As much as I love Moon Knight and Stray Toasters, it's Bill Sienkiewicz's work with acts like EPMD and the RZA that makes him the man in my eyes...

Know the Ledge

I tried to front on Joe Mad for a long time... But I couldn't deny the sheer talent this guy has for too long...
I tried to front on Joe Mad for a long time… But I couldn’t deny the sheer talent this guy has for too long…

Comic book illustration is cool, but the knowledge gained by drawing from life combined with comic book exaggeration takes the work to a whole ‘nother level…

My statement is about enhancement, not constriction.

The reason why Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time is because of his solid foundation in the fundamentals of the game, not just because of his aerial dexterity when making a slam dunk.

Art is no different. For example, Joe Maduriera’s work resonates in large part because of the “steak” of his work, the fundamentals. His construction is rock solid and his knowledge of anatomy comes in extremely handy when he’s exaggerating those elements; the muscle forms still make sense. The “sizzle,” or style, is his personal interpretation of the fundamentals (i.e. the aforementioned construction, anatomy, proportions, etc.) and rendering technique (hatching, bold contour lines, positive/negative space, etc.).

It’s not an “either, or” situation when it comes to comic book illustration. It’s both.

Too many people have been duped into thinking it’s style over substance and that’s what prevents them from growing as artists. There are too many people out there trying to perfect a look without knowing the fundamentals first. Only by knowing the rules, really knowing the rules, would you then be able to break them.

I have looked at Alphonse Mucha's work for years and I still find something new...
I have looked at Alphonse Mucha’s work for years and I still find something new…

I am as influenced by “fine art,” “street art,” classic illustration, graphic design, etc., as I am by comic book art. My influences range from George Perez to Eduardo Risso to Bill Sienkiewicz and I’ve gleaned something from each of them (and more). When one’s influences are diverse (and beyond the realm of comics), it helps in finding one’s own vision, one’s own “style.”

Diversity in knowledge leads to individual development. If one only looks at anime or (G_d forbid) Rob Liefeld, then that work is only going to look like a pale imitation of that influence. If one diversifies their reference pool, in addition to learning the fundamentals, they will eventually establish their own visual language.

Liefeld’s success was totally based on being at the right place at the right time, not his talent. Don’t get me wrong, he was smart and got his money, but very few people are asking “When is Liefeld gonna drop a new joint?” these days. He’s completely locked in the early 90s… And it’s 2014.

To be clear, I am not saying that his talent didn’t get him in the door. However, it wasn’t his talent that made him a mega star… That was the Spike Lee 501 commercial.

As much as I love Moon Knight and Stray Toasters, it's Bill Sienkiewicz's work with acts like EPMD and the RZA that makes him the man in my eyes...
As much as I love Moon Knight and Stray Toasters, it’s Bill Sienkiewicz’s work with acts like EPMD and the RZA that makes him the man in my eyes…

As for an artist, like, Bill Sienkiewicz, he comes from a fine art/classic illustration background that makes his work not only far more interesting, but far more versatile as well. In addition to projects like Elektra: Assassin, New Mutants and Moon Knight, he also did the Jimi Hendrix graphic novel Voodoo Child and album covers for Hip Hop acts EPMD and the RZA. People inside and outside the comic book industry check for him, and he stays in demand.

At the end of the day, cats like are the artists I respect and patterned my career after…. And I thank the Higher Power for that…

What I am saying is that Sienkiewicz’s work is way more versatile, allowing him to be successful in both the comic book industry and beyond.

His understanding of the fundamentals is so tight; he’s able to go into different styles beyond comics, such as post-modernism, collage and more, which creates his idiosyncratic style. That makes him much more appealing, and marketable to different audiences. His work is just at home in a fine art gallery as it is on the printed page.

That’s kind of my point. As an artist, you shouldn’t limit yourself to one market, especially a market as small and as competitive as the comic book industry. If you do, you may very well starve. I peeped game very early on. I knew I wanted to be a commercial artist at the age of 7 and my whole education was dedicated to that goal.

Yeah, comics are my root influence, but they’re not the only one. Because of that, I have been able to carve out a diverse career, which includes comics, but graphic design, animation and education as well. And sure, the reason why I get calls from a diversity of clients is because of the comic book root, but it is as such that these clients see how my work can benefit their projects.

In the words of Wu Tang Financial: Diversify yo’ bonds

Comic book steez, rock star client... Dig it!
Comic book steez, rock star client… Dig it!

