Things I Can’t Get Enough Of… 12/4/17

Avengers: Infinity War

Yo. YO! You know how long I’ve been waiting for this trailer to drop? It’s crazy because I remember the grainy cell phone trailer that was leaked from the San Diego Comic Con and all I wanted was to see this shit for real.

Now it’s out and I am obsessed. Just about everyone is in it and I cannot get enough of this.  I am so ready for Black Panther in February and Avengers: Infinity War in May. As a comic book fan, this is everything I wanted and now we’ll see who will survive this. There is a lot going on here but I will say that the outcome of post credit scene in Thor: Ragnarok is very apparent. Damn that Loki!

Star Wars: Battlefront 2

Early this year I read a book from one of my favorite authors, Christie Golden, called Inferno Squad and it was absolutely terrific. This book introduces an elite special forces team of storm troopers lead by Iden Versio.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 continues the journey of this group but ramps it up a few 1000 levels as we bare witness to the destruction of the Empire from the Battle of Endor to the Battle of Jakku. Further more… it even take us to a journey right until the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I’m a huge fan of the first Battlefront so by adding a protagonist (along with the ability to play all 3 eras and Darth Maul) this game is my new obsession that will keep me entertained for quite awhile. The fact that Iden Versio is a woman of color for me adds to the playing value. Janina Gavankar is the actress Iden is modeled after. She also voices the character in both the game and audio book.

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Catalyst Prime

I’ve made it clear on several occasions that the only comic books I’m buying currently is Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime series. These are a series of books that have been eye opening in story telling and illustrations. Lead by Joseph Illidge, this is a universe that is starting from the ground up with diverse characters that will knock you out of your chair.

There are currently six titles under the Catalyst Prime Universe (with a seventh on it’s way) that feature heavy hitters in the industry. Each book is incredibly well written and displays the kind of pencils you expect to see from the big two.

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My favorite books? Noble is the title that is leading the way with Superb being the book that we should all be reading. In fact, we just had and show on #BlackComicsChat featuring Ray Anthony Height that is one of artists from Superb. Check it out!

Attack on Titan Season 2

Man listen, everything about this show is so crazy that my girlfriend’s look is always priceless every time she walks by the television that blares the grotesque awesomeness of it all. I admit that I’m probably late to share my excitement on this one but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

You can find both seasons on Hulu and to my amazement, they have both sub titled and dubbed versions of season 1. This made me go back and watch all the craziness from the beginning. Season 2 is (for the moment) all sub titled but something like that would never stop me from enjoying this show more that once. My only issue is that season 2 has less episodes and now I have to wait to see what happens next unless…

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…I decide to pick up the comics. I haven’t decide what I will do but I think I have other things to distract me in the mean time. Season 3 will pop up some time in 2018.

Voltron: Legendary Defender

“From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend… the legend of Voltron..”

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For starters, this is not the Voltron of my youth. This version (which is on Netflix) is a fresher and more modern take on the group of paladins that make up Voltron. The reason I am so hooked is because this show does such a great job at character development that combines pure action with comedy and science fiction.

While it does stray away from the original series (which one of my co-hosts, Leo, deems it unwatchable now), it does provide a small sense of nostalgia when it comes to the reimagining of characters we once knew. I personally love how the lions have their only personalities that make them more like a familiar* rather than an avatar.

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My only gripe is about the length of season 4. Look, this show gets really effing good. Season 1 & 2 both have more that 10 episodes. Then, all of a sudden season 3 has 7. I get that Dreamworks knows that they have a slamming product and wants to keep their viewership on it’s toes but damn! There is no reason why this season is 6 episodes long! Ugh!

* a familiar is animal you bond with typically found in role playing games

The Exorcist – Season 2

Let me just share a little context here. The Exorcist (1973) movie scared the shit out of me as child and it scared the shit out of me as an adult (The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen – 2000). So, the real question you should be asking me is, why in the world would I watch the show that takes place in the same universe as the original motion picture? The reality is, I needed to conquer my fear and believe it or nor, the first season provided a certain amount of closure for me (it was that good, folks).

The reason I can’t get enough of season two? The story of these (battle) priests has me on the edge of my seat. Also, John Cho is a main character in this season and he has a very interesting secret he’s dealing with. It has been an amazing battle between good and evil that is, quite frankly, spellbinding.

