Black Independent Comics: The Horsemen

oyaclovenAs promised, this month I will have several guest bloggers that will promote their work in the independent comic book industry. It is imperative to understand that there are great writers of color out there doing good work by creating characters that are appealing to everyone. With no further ado..

Hello!

My name is Jiba Molei Anderson, owner of Griot Enterprises and I will be your guest blogger today. I am also the creator its flagship title, The Horsemen.

What is The Horsemen, you ask? Well, The Horsemen is the story of seven ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, as the gods of ancient Africa possess them. They have been chosen to protect humanity from themselves…whether humanity wants them to or not. They have been chosen to combat those who control the fate of the planet. Through their actions, the world would never be the same.

Since 2002, there have been three Horsemen series… Let me break it down for you…

HORSEMENDIVINEINTERVENTION_2002The Horsemen: Divine Intervention
The Orisha emerged from a deep slumber. Seeing that their mission had been perverted, they had set about to free us…whether we wanted them to or not. The Horsemen returned. And their presence will change the world.

The Horsemen: The Book of OlorunOLORUN#3COVER_2011
The Orisha emerged from a deep slumber. Seeing that their mission had been perverted, they had set about to free us. But, what if there were others not Orisha, not Deitis, not Human, but something more, a new Race? What side would they choose in the coming war?

And, who truly controls the Eight Immortals but the number seven?

HORSEMEN(Cloven)The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven
Africa is now the new frontier and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world…

However, controlling the world is a family business… And the bastard children of the Deitis want in.

The entire Horsemen series is available in print and download through IndyPlanet, Drive Thru Comics and Amazon. Become a part of the New Mythology… Cheers!

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The (lack of) Black Experience in Comic Books

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This journey that I have taken as a writer sometimes makes me think about my past. In my high school days I created an entire universe filled with characters. My friend and I created so many super powered heros and villains that the list stretches for pages. Neither of us could draw very well so the focus was very much on the characters themselves.  I was very proud to come up with back stories and histories along with story arcs. The name of my favorite hero was Supernova aka Philip Maldonado.

I bring this up because, as I look back at it, there was a need for me to see myself in the super hero genre. Growing up all the comic books I read were of white men saving the neighborhood or the world. If I was lucky enough I would get to see a person of color being drawn or even in costume. In any case, I never thought I was bothered by this. I just collected comic books for the sake of reading about my favorite super heros like Firestorm, Spider-Man, The X-Men, and the Justice League to name a few. Yet with hindsight being 20/20, I realize now that I created an outlet for myself with the understanding that if it was up to me, whatever universe I create would be filled with heros and villains of all colors, genders, and creed.

This brings me to the Big Two (Marvel and DC) and how there is a serious lack of black luke-fox-asks-if-hes-batwing-because-hes-blackexperience in their characters. This points to the lack of diversity in both companies. I’m quite sure there is a thought that all heros are cut from the same cloth and are some how homogeneous. So someone like Mr. Terrific could act like someone resembling Tony Stark but there is no sense of the baggage the comes from being an African American. It is not ok for Batman to assign the Luke Fox (The new Batwing) to Africa simply because he’s black (the first Batwing was African) without much push back from that character (and laugh about it when it is brought up).

The point is many of these Black/Latino characters are one dimensional because of the lack of diversity from the Big Two. While it can be a good thing for Marvel to have a few books featuring black characters as the lead (The Mighty Avengers, Fearless Defenders), the characters themselves become bland because there is no real depth to them. That lack of depth shows in sales which ultimately leads to the cancellation of books like Mr. Terrific, Static Shock, and Blue Beetle. The only book that has been the exception to all this has been Miles Morales (the Ultimate Spider-Man) and that is because he is getting the complete backing of Marvel to be the hero for that comic line.

1298402248When it comes down to it, the Big Two have no idea what do with theses characters besides using them as a market tool. I tend to use DC in these examples because they seem to fail the most in just about everything except animation, which brings me to my other point. Cartoons like Justice League and Young Justice has done very well with a broad audience and for the most part, that has to do with the late Dwayne McDuffie. It was his development of John Stewart and Hawkgirl that really made the show what it was and by extension Young Justice’s diversity is linked to Milestone Comics, which he was one for the founders of, but I will circle back to that.

