This is not a social media philosophy, a meme, a selfie with a sign, or a bullshit blog steeped in PC politeness – it is not woke – it is the truth. It is the lower octave, the bass and drum, kicking out the creator’s voice from deep within your gut, if you believe in such a thing. Sounds preachy, but recent times have left us smack in the middle of history. We are that crack in our own foundation. If we do not hold firm, it will be torn asunder.
The creator and the creation. Let’s talk about comics for although I am no scholar, I am no fool, and not so blind that I cannot see which Matrix pill is the painful one to swallow.
When a character of color is created, it matters. It has the weight of a world watching, hoping, for something more than a fashionably current hero painted with a cosmetic brush; a name pulled from a pop star or wikipedia during black history month. Who is she? Where was she born? Where is she going? And will she take us with her on a journey that can bear our hopes, and our sin. An icon. Timeless.
When a creator reflects the creation, and that of a global audience, it matters. It lets the reader know there is a bond rooted in blood and history deeper than many are ready to accept. A branch cannot hold us but the root can help us grow. And so when I hear the epic, “I don’t see color.” Yes, you do. Do not run from guilt or hold to indignant self-righteousness; cherish the differences that bind us.
“What are you, Sebastian?” He asked me at the comic convention in Seattle, not being able to place the accent with the beard and weather-beaten face that was once kinda pretty.
Good fucking question. I am God. Stranger. Sinner. Pretender. Gamer. Lover. Failure. Father. Trying to be a better man.
“What are you?” I replied.
“I’m white with some Cherokee.” He offered happily. “And you?” He tried again with no malice, just curiosity and a hope to connect on some kind of level. I mean, hell, aren’t we all.
Trying to connect. It’s why I make comics that matter. With all folks. I see you and I love it.
Here is what is new at Stranger Comics. Please support your local comic shop and let them know we have a voice. www.comicshoplocator.com
Issue #4 is out now. It concludes the series of Niobe’s first solo title with Amandla Stenberg, Ashley A. Woods, Darrell May and myself. Check out why this project was so hype (in addition to being the first nationally distributed comic with a black female hero, author, and artist). Bear witness to a legend rising, leading a team of Ujoan sisters against the horde of Morka Moa. Unlike anything you have seen in comics before.
In a sequel to The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer, Peter, Darrell and myself along with cover masters Hyoung and Jae Lee once again take Stranger and Niobe on a journey that sees our young elven hero teach an old man humanity while he teaches her to stay alive – how to kill in a world that will not accept her.
When you have three black creators on a project, it is a beautiful thing to embrace. Brandon Easton, Michael Broussard, and Sheldon Mitchell are masters in their field and are a shining light in the industry. They have taken their incredible talents to legacy project Vampire Hunter D, which we are so honored to publish. All praise to the master Hideyuki Kikuchi for giving his blessing and much thanks to Unified Pictures and Digital Frontier for trusting us with their vision, and much credit and thanks to our editor Joshua Cozine for shepherding the project and keeping the ship upright. It is out now with covers by Broussard, Artgerm, Agnes Garbowska, Jae Lee, Hyoung, and Christopher Shy.
On a final note, I would like to take this time to welcome Terrance Bouldin-Johnson into the fold at Stranger Comics. This man is a legend of the comic convention circuit, whether in his Black Heroes Matter T-Shirt (www.blackheroesmatter.tv) or especially cosplaying as Dusu, The Patriot, or Luke Cage under the name epimetheuscosplay. It is an honor and a delight to have Terrance on board as a partner and integral part of the team. Thank you!