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To be honest, this is the kind of storytelling I expected to see from Constantine when the show aired on NBC a few years ago but it clearly fell short of expectations. With that said, I liked Constantine, I just think that putting that show on Friday evening was it’s death knell. I thought the same for season one of The Exorcist but fan support carries the show to continued existence.

Next Week, I will talk about more things I can’t get enough of so until then stay way from Thanos…

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I am a Podcaster now! #BlackComicsChat

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Before we all die I just want to say…

Yo, I have updates on this dusty ass blog and I know it’s been awhile. I kinda gave up on trying to write about current events in this world because I simply don’t have time to talk about all the bullshit. So, I will just say one thing before I move on to what I want to say: Men are Trash.

Now that I’ve said this, let’s get to the main topic. I am now a podcaster!

I’ve joined the team at Black Comics Chat and we officially form like Voltron (I’m the Red Lion). So what does this mean for me? What does this mean for this blog?

Well, I would like to think that I will post more. I want to make a subtle shift to more nerdier content and yet stay relevant. I’m still writing but I’m taking my time with book three. I don’t feel the need to rush something that I’ve created. With that being said, they’re are some big things coming and I am excited about all of it.

I hope to get more involved within comics than just interviewing creators. I would like to make a mark on this industry by pointing out things like the lack of representation of Latinos within comics. I would also like to announce that I am currently writing a script for a comic book. It is mad early and developmental (coded language for “I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing).

If you didn’t know, I was at this year’s New York Comic Con last month in a panel discussion that was all about representation and the lack their of. It was called The Invisible Latinx. You can check the #InvisibleLatinx hashtag on twitter to get a peak at that. All thanks and love go out to LatinxGeeks for putting that together.

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Below is the my first hosting appearance of Black Comics Chat. Enjoy and there is more to come.

Wonder Woman (Spoiler Review)

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Before we all die I just want to say…

Let’s talk about Wonder Woman!

There are going to be a lot of spoiler free reviews and I will admit to you that this is not one of them.

I consider myself a bit of a comic book movie connoisseur of sorts. I generally tend to watch what new comic book movie come out with a few exceptions. I knew, just like most people, that Wonder Woman would be one of the most anticipated movies in a long time. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I think is this the first woman lead superhero movie since Elektra in 2005, which means there was a need for this type of movie.

So right to it, Wonder Woman is the best movie DC has produced since The Dark Knight. I have this ranked #3 on my Comic Book movie list on IMDB right under Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Why so high? Here a few reasons why: Storyline makes sense, cinematography was incredible, casting was great (with one flaw), the fight scenes were awesome (her lasso though!), there was an emotional connection to the characters, and there is a high re-watchability factor.

The fact that this takes place mainly during WW1 is practically a new concept considering most golden age heroes all debuted during WW2. What makes sense is that the first world war was genuinely considered to be the war to end all wars. It was a horrible war with unspeakable horrors which makes it a perfect stomping ground for the God of War, Ares. (Spoiler time) What I enjoyed was the fact that they combined two of Wonder Woman’s origins in the end to explain who she really is. Hippolyta creating Diana from clay was an old story that (in the movie) we knew was lie since it was stated Zeus died from fighting Ares. I was happy to know that movie stuck to the origin of her being the actual daughter of Zeus which opens so many possibilities and makes her scenes in Batman v Superman even more legit.

I enjoyed the historical format. It’s a similar film to Captain America: The First Avenger with less fanfare and no Tesseract. She wasn’t fighting high tech solders but she was resisting patriarchy at every turn. As a nerd, I loved the depiction of trench warfare that made WW1 so horrible. Wonder Woman was able to bust through all enemy lines until she met Ares.

Let me stop here for a moment to also point out that what makes this movie better than the previous DC movies is the fact that there were light hearted scenes with Diana and Steve Trevor. Those moments provide the audience with a emotional connection that becomes important later in the movie. I think it’s also important that they let Diana be a woman with emotion and reason. She wasn’t just about kicking ass, she was about caring for the world around her.