There is no way for us to expect any less from the Big Two or any other comic book company that follows the exact same formula. Sure you can create a Black super hero but then what? Do you de-power them or never use them to their full potential? I love how Cyborg has the potential to like Brainiac but will never get there because that would make him a little too powerful. Or we can talk about how DC has a virtual pantheon of characters from their “deal” with Milestone that they are willing to use for a cartoon to draw us in but never use them in the books. That is why it becomes imperative to join a new movement of independent titles created by people of color.

Generally when I think about black comic books, my thoughts revert to Milestone and how those individuals lived the dream of doing it themselves. Their success is a reflection that there is an audience for this but we need to be prepared to support each other. That is why for this month I have invited some independent comic book creators to appear on this blog and talk about their work. It is time show everyone that there are alternatives to the mainstream comics books out there. We deserve better.

Comic Con

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I think it is pretty well established that I’m a nerd. Yet, there are very few times where I’ve pushed that nerdy envelope to it’s limit. Yes, I have over 15 boxes of comic books in my apartment, and I own replica double lightsaber, and I have a model of a the Starship Enterprise D. Yet the one thing that I have never done was go to a comic con.

Before I continue, I must say that I’ve been to comic book conventions before the glitz and the glamor that they are now. Those were the events that I would go to to search for back issues or buy action figures that I was searching for. There was never the expectation of meeting an artist or getting an autograph. I’ve been to Star Trek Convention, which up until Sunday, was the nerdiest gathering I have ever been too. But, even that event was fairly tame and calm in world of nerds and collectables these days.

I felt, going into this past weekend, that I was fully prepared for everything that the New York City Comic Con had to offer. Well, I was wrong because nothing could really prepare for how HUGE this event was. If you went through the entire event in the Jacob Javitz Center once…then you would have walked about 4 miles. I also think that I have never been to a place that had so many people that wasn’t a sporting event.

darth-maulOne thing is for sure is that there are a lot of freaks in NYC and I know that because I’m one of them. It was good to see people let their nerd flag fly. The cosplay was ridiculous. I saw some people that made some great costumes and to frank, I felt right at home. Let me just say that there was a serious possibility that I was was going to dress up. My girlfriend is dying to dress me up as Darth Maul. Yeah, I will just leave that thought right there.

2013-10-13 19.04.18I went in only wanting to meet two artists so they can sign some comics books I brought with me. Chris Cross didn’t show up on the day was there, but I got Jamal Igle to sign two of my Firestorm issues. This marks the first time that his has happened. Please understand that I’m not a fanatic. I think that the very act of asking someone for an autograph, without a real conversation, to be awkward. With that being said, I have gotten books autographed  from people like Juno Diaz, Miguel Melendez, Michele Carlo, Piri Thomas, Sandra Guzman, and Willie Perdomo. The difference is that I met all those people from my event work and then went to dinner with them. All of these great people were authors who have done great things with words. I was getting an signature from an artist that changed the value of a comic book and that itself is uniquely cool (even though the conversation was awkward lol).

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Then we met Neal Adams, which was just an unplanned thing that occurred. I ended up meeting an old college friend who (because of his wife) knows all these comic book artists. So not only did I meet Neal Adams but he signed some prints that are just awesome. One of them is above and as you can see is of the Walking Dead, so I had to grab that. The other two will be gifts to family that I do not want to reveal at the moment, but needless to say they are just as awesome.

Crisis_on_Infinite_Earths_001However, the highlight of my day was meeting another legend…George Perez. While, I didn’t get anything signed from this man, it was truly a great things to meet a man who is a legend in this industry. He drew two of my favorite books, Crisis on Infinite Earths and Avengers vs. Justice League.

