Konfederates Keep Koming

So news broke yesterday that the creators of Rape of Thrones are creating a new series called Confederate. It essentially reimagines the South winning the Civil War and slavery continuing.

Because in the age of a Trump presidency, Dylan Roof and #BlackLivesMatter, white power fantasies are exactly what we need.

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Six Thoughts On The 13th Doktah’

So this weekend Doctor Who regenerated for the 13th time and is now a woman. Jodie Whittaker is replacing Peter Capaldi as the iconic Timelord.

As with all things speculative fiction and social justice, social media has been lit, to put it mildly with everyone expressing opinions for and against the new Doktah.

I have a thoughts on the new casting as well. Hence me writing this piece and you reading.

Allons y!!!!!!!!

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Lifewriting 101

One of my New Years resolutions was dedicating this year to leveling up, specifically as an author and artist. Or rather as an auteur.  😉

Breaking personal records and churning out more pieces than ever, I’ve spent the better part of the year in nonstop writer mode which of course is the equivalent of Puppet Angel.

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Queer Tropes Redux

As many of you know, June is the month of LGBTQ Pride and I couldn’t think of a better time to call out a few tropes that inundate comics and media when it comes LGBTQ characters/themes.

Tropes that if I never see again for the rest of my existence, I’d be eternally grateful. While this by no means covers every trope/issue/fail, it definitely hits the major ones.

Take thorough notes, I’m gonna move fast, and this will not be pretty. Class in session and you’re about to get schooled by Prof. Upkins himself!!!

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Q Is For Queer Speculative Fiction

Originally published on The Future Fire

As a writer, storyteller, and a queer person of color, it goes without saying that diversity and inclusion is very important to me.

Anyone who’s known me for five seconds is aware of the fact that I’m a rabid comic book fan. It’s modern day mythology and as a writer and an artist, this medium especially appeals to me for obvious reasons. Watching beautiful muscular men is a pastime that I can live with.

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The Portrait of an Artist: Remembering Michael Turner

Little known fact. The late Michael Turner was one of my personal heroes. He was also one the catalysts who inspired me to go to art school and get my BFA in computer animation. It was on the path of getting my BFA that of course eventually led me to becoming a published author and a comic book nerd seraph that you’ve all come to know and feel morally ambivalent about.

And to think none of that might’ve happened had a chance meeting not occurred.

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The Cause of Black Panther & The Crew’s Cancellation

This weekend news broke that after two issues, Marvel’s Black Panther & the Crew has been canceled.

The series revolved around Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Manifold who band together to take on a dangerous wave of street-level threats in this new ongoing series by co-writers Ta-Nehisi Coates (New York Times best-selling author of Between the World and Me and Marvel’s Black Panther) and Yona Harvey (Black Panther: World of Wakanda) and legendary artist Butch Guice!

The death of a Harlem activist kicks off a mystery that will reveal surprising new secrets about the Marvel Universe’s past and set the stage for a big story in the Marvel Universe’s near future. Fear, hate and violence loom, but don’t worry, The Crew’s got this: “We are the streets.”

Anyone who thinks the cancellation has to do with “poor sales” and not the comics’ themes of racial justice and unapologetic blackness can line up and purchase some beachfront property I own in Wyoming.

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Harvard Man

As many of you may know, in addition to being a published author, an equal rights activist, and a nerd seraph, I’m also a pop culture analyst.

A regular fixture on the Nerds of Color, my work has also been featured on Salon, MTV.com, Mental Health Matters, Geeks OUT, Black Girl Magic Lit Mag, and a host of other places.

Whether it’s comic books, video games, blockbuster films, or music albums, it is absolutely paramount that we critique our media if for no other reason than to analyze its influence in molding minds and shaping society.

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Navigating Through Race: The Plight of Storytellers of Color

Originally published at Fangs for the Fantasy

A gent by the name of Malcolm X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Many people often wonder how I’m able to reconcile being a spec fic author with being a social justice activist. Malcolm X’s quote is that very reason.

Because while the media has the power to control the minds of the masses, it’s also a platform to hold a mirror and expose inconvenient truths such as bigotry to a society who is still plugged into the proverbial Matrix of privilege and institutional oppression.

But in order share the truth, marginalized artists have to make many decisions that can play an impact on our careers, our art and its potential impact on society.

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Color Commentary: Iron Cyst and the Return of the Draggin’

Just when Marvel thought it was safe.

Color Commentary is back and this time we’re breaking out the Snark Fu once more on arguably the biggest disaster of 2017: Netflix’s Iron Fist.

That’s right. Myself and Madame Gao will once again be providing the tea, the shade, and the truth on all things Discount Arrow.

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Writing to a Non-Existing Audience

Originally published at Thagomizer

Recently I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and acquaintances regarding the release of my novel, Hollowstone. As I explained the premise behind the book, they expressed it was a novel they would be very interested in reading.

They then expressed that they don’t read books. As the conversation continued, they explained it was in large part to their horrors in school. Horror stories I was all too familiar with. The others elaborated that they hated being forced to read classic literature which usually translated works written by old dead white men and ergo deemed as the only type of “literature” worth reading.

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My Steps To Creating Characters And Building Worlds

Originally published at Twinjas Book Reviews

One of the questions I’m constantly asked (which admittedly I never get tired of answering) is what  my process in terms of world building and developing complex characters.

My approach to world-building and character development ultimately corresponds to my overall approach to storytelling. As a writer, I personally belong to the school of character = story. What truth do we discover along the character’s journey? More than that, whether it’s fiction, articles or blog posts, I generally have three mandates which I dub E-Cubed: Enlighten, entertain and empower.

Needless to say that E-Cubed has led to other techniques which has only enhanced my storytelling abilities over the years.

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The Red Capes Are Coming: A Batman v Superman Retrospective

One year ago, history was made when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Wonder Woman Justice opened in theaters.

Why is this a cinematic milestone?

For the first time in history, the Man of Steel, the Caped Crusader, and the Amazon appeared together in a live action story. This is of monumental importance because not only are these iconic heroes the flagship franchises of DC Comics, they are also the cornerstones of western media and western culture.

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Iron Cyst and the Eight Point Strike

It’s too bad Iron Fist wasn’t remotely close to being as entertaining and brilliant as the backlash it’s been receiving. If it had, it would’ve been as popular as Daredevil or Luke Cage as opposed to being one of the biggest punchlines of 2017.

I’m sure one day we’ll all be tired of the proverbial “T” Madame Gao is serving us.

However, today is not that day.

Shifting into Midnighter mode, I’m about to demonstrate my 8-point strike on the fustercluck of white mediocrity that is Iron Cyst.

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Here’s To You Bonnie Bennett

Last night The Vampire Diaries came to an end after eight seasons. In saying farewell to the gang from Mystic Falls, it seemed only right to take this opportunity and give the spotlight to the series’ most valuable player.

You guessed it, Bonnie Bennett, played flawlessly by the beautiful and immensely talented Kat Graham.

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I Cape For Black Women

What makes a hero? Is it the super powers? The skill sets? The gadgets? Our intentions? Our actions?

I’m a comic book guy through and through so these are the questions that haunt me. There are moments in our lives that define us. That we allow to define us through our choices, our mistakes and how we respond to them. Sometimes those moments are big, sometimes they are minute. But in those moments we definitely learn the content of our character.

Here’s an example.

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