Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cold Space Issue One

Written by Samuel L. Jackson & Eric Calderon
Art by Jeremy Rock

Yes, the writing credits reads Samuel L. Jackson. The Sam Jack of the silver screen Nick Fury fame. When I first came across the comic I thought to myself “Wow, homie looks like Sam Jack.” Then I noticed his name on the cover. I asked around and none of the comic book dealers I interact with knew anything about it. I learned that my comic book heads didn't know about it either. How did I miss it?

Usually, if something is good, you will know about it especially in the age of the internet. While Cold Space doesn't exactly stand out amongst the several indie prints out now, it's not that bad. I expected Mulberry, the protagonist, to come out blasting and calling people all kinds of mother grubbers. I expected humor as we seen in Pulp Fiction. Instead, we get a brooding gun runner who can really negotiate his way out of trouble. And that's a good thing.

The story takes place in the 4th millennium and Mulberry is down and out on his luck. He quickly changes his fortune by crash landing on a planet and convincing the local thugs to crack a deal with him. What I like about the story so far is that the reader knows very little about Mulberry. Samuel Jackson and Eric Calderon allow the other characters to move the story along. Jeremy Rock's work is pretty good. I am totally unfamiliar with his work. Rock has done work for several independent publishers such as Boom! Studios and Avatar. I hope to see him more often.

I think purchasing this limited series is a good idea. I can't wait to cop the rest of the series. Again, it's not groundbreaking at all but sometimes I still want to see folks kick ass and take names.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Audience Responsibility...

Before I go into this week's rant, I ran across a tweet on my time line from Pierre Bennu, a writer/producer/filmmaker I first peeped through Mark Anthony Neal's Left of Black. On Bennu's site, Exit the Apple, he retweeted a piece he wrote on audience responsibility (I don't know how I missed it). In the piece he bigs up one of my fav movies of all time (I am a Capoeirista so I am biased) and asks some questions that we all need to really ponder. I am sure that most of you all are sick of the beef between Tyler Perry, his critics, and Spike Lee, but check what Bennu has to say. I think its important and very central to the discussion we have about race and popular culture.

Enjoy and SUPPORT:

No Better Blues: on audience responsibility & the quest for better film

Have you ever been eating with somebody & then they taste something disgusting and immediately offer it to you to share in the experience? “YUK! Here, taste this!” I have never understood that exchange.

I also have never understood why so many folks claim to despise negative stereotypical images fed to us, but continue to support them.

I believe Melvin Van Peebles was the one that once said Hollywood has an Achilles wallet: if it makes money no matter what it is they will make it. So it could be said that Hollywood and televison are artistically/politically/morally neutral – they couldn’t care less if it’s a movie about Madea or Mumia as long as it makes money. Examples range from corporate support and wide distribution of Michael Moore’s antiestablishment documentaries, to the Kwanzaa cups at McDonald’s. It could be further said that the responsibility lies with the audience then, to make quality decisions that in turn effect the quality and content of the material. But it seems to me that every time there is an award show on BET or a racist misogynistic reality show or a poorly written melodramatic farce celebrating contemporary coonery, folks FLOCK to it in unprecedented numbers.

Some claim intellectual curiousity, some say they can’t comment unless they see it, some just love it as a guilty pleasure – all of which are fine. My issue comes with the fact that if you put money into supporting these projects then they will continue to make them – even bigger and more frequently. My greater issue comes with the fact that we collectively as audience members don’t find and support the alternatives with the same amount of enthusiasm. We don’t search out and support and vote with our dollars for the films, shows, movies and art that enhance and cleberate our mythology.
(read more here.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Power Man and Iron Fist Issue 2

Written by Fred Van Lente
Penciled by Wellington Alves (pgs. 1-9, 21-22)
& Pere Perez (pgs. 10-20)

The saga continues as Victor Alvarez and Danny Rand are inching closer to finding those behind the murder of Crimebuster. Alvarez as the new Power Man is still finding himself as a student while the Iron Fist is still questioning why he took on a student. Ironically, Iron Fist notes that Alvarez was no where near as bad as the original Power Man, Luke Cage, when they began Heroes for Hire.

What I like best about the story is that Alvarez has to keep his secret identity from his family. They have to lie to people and explain that the reason why Alvarez is able to pay for a nice apartment for his family and attend a nice private school is because of a grant from the Rand Foundation. However, Alvarez is earning his keep by being Power Man. Many people question his politics even though he is actually working for a living.

When I read how the artwork was being done, I was a bit disappointed. However, it worked since Pere Perez' work reminds me of an early Alan Davis. I am glad this is a five issue limited series and hope that it becomes a regular series.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meeting Dawud Anyabwile: Brother Man

My man Zumbi, the owner of the black owned book store Stiltwalkers in Philadelphia, hipped me to Brother Man comics. Zumbi had all of the latest issues in his shop. I loved the art, the story, the covers, and the dialogue. It was hip and it spoke to me on so many levels. It's flavor was Philly. You could see it in the small details on each panel.

I was in the Navy during that time. I actually stopped reading comic books but was still reading Brother Man comics. I was also building up my library of books. Personally, I don't think I would have later returned to comics if it wasn't for Dawud Anyabwile. He demonstrated that you can write stories outside of the formulas the majors were doing. During that time in the early to mid nineties, Image was a burgeoning line but I found it to produce the same stories found in Marvel and DC with the exception of Spawn and the Savage Dragon.

Sometime around 2000 or 2001, I ran into Anyabwile through my brother from another mother Keidi Obi Awadu, the Conscious Rasta. I didn't know who he was until he flashed back issues of Brother Man and then gave it to me. I felt like a kid in the biggest candy store in the world: I always talked about what I would do when I got there but when it came to it, I was shooked. My comics were stolen by a “fellow” shipmate who borrowed my books then took flight and never returned like many of the books I loaned to my shipmates. I never had the opportunity to buy them again because after we left Philadelphia in 1995, Zumbi had closed his store down. This was before the internet became more accessible so I had no way of getting those issues back.

I was open when Anyabwile did that. We lost contact but reconnected several years later through his blog. It was great to learn that he was a capoeirista as well. I ran across this video the other day, and I thought I would share it with you.

Please support folks like Anyabwile. These are the sisters and brothers who are really pushing the envelope and inspiring the next generation of fans and artists. Not to mention the fact that we owe to our babies to do this.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

American Panther

We are not behind the ball on this one folks. I just wanted this story arc to marinate before we start discussing it on our blog. I am an older cat and like to sit down and think about something before speaking. I am not the only one who cringed at the pictures.

My initial impulse was to denounce it. I do take an issue with how Marvel is handling the former Wakandan monarch. Bringing him back to the United States to fill in for someone else is rehashing an old story of when T'Challa was a teacher in Harlem. I loved the Doomwar limited series but I abhor the Man Without Fear story arc.

I originally assumed that Marvel was doing this to help promote the Captain America movie. I know this idea is farfetched but I noticed that when the X Men movies were being released, Marvel stormed their lines with mutant oriented stories. When Wolverine was slated to be released, fans were bombarded with like 100 Wolverine titles and included Wolverine in every story line and had him as a member of every super powered team.

I was listening to the Afronerd's the Comic Shoppe the other day and listened as Captain Kirk, one of the co-hosts made a good point. Remember that this American Panther incarnation of T'Challa is a result of the Fear Itself crossover. Captain Kirk points out that T'Challa's biggest fear is losing his identity as a citizen and monarch of Wakanda as he continues his open relationship with Western nations. This statement really made me rethink the American Panther motif.

We shall see for now. What do you think?