All in all, we spent a better part of our Sunday bumping into people (literally). We saw some pretty cool shit like the Superman Costume Gallery. But we also saw some horrible cosplay that I cannot unsee. Besides the wall to wall display of comic books, the best thing to see was the little kids in mini outfits. If I have any kids, that is definitely happening. As for me, I wore my Black Adam shirt and my woman wore a Fantastic Four shirt. It was awesome and we will have do it again next year.

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Crisis: Retconning a Novel

baby-flash-games14Hi. How you? It’s been a long time.

I have been in state a perpetual stillness when it comes to me writing anything. I imagine myself in a floating one dimensional glass sailing through time and space like Zod. It is possible to jump the shark before anything is published?

This started a few days before July 4th when I was feverishly writing a chapter in the novel. I was at point where I had to make a decision about the main character that might change the tone of the book. So I made a decision to go with something that I now regret and while I can simply hit the backspace button and rewrite this, it has made me think about the whole thing.

The story is very character driven. It is a first person perspective about crazy shit that people do and the dumb decisions that they make. However, through all of this, what makes stories like these work is how believable they can be. Much of that has to do with the human experience. What are we capable of? How fucked up can we be to each other?  That is the basis of life experiences.

Then there is the ultimate goal which is to further the story along. You know when you are watching a blu-ray or dvd and you’re looking at the deleted scenes? Well those scenes tell a version of a story or they are just details of things that are really not that important. This is something like but the impact would be felt somewhere down the line. The purpose of that whole chapter was to explain a back story of a minor character but then things got out of hand and fiction became a little unreal.

I knew the moment I wrote it that it did not feel right, but I went along with it anyway and thus now I have been stuck for a week at almost 64k words. This is where retconning comes in to play. For those not familiar with the term retcon, it is more of a comic book term that stands for retroactive continuity. This happens in comics when writers hit a reset button in order to make their comic book universe more current or when they simply want to fix a mistake.

Crisis_on_Infinite_Earths_001An example of this is when DC Comics decided to make this event in 1985 called Crisis on Infinite Earths. This was a massive retconning of an entire universe which effects lasted for a decade or so until the decided to fix other mistakes they made every few years that ultimately let to Final Crisis in 2008. Of course one would think that it would be over until Flashpoint came out in 2011 that leads us to where DC is not with the New 52.

I know this sounds confusing and that is my point. I don’t want to get to a point where I’m retconning this novel every time I make a mistake. That will only make me feel like Peter Parker when he revealed to the world he was Spider-Man only to make a deal with the devil later which made the world forget that fact (Yes, I am beating a dead horse here).

The only thing I can do right now is try to go back to that chapter and deconstruct it. If that civilwar02doesn’t work then I will ultimately have to rewrite it. The problem with that is that I had an unwritten rule that I adopted from someone which basically states that you never go back to edit your work until it is time to edit. Which means that I just keep writing until I am done then go back and fix typos and expand on storylines I may have missed. All this is apart of writing a first draft.

Sigh. A draft. That is my saving grace. Who knows if what I have in mind now wont change by the time I actually go back to page one and it. I guess that means I may have another Crisis on my hands.

Michonne: The Ultimate Black Heroine?

Let me tell you what I am grateful for. The woman called Michonne. Even if you do not watch The Walking Dead, you should recognize what is going on here. We are seeing the birth of the most unorthodox and most unlikely of heroines on Cable Television. A sword wielding Black Woman that kicks ass and takes names.

We live in a time where we see plenty of White women play a that hero role which breaks all kinds of barriers and gender roles. I can name countless movies like Aliens, Prometheus, The Hunger Games, and the Underworld movies just to name a few, yet can you name a real movie when that same person was a Black Woman? While my thoughts go to Pam Greer in Foxy Brown back in the seventies…  most roles for African American women, in particular, are usually neatly carved out as maids, hoes, and single parent mothers trying to make it (and that is just in Tyler Perry films).

But, seemingly, out of now where comes this dark skinned woman in a world where you “fight the dead, and fear the living.” Most people seemed to taken by surprise how good this all looks. Can you imagine if a Black Woman was allowed to take out her “post racial” frustration on the living dead? What would that look like? I can tell you that reading the comic book, she is a survivor that takes no chances and trusts few people and that translation has worked well on screen down to her long dreads.

