Tagged: Blade

MICHAEL DAVIS: Comics in Black… And White

I am a black man.

Well that’s not really true. I’m a tall and unbelievably handsome black man. I work in television, mainstream books and comics. Most of the works I’ve created in all of those mediums have featured black people in foremost roles.

I create black characters because I’m a black creator and I’d like to see more black people represented in the media and I think it’s my job to…yada, yada, yada…

Over the years I’ve said a zillion times that the reason I create black characters is because I felt we were under represented and I did believe it was my responsibility to create characters so young black kids can feel themselves represented.

But is it really my responsibility to create black characters because I’m a black man now? Have we come far enough in the country and the industry for me to give up the fight?

When I was growing up there were no black superheroes of color except for the Black Panther and Luke Cage, Hero For Hire. So my two black superheroes role models were an African King and an ex-con who was a superhero only when he got paid to be.

As hard as I tried I just could not identify with The Black Panther; he was an African king in his secret identity. “Oh, that’s a wonderful black man to aspire to be like.” I’m sure some of you are thinking.


I was born in Queens and the last thing I wanted to imagine myself growing up to be was an African king. I’d seen enough Tarzan movies as a kid to know I would not look good with a bone through my nose. I mean… ugh.

What about, Luke Cage Hero For Hire?


Hero for hire?


Like I said, I grew up in Queens or to be more precise, the hood in Queens. I could not imagine being a superhero that sold his services, that as they say in the hood is ghetto.

The young Harlem mother and her child were coming home very late one evening. The bus they were on was empty except for the driver and some gang bangers who looked like they wanted to start some trouble.

She was not worried, there was a rule written in stone in the hood among gangs, mothers and kids were off limits.

Written in stone…

The problem was these gang bangers could not read.

 “Yo, (bad word starts with B) what cha lookin at?”

He rose, slowly removing a gun from his jacket.

 “I said (bad word starts with B) what cha lookin at?”

She was frozen in place. She had never seen a real gun before and it was at the moment she knew this was the end of her life. She held her child close to her and said softy, “Close your eyes honey it will be OK.”

The bus stopped. Cage entered the bus. Paid his fare and stared down the thug with the gun. The woman’s face lit up as she realizes she is saved!

 “Oh, thank God! He was about to shoot me! I’m sure of it! He called me a…”

Cage puts his hand up to silence her then says; “I can save you for $500, your kid for another $500 so that’s $1000,00.”

The woman looks at Cage, she can tell by the stern look on his face he is not kidding. “ All I have is $500 to my name!”

 “Then you better tell your kid to keep his eyes closed.”

Really? Hero for Hire? Really?

Neither The Black Panther nor Luge Cage, neither of those black heroes seemed as good as the white heroes I was so in love with. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the like.

Superman was an orphan from another planet whose parents were blown the F up and he had a cool ass secret identity. He was Clark Kent, reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper. Batman’s secret identity was equally as badass, another orphan whose parents were shot the F up. His cool ass secret identity was rich ass playboy Bruce Wayne.

Spider-Man was another orphan whose parents were shot the F up AND as a bonus he was responsible for his Uncle Ben being shot the F up. His cool ass secret identity was a high school student and he worked for a great metropolitan newspaper as a photographer.

Why couldn’t I have a black hero whose parents were shot the F up? Why couldn’t I have a black hero who was an orphan? Why couldn’t I have a black hero whose cool ass secret identity was to work for a great metropolitan newspaper and not as a janitor?

No. I got an African king. In my mind, Tarzan (according to the movies my seven year old ass was watching) would soon rescue a white couple from a boiling pot the Black Panther had placed them in while waiting for a visit from The Fantastic Four, and I got a hero who people had to pay to protect them or in other words…

Super Pimp.

Also, Super Pimp didn’t even have a secret identity. Like I said, ghetto.

That’s what I grew up with. That’s what the African American comic book artists of my generation grew up with. It’s no wonder many of us felt it was our responsibly to create black heroes that our black kids could use as real role models, heroes that spoke to them not just in skin color but in experience.

When I was a kid a black GI Joe action figure was just a white GI. Joe painted brown. That made him black to me back then but that was not good enough for my kids when I had them.

Don’t get me wrong; I grew to love Lee and Kirby’s Black Panther. I realized just how cool it was to have an African king be his secret identity. That’s around the time I also realized those Tarzan movies were racist bullshit. Hasbro eventually came out with a black version of GI Joe that was a Black Joe. The lips, nose and even hair were modeled after black features. I still remember when I got my first real Black Joe. It was so damn cool.

As for Luke Cage, Hero for Hire?

That, in my opinion was and will always be ghetto. I mean damn, a Super Pimp? Come on! Really?

I grew up wanting and frankly needing black heroes that I could look up to and that spoke to me.

That was then.

Now, there is still need for more black superheroes as there is a need for many heroes of color but is it the job of people of color to create them?


Are the characters of any creator as valid as any other creator regardless if the creator is black or white?

In other words, would Blade be even cooler if a white guy did not create him? Would Spawn be even more badass if a black creator had created him?