M.E.C.C.A. Con is only three days away! I’ll be there selling books, moderating panels and, hopefully, meeting old friends and making new ones…

Speaking of… I’m offering The New Mythology Pack for the con! For only $50.00 you’ll get The Horsemen: Divine Intervention, Issues 1 – 3 of The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven (written by Jude W Mire), Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson and 2 Horsemen art prints! Can’t beat that with a stick! Hope to see the Detroit fam there!

http://www.griotenterprises.com

Chapter one: Yemaya has no enemies... Only patients...

Hope Vs. Hard Truth: How Do You Eat A Whale?

This was written by my good friend and collaborator on The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven Jude W Mire… Peep game.

I’m behind deadline on Issue Four. Part of it is due to visiting relatives, busy summer schedule, and the day-to-day of trying to write around running a business and having three daughters.

Another part of it goes a lot deeper.

The first act of The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven in all its glory!
The first act of The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven in all its glory!

To fill you in, in case you don’t know, I’m working for Griot Enterprises on writing a serial novel set in the comic book world of The Horsemen created by Jiba Molei Anderson. It’s a black comic (not an African American comic. If you don’t know the difference, message me).

Now, in this comic, the Horsemen, a group of super-heroes from Detroit, imbued with the powers of Yoruba gods, destroy a portion of Nigeria, unify Africa, and start building a technological utopia there. The U.S. has become repressive, outlaws emigration, and is basically a police state.

Where do they build this utopia? Right next to the crater of the city they destroyed to wake up Africa. A place they considered the epicenter of the continents problems and wiped out; Abuja. You know Abuja? Of course you don’t. What Americans really know the names of cities in Africa? I’ll give you something you do know though.

Bring back our girls.

Chapter one: Yemaya has no enemies... Only patients...
Chapter one: Yemaya has no enemies… Only patients…

We put our fictional city that represents hope; literally, on the same place that Boko Haram militants went and stole almost 300 girls from their school. When the news came about what happened I recognized all the places. Where the school was, where they’d been taken, where the military was ineffectually responding from, all because of my researching the region for the book months earlier. And now, while I was writing about an idealistic dream for Africa they were simultaneously being raped, beaten, and sold into slavery. The dream and the reality are so very, very far apart. It was excruciating. More than half the characters in the Horsemen are women. Brave, intelligent, funny, amazing fictional women, meant to inspire girls, specifically black girls. Like the ones that were taken. Girls not so different from my own daughters.

Chapter Three, which I wrote during that crisis, was incredibly hard to write. The sadness, the desire for the world to be different, to change things, was difficult to deal with. I pushed through it and Jiba and I made the best issue of the series so far. Then I moved into Issue Four.

Eshu and a Chicago cop partner up to deal with a problem with the Underground Railroad leading to Africa. So in the previous issue, I was writing in Abuja when the girls were kidnapped. This issue, I was writing a white cop protagonist when Ferguson explodes. And I’m transfixed. What the fuck is going on? To say that I’m stunned is an understatement. Jiba and I created a proto-military America as an exaggeration! A goddamned example of an extreme to illustrate a problem. But for some reason, here it is, happening for real. Reality just caught up with our doomsday vision of America. Oh sure, not entirely, but here, in the microcosm of Ferguson, I’m watching what we created as the terrible future manifest itself. The same horrible thing that the Horsemen created hope in Africa to counter. And again, the dream collides with reality.

Chapter two: If you think Ogun's strength lies with his body... You're wrong...
Chapter two: If you think Ogun’s strength lies with his body… You’re wrong…

As an author, I want to create things that mean something. Jiba likes to say, Everything I create is protest art. As a black man surrounded by a white industry, he’s absolutely right. I, on the other hand, don’t automatically create protest art just by creating. I’m not a woman, or a minority, and there’s no shortage of guys like me creating all manner of stuff all the time. I’ve got to do it intentionally. While many of my short stories are “fluff” and lack themes, overall, the work I’m most proud of are the stories that illustrate the human condition, make a statement, or reveal something about ourselves. It’s one of the things that has always drawn me to horror writing. Much of the human psyche is governed by fear and horror allows a writer to poke the uncomfortable areas. It inspires self-introspection, growth, and awareness. It’s why, despite being very different subject matter, I was drawn to the Horsemen. It does the same. For some reason I thought it would be easier than horror. I was dead wrong.

