It’s been four years and a few weeks since Marvel’s Black Panther leveled the pop-sphere with a $1.344 billion USD box office and a legion of new and reinvigorated fans. Before his big screen debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War — an appearance that all who saw it could not stop talking about — he was a C- or D-list comic book character in Marvel Comics’ overstuffed roster.Continue reading “What Are We Saying When We Say, ‘Wakanda Forever?’”
Afrofuturism is having a moment. First posited by journalist Mark Dery in the early 1990s, Afrofuturism is now a full-blown social, cultural, psychological, technological, and aesthetic movement. And never has this movement, this moment, been more fully realized than in Tim Fielder’s magnum opus, Infinitum. To call it a graphic novel would be to undercut it’s value. It is an enterprise of speculative cultural cartography.Continue reading “An Endorsement: Tim Fielder’s ‘Infinitum’”
Every once in a while, there’s a stand-alone graphic novel that is an event. It’s an event because of who made it, who released it, and the artifact itself. After the Rain is one of these events. Adapted from Nnedi Okorafor’s “On the Road” from her short story collection, Kabu Kabu, it is, if I’m not mistaken, her only outright horror offering. And it is truly frightening.Continue reading “‘After the Rain’ Graphic Novel Review”
There are some people who like comics. There are others who love them. Then, there are those who live and breathe comics. Not as a way to keep copyrights up-to-date for further cinematic use, but who see the comic form as important; as a worthy and necessary part of our collective artistic and cultural life. Professor, scholar, and creator, John Ira Jennings, embodies the latter.
Back in October, when I interviewed Gold Open co-creator Bing Chen on the Southern Fried Asian podcast, he teased a new iteration of the movement established to promote groundbreaking Asian American films like Gook, Crazy Rich Asians, and Burning. This morning, they revealed what the next stage of Gold Open will look like. In addition to a partnership with AMC theaters to help “streamline group movie-going, theatre buyouts and bulk regular-price ticket purchasing through a ticket buying system,” the Gold Open system will expand and be applied to media from groups dubbed “the New Majority,” i.e., women, the African diaspora, Latinx communities, and LGBTQ+ artists.
Black Panther is to cinema as Rakim is to Hip-Hop.
I stand by this statement.
When you’re into comics, science fiction, role-playing games and the rest, people will make assumptions about you. These assumptions are that you’re a nerd (not in the liberating sense that we use here), a geek, a wimp — somehow different or less than the folks who consume and participate in mainstream popular culture. And this applies to white people. When you add race to this, you get doubly othered quite a bit of the time. You like “white shit” and you’re soft. In many cases, you become an ass-whooping magnet. We won’t get into how all of this stuff is now mainstream or how fantasy sports leagues are about as Dungeons and Dragons as you can get, just minus the swords, gold, and magic.
And it is D&D that I want to talk about here. I’ve played for over thirty years. While I am not participating in an active campaign, I would in a heartbeat if I found one that interested me.
With all that has been happening surrounding the Black Lives Matter movements nationwide, I began thinking about the powerful legacies of African resistance, struggle, and revolution in the face of slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean. There were many whose shoulders we now stand on. The first few names that come to my mind include: Toussaint L’Ouverture in Haiti, Nat Turner in the U.S., José Antonio Aponte in Cuba, and the list goes on. In Brazil it was first Ganga Zumba, then, and most importantly, Zumbi dos Palmares.