Which brings me to my next point. She is in a comic book! Can anyone tell me the last time a black woman was a major character in a comic book (that is not Storm from X-Men)? I immediately think about Captain Marvel from the Avengers books in the 1980s. But perhaps Milestone Comics had the most recent Black woman character with “Rocket” from the Icon series which came out in the nineties. I will just just answer my own question and just say that Amanda Waller in DC comics Suicide Squad is the only other MAJOR character in a comic book that I know of currently.

This raises a lot of questions for me. Is there some sort of thought that perhaps Black Woman are not seen as the hero types? I know plenty of strong Black Women that do not need a sword or the power of the Gods to fight crime. This is why seeing Michonne on The Walking Dead is refreshing. I knew about her for a long time by just reading the book (in which she is still alive). Her recent fame is only the tip of the ice berg when it come to her character and over all development in the psyche of the United States when it come to Black Women. She is a well developed character that is no laughing matter unlike Hally Berry’s Catwoman that might have set back African American woman back a few decades.

I challenge anyone who can find me an African American comic/movie/television hero that may have a stronger impact than Michonne. I think anyone will have trouble finding this fictitious person. Please do not include Storm in your searches because she is African. I wish you good luck and read The Walking Dead.

Summer Projects

I know that the summer has been upon us for a week or so now and I still have a lot of work to do. Selling the house has been pretty flawless in the logistical process but the physical move has been stressful. I have now taken the time to do a personal inventory of things and it just confirms to me that I have a lot of personal work to do. Of course, not all summer projects should be work related or stressful but perhaps a time to get the things done that I couldn’t when school was in session.

It terms of writing, I am hoping to get more posts done. I have been scaling it back based on life issues and the whole notion of doing less talking and more doing. I think that I have made great strides this year with just getting stuff done however, I need to focus on things that I love. That means I have to do more reading outside the classroom. My list of books have been centered around my class and I should read recreationally.

With that said, I started reading 50 Shades of Grey. I chose this book for two reasons. The first was because I was curious to know what the hype is about. I always want to know what people consider to be a “good read.” The second reason is because while I may have not been posting on this blog but I have been keeping up with my short story writing. Most of my stories are adult themed in nature and sometimes it is best to get a feel for how others write. On the other side, I have been reading a lot of comic books. I have made it my business to catch up on the comics I have missed out on for months.

Speaking of comic books, The Amazing Spider-Man comes out next week and I am mildly excited about it. I know people who have already seen it and I am told that it is not bad at all but the story line leaves something to be desired. I can tell just by watching the trailer that there will be multiple sequels Perhaps they are trying to tell a larger story and I will have to make that judgment. But, I will tell this… The Dark Knight Rises is going to be the one movie I have been waiting all year for. Yes, The Avengers was spectacular and, at the moment, still remains #2 on my all time Comic Book Movie list. However, Chris Nolan has knocked it out of the park with so many movies…is it wrong for me to expect anything less with this last Batman film?  Oh we will see…

I have also decided that I am going to put a number on the amount of jobs I should be applying for. It just a number but it would make me feel better if I reached this number. By the end of the summer I would have liked to apply for 20 available job postings. This does not mean that once I go over this number that I will stop, I just think that this is a nice round number to prove to myself that I am indeed doing my best to get back home. As of today, I have applied to three with one of them landing me a phone interview.

The other project or goal is to figure out how I can save money and still function at the level that I want. I was strategic enough to figure out how to get out of the house, but now I have to figure out how to get out of debt. I have thought of a few ways but they may make things harder rather than easier. This is why it is essential for me to get a job that pays more. Truth be told, consolidation is probably the key. There is no way I can sit here and think that there is going to be some law or bill that will be passed that will magically make my student loans disappear.

Finally, I would really like to get my health back in order. This is not to say I am sick, but it is time to see the doctor. I think all the physicality that took place with the move and the attempt to run again, I may have strained or pulled something. It is getting better as the days pass but I will make sure that I can handle that with knowledge.