I mentioned earlier that there was one casting flaw. Keep in mind that there are people of color in the movie (I loved Sameer and The Chief) including black Amazons. While some people wished that Nubia was in the film, I would like to think that there will be in opportunity to see her down the road. Anyway, so Ares (in my opinion) could have been casted better because I feel like he looked too much like Mike Mclintock (Veep) but I did love the fact that the God of War took the form of a politician. I think that is both poignant and ingenious.

This a must see film that I believe drops socially conscious hints through out the entire film. This does not mean I have new hope for The Justice League but at least we know there is now a gold standard with Wonder Woman.

2017 Goals

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As much as I would love to stab 2016 in the eye, I should be happy to say goodbye to such a horrid year. I actually went to a Thesaurus to look up synonyms for horrible so I don’t have to say the word so much in describing 2016.

Anyway…

I’ve barely had time to go over goals for 2017 but I’m satisfied with what I came up with. You may know that I don’t do resolutions so I create goals instead. I set 10 goals that are totally achievable and while some objectives are harder than others, these are promises that I make to myself and thus I have to hold myself accountable.

As per usual, I looked back at the past year to see how well I did. I noticed that I’ve achieved less than half of the goals that I set last year. The more important goals surrounding The Book of Isabel were achieved but I fell short on my overall targeted intentions in 2016. This a first for me so that might explain why I have been so somber over the last few months. I need to do better and hopefully these 10 goals will set me straight.

While I don’t put these goals in numerical order, finishing book three is at the top of this list. I feel like I slacked in overall writing this year and the only way to bounce back is to hit the keyboard hard next year. Chapter One is almost done and from there it should be smooth sailing until I’m done with the first draft. The only problem is that I don’t know how long this book will be.

This makes me think about the my failings in blogging this year. Not one Huffington Post article and I failed in posting 50 posts on this site. I usually put out something on the Huff but I just haven’t been feeling the whole part of blogging for another platform and not getting paid for it. In any case, I need to blog more on my page. Sure, I revamped my webpage but I lacked the commitment to give my readers more material. I would like to change that.

Since I’m talking about my failings in writing, I really need to get on my short story game. I’m my worst critic and with all the stories I wrote, I’ve released three of them on Wattpad. I was not ready. I still think my writings and my stories are amateurish at best. I need to believe in myself more. If I can do that, I can feel more comfortable in marketing myself more. Both things need to happen.

Although, the one thing I absolutely did in 2016 was read. In fact, I read more books in 2016 since college (when I was assigned reading). I loved most of the books and that only means I want to continue to read more. More importantly, I want to get back into comic books. I feel like I took 2016 off but I want to get back in the saddle. Thankfully I have Comixology for that.

 

This one is a long shot but… I think I want to get into Podcasting. I love listening to Black Girl Nerds, Black Comics Chat, Fan Bros, and Nerds of Prey. I think I can offer something to the conversation when it comes to Latinxs and comics. I will look into this one. It might be time for this.

Of course, no list is complete without mentioning that I need to move. Yes, this is like the 3rd move in three years but hopefully, this will be my last one. I need a new apartment that is hopefully close to work that will also allow me to get back to my running routine. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been establishing routines and running was definitely something that was broken when I moved to Mount Vernon (I know, I never wrote about it). However, my current residence has allowed me to reduce a bit of my debt and that is something that will always be a goal.

 

 

That’s it. This is my last post of 2016. I can tell this year to go fuck itself for taking 90% of my childhood.

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe out there.

Visibility & the Black Superhero at #NYCC

After all the lights have been powered down, the boxes packed and shipped, the curtains folded, the pipe and drapes put away, and the carpets have been rolled up, I thought it was a good time for me to reflect on my day at The New York City Comic Con.

In the beginning, I debated about going. I was only able to get a ticket for one day and after the debacle with the ticket fiasco, I was convinced that no one at the NYCC really cared about us and our need to share our love of comic books and nerdom in general. Perhaps it’s the New Yorker in me that sees that the real motivation behind everything is the all mighty dollar. The commercialization of childhoods gets played out on a grand scale at these events.

I almost didn’t go.

But something funny happened along the way to the NY Comic Con. I began to feel the pull of representation. Last year, I made it my business to visit comic book creators and artists of color because I know how hard it is to create something that you want people to see or read. I know how hard the hustle is to push a book that no one knows about onto the masses. So I met people from Vexed Comics and I met the creator of A Reason To Smile and I realized that this comic con may not be just solely about the big companies trying to get rich off of our imaginations. All this to say, I knew that I should give this year’s NYCC a shot.