For as difficult as they are to write, at the end of the day, horror stories are personal. The difference with the Horsemen is that it’s personal and cultural and global. A personal fear or issue is yours to control. Cultural? Global? That shit is out of your hands. Those horrors remain. They’re real. They stand in the world and point guns at you, steal your children, and fire tear gas. The best you can do is band together with others and hope to god you gather enough of you to fight them, because alone? Alone, they swallow you. They bury you. They end you.

It can really make you want to quit. It feels futile, hopeless, like tossing pennies into the Grand Canyon to make a bridge. It is so small in the face of the real world. Next issue has to do with prisons. I don’t even want to guess how the real world intersection might happen there because the American prison system is already a terrible thing.

Chapter three: Oshun knows the difference between belief and worship...
Chapter three: Oshun knows the difference between belief and worship…

But no matter how small it is this book Jiba and I are writing is fantastic. It promotes diversity, inspires hope, busts stereotypes, and all of that is good. Seriously good. Whatever comes, Jiba and I aren’t stopping this project. This protest. It doesn’t matter how big the tide of darkness reality swells over us or how wide the canyon is that needs crossing. You don’t stop fighting just because your opponent is bigger than you. This world makes me sad and angry and vengeful and the tools I have to combat it are tiny but you can bet your ass I’m going to use them. How do I keep going when the beasts of mass rape, police murder, and civil injustice smash your hope? You get stubborn.

I just keep telling myself; “How do you eat a whale?”

“One bite at a time”.

Listen up, y’all… Yours truly will be in Detroit, MI September 20 at the M.E.C.C.A. Con signing copies of The Horsemen: Divine Intervention, current issues of The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven and my limited edition art book Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson. I’ll also have have prints for sale and some cool freebies for the cheap folks to cop. Hope to see some of my Detroit brethren that weekend… Cheers!

The Horsemen: Divine Intervention
The Horsemen: Divine Intervention
Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson
Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson

http://www.griotenterprises.com
http://www.judemire.com

The Crisis of Comic Book Nerds

jazintellect:

From comrade-in-arms Anthony Otero… Dig it!

Originally posted on Volume 2:

tumblr_nabpamQG2B1rsex6lo1_1280It must be hard to be a nerd these days. Look what’s happening in the not real world! Captain America is now Black, Thor is now a woman, Wally West is Black (one of the many version of the Flash), there are two Black Supermen flying around, a  Muslim Green Lantern, and the crux of this whole thing is that damn Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man. Who said it was OK to have all this diversity in comic books?

Wait. Let me fix the first sentence. It must be hard to be a white nerd these days.

The socially awkward have a problem with the broad brush stroke of diversity that also includes feminism. These are big words that get thrown around in the comic book worlds because (surprise, surprise!) current comic book audience includes women and men of all races. So it would only make sense that Marvel and…

View original 468 more words

Don't Shoot by John Jennings... Even the new Captain America is not safe in his own country...

I Am The Face of Black Rage

Don't Shoot by John Jennings... Even the new Captain America is not safe in his own country...
Don’t Shoot by John Jennings… Even the new Captain America is not safe in his own country…

Ok, time for me to chime in…

White people are not the standard of humanity.

Here’s the thing about white privilege… White people have the option to either “buy in” to the privilege or not.

They have the benefit to walk around carrying open firearms to compensate for their lack of confidence in… other areas.

They have the benefit of having their own taking the multiple lives of people, who look like them, with no consequence of cultural shaming because of that person’s actions.

They have the option to ignore the injustices perpetrated against people of color every single day.

People who look like me do not have that option.

Keep in mind that this is not a racist statement. This is fact. White people have never had the indignity of being defined by another group to justify the negative actions that people of color, Black people in particular, have been and continue to be assaulted by.

Unfortunately, this is a fact of life for an entire cultural groups in this country...
Unfortunately, this is a fact of life for an entire cultural groups in this country…

Is it racist that I am a proud man of African and African American heritage?

No.

Is it racist that I celebrate my culture on the daily through my work and my actions?

Nope.

Is it racist that my standard of excellence is based on the household that I grew up in, the amazing men and women that I am fortunate to share immediate DNA with as opposed to others who don’t “look like me?”

Hell no.

Do I use my anger at the climate of this country, the absolute disrespect and, in some cases, outright institutionalized terrorism against people of color (especially people colored like me) in a negative way to denigrate other cultures?

Hell fuck naw.

If that were the case, you might be “shocked” that I posted this.

It’s not about being helpless. It’s about knowing the odds you’re up against.

