Griot Enterprises and Horsemen creator Jiba Molei Anderson will be attending Dan Con this Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm!
Chicago area fam, come on down to hang out with the Chicago comic book community and hear updates about The Horsemen: Mark of the Cloven and the upcoming Horsemen event Lumumba Funk! Also, come to Dan Con this Sunday and cop the EXCLUSIVE 10″X10″ Consonance comic-strip! This print is a part of The New Mythology canon, fam… Cheers!
Griot Enterprises is proud to announce its partnership with Cedar Grove Books, a publisher of Children and Young Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Mystery books.
Since 2000, Griot Enterprises has existed for one reason: to tell great stories featuring heroes of color. We have seen many great African American superheroes in comics, but we never saw an iconic African American superhero team. We didn’t have our Justice League, our Avengers. We, as comic book fans of color, young and old, didn’t have a universe where our heroes reside…
… Griot Enterprises fills that void.
Rochon Perry, an AFTRA award winning professional who has been involved in publishing and comics for many years, owns Cedar Grove Books. She has served on the Board of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco and curated two exhibits while there; worked with several comic book companies, been an Eisner Award judge and is an Associate Director with the Institute for Comics Studies.
Griot Enterprises, owned and operated by Jiba Molei Anderson, artist, writer, educator and creator of The Horsemen, will become an imprint of Cedar Grove, and focus on original graphic novels and art books. In addition, Mr. Anderson will serve as Cedar Grove’s Creative Director.
One of the projects slated for release from Cedar Grove/Griot Enterprises in 2015 will be Lumumba Funk. Here’s the list of contributors for the project:
Jude W. Mire, Dion Floyd, La Morris Richmond, Pamela Thomas, Hannibal Tabu, Damon Alums, Daimon Gonzales, Stanford Carpenter, Brandon Easton, Brandon Thomas. Tali Edut, Ophira Edut, Diane Perry, Joe Robinson Currie, Balogun Ojetade, Damian Duffy, Bill McCormick, Christian Beranek, Nigel Flood, Walter Greason and Brian Mark Williams.
Jason Reeves, Sheeba Maya, Shawn Alleyne, John Jennings, Ashley Woods, Glyph Sputnik, Nic Feutz, Kenjji