That is when I heard about Afrofuturefest.

Let’s pause here for some context. There has been a growing number of Facebook groups, hashtags, podcasts, and twitter accounts that have been exploring the growing visibility of “blerds.” You can call it either black nerds or nerds of color but one thing that’s for sure, this is a movement. The thing about this movement is that its goes far beyond Miles Morales, Black Panther, and Cyborg. This movement is about characters we’ve never hear of like The Mantamaji, Luca, or T.A.S.K. (to name a few) because these are the stories created for us by us. Podcasts like Black Comics Chat and Facebook groups like CNOC (Comic Nerds of Color) always seem to remind me that the “Big 2” are simply pandering to us.

So if you follow twitter accounts like @BlackGirlNerds and @theblerdgurl you would know that this movement isn’t a new thing. However, there’s a feeling that all of this is just starting to explode. Just knowing that these ladies who (dedicate their time to promote everything black superhero and beyond) would be at NYCC made me realize that I had to show support. I knew that I had to visit the Women in Comics table, I knew I had to visit every table @theblerdgurl posted on Tumblr, and I knew I had to meet Jamie Broadnax (Black Girl Nerds).

Which brings me to Afrofuturefest.

I’ve already went on record saying that the best part of NYCC this past weekend was the Afrofuturefest booth. It was a very large set up of tables solely comprised of creators of color with a huge banner and feeling of welcomed arrival. To explain what this is all about is simply pulling their description from the website:

A group of African-American Artists, Gamers, Filmmakers, Animators and Writers will be coming together on the MAIN FLOOR of the Jacob Javitz Center to showcase their work, meet fans, conduct interviews and celebrate all of those who love fantasy, sci-fi, horror, superheroes and pop culture.

As a writer I felt at home chatting it up. I met people. I bought books. I got signatures. I became a fan of the con again and all because I saw myself. I finally saw what it’s like to actually be visible in a industry that panders to us.

The beautiful thing about this is that this is just the beginning.

By the way, I should get a press pass huh?

The Crisis of Comic Book Nerds

tumblr_nabpamQG2B1rsex6lo1_1280It must be hard to be a nerd these days. Look what’s happening in the not real world! Captain America is now Black, Thor is now a woman, Wally West is Black (one of the many version of the Flash), there are two Black Supermen flying around, a  Muslim Green Lantern, and the crux of this whole thing is that damn Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man. Who said it was OK to have all this diversity in comic books?

Wait. Let me fix the first sentence. It must be hard to be a white nerd these days.

The socially awkward have a problem with the broad brush stroke of diversity that also includes feminism. These are big words that get thrown around in the comic book worlds because (surprise, surprise!) current comic book audience includes women and men of all races. So it would only make sense that Marvel and DC would make books (or at least characters) to address their changing readership.

Before I even go any further. I need to point out that I’m not addressing how well or poorly these companies actually represent people of color. I’m not going to address how horribly these companies portray women in their porn like renditions of variant covers or how they contribute to overall debate on standards of beauty when in reality most these fans boys just want to fantasize and masturbate to some form of super heroine.

Justice-League-of-America-Vol.-1-200-1982This is more about the nerds who are used to the norm. They are used to the role playing games in which they imagine a world of trolls and elves in which everyone is white (thank you Peter Jackson for the reinforcement). Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of a Black woman, Ranger class? If it exists then I wouldn’t know about it. These fan boys are used to a world where the the only diverse version of the Justice League of America is when Martian Manhunter was on the team.

So why are they up in arms? Their world is crashing in around them. The “minorities” are taking over their space. They are used to the one Black friend. Do you know what I’m talking about? Let me list the one Black friend in comics and beyond: James Rhodes (Iron Man), The Falcon (Captain America), Lando Calrissian (Star Wars), Cyborg (Teen Titans/Justice League), and John Stewart (Justice League/Green Lantern). Those just from the top of my head. Please notice that Cyborg and John Stewart are rarely on the same team at the same time.

comics-the-multiversity-1But now, we have books like Multiversity that depicts worlds of black superheros (I will not mention the plethora of independent books that have entire worlds dedicated black superheros…or maybe I will) and we have Marvel that is pushing the envelope in their cinematic universe as well as comic books. People are losing their minds in comment sections all over the internet that is reserved for them. Donald Glover is the voice of Miles Morales in the 3rd season of Ultimate Spider-Man. Just one episode and the fans boys have lost their 20 sided dice.

