Tagged: Khary Randolph

Joe Corallo is Late To The Party

As I’m writing this column on Monday the 27th, it’s my grandpa’s birthday. He’s turning 80 and a lot of the family is flying down to Florida later this week to see him. In the mean, I’ve been working closely with some of the ComicMix team to get Mine! out the door which is in Previews as well as on BackerKit for pre-order. I’ve also been reading some comics I’ve been way behind on!

I got to finish the first volume of Black over the weekend. The team of Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Khary Randolph, and Sarah Litt over at Black Mask Studios put together a book that takes on racial tensions with a superhero backdrop and absolutely no chill. Over the course of six issues we follow a young black man, Kareem, as he discovers not only does he have super powers, but so do many other black people. And that only black people have super powers.

For me, it takes until about halfway through issue two before the story really picks up a steam. Once the story gets moving though, the pacing gets very consistent and from issue four to the end you’re not going to want to put it down. Jamal Igle’s art in grayscale is absolutely gorgeous and helps make a few otherwise slow paced scenes of people sitting in a cell or an office very engaging. While the story is more likely to preach to the choir than to get some bigot to reexamine their backwards way of thinking, it’s still a great read and since the comic has been optioned you’ll wanna read it before the movie hits so you can be one of the cool kids.

Another series I finally got to crack into was Super Sons over at DC. Now, I was a little late to the party when Peter Tomasi was tackling Damian Wayne with the New 52’s Batman and Robin with Patrick Gleason. Peter’s work on Damian is honestly the best portrayal of the character I’ve read, and I say this as a huge Grant Morrison fan. The first arch of that Batman and Robin run had me sold and I kept up with that title for quite a while after, so seeing Peter back on Damian in Super Sons put this book on my radar right away.

Joined by the incredible artist Jorge Jimenez, Peter Tomasi tells us of the adventures of young Jon Kent a.k.a. Superboy and Damian Wayne aka Robin as they try to prove themselves to be just as capable as their super parents. As excited as I was to finally read this comic, it honestly surpassed my expectations.

Jon Kent is the perfect foil to Damian Wayne. The way the two interact with each other in their playful rivalry creates a fun dynamic that I wish I saw in more comics. Jon’s youth, height, and natural abilities get under Damian’s skin, but handles it better than the less mature Jon who wears his heart on his sleeve. As the two try to a nefarious plot, we watch as the two rib on each other. Jon has taken it personally that he wasn’t asked to be in the Teen Titans despite being a ten years old. One of my favorite moments is when Jon points out a mistake that Damian has made and he responds by saying he learns from his mistakes better than anyone.

Between the fantastic story and the gorgeous, fluid artwork, I can’t possibly recommend Super Sons enough. If you’ve been loving DC’s Rebirth and haven’t picked this title up yet, get on it. If you don’t read DC Comics, you seriously should consider picking this up too. And while there is some violence, it’s definitely more appropriate for some younger readers than a lot of other Big 2 comics out there.

Look, I know I was late to the party here. Luckily with trade paperbacks and comiXology you can never be too late to the party when it comes to comics.

Joe Corallo: Black Comics Matter

BLACK-teaser

This past Wednesday I joined my fellow ComicMix columnist Martha Thomases at the signing for Scout Comics Solarman #1 at JHU in midtown Manhattan. Present from the creative team were co-writer and Milestone Comics alum Joseph Phillip Illidge as well as illustrator N. Steven Harris. Martha gave a big hug to Joseph Illidge, she introduced me, and they proceeded to catch up. Dakota North even got brought up by Joseph Illidge and not Martha!

On my way home I got a chance to read Solarman #1. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, he was created by Dave Oliphant with Deborah A. Kalman and starred in two issues of his own comic book series at Marvel in early 1989. In the time since then, Dave Oliphant eventually got the publishing rights back and has now found a new home at Scout Comics.

The original iteration of Solarman was a white guy with red hair donning an outfit he clearly nabbed from the Legion of Super-Heroes HQ during a skirmish with Dr. Regulus. Chances are you can probably guess his superpowers as well.

What makes this reboot of Solarman stand out is that the character is now black. Multiple people on the creative team are black as well. And although myself and presumably most comic book readers didn’t read the original two issue run of Solarman so I can’t compare the two, this reboot is a compelling story with a rich and well developed world in just one issue.

