Earlier this month, we were part of CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo. Along with Clark University’s Betsy Huang, our fearless leader Keith Chow co-hosted a reading lounge in which they held workshops, panels, and salon discussions with other artists. We’ll be bringing you these sessions over the next few weeks, starting with this one-on-one conversation between Keith and renowned comic artist Jamal Igle.
Over the years, we’ve been pretty selective about which crowdfunding campaigns to support on this site. Once in a while, though, a campaign comes through our inbox or news feed that is too brilliant to ignore. The campaign to publish the graphic novel Black is one of those. Created by long time comic pros Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3, with art by occasional NOC contributor Jamal Igle and cover artist Khary Randolph, Black posits the question, what if only Black people had superpowers?
Strange. All I remember from Elysium is sand.
Sand without end. Sand that cakes upon people and things, children and toys, mothers and baby bottles. Sand on the productive and listless alike. Desert sand. Sand that obscures hope and defines poverty. The opening scenes of Elysium, director Neill Blomkamp’s recent sci-fi thriller, center the viewer in a ruined Los Angeles, circa 2154, populated by an undifferentiated brown stuff only George Orwell could appreciate. American Marrakech. Quickly, we learn that the only people who live in this God-awful Depression postscript are those without means; an undeveloped protagonist dreams of Elysium, where poverty, war, sickness, and even death have been vanquished by man. Heaven, not on Earth, but above. The nun who listens with ancient grace cautions the roguish boy. “That place is not for us.”
We’ve heard this refrain before. Know your place.