Peep game: for all of the rhetoric, all of the opposition, African Americans not only have survived, but exceeded, to an extent, the limitations that were imposed upon us. Yet, we bear the weight of the sins perpetrated against us. We have fools attempting to “justify” the MURDER of an unarmed young man on the basis that he might have stolen a cigar or because he might have had marijuana in his system… And,weare expected to understand, and accept, that justification.

Fuck. That. Corny. Shit.

This book is the Do The Right Thing of comics...
This book is the Do The Right Thing of comics…

I am not a victim. Young Black men are not targets for impotent, pea-brained goobers are so afraid of a level economic, cultural and generational playing field that they have to murder the supposed competition to maintain a status quo that they themselves are not a part of.

I am done with the bullshit… Period.

I’m tired. I’m tired of the bullshit outrage certain people are feeling because they’re being taken to task. I’m tired of people calling others racist, not because they are being oppressed, but because they don’t like to be reminded of this country’s original sin.

At this stage of the game, all the comments contrary to the stance of compassion and justice are based on laziness of thought and, especially, action. In other words, it’s a whole lot of “I’m not______” passivity politics.

If these voices are not actively acknowledging nor addressing the issue in a real way, they’re full of shit, plain and simple. They are trying to justify their inactivity, they are trying to piss on our heads and tell us it’s raining.

Their inactivity tells me exactly who they are. Their “facts,” their hollow reactive “outrage” against the truth, their middling excuses does not hold water.

They are a waste of time.

Yale Stewart, the creator of the JL8 comic strip, created this image in solidarity for the situation in Ferguson. Because of this, some cowardly troglodyte was able to find his mother's... HIS MOTHER'S phone number and has been sending harassing phone calls to her. I applaud Yale for putting himself out there, for not standing on the side lines with the rest of the sheep spewing their inadequacy, ignorance and hate. You've put skin in the game, Yale... We got your back.
Yale Stewart, the creator of the JL8 comic strip, created this image in solidarity for the situation in Ferguson. Because of this, some cowardly troglodyte was able to find his mother’s… HIS MOTHER’S phone number and has been sending harassing phone calls to her.
I applaud Yale for putting himself out there, for not standing on the side lines with the rest of the sheep spewing their inadequacy, ignorance and hate. You’ve put skin in the game, Yale… We got your back.

I am about justice. I am about true equality. When I say something, it’s because I’ve analyzed the situation 360°.

There is no way on G-d’s green earth that anyone with a quarter of a brain could justify murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed, defenseless 18 year old Black man who was about to begin college before racism snuffed out a possible shining light on this country. If, by any chance, you have the audacity to try and defend it…

You are not intelligent. You are not informed. You are a bleating sheep that needs to be culled from the herd.

You are a racist, Plain and simple.

Yeah… I said that shit.

So, are white people the gold standard of humanity? No. Not by a long shot. But then again, neither are Black people, nor Asians nor Latinos, etc. Humanity is humanity and we should all strive for a higher standard of being human.

So, if anyone doesn’t understand my rage, if they want to come mix it up in a bullshit debate, if you trolls are looking to stir some shit up?

Bring it. But trust, y’all are bringing a knife to a gunfight…

And, I pack a howitzer.

Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson is now available for print exclusively at Amazon. Grab a copy if you so choose. 10% off the cover price. Peace.

http://www.griotenterprises.com

Featured Image -- 2039

Does Anyone REALLY Care About Diversity in Comics?

jazintellect:

“Instead of wishing that Disney and Warner Brothers would deliver us, the marginalized, from our state of white-washed underrepresentation, it is time for You to start looking elsewhere for your dream fulfillment.” – David Walker

Originally posted on thenerdsofcolor:

Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo

I’m starting to feel like I’m going crazy — as if there is something seriously wrong with me — when the sad truth of the matter is that it is not me at all. It is you. And by “you” I don’t necessarily mean you, the person reading this, but I do mean someone other than myself — the crazy person running around pointing out the truth that You (though not necessarily you) don’t want to face. And the truth that I’m talking about is the simple fact that for all the complaining about the lack of diversity in comics — specifically as it relates to black creators — You don’t really want diversity. Instead, You want to sit around, writing blog posts and articles and leaving comments here and there about how few black creators are working in comics, and how You are so…

View original 1,278 more words

Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson

Watching This Art Go Down…

Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson
Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson

Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson is on sale now in digital and a limited print run of 1000 copies at Amazon… Grab both for the low, low price of $24.95… Cop this joint today!

http://www.griotenterprises.com

Work from the upcoming project for the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, The Song of Lionogo: An Indian Ocen Mythological Remix by yours truly...

