Monday, April 27, 2015


Yo!!!!! What is up to all the hungry Hammerheads and Harlemites out there?! All I can say at this point is that I am sorry. It has seriously been a long time since I have given you a hit of the greatest black superhero rush anywhere in comics, and that doesn't sit well with me. I created those characters for myself and anybody else who would dare enter that world with me and free their imaginations. Ideas and concepts are for sharing and discussion. Lucius Hammer is a sprawling superhero saga but it's also really my way of re-examining the comic book medium and its long term exclusion of characters of color. Particularly characters of African American descent. This overwhelming desire for me to see this oft- skirted issue addressed is somewhat of a polarizing factor when it comes to fans and potential readers of my books. There are those who peg me as some militant, black power scribe with plans to stage a multiversal race riot amongst the very characters that we all thrill to the adventures of in our physical or digital funny books. All because I get a kick out of seeing characters that look like me.

About 5 years ago I began my crusade to populate the entertainment world with organically grown, sincere and genuine black superheroes. Now get with me when I say this and dig my meaning. ORGANIC. From the ground up, fresh from their own potting soil, nurtured with competent and pleasing art accompanied by cogent and entertaining prose. CHARACTERS. Strong, nuanced and 3 dimensional. Classic but outrageously new, provocative. Incendiary, intrepid and undeniable. Natural and visceral...soulful and memorable. These are the ingredients I collected as I began cultivating and growing my garden of black superheroes. My intention was to give the world that which they had not seen...with my eyes on the prize, Lucius Hammer was soon born and shortly thereafter his idol and inspiration...The Harlem Shadow. I've spoken at length about my own characters and do not intend to spin-off into the self-promotion gig tonight...tonight I want to point out what I see the competition doing in the area of black comics and more specifically...Black Superheroes. But I will say that if you really are interested in seeing what black superheroes can really be if made with the proper ingredients....check out And now...let's turn our attention to the types of black superhero activity I have witnessed at the BIG 2 (aka Marvel Comics and DC)....

ULTIMATE SPIDER MAN...Miles Morales or Blackface Spidey-

I actually lightweight fell for this one. The first three or four issues were charming enough. Brian Michael Bendis is definitely a dude that has a voice and from time to time I plug into that voice and let him take me on the cerebral rollercoaster he seems to be on quite frequently. One of the bad things about Bendis though is that I'm not completely sure he understands black folk when he is writing them. That last statement is very complicated and hard to defend. The average fanboy might take umbrage at what I just said because I have no filter when it comes to things like this. I just call them like I see them. The best way I can describe what I'm trying to say is listen to how people of color speak and carry on in a t.v show like Law and Order or C S I....then watch a Quentin Tarrantino movie. There's a difference. One rings authentic, the other does not. Most of Bendis' dialog for his black characters seems contrived. Miles Morales was a great headline and it also showed that Marvel had huge cajones turning its number one bread-winner into a black teenager (with a Hispanic name?) but this all takes place outside of regular Marvel Continuity and Peter Parker is alive, well and still our friendly neighborhood Spider Man when the public's taste for black superheroes wan. My beef about this book is that it pulls the oldest and most pathetic trick in the book while creating a new black character...take a popular white character and paint it black. BOOOO Marvel!!! Just BOO!


All of my fellow black indie writers and artists that are sitting out there right now reading this...please admit to me that when you saw Marvel finally publish this fine mockery of a super-team book you were like me and thought that our underground movement to uplift black comics had something to do with this book being made? If you are nodding your head, thanks for being honest. I thought the same thing until I read it. It appears that Marvel has indeed decided to give some of there minority characters a showcase, okay that's fantastic...kudos. What is it? Basically a " Blackish Avengers". That's fine too because I'd rather this be a world with a Black Avengers team than a world with no Black Avengers team, you dig what I'm saying. Beggars can't be choosers and I definitely been begging for something like this. My problem after reading a few issues and paging through some plot lines...Mighty Avengers has no soul. The writer is clever and competent enough to weave a semi-interesting story together using the table scraps from other plotlines, but this joint comes off as the obligatory burnt offering to all of us who have been clamoring for more black superheroes. And the one thing I have to ask as a black writer is why does a white writer from England get the opportunity to play with these black iconic superheroes? Nothing against Al Ewing but it's not like we haven't seen these same black superheroes like Luke Cage, Powerman, Blade refracted through the imaginations of a dozen white writers. How about a black writer? Marvel figures Al Ewing is a safe play, I get it. If you put a fiery, agenda laden, comic book revolutionary like myself at the helm of Black Panther or Mighty Avengers I might write some stories about Black Gods, Black Space Travelers, Black experiences and issues. Marvel doesn't want to record our experiences as part of their literary universe or at least they don't act like they do. So...let white guys write this book and continue to approximate how these heroes of color may walk and talk. Some people may read this and think I am being ungrateful...but I'm just wondering will Marvel ever let a black guy like myself take a shot at writing these characters? Please?