Indeed the summer looks promising. I can just hope I continue to be on the roll I have been all year…

El Hombre (Negro) Araña – The Afro Latino Spiderman

Interesting news in the world of Superheros. Marvel Comics has announced that there is a new Spider-man. I would say the black Spiderman but we have already seen that. This a whole new multicultural Spider-man. This is Miles Morales, half African American and half Latino. Before people can get all excited or upset about this, please realize this is a part of Marvel’s “Ultimate” line of comics. This is not the actual Spider-man that we have come to know over the years, this is an alternative reality of sorts.

The Ultimate line is more of the real life version of Marvel. Imagine what would happen if Superheros did exist. It is a brilliant way to sell books and stories. It is so successful that when you look at movies like Captain America and Iron Man, you can see how they have adopted themes (i.e. The Black Nick Fury). So, it is not too much of a surprise to me that something like this would happen. This “real life version” of Marvel has always been a refreshing look at superheros. However, they are still behind the curve with moves like these.

John Stewart

DC Comics has made similar moves in the past to stir readership and promote Multiculturalism. The difference is that this isn’t in a ‘alternate’ universe. John Stewart is almost as popular a Green Lantern as Hal Jordan. His first appearance was in 1972 and yes it was temporary but in 1984 he played a more prominent role. He never left the DC consciousness since playing major roles in the Justice League animated series in 2001. I will also mention how DC changed a semi-popular Firestorm to a black character in 2004 that sparked some animosity amongst older fans. I am personally a fan of Firestorm since childhood and I was ok with this change. They also made a change to the Blue Beetle in 2006 making him Latino.

The room for change in comic books is there. Many people have argued why change a white character into another character of color? The basis is perhaps if these companies made original characters that were African American or Latino then perhaps readership would be sparked in that way. While I think that sounds simple, I do not see the average white person buying the adventures of “El Guapo”. However, a coalition of African American writers, including the late Dwayne Mcduffie, had made great strides with his creation of Milestone Comics in the early 90’s that featured predominately Black Superheros such as a well known teenaged hero called “Static Shock.” DC has purchased this company and had integrated them within the continuity.

The New Spiderman!

Marvel’s move is indeed courageous. I think that having a Mixed Race (which is what this is being deemed as) or Afro Latino Superhero is great for youth and new readership. It gives a sense of being able to put yourself in the shoes of hero if you can see yourself represented. Of course there is a small uproar some of it positive and some not so positive. What I am concerned with is the idea that the writer (Brain Michael Bendis) is not ruling out the fact that Miles Morales may be gay.  While, I am not against the concept of gay superheros I think in this case, it is too much. Making him homosexual as well is like wrapping up all the under represented people into one costume. Marvel may shrink the readership from those who originally identified themselves as being in the shoes of the new Spider-man.

The other problem I have is more of a consistent stereo type of Latino males being gay. I think that goes beyond Marvel Comics, but it is still something that I see consistent in images and roles being played on television. I think about Oscar in The Office, he is the only Latino in the show and of course he is a homosexual. I think it is becoming a pattern in which the once Macho Latino Male was portrayed as the hot latin lover is now becoming the emasculated gay guy in mainstream television.

Northstar:
Marvel’s 1st
Gay Superhero

Before anyone can bark at me and say that there are no homosexual superheros, I will say that there are several in both DC and Marvel Comics. The list is quite extensive actually and in my opinion I think it is quite impressive. I wont get into detail about it but if you want more information you can check this out. I am very impressed on how far comic books have come form the days of my youth. Many of these things seem to be unheard of just 20 years ago. As a matter of fact, there was indeed a gay marriage in a popular comic book.

In any case, it should be interesting to see how this all plays out. The Ultimate Spiderman #1 comes out in September and quite frankly, I cannot wait. It shows that there is some recognition that we are moving into a more global society. I love this quote from Marvel’s editor in chief, Axel Alonso:

What you have is a Spider-Man for the 21st century who’s reflective of our culture and diversity. We think that readers will fall in love with Miles Morales the same way they fell in love with Peter Parker.

