Freelance Writer. Hip-hop, Sailor Moon and indie comics make me happy. Follow me @missoldskool for tomfoolery and news updates.
Mark Batson on Erasing Creative Boundaries and the Beautiful Process of Making ‘Loaded’ [Interview]
Mark Batson is known for producing some of the biggest hits for major artists like Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game, James Blunt, Dave Matthews Band, Nas, Maroon 5 and more. Now the music veteran is trying his hand at graphic novels with his series, Loaded. The first book of the series, The Story of Ghost, follows the title character; a James Bond-esque assassin in the making. The second part, The Story of Sin, is also slated to be adapted into a television series --- with Dr. Dre set to produce the music. We spoke with Batson about the Loaded, moving from music to comics, the adaptation, and also have a sneak peek at the first volume.
Eight Animated Series With Black Leads To Look Out For
The pilot for the planned series Cannon Busters, released recently to Kickstarter backers, explores fantasy, adventure, and history genres with something we rarely see in animation; black lead characters. As creator LeSean Thomas told us in a recent interview, it makes sense for him to make work that reflects the world he's used to. Hopefully that thinking is becoming more commonplace. Bumblebee is getting buzz in DC Super Hero Girls, with an additional chance to shine in the animated short, Hero of the Month: Bumblebee, while Princess Allura was reimagined as a brown woman for Netflix's Voltron. But there are an increasing number of independent creators working to animate their own original stories with black characters at the forefront. Whether it's at the bottom of the ocean, or in futuristic versions of Africa, there are animated series with black lead characters that we think you should look out for!
LeSean Thomas Talks ‘Cannon Busters,’ Working With Joe Mad, And The Importance of Seeing Black Characters in Fantasy
LeSean Thomas is back with the pilot to his planned animated series, Cannon Busters. The show, which premiered for Kickstarter backers this past Friday, follows a robot named S.A.M.; an outdated maintenance service droid by the name of Casey, and a man on the run, aka Philly The Kid. Together, they travel to help S.A.M. reunite with her best friend, who also happens to be a prince. Thomas spoke with ComicsAlliance on what viewers can expect from Cannon Busters, working with Joe Mad, and why he chose a black woman as the lead character.
‘Tephlon Funk’ Creator Stephane Metayer Talks Hip-Hop, Diversity, And Getting Animated
Stephane Metayer was definitely in a "N.Y. State of Mind" when he created the manga-inspired series Tephlon Funk. As a native New Yorker himself, Metayer describes his increasingly popular series as a "love letter" to the five boroughs. Illustrated by David Tako and Nicolas Safe, Tephlon Funk serves as a unique and grounded representation of the everyday gritty life of the Big Apple, and as a Haitian-American born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, it's not hard to pinpoint where the 30-year-old Metayer gains his inspiration. But that's not the only feat that Tephlon Funk has accomplished. Last year, Metayer raised over $22,000 for the project on Kickstarter --- $7,000 more than his goal. The series is also a rarity in having not just one black lead, but four. The cast features Inez Jozlyn, a mixed youngster who's looking for a way out of the crime-infested Queensbridge; Gabriel, a '70s-esque character from Brooklyn's Coney Island; Giselle a Dominican badass with a mean spin-kick from the Washington Heights; and Cameron, an undercover cop who resides in The Bronx. Metayer chatted with ComicsAlliance to talk about how Nas' Illmatic influenced his work, the possibility of an animated series, and what readers can expect next from the four-member crew.
20 Black Comic Book Creators on the Rise, Part Two
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again -- black comics are enjoying a renaissance right now. As black creators permeate the comic book world with independent series and web comics, black characters are making headway onscreen and on the page. Power Man and Iron Fist #1, which was released last week from a black creative team, received rave reviews ahead of Luke Cage's upcoming Netflix series later this year. D.M.C., of Run DMC fame, has been flexing his comic creating muscles in his series, DMC. And black creators have been tearing up Kickstarter with their creations. In order to celebrate work by black comic creators, ComicsAlliance is highlighting some of the artists and writers who are bringing diverse characters and their own stories to the pages. Check out part two of our list below --- and if you haven't already, check out part one here.