Now anybody who knows me understands that Grant Morrison is my dude. Why is he my favorite writer? Because he is obsessed with these pop culture trinkets called superheroes and every time he tinkers with one of these beloved icons, he manages to expand my consciousness in some way! Don't believe me? Then read ALL STAR SUPERMAN. NEW XMEN. WE 3. BATMAN INC. JLA. And countless other dandies that I don't have time to cream over in this blog. Now he has added Multiversity to this list and I'm tickled to death. DC Comics has been steadily trying to destroy their own universe of characters so that they might resurrect them in greater and more pleasing incarnations...this has become a regular thing for them which has birthed quite a few alternate realities and conflicting continuities. Grant Morrison has descended from on high to give rhyme and reason to the joyous flotsam that is the DC universe. So far he has crafted six very likable comics that have thrilled, entertained and pushed me intellectually into thinking about the funnybooks I read on a grander scale. The most interesting thing about Multiversity for a color obsessed fanboy and writer like myself would be the alternative Superman from Earth-31 who looks like President Obama dressed as our favorite Kryptonian. You the first issue of Multiversity, Morrison establishes that there is an alternate dimension where all the JLA members are black except...BATMAN. Interesting! I dig it. My only problem, and if you are a regular subscriber to my blog you already know what I am about to say, is that an alternate dimension of black Justice League members represents my BLACKFACE SUPERHERO THEORY. That theory simply states that by changing the color of an established superhero you have a new character that satisfies the audience's need for a character of color without really taking a chance on creating a new character! DC's Earth 2 has pulled a similar BLACKFACE tactic with their alternate Superman named Val Zod. I am going to institute the official TRICK NO GOOD AWARD (kind of like Marvel's No Prize Award)...every time DC or Marvel takes a shortcut and creates a new African-American superhero by "blackwashing" one of their marquee names....they will become the recipient of this award. So while I do enjoy the Multiversity books and their seeming inclusion of black characters...DC can do better than alternate universe versions of existing heroes. Trick no good, DC Comics, trick no good.


Michael B. Jordan is the new cinematic Johnny Storm aka Human Torch of the Fantastic Four. He is a very talented African American actor who's shown great promise in a barren landscape of opportunity for actors of color...particularly in the role of....superhero. Josh Trank, director of the new Fantastic Four reboot by Fox, is the cat who dropped the movie Chronicle on us a few years ago that was solid, shaky cam, post Blair Witch found footage kind of flick concerning three super powered teens. At first glance, I was wary of Trank and his decisions. I am a big Fantastic Four fan...The Thing is one of my all time favorite characters...Reed Richards is the greatest leader of any superhero group, The Invisible Girl is my favorite female superhero and The Human Torch is a rebellious symbol of youth and it's unpredictable hot/cold nature. They are an incredibly fun concept and even better when the person chronicling (pun) their adventures understands what they are beneath their two dimensional surface. Like any self respecting fanboy, I am a stickler for continuity however I can get it. I was troubled when they changed Johnny Storm from a young white man to a young black man particularly because I knew the outrage this would cause in fanboy nation. When Daredevil with Batfleck premiered years ago, there were those who couldn't stomach a black Kingpin. There were similar cries of reverse racism when Sam Jackson became this generation's Nick Fury. I understand the disappointment in your favorite superhero not being interpreted exactly how you want him or her to be...but I don't hear anyone screaming for Marvel to get rid of Samuel L. as Nick Fury. I look at it like this...we already got a great Johnny Storm via Chris Evans in the original two FANTASTIC FOUR movies produced by FOX. People aren't happy with Michael B. Jordan as the new Human Torch because they haven't yet seen the movie...I'm betting that even though most of us in FBN (fanboy nation) would prefer the filmmakers stick to continuity and keep Johnny Storm Caucasian...we would not be opposed to embracing a black Johnny Storm if he is good and is true to the character. And from the looks of the preview, I think Josh Trank gets his subject matter...which is more than I can say for Zach Snyder.

which brings me to my final topic for today's blog entry...


I'm going to be honest...Man of Steel, to me, was a poor excuse for a Superman movie. I say that because I felt like Zach Snyder (Director of 300, Watchmen and Dawn of The Dead) was doing too much. Superman is primal and in that he is basic. There's a little room for nuance but essentially he is a pop culture Hercules. If you want to know exactly what I thought about Man of Steel, check the blog archive and read my review. I know there are droves of Superman fans that liked Man of Steel but that's because they really don't know who Superman is or they thought he was somebody else. I can assure you of one thing...Superman is definitely not BATMAN. The trailer from DC newest debacle looks like a vision culled from Frank Miller's 80's dystopian wet dreams. In fact, I'm begining to sense that Zach Snyder has an unshakable man crush on Miller that will finally result in the death of grim and gritty. The prospect of Superman fighting Batman is assinine at the very least. But I think that was the point in the canonical Dark Knight Returns...when it comes down to their clashing ideologies, BATMAN would have to beg, borrow, steal and cheat to best Superman on his worst day. This article I'm writing is not going to get into all of that because we could argue all day about Bruce Wayne acquiring Kryptonite and an Iron Man suit  to Superman flying a helpless Batman into space only to let him freeze or suffocate in the vacuum. This article is going to be about the trailer which looks like it's set in Sin City. Bottom line, it looks like Superman has been positioned as the antagonist of this supposed sequel to the Man of Steel. In other words...he's the villain. Herein we will explore the whole, what if Superman becomes too powerful and assumes the role of...God. Wow. Not only does that not sound like the Superman I grew up with...but truly doesn't sound like one I would like to see on the big screen. I'm not completely opposed to seeing Batman and Superman fight, I'm sure there is some plausible way it could be handled but in terms of the franchise...I don't feel Superman's character has been properly established. To send Ben Affleck in armed to the teeth with his souped up Bat-Armor and a hard on for Superman's blood is a bit premature. Like any judgmental fanboy, you will find me seated comfortably with my kids at the Cineplex the day Batman versus Superman opens because it's one of those things that I thought I would never wind up seeing on the big screen. But I know full well from DC's trajectory that their latest foray into their own cinematic universe is doomed to fail.  


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