I hope the world is ready for the New Spiderman because he is coming. The envelope is being pushed it just am matter of how far it can go.

Such a Geek…

There are times when things can be so stressful or hectic that we forget what it is that can truly makes us happy. Those are the moments that we can have that will make all other moments just fade away. I had one of those moments last week. No doubt about the fact that I have personally had a challenging past few weeks in where I had to look at my life and really ask what do I believe in.

I am struggling with many aspects of my life that have to do with failure. I am not afraid to fail per say. I told a student last week that Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team, imagine if he decided to give up? So taking that into obvious consideration, I needed to look past many of the things that have got me down and continue to move forward. Of course, doing that is easier said than done. It was getting to the point in which I was pondering the possibility of depression. Even saying that now is kind of awkward because it seems so unlike me. So, I decided to go ahead and do what any geek like me would do and go see the midnight showing of THOR.

Now, while that sounds like some really nerdy shit, understand that there has always been a reason for why I was so into comic books most of my life. I needed to get way from my real life. Reading comics as a child really built my vocabulary as well as indulged my imagination. The world always seemed perfect when superheroes were in it. It spoke to me when Spiderman was having more woman issues that I was having. I got to me when Hawkgirl finally admits her love for Hawkman before they are both killed.

My point here is that real life is so overwhelming disappointing some times that escaping in books or movies can be the only way to go. I am not saying all this because I want people to feel pity because as I write this, I realize that I will be fine. I just need to be able to allow myself to escape to another place. It has been quite awhile since I picked up a comic book and a long time since I have seen a real good movie, so I was looking forward to seeing the midnight showing of THOR.

Midnight showings are in a class of its own. You have to be able to find one or two people willing to go with you. They have have the passion to actually see the movie because people who complain after midnight just become that much more annoying. If this is a superhero movie, than you need to stay until all the credits roll and if you are not sure if you should stay…then stay anyway. The best part about all this was that THOR was good. Some people may not have thought so but it did the one thing that it needed to do and that was entertain me.

When I was done and I walked to my car and I felt so exhilarated. The movie help me realize that I was not slipping into a depression and perhaps I was just in a funk that I needed to get out of. Perhaps I have been working to hard and taking my losses harder than I need to. We all get knocked down, it just a matter of how fast we get back up. I am just glad the geek part of me was there to rescue.

Reading is the Truth

When things started to go south for me and I started seeking out roommates, I began to cut expenses. I had to stop buying things that were not essential to life. So what that really meant was I needed to stop buying comic books. The funny thing was that I had every intention on continuing with this expensive hobby because it was the only hobby I had. I could enjoy reading whatever story was going on and still feel in many ways, like a little kid. At this point I had already stopped buying video games.

The choice to stop buying comic books was not entirely my own. I had been going faithfully to this shop over in the Carousel Mall. I personally called it CBS (comic book store) because the real name was just way too long. I was a regular customer to the point in which they would pull out weekly comic titles for me every week. I would come in when I can and buy what was saved for me. It was a pretty sweet deal actually. I rarely missed any titles and it worked out well.

As it came closer for me to go to the Dominican Republic, I went less and less to CBS because I had to save money. I rarely bought everything they saved for me all at once. I would buy what I could then put the rest back on reservation. Apparently they started a policy that if customers did not pick up books within a certain time period, the comics would go back on the shelf for anyone to buy. The exception to this rule was that if you informed them that you planned to pick the books by a certain time then they would save them.

I informed the people at the store that I was going away and once I return I will clear the box. So when I returned from the Dominican Republic, I went over to CBS (on my birthday) and asked for my reservations. I was told that they were gone. I was shocked. I told the guy, that I normally speak to, that I did in fact inform the store that I was out of the country. Then he informed me that the store owner made a new policy, that was not known to me, that 30 days was the limit and there were no exceptions. I stood there shocked. He told me that I can start another subscription service, perhaps have them mailed to me (which is unacceptable because sometimes the mail looks like shit on a rainy day).