Solarman got me thinking a lot about representation in comics. In the past I’ve talked about how at the big two we’ll see a character a woman or minority character take over for a big name like Captain America, Thor, Green Lantern, and so forth. The problem that I and many others have with this is that it is often short lived with their original straight cis white counterparts taking back the reigns. Almost as if to say you’ve had your fun, but now let’s get back to the real story.

solar-social_1A character like Solarman is a bit different. With heavy hitters like Captain America and Thor, people already associate them so heavily with their long time comic and movie counterparts that are straight cis white men. Solarman is a character that is a virtual unknown in comics and never had the opportunity to gain much of a following. By updating Solarman to be a young black man, the vast majority of readers will associate this Solarman as being the default and makes it significantly easier to see this character as staying black for the long term and being a part of long term representation as opposed to being a footnote.

mosaicThis is going beyond Solarman as well. This year has been seeing an influx of black characters in comics written by black writers. Black Panther is being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and was the highest selling comic of the year so far. Marvel is also introducing a new ongoing with a new black Inhuman hero, Mosaic, being written by Geoffrey Thorne and illustrated by Khary Randolph.

We will also be seeing DC Comics doing something closer to what Scout Comics is doing with Solarman. This fall, DC is rebooting Vigilante in a miniseries titled The Vigilante: Southland, the once problematic by our current standards golden age hero. Vigilante has popped up time and again since then, but arguably never in any significant way. He’s been reimagined as a failed NBA player getting by in life as a maintenance man until being dragged into a conspiracy.

One of the most intriguing sounding titles involving a black hero with a black creative team coming out this September is Black from Black Mask Studios. Written by Kwanza Osajyefo with co-creator and designer Tim Smith 3, art by Jamal Igle, and covers by Khary Randolph, Black is the story of Kareem Jenkins, a young black man gunned down by the police only to find that he’s one of many black people with superpowers.

A powerful concept tackling unfortunately divisive issues like police executing citizens is important for the comics industry to tackle and I’m proud of Black Mask Studios for putting a comic like this in its lineup. It’s certainly one of the comics I’m looking forward to reading most this year.

It seems like the comic industry is starting to make a bigger push at publishers both small and large to better represent the black community both on their pages and behind them. These efforts certainly seem to be more prevalent than they were over the last few years. Of course there is always more work to do to create a better, more inclusive environment in the industry as well as its readership, but these are certainly some positive developments and they should be noted.

These kinds of positive developments will only continue if we support these books though. So please, keep an eye out for comics like Black, The Vigilante: Southland, and Mosaic this fall, catch up on Black Panther if you’re not up to date, and pick up a copy of Solarman #1 if you haven’t yet.

Molly Jackson Has Pull List Envy

Dr Fate

I’ve learned a very important lesson this past week: Never ever start training for a new day job the day after a four-day convention. All it does is turn your completely exhausted brain to mush. However, with said new position I will have a very small amount of extra cash available to do something I miss. Set up a comics issue pull list at a local comic store (LCS).

Many moons ago I moved from the suburbs to the bright, shiny lights of NYC. When I did that, I left behind my LCS Amok Time (Go check them out, I still heart them so much!) and with it, my last pull list. I wanted to give myself a few months of trying on the large variety of comic shops in my area and finding one that fit well. Alas, a few months later when I was getting serious about committing, I ended up in a 14-month period of unemployment.

I made the responsible but not fun decision not to commit to buying single issues on a regular basis and began reading graphic novels from the local library, which I totally recommend. Being unemployed made me a little nervous about committing to spending on a regular basis. Even after being employed steadily for almost two years, I am only now considering it because I am getting the aforementioned raise.

My real desire to move forward is all the amazing books starting to come out. At NYCC, I picked up a few things I have been meaning to check out and frankly, I am afraid I will miss an issue here or there. And after finally getting and reading Bitch Planet Vol. 1 at NYCC (I can almost hear EIC Mike Gold admonishing me for waiting so long), I don’t want to wait for Vol. 2 to come out. I want to see each issue unfold. I got issue #1 of We Are Robin (plus got it signed by Khary Randolph at NYCC) and almost missed issue #2 coming out this past week! Not to mention I only just discovered Paul Levitz’s Dr. Fate! Pull lists will mean I don’t always have to be on top of what comes out when.

So yes, it will be a very small pull list. Probably five or six titles at the max. I need to save a lot of my moolah for the future, like attending more conventions, so my LCS spending will still be at a minimum. However, part of my relationship with money is prioritizing what is important to me. Comics, like probably all of you, are important enough to me to bring lunch to work rather than buying or passing on some unneeded shopping.

And, I miss the special trip of picking up my pull.