Can white creators create viable black characters and vice versa? It seems the answer is an easy “yes” if you look at the success of some black characters created by non-black creators. It’s a easy yes in the marketplace to be sure but how about in the industry and the homes of those black kids who grow up wanting to be Blade?

Does it matter that an white guy created Blade? Should it matter? A great white guy and my dear friend Marv Wolfman but a white guy nevertheless.

Should we even care?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller…?


MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Lights. Camera. Avenge.

So, I just watched the trailer for The Avengers. I had to change pants. Because I pooped them. Why the premature defecation, you inquire? One movie with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Worthless Chick and Bow and Arrow Man… that’s why! In all seriousness (that would be the seriousness of a comic nerd geeking out at maximum dorkatude), it’s because this is the culmination of years of planning on Marvel’s part. And simply put, it looks like they aren’t going to screw it up.

In their own rights, each of the Marvel heroes who have been given a solo movie have done spectacularly well. Iron Man grossed over $318,000,000; Thor nabbed over $181,000,000; and the glorious Captain America took in over $175,000,000. Bob Wayne at DC once said “You vote with your dollars…” and by the looks of it, America (nerd and non-nerd alike) has proven its love for the Marvel movies.

Speaking purely from a fan-boy perspective, I’ve had nothing but mad love and respect for their cinematic endeavors. Iron Man was grounded in reality (for 4/5s of the film), and elevated by a continuously energetic performance by Robert Downey Jr., Thor was able to mix the completely ridiculous with powerful mythology and gave us perhaps one of the hardest to believe Avengers such that we as an audience believed a God could be a superhero. Captain America was able to build a fantastic period piece that gave the world an iconic and fearless leader. And now, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios is cramming all of them (and a handful of others) into a single picture.

The basic fear most fanboys have had since the idea of an Avengers movie was dropped on our collective consciousness revolved around over-complexity. Rumors of Loki, the Kree/Skrull war, Red Skull, and numerous other villains danced on message boards. And let’s face it. Putting 4 or 5 “A-Types” into a team picture will potentially numb any chance at character building and nuance. If Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk each required their own picture, how can they share the limelight? And on top of it… Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury looks to be far more than just a cameo to boot. In simpler terms, The Avengers could easily become 10 gallons of Superhero in a 5 gallon hat.

If the trailer is to be any indicator of what the final product will be, I feel like Marvel is headed in the right direction. With the origins of every character now “public knowledge,” things feel natural. Iron Man and Captain America are both formidable leaders in their own right. In the trailer, they knock heads almost instantly. Whedon, who wrote the script, has a real clarity of character. Tony’s response is pitch perfect. Thor, while not uttering a word, carries himself as we expect… Regally, with a dash of arrogance.

Other glimpses of the titular characters are equally impressive. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner certainly holds himself with a quiet struggle. And the choice to make Loki the villain creates a real urgency for the assembling. A mad god? Yeah, that’s a job for the Avengers. I know this all seems a bit of a hyperbole of analysis, given that all we’ve really seen is 12,000 seconds of footage (with a solid third of that dedicated to ominous shots of New York, explosions, and Iron Man flying)… but I’ve watched the trailer a couple times now, and each time I retain the same silly grin.

Marvel’s missteps – Wolverine, Elektra, Daredevil (which I actually liked), and most likely one (if not more) of the Blade flicks – all shared a plethora of groan worthy moments. In each, the self-seriousness never felt earned by the fans. That, and Wolverine was given Clark Kent’s origin part-way through his movie. I wish I could pinpoint exactly why the Avengers, with its surplus of superheroes, seems to capture my glee, with no bitter aftertaste of “this could be a train wreck.” Could it be I just want it to succeed too much? With Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor all leading up to this, it may very be such that I can’t fathom this flopping. I’ve dropped far too much cash at the multiplex to see Marvel bellyflop.

At its core, the Avengers is true fanboy porn. An assembling of Marvel’s best and brightest (and Hawkeye, cause, you know…) to fight the biggest of fights, is the stuff dreams are made of. To see it in live-action glory, with a bevy of computer effects and explosions is everything comic fans have dreamed of. I postulate it’s akin to The Dark Knight, where the general masses will appreciate our medium in a new light. It raises our collective mojo up just a notch. And anytime a comic nerd looks better than a Trekkie or LARPer… well, that’s just gravy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do go watch the trailer… and come back here to tell me if I should stave my excitement, or just invest in a few more pair of paints prior to its debut.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

“100 Bullets” as a TV Series?

“100 Bullets” as a TV Series?

100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call TPB (2000) ...

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend, Bleeding Cool found a potential slip by Geoff Johns that hinted the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Vertigo comic [[[100 Bullets]]] by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso was coming to TV as a series.

Now Deadline reports that screenwriter and comic writer David S. Goyer (Blade, The Dark Knight) is going to write and executive produce the show for Showtime .

If you aren’t familiar with the series, here’s the setup: a man comes to you and gives you a briefcase with a gun, 100 untracable bullets, and proof incriminating the person who done you wrong– offering you a chance to exact justice for themselves with no danger of being caught. What do you do?