So, my reaction? I walked out. I simply left. I felt like a huge weight was lifted. Something in the back of my head told me that this was a blessing. I haven’t stepped into that store since then…

…but recently, I have missed that feeling of escape that comic books provided me. I have not had the urge nor the desire to buy comics at all. I mean, I have been buying a lot of DVD movies based on comic books, but that is different and cost me much less. I started thinking about reading books more, but I did not know where to start. I did join Goodreads, but that was to catalog what I have already read and see what other people were saying about books they have read.

Then, as if the thought were in the back of my mind but yet verbalized by another person, I was asked if I wanted a part in creating a book club with some friends. The thought of that was so very exciting me. I will admit that I would be the first to make fun of anyone to join a book club by saying that either they are old or have no life, but the thought was appealing because I missed reading so much. I have to admit that being in a book club has been one of the better decisions I have made in a long time. To think that I can shut the TV off and just lose myself in a good book in this day and age is awesome. I will tell you that my twitter account has suffered because of it and I am ok with that.

At this point we are on our second book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and it has been a thrill ride for me. This book is almost 600 pages and I have read so much that I cannot imagine me stopping anytime soon. This book is so much better than the first book we started with, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. However, I think that I will be able to step out of my comfort zone and read things that I never thought I would have before.

I will also say, the best way to really learn is to look up words that appear in novels that you have never heard before. Best way to beat anyone in Scrabble…lol

The Walking Dead

Television is certainly not what it used to be. There was a time when the scariest any show got was when someone died on St. Elsewhere or when the A-Team got caught. Times have changed and we get watch shows that feature spirits, vampires, and now zombies. To be honest, I love it.

AMC launched the Walking Dead on Halloween and it has been a thrill ride so far. What makes this show good is the human element of people trying to survive in the most dire of situations. I am always one to believe that someone’s true nature is shown at a time of great peril. While anyone may think that this is just another gore fest genre type of show, know this: in the first 2 episodes, we have not seen anyone devoured yet. As a matter of fact, there seems to be more gore in True Blood.

The Walking Dead is adaptation of a comic book that still exists. It about a man named Rick Grimes who is a cop that wakes up from a coma and realizes the zombies have taken over. His current goal is to find his family. I have been very unfortunate to not be one of those who had picked up the early issues, my intention is to grab some graphic novels instead. One thing I do know about this series, is to not get too used to any one character because no one is safe.

Like most things that seem to become really popular, zombies seem to appear just about every where these days. Vampires being something a little bit more marketable because at least they are the type of undead that has sex. I would not be surprised if there are movies or shows that try to combine the two, vampires and zombies…not zombies and sex..lol (remember I said this).

I have never been one to be a fan of zombies because as a kid because these were one of the things that scared the shit out of me. Vampires and werewolves never really did. I knew they did not exist. However, when we talk about demons, spirits, or the devil…then we are talking about a different level for me. I consider those to be biblical in nature. Zombies maybe not be biblical in nature, but I almost considered them to demons in human form. This is why sleeping as a kid was so hard (that and watching Dawn of the Dead).

So, why write about this? Is this show that good? Well yes it, but there was situation that happened in the show that I really hit home for me. First, I love Postmodernist theory. I think that shows like this really critique humanity and what our true nature is. There has always been a thought that the only way to truly bring humanity together is a cataclysmic event. Much like the book (and not the movie), The Watchemen displays the world can be on the verge of complete hell but will come together under great tragedy that threatens our existence.

Which brings me to my point of The Walking Dead. The second episode, we are introduced to Merle Dixon who is a big Southern white man that spews racial slurs to another character, T-Dog (an African American) before beating his ass on a roof top. In the the context of this action, the building is surrounded by zombies waiting to eat anyone. Grimes subdues Dixon and tells him…”There are no more niggers. There are no more dumb ignorant white trash either. There’s only white meat and dark meat.” I consider this to be the highlight of the night and thus proving my point that in times of great peril we may come to realize that we are one one race…and that is the human race.

The Walking Dead comes on Sundays at 10pm on AMC.