Why is this important to them? It is that impossible to see a diverse face in a comic? Neither comic book company has really scratched the surface. Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans are barely represented. Women are still portrayed with huge boobs and impossible outfits to fight crime. But you dare put pants on Wonder Woman? You dare make Green Lantern gay? You have the nerve to have Michael B Jordan play the Human Torch? You’ve just ruined comics forever.

I call it progress. Although real progress has already occurred.

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Title image by John Jennings

Building a Better Book

 I can see where it has taken people years to finish a book. I’ve heard stories about how it has taken ten plus years to finish a book. I figured out why that is. Building a better book is all about perfection in the eyes of the writer.

As I have combed through pages upon pages of this novel, I have found new things to either tweak or even add if the story called for more detail. This is why drafts get numbered. The current manuscript is the fourth of its kind. It’s fully edited and complete from my stand point (for the moment). But now it’s time for more feedback and cover designs.

First, I think I need to say that I have a publicist. Before you tell me how fancy you think I am, she’s family. Which brings me to my editor, she’s one of my oldest friends. It’s this type of network that has made me just focus on the writing and less on everything else. The role of the publicist is to help me promote the book as well as get the things I need to make this book happen. She is the one getting me new test readers. These two women have invested time into this novel and has made me believe in the book as much as I’ve made them a believer in me.

Their efforts have helped me make this book better and that is important. There have been many potholes in this journey. Many moments of self doubt when I wanted to just quit this whole process. Let me be real, this novel is rated R. It’s an adult oriented book that discusses many issues and sex is a very prevalent theme. This has made me think twice about if what I’m writing is necessary, is this a narrative that I really want to put out there?

I struggle with that question knowing the book’s content so when I got my first negative review, it hit home. Granted, I knew that not everyone is going to like the book but in her feedback, this lady mentions that Black and Latinos need to do better with their stories. I’ve heard something similar to this in the past with other authors. People wondering why sex has to be so prevalent, aren’t we sexualized enough as it is? Perhaps we are but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore the importance of sex and physical interactions in life. Sex is not in the story just to be in the story, it serves a purpose. Which brings me back to my publicist that had originally pointed out that I will need to figure who my audience is.

Yet, there is something that has been really calling me lately in terms of the book cover. First, understand the the title of the novel is Hanging Upside Down and there are several things one can do with that. However that are things that I’m NOT willing to do, which is anything has to do with a noose. There are too many images out there already that have negative connotations for people of color. So instead, I’m thinking about the real possibility of making the cover have of a comic-booky (yes, I know) feel. Reason being is that I think in a parallel universe I’m a comic book writer and I really want to honor the things that made me want to write in the first place.

Cross Bronx 4laO9dI76zDaYAZwPrtg34n0QJF4oLwMZzf0GVwOsPeoI’ve also come to notice that the way I write comes from reading so many comic books. There are cliff hangers, flashbacks, and of course, a villain. I realize that this may be the case in many novels as it is but I like think that this is where my style has come from. So with that being said, when I saw the photo at the top of this blog, I already knew what I wanted. The background is this, I stopped collecting comic books when I went to college because I could not afford it. So when this series came out in 2007, it reeled me back into collecting again. I love the presence of a strong woman and I can tell you that this picture does resemble a part in the novel.

Building a better book may take perfection in my eyes but it also takes teamwork and I realize that my problem was that I thought I could do this alone. I thought that I can get this book out as fast as possible with no issues but I learned quickly that it is better to trust those who trust me.

Diversity Isn’t Pandering: Notes For the Next Era in Media

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When I think about having a discussion about comic books, I know that I just don’t stop at the books themselves. The conversation can easily turn into a debate about animation as well. Often times comic books are the inspiration for animation. In either case, diversity is always an issue. Next up on the guest blogger list: Carrie Tupper.

“You’ve got a pretty colorful crowd here. Did you check off a list or something?”

“Where are all the white people?”