The Milestone: Remembering Dwayne McDuffie’s Legacy and Influence
After years of working in a comic book industry managed by a majority of white editors and publishers, and dominated by white creators, Dwayne McDuffie decided to start his own company, Milestone Media. Along with his co-founders, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle, McDuffie created unique and characters of color who remain cherished to this day. February 20th marks the anniversary of McDuffie's birth in 1962, and February 21st unfortunately marks the anniversary of his untimely passing in 2011. The proximity of those dates serves to illustrate an important fact; it's impossible to look back on the life of Dwayne McDuffie without also considering his legacy.
Luke Cage and Danny Rand Reunited And It Feels So Good in ‘Power Man and Iron Fist’ #1
Marvel is getting the old band back together. Power Man and Iron Fist are back at it in a new ongoing series for the fan favorite Heroes For Hire duo. The return also falls in line with Marvel’s plan to create individual Netflix shows for the aforementioned heroes, with Power Man, aka Luke Cage, coming up later this year. Writer David Walker and artist Sanford Greene seem to be crafting the newest comic series with the both sets of audiences in mind. Power Man and Iron Fist #1 offers a slow build as readers are reintroduced to the characters and their easy, familiar bond.
‘Black’ Co-Creator Kwanza Osajyefo Talks Upcoming Graphic Novel, X-Men, and Milestone Media Influence
A few minutes after Kwanza Osajyefo hit his Kickstarter goal for Black, he was on the phone with ComicsAlliance. Needless to say, the former DC editor was hyped as thoughts of new possibilities were brought to fruition within days of the launch of his crowdfunding campaign. Along with his own super-powered team, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Khary Randolph and Sarah Litt, Osajyefo's six part graphic novel will attempt to tackle one question: "In a world that already fears and hates them, what if only black people had superpowers?" The story follows Kareem Jenkins, a young black teenager who gets racially profiled and gunned down by police only to discover that he is one of many black people with superpowers. ComicsAlliance spoke to Osajyefo to find out about his plans for Black, and to learn about the influences that shaped him.
20 Black Comic Book Creators on the Rise, Part One
Black comic book characters are enjoying a renaissance right now on both the page and screen, whehter it's Sam Wilson as Captain America, Bumblebee front-and-center in DC Super Hero Girls, Vixen guest-starring on Arrow, or Black Panther making his big-screen debut in Captain America: Civil War this summer and getting a solo series from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze. But many of comics' best-known black characters are the work of white writers and artists, from a time when the industry didn't offer many opportunities for black writers and artists. The next generation of black heroes will come from black creators who can tell their own stories and offer up their own unique creations. From traditional superheroes with a twist, to everyday people trying to survive in an apocalyptic sci-fi world, these black comic book creators are doing it all.
Honoring History: ‘Tuskegee Heirs’ Creators Talk Legendary Airmen, Big Robots and Kickstarter Success
It's Black History Month! And what better way to celebrate than by looking at our past and using it to head into the future --- even if that future is lifetimes away from now. That's exactly what Greg Burnham and Marcus Williams' plan to capture in Tuskegee Heirs. The forthcoming graphic novel pays homage to the Tuskegee Airmen as it follows five talented pilots in their teenage years on their journey to defend the world --- eighty years from now. Oh, and there are big fighting robots involved too. Comic book fans have been buzzing with excitement for the upcoming new series which was funded over Kickstarter within days of its start in January. Now, with four days to go, the duo has raised over five times the amount of their original goal of $10,000, gaining them enough funding to create six issues and a mobile game app. But they're really eyeing a possible animated series --- and we can already imagine some exciting scenes. (We mentioned the big fighting robots right?) ComicsAlliance spoke with Burnham and Williams about the latest project, what scenes they're looking forward to animating, the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, and what readers can expect in the first graphic novel.