Burstin’ Bubbles

DISCLAIMER: It may seem like I’m going in on the man, please believe that I am not. I do not know him personally and hold no ill will towards him…

It’s not like he’s paying attention anyway…

The reason why Rob Liefeld was/is popular is because he drew like a hopeful trying to get in… And still does.

He got lucky, flat out. He became famous thanks to a Levi 501 jean commercial directed by Spike Lee. THAT put him in the public eye. NOT New Mutants, NOT Hawk and Dove. Thank the director of Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and Bamboozled for that.

Also, No one… NO ONE will ever get hired by a major company following his “style.”

Sorry to be so harsh, but the 90s ended 14 years ago. And granted, there are many interpretations of how to visualize the world (style), but the only way to develop as an artist is to study the basics: anatomy, proportion, perspective, composition, etc.

Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets) use of Chiaroscuro is absolutely amazing...
Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets) use of Chiaroscuro is absolutely amazing…

Eduardo Risso, Mike Mignola, Shawn Martinburough, Olivier Copiel, Khary Randolph, Ashley Woods, Afua Richardson, Shawn Alleyne, Ivan Reis, etc.

All of these artists interpret the basics (anatomy, proportion, etc.) differently…

However, all of them know the basics in order to bend the rules to their vision, not BREAK them.

That’s why all of them are great artists and great visual storytellers.

And though all of the artists mentioned work in the comic book realm, they didn’t learn that by just looking at comic book artists. Expand your view. Take a life drawing class if you can. But please, please stop idolizing Rob Liefeld…

His artwork has ruined many a hopeful artist’s development.

Actually, that’s the point of Image’s original seven… It was more so their business acumen and being at the right place at the right time with their notoriety that put them on top, financially, rather than their artistic skills.

In fact, you can thank Todd McFarlane for being cocky enough to feel he deserved a bigger piece of the pie and that he was able to convince the others to come along. But, even he has been noted in saying that if Jim Lee (not Rob, not Erik, not even himself) didn’t come along, Image would have never happened because Lee was the best artist of the bunch and the golden boy of Marvel, thanks to his work on Uncanny X-Men at the time.

Shawn Martinburough (Thief of Thieves, The Ren) employs a technique similar to Risso, but his execution is unique.
Shawn Martinburough (Thief of Thieves, The Ren) employs a technique similar to Risso, but his execution is unique.

Peep game: cats like McFarlane and Liefeld were popular because they were the easiest to copy. Their work was closest in competency (though, probably slightly higher) to their teenage fanbase, many of whom were/are hopefuls trying to break-in.

However, having Jim Lee on the squad legitimized Image. Hands down, his work was the most solid in terms of the basics; his work was the “prettiest” girl in the squad. Lee was the apex of what Image was artistically.

So, applaud the gang for their business, because they opened the door for the new wave of independent books. But, without Jim Lee coming on board, we’d still only be talking about the “Corporate Two”.

College professor time: What I’ve come to find is that some artists go to the “lowest common denominator” when it comes to artistic influence because, they feel its the easiest to master. You see it from the Liefeld “love” to people claiming they have an “anime” style. What they are really doing is copying the “mistakes” in their influences’ work and touting it with the attitude of “It worked for them, so it should work for me.”

Olivier Copiel (X-Men, Siege) combines the use of heavy blacks with a delicate line...
Olivier Copiel (X-Men, Siege) combines the use of heavy blacks with a delicate line…

That’s lazy talk, that’s lazy thinking. Again, I am not knocking anyone’s influences. As artists, other artists (that’s part of the education) influence us all. However, as artists, we must not be slaves to our influences and strive to become better, to develop our own unique viewpoint. That only comes from understanding the basics.

Now, once you’ve got that down, you’ve got to study the business of comics…

And that’s a whole ‘nother conversation…

Speaking of, my new art book, Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson is available now as a digital download for $9.95 at Drive Thru Comics with a print run limited to 1000 copies August 18. Grab both, send me your mailing address when you do so and you’ll get TWO Horsemen posters absolutely FREE!

Work from the upcoming project for the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, The Song of Lionogo: An Indian Ocen Mythological Remix by yours truly...
Work from the upcoming project for the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, The Song of Lionogo: An Indian Ocen Mythological Remix by yours truly…

http://www.griotenterprises.com

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