This is a pretty normal response we get when people see our pitch for Kamikaze, a TV show concept that my husband, Alan and I created. See, the majority of our characters aren’t white. In fact, our core cast only has one white person in it, who also happens to be female (but that’s another discussion entirely). Because of this lack of white people we sometimes get ‘The Rainbow Coalition’ question. Did we really create our entire cast and world to simply pander to non-white audiences?

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Now I do have a few confessions to make before I go any further, especially when I’m given the privilege of taking the podium here at Volume 2. You see, Alan and I are a little different from the other creators who’ve blogged this month by a few factors.

  1. the-kamikaze-team-behind-the-scenesWe’re animators, and fairly new to the comic world
  2. We’re a husband and wife team
  3. We’re ‘sun-reflecting-off-our-skin-will-blind-you’ white
  4. The only PoC on our team is the lovely Havana, who is amazingly talented and adored by all.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s the Rainbow Coalition of Diversity took a forefront to the TV animated world. It was like suddenly there was this checklist that had to be filled out planeteersbefore anything could get the green light. The one I remember most vividly was the gang ofPlaneteers from Captain Planet, and that’s probably for good reason – they were the ones that got people talking. Every representation you could want for a racially diverse cast was there. And yet I remember being a kid and hearing adults talk so much smack about the show. “This PC crap has got to go!” Or the best one, “Real life isn’t like that!”

The kneejerk reactions against Rainbow Coalitions are founded on two perspectives. EP-Razors-EdgeThemost often complaint is in the vein of “Political Correctness Sucks.” People who say this are simply reacting against the idea of change, acting on bigotry so deeply ingrained they don’t realize (usually) what they’re saying is harmful. The other side of this coin is the reaction that these characters are frankly mere shadows of what they could be. There’s reason to be frustrated with the concept of Rainbow Coalitions. They’re often used as shorthand vocabulary for stand ins of true diversity in any kind of media looking for an effortless way to expand their audience base and brand. Basically it’s lazy.

There’s a fine line between the Rainbow Coalition Diversity and genuine diversity. Rainbow Coalitions bring us characters who look like the part, but can’t act like it; they’re cardboard cutouts of tired tropes and stereotypes in a world of 3D white characters who get to think, have feelings and emote them. Meanwhile genuine diversity allows for characters who are diverse in a myriad of ways while still being thinking feeling and emoting beings. Genuine diversity also stems from the world your characters inhabit.

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When we created the world of Kamikaze, we created a world still rebuilding itself in the aftermath of a global catastrophe. Our world is a diverse world because it can’t afford not to be. There’s a reason behind our world being populated with a diverse amount of people, which is why our cast has to reflect that.

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Does that mean that we pandered for the sake of diversity?

We don’t think so.

According to the Miriam Webster Online dictionary Pandering is defined as such: “To do or provide what someone wants or demands even though it is not proper, good or reasonable,” OR “to provide gratification for others’ desires.” Demanding the world be represented as diverse as we know it to be isn’t an unreasonable request. Demanding it remain a space devoid of diversity is unreasonable. If the team behind Kamikaze has been providing for anyone’s gratification, it’s been our own. With very few exceptions Kamikaze’s characters came out of the box as diverse as they are. The end goal has always been telling a compelling story with a cast of complex and vivid characters. No checklists needed.

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The thing is genuine diversity isn’t something limited just to race. It encompasses sexuality, gender or lack thereof, ability, body type and a host of other constantly evolving considerations. True diversity means embracing all the complexities of the world, not just the cliff notes.

Yes, there are people who do pander using the Rainbow Coalition model, but we shouldn’t let that distract us from the fact that genuine diversity isn’t pandering – it’s the path to better storytelling.

new years imgeTo find out more about Kamikaze:

Our Website: http://kamikazeanimated.com/
Our Tumblr: http://kamikazeanimated.tumblr.com/
Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KamikazeAnimated

The Unlikey Muse: Bigotry in Comic Books

1912229_10202493266268143_1977853857_n“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet,
then you must write it.” ―Toni Morrison

The one thing that I’m personally learning this month is that there are a plethora of people who feel the need to create work because there is absence of something or because there is a void that needs to be filled. With that being said, here is today’s guest blogger, Denny Upkins:

They say necessity is the mother of all invention and by extension, creativity. As a storyteller I’ve certainly found that to be true for the narratives I penned.

