouses, and some of the most memorable films came courtesy of Shaw Brothers. But the style and genre of film most Americans associate with Shaw Brothers was relatively new to the studio, part of a new generation Wushu films that was ushered in during the 1960s with titles like the seminal classic One-Armed Swordsman.

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Regarding the Cover to Shaft #2: Dedicated to Darrien Hunt

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

No doubt, there will be people debating over the meaning and motivation behind Sanford Greene’s cover to Shaft #2, which came out this week. For the record, the idea for the cover came to me long before the grand jury hearing in the case of Mike Brown, and is not in response to that particular case. If there is one recent ripped-from-the-news incident that really inspired the cover, it was the 2014 killing of Darrien Hunt, the young cosplayer from Utah. Every death that I read about whether it is Mike Brown, or Eric Garner, or Trayvon Martin, or any of the other tragedies that have been playing out with far too much frequency, destroys me a little bit. But there was something about the death of Darrien Hunt that really got to me. You see, if I’m going to be honest, on the path of my life and my career, there was a reasonably good chance I could have met Darrien some day.

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John Shaft vs. Sam Wilson: Rewriting the History of Black Comic Characters

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

I’m about to stir it up. I’m about to talk some shit, ruffle some feathers, and remind those that know me, how I break it down. Some of you will get pissed off, and that’s okay. Righteous indignation is a wonderful American tradition. Run with it, my friends.

As many of you know, in the world of comics, Sam Wilson, better known as Falcon, has assumed the mantle of Captain America over at Marvel/Disney. This has been a much-hyped story, that I have weighed in on (read HERE and HERE), but couldn’t go into as deep as I wanted because of a secret that I needed to keep. That secret was made public last week, when Dynamite Entertainment announced that I was writing their upcoming Shaft comic book.

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The Invisible World of Black Comic Creators

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

Okay, so I got back from the San Diego Comic-Con a few days ago, and I really wanted to share some of my experiences and thoughts, before they are lost in the jumbled mess of my mind. Let me start by saying that I’ve been going to SDCC since 1998, and in that time there are only two years I’ve missed. Some years have been great, and other have been not-so-great. This year was one of the best years for Comic-Con — especially considering where my life is at on a personal level (which I won’t bore you with). Professional things are going well, but because of a series of non-disclosure agreements, I can’t talk about what I’m working on (nor could I talk about these various projects at the con itself).

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Black Captain America vs. Black Jesus

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

Once again, I find myself on the slippery slope of pop culture commentary, in a position that requires full disclosure. Recently, I wrote a piece about Marvel’s announcement that Sam Wilson, a black man better known as Falcon, will be taking over as the new Captain America. I also admitted that I know writer Rick Remender, who will be chronicling the adventures of Black Captain America. With that in mind, it is only fair that I admit to knowing Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, as well as a new television series that is about to debut, Black Jesus.

My relationship with McGruder is far more complex than my relationship with Remender, to the extent that I’d say at one point Aaron and I could’ve been considered friends. We haven’t spoken in a long time, and based on his work as of late, I’d say that we exist in differing ideological universes. If that’s not the case, he is more than welcome to get in touch with me, as I’m sure he still has my number, and we can talk about how his work often makes me want to vomit in the corner.

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Marvel & Diversity: Don’t Piss on My Head and Tell Me It’s Raining

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

Let me start by saying a few things. First, I’m trying to write less about companies like Marvel (Disney) and DC (Warner Brothers), because I’m not paid to do publicity for them. Second, although we are not close friends, I have known Rick Remender for more than a decade, and where I’m about to go is not meant to be an attack on him personally. Finally, it is no secret that if Marvel (or DC for that matter) called me tomorrow, I’d jump at the opportunity to work for them — which might make some of you view me as a hypocrite, and that’s fine with me.

All of that said, my undying childhood desire to write comics, my acquaintance with anyone who works for Marvel or DC, and my belief that both of these corporate-owned companies don’t need another bit of free publicity, does not change what I need to get off my chest.

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We Need More Than More Diversity

Originally posted at Super Justice Force

The recent death of celebrated author Walter Dean Myers has seemingly left a void in that corner of Young Adult literature that is aware of representation and diversity, and produces works of fiction populated with a rainbow coalition of characters. It seems like every week I’m reading something about the lack of diversity and representation in YA (as well as comics and films and whatever else you care to throw into the mix), much like this piece. And now that Myers is gone, he can join the list of authors frequently cited as those that did the most for those who are represented the least.

Unfortunately, while he was alive, a significant amount of what was written about the lack of diversity in YA failed to mention Myers and his work — which speaks to a problem almost as bad as the lack of diversity itself. That problem, of course, is the lack of dialog about those books and those writers who do put in the work to ensure diversity and representation.

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Our Generation Dolls: Playing Around with Oppression by Omission

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

Saw a video recently. It was made back in December 2013 by a young woman I don’t know, but somehow it still managed to catch my eye.

If, for some reason, you didn’t watch the video, basically it is the young woman, Zenobia (love the name), pointing out the differences between a line of dolls. Zenobia points out that all the dolls are priced the same, and each comes with a book and a bunch of accessories — all except the black doll. The black doll comes with no book and no accessories. Some people don’t see the problem with this, so I will explain it on two levels.

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