(Incidentally, I’m impressed with Deadline’s comment threads– more bile than Newsarama comments, possibly because much more money is discussed than what you usually see spent on comics.)

ComicMix Six: Who You Want On Your Side When Zombies Attack

ComicMix Six: Who You Want On Your Side When Zombies Attack

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching and reading
enough stuff about zombies, it’s that you need a good bunch of guys with you
when the crap hits the fan. Guys who will last. Guys who know how to handle

So in light of The Walking Dead marathon on AMC today leading up to the season finale, these are the guys I want with me when Hell is full up, and
the dead walk the earth.

    Zombies love munching on flesh, but what if you put them up
    against a guy who’s made of sand? What the Hell are they gonna bite into? While
    sensitive to moisture, he can turn his body into glass. That’s gotta come in
    handy in close quarters. Flint is super strong and can take on crowds and send
    them reeling with a giant sledgehammer fist.

A veteran of many armed conflicts, this iconic video game
character has proven himself to be a top covert operations and infiltration
operator. He is a master with melee weapons, hand-to-hand combat, firearms, and
high explosives. Snake is one of the best guys to go to when you have to take
out a zombie quietly.

Everyone’s favorite anarchist may not be the first guy you’d
want to get mail from, but he’s proven that he can live off the grid. When
electricity and running water are unavailable, knowing how to live and survive
become the same thing. He’s also pretty good at making dandy booby traps, so
that can come in handy with setting up a camp perimeter better than empty cans
on string.


ComicMix Six: Vampires That Don’t Suck (Human Blood)

ComicMix Six: Vampires That Don’t Suck (Human Blood)

Vampires are everywhere these days. But long before we had Team Edward and the litany of prissy emo vampires that sparkle in the G-D sun… we had real vampires. They were in popular books, TV Shows, comic books, movies made from popular books, adaptations of comic books turned into movies, and even a comic book series adapted from a popular TV show based on characters from a movie! You get the drift. And throughout all of these various sucktastic productions, the tent poles of vampirism always held true (You getting this, Eddy?). Vampires are generally more pale than the Irish, and hate the sun more then old Jews. And furthermore, they have a thirst for blood worse than the republicans. But we kid, Edward. It seems some popular Vampires (like yourself) don’t stick to traditions. Some don’t even suck blood to survive! Don’t believe us? We didn’t either, until we came up with this list:

Count Duckula – Spinning off from the popular Danger Mouse series created in the U.K., came a vampire with who’d rather toast with a tomato than nibble on a neck. In the series, Igor whilst incanting the resurrection spell of his deceased master, was accidentaly provided ketchup in place of the ceremonial blood. Thus Count Duckula was born! Far more concerned with fame, fortune, and feasting on fennel, fava beans and fresh fiddlehead ferns, Count Duckula was known more for his fondness of broccoli sandwiches than being a creature of the night. And hey, even if he decided to switch menus? Fat chance! The poor duck didn’t even have fangs.

Angel & Spike – Joss Whedon took his video store lump of coal, and coaxed it into a diamond of a TV series. He did so first by fleshing out Buffy to be more than just “Pert. Wholesome. Way Lethal”. Better than that though, he introduced a pair of tragic vamps. Smokey-eyed, bleach-blond Spike and always-afflicted sorrow-souled Angel were both introduced into the Buffy show but eventually outgrew their roles there and turned into breakout anti-heros with a new show, and multiple comics. And what of their diet de-jour? Well, Spike (in the fourth season of the series) was implanted with a chip rendering his bloody biting habit incapacitated. And Angel? Well, cursed with a soul, he’s the vampire forced to pay the world back for the sins he committed earlier in life. Sure both these babe-magnets had their anti-hero appeal, but in the end, Angel ended up solving mysteries with some chick with a thing for bones, and Spike was revealed to be a rather poor version of Brainiac.

Blade – We could get into the comic backstory here…  how the brainchild of Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan in the early 70’s was Eric Brooks. Brooks’ mother was ravaged by vampire Deacon Frost during his birth, thus granting him a swatch of vampiric powers. Of course, this rambles on, as most comic backstories do… But allow us to switch to the recent movie-marvel-verse version we’re all a bit more familiar with. Similar to his comic counterpart, Blade’s mother was attacked by a vampire prior to his birth, and due to it, was imbued with all the vampires powers, and none of their weaknesses; Save for the worst one around, the lust for human blood. But Wesley Snipe’s Blade is a tragic hero, choosing to exist off a concocted “formula” made by his mentor (Stick, aka the dude who opened for Johnny Cash back in the day…) rather than suck the blood from humans. The pros? Well, Blade looks super cool in his trench-coat as he lays waste to vampires ranging from the prissy Steven Dorff to the steroidal Triple H, all while having that “Gritty Hero with the Heart of Gold™” look abouts him. The cons? Well, three decent movies down, and Blade hasn’t really found his audience in the funny books just yet. Sucks, don’t it?