As a queer geek of color, I’ve learned early on that geek culture is for white people for a number of reasons, and to be a PoC or an LGBTQ means to be treated like a pariah.

More than that, countless marginalized characters are endlessly undercut and buried due to the rampant bigotry that pervades the media. Extraordinary characters such as Storm (the First Lady of Marvel), Renee Montoya, Regina Mills, Freedom Ring, Midnighter, Cassandra Cain and countless others who have been lightning rods for racism, misogyny, and/or homophobia by fandom and the industry alike.

But as any artist will tell you, inspiration can often come in the unlikeliest of forms.

My online better half and partner in crime, playwright Shawn Harris and I were having a discussion one day about how bigotry can often be the best muse. We’re often empowered to tell the tales that white supremacy, homophobia, and patriarchy refuses to acknowledge. For example, if the comic book world is hellbent on not giving the proper shine to Cassandra Cain and Midnighter, then I would simply have to pen an original adventure honoring the spirit of these heroes and hopefully in the process educate, entertain, and empower neglected and marginalized audiences.

Make no mistake, this is about power. It always has been. Not only is there power in the narrative but power in controlling the narrative. Why do you think so many whites work tirelessly to block us out of spec fiction or the media in general? Power. Case in point, there’s a reason why even though the m/m slash romance genre for and about queer males, it is dominated and run by cis-gendered white women. It’s difficult to be heterosexist, homophobic and fetishistic about queer males in a genre where we’re empowered to share our truths. This is why harassment, stalking and death threats of queer males is the norm with these sociopaths in that genre. See how it intersects?

Ask yourself this. Even though X-Men is based on the Civil Rights struggle of blacks (ie OUR STORY), how many black writers have actually written for Marvel’s flagship title? For that matter, how many writers of color? Again, power.

And while their bigotry has paid off for a season, it will ultimately prove to be media’s undoing. Insiders can’t understand why Hollywood continues to hemorrhage money while Kickstarters, web series and other online media initiatives continue to gain ground. To quote Jack Harkness, it’s the 21st century, everything changes. The internet allows us to exchange ideas, information, and other resources to circumvent a crumbling and corrupt image(1)industry. We get to share our stories our way and connect with our audiences on our terms. In other words, we take our power back and excel in the face of adversity as people of color tend to do.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another epic adventure to write.

And they say there’s no new tale to tell.

Black Independent Comics: Ultra Supreme

ULTRASUPREMEContinuing where we last left off, I’ve noticed that there is a lot of buzz this month about Black Superheroes, which is awesome. I think that many of us have had the same ideas at the same time. It’s time to show this industry that the lack of diversity in comics is unacceptable and it time to create our own. Now, here is today’s guest blogger…

I’m Derek Mason, creator, writer, cartoonist and Publisher at Mason D Entertainment. I’ve been a life-long comics fan, mostly of Independents, but just recently got into (and out of) comic books from the big 2.

ultrasupremecolorGrowing up, my favorite comic book was Eastman & Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t get into superheroes, particularly BLACK super heroes until after seeing Robert Townsend’s Meteor Man and buying Milestone and ANIA comics, which all seemed to debut at the same time. Those comic books came and went so I got into reading Marvel and DC. Due to the lack of credible minorities and the lack of black female super heroes,(tired of Storm only getting recognized) I decided to create my own team: Ultra Supreme.

Based in Atlanta, Ultra Supreme consists of Keyo Keyz (warrior angel), Panther Huey (mutant revolutionary), Mecha-X (Japanese student with alien armor/robot), and 3 BLACK FEMALE Heroes; E.G (immortal goddess), Mz. Unstoppable (super strong/fast alien ), and Lady Gunz ( soldier/sharp shooter).

My goal is to hopefully inspire other black creators like Mr. Townsend and Mr. McDuffie inspired me to create their own Independent comics and to add more black female superheroes to the pop culture super hero mythos.

Ultra Supreme will be the first of 3 titles to be released from Mason D Entertainment.  A “Mason D Universe” source-book is also in the works and should be released by April. The first issue of Ultra Supreme will drop by mid September with art done by character designers O.C. Taylor and Oliver Banks. I don’t have a website as of yet, but you can follow Mason D Entertainment on Facebook.