Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Review for Brother Lucius....

What I find most satisfying about this entire process of creating characters and stories that never existed before is the fact that I know what's coming and the readers don't. I get a huge kick out of trying my damnedest every issue to incorporate something that makes the reader slowly utter the word...."wow." In addition to this, I also like the conversation my book is already stimulating amongst readers and reviewers. As I have said before in this blog and will undoubtedly say so again...I believe all creative works should spur us into some form of dialogue. This is a review from another independent critic and I remember my interaction with him quite vividly when he came to my table at Chicago Comic-Con just a few short weeks ago. Apparently he was fond of Luke Cage just as I was back in the day and he sensed the spiritual connection between my character and the Marvel Comics Icon immediately. He asked a lot of detailed questions before buying the book, but eventually his curiosity and hopefully hunger for new characters/new mythologies pulled him in and he made the purchase. Here is what he thought of my first effort : I just can't wait to put issue two in this guy's hands, or in the mitts of the other reviewer for that matter. Because they seriously have no idea where I'm headed with this story. And I am fairly certain that they both will be pleasantly surprised. And at the end of the day...that's why I do this.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lucius Hammer First Issue Release Party

To all readers of this blog who reside in Cincinnati, Oh or somewhere nearby...on September 11, 2009 I will be celebrating the release of the first full color issue of Lucius Hammer with friends, family and comic fans from the Queen City. I invite all of you who have an interest in Lucius, it should be a pretty cool event. Cold Beers. Hot Wings. Comic Books (in plastic bags so they don't get messed up). What else could you possibly want?!!! Come out on the 11th and...get Hammered.

See below for event details...


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Warren Peace Sings the Blues: Wizard Chicago 2009: Stuff what I done bought

Warren Peace Sings the Blues: Wizard Chicago 2009: Stuff what I done bought

This is interesting. Of course I don't expect everyone to dig my book. We all know that's not going to happen, particularly a book that aspires to deliver a commercially successful black comic book superhero. But here's an initial review from a guy that I like and respect. I think his review is a fine example of what black characters are up against. His main reason for not liking my book entirely is the fact that my main character, Lucius Hammer, seems to be to perfect. In one particular passage he asserts that Lucius is super-competent and highly intelligent. Now as the writer and creator of this imaginative character, I am happy that Lucius comes across as being this way but there was nothing specific in my writings that suggested his intellect or his accomplishments`were outside the realm of human possibility given the character's obvious paranormal lifespan. There are a few panels within the book where I hint at Lucius mastering the martial arts, studying different religions and physical disciplines in India, and obtaining a bachelor's degree...but in a medium which has such notable geniuses like Bruce Wayne, Reed Richards and Tony shouldn't be too hard to accept the fact that Lucius Hammer is capable of the same lofty accomplishments in his fictional universe. Is it boring that Lucius is so well endowed, not only physically speaking but mentally as well? I don't know. I can't speak for all of you out there but it seems to me there are very few black superheroes who are known for their I.Q scores in the respected, commercial universes such as DC and Marvel. To me, just mentioning the fact that Lucius has a college degree is pretty exciting from a standpoint that it's a subject that usually is avoided with most mainstream superheroes. Does anyone know where Superman got his degree from or Captain America for that matter? In an industry where most of the black heroes are ex-cons or foreign dignitaries that exist outside The Black American Experience...I thought it would be revolutionary for all to see Lucius Hammer successfully using his mind to obtain a degree. Nuff said about that.

Another criticism levied against my twelve page rough cut of the eventual graphic novel, I Hammer, was the fact that Lucius was a pristine character possessing perfect moral judgment.
Once again, I intend for my character to be cut in the classic mold I think all superheroes should be cut from; The boy scout, the seeker of truth, justice, equality, a virtuous, modest yet courageous and confident standard bearer of America's truest and purest qualities. But that doesn't mean he won't have setbacks. Within the first three pages of Lucius' story we find him being incarcerated for his involvement in numbers rackets in Prohibition-Era Illinois. This is clearly a character flaw meant to demonstrate his early poor decision making but the reviewer seemed to miss this. His focus seemed to be trained on the good qualities of Lucius which proved to be either to overwhelmingly pure or just flat out unbelievable. I believe that we all have become victims of what we have read before. Even myself. It has taken me 15 years to write this comic book. I had been brainwashed by almost every comic I have ever read, not to mention the various forms of media I have absorbed since birth, to look at my race a certain way. Growing up as a child in the seventies...there were no black heroes. History books could scarcely recall anything we had done of note save coming here in slave ships and then excelling in sports. Now as a man of 41 years of age...I know that black people have accomplished all sorts of things and instead of worrying about why these things were omitted from my second grade teaching plan back in 1976, I must move on and do something constructive with this knowledge. Now I can believe in a black superhero that has traveled the world like Bruce Wayne and has obtained the advanced degrees like Reed Richards. I can also fantasize about what this black superhero would be like throughout the ages being that he is extremely long lived and the exploits he gets into with other black heroes...the likes we have never seen before in modern, silver or golden age comics. The reviewer made the comment that he thought the well of ideas would run dry pretty quickly with Lucius Hammer and he is certainly entitled to his opinion. I even sent him an e-mail thanking him for the review because as my thirteen year old son had to remind me...any press is good press. But to anyone out there who reads this book, I challenge you to look beyond the "Matrix" will be surprised at what you see. Also to those out there who are unsure of introducing to the public or mainstream your Black superhero, your Female superhero, your Mormon superhero...realize that it's an uphill battle but the fight must begin somewhere. It's time to create new heroes, and if you don't create them... Who will?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Action Figures

I have an action figure currently being molded by a local sculptor. I am tickled pink by this fact and can hardly contain my childlike glee as I think of the possibilities for an actual toyline based on a superhero I created. After having received jpegs from my sculptor of the proposed action figure, I immediately began to take inventory of my favorite black action figures that I got the opportunity to play with as a child. At one time I was the proud owner of Mego's Marvel Comics Falcon, and I have to say that I really enjoyed that toy. In fact, playing with that toy and of course teaming him up with Captain America, reminds me that Marvel was always quick to include some black folks in their comics and I guess that's why I have always been partial to Marvel. Captain America and The Falcon were Lethal Weapon before Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. Falcon's origin was garbage though, and his name initially was Snap Wilson or some such when I was playing with him I modified his origin. Another cool black action figure was the African American GI Joe. And I'm not talking about the smaller line of GI Joes from the eighties, I'm talking about the big ones who had what seemed to be real hair and dog tags that you could pull and they would utter some command or battle cry. I remember taking him to show and tell in the first grade and another black kid named Tracy asked me if he could take him home to play with it. I never saw that GI Joe again. Upon finding out what I had done my father whipped my ass good and then told me I was too old to be playing with dolls anyway. I was highly upset because I knew that the chances of me finding another black action figure were slim to none. For some reason when I went to the department stores with my parents, I could never find the African American dolls. Looking back on this incident, I don't blame Tracy. My parents went out of the way to find toys that carried some ethnic significance so that I would have healthy self-esteem. Tracy's parents may not have been as proactive as mine in trying to find these kinds of products for him so he jacked mine. These two action figures represent the fine collection of African American based action figures that I owned during the course of my childhood. I intend to change things with my Lucius Hammer Action Figure. I hope that I influence a ton of people out there to get the action figures that they've been dreaming of for years out there on the market for themselves and the kids. Kids act out their own little adventures with these things and they are important. They are particularly effective when the kid that's playing with them can see a little glimmer of himself in that toy. Tracy, wherever you're at right now...keep my black GI Joe but be sure to buy your kids a Lucius Hammer figure when they hit the stores.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Lucius Hammer jumps off at Wizard Comicon 09!!!

It's been a long time coming. For years I have literally bitched and moaned. Ranted and raved. My disgust with the scarcity of black superheroes and the quality of the existing ones is an old, jagged, broken record. My family, my friends, my comic shop owner all know my misery and can repeat verbatim why I have such a beef with mainstream comics and their lack of ingenuity when it comes to characters of color. The proverbial shit hit the fan when I was subjected to Marc Guggenheim and Howard Chaykin's suck fest called Blade. I will actually post the letter that I sent to Marvel at a later date that captures my true anger at how this Black Marvel icon was treated, but for now I will just moved me to do something. I began furiously scribbling notes down ala Rain Man juxtaposed with Good Will Hunting...there was some enlightened equation buried in the depths of my imagination that was pushing forth...waiting to be birthed and that elusive theorem that had been sought after by many but discovered and then used only sparingly by a few to write an entertaining comic book about a black superhero. How hard can it really be? For years, I have suffered. I have walked through popular retail bookstores and out of the way comic book shops looking for products that feature black superheroes and these products simply don't exist. What is it that prevents Marvel and DC from taking their best talent and breathing life into their black superhero properties? Why is it that the Images and Dark Horses...The IDW's and The BOOM's (who don't have any trouble printing any number of other mundane half thought out ideas) have not yet done the ultimate thing that would christen them a true competitor to the big guns... create a commercially viable black superhero!!! It boggles the mind. There are dozens of threads out there about why black superheroes don't sell, are they bankable? is anyone interested and so me these conversations are pointless. Of course a black superhero will sell!!! Look at Michael Jordan. Look at Blade. Look at Afro Samurai. Look at Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. Look at friggin Lil Wayne!!! This country has a love/hate relationship with black men. Those of you who aren't black are probably glad you're not from a class and economic standpoint...but there sure are a lot of young folks out there who like to fantasize about being black. This need to vicariously be black through gateway products such as hip hop, video games, and fashion to me makes it apparent that comic books can be the same way. But...just as we jump on stage and swagger past the tv cameras with our Jesus pieces on and our caps turned to the back...we need to do the same thing with comics. No offense to any writers of any color out there or artists...but when hip hop first entered into the public was raw, undistilled...brilliant. Now it's a multi-million dollar industry that has everyone and there granmama thinkin they can rock white-t's and free style. There were detractors and naysayers aplenty but that's what happens when you have the stones to step outside the box. But I digress...the true intent of this blog is to discuss primarily the creation of black comics. Whether that be black writers and black artists creating comics about black superheroes; white writers and white artists creating comics about black superheroes or any permutation of the examples I have just given you including writers and artists of other nationalities. I would also make a plea to see heroes of different colors besides black but I gotta fight one battle at a I have thrown down the gauntlet and I'm ready to get in this. I have created a black superhero called Lucius Hammer. I introduced him at the Wizard Chicago Comic-Con 2009. And now...there's no turning back. Tune in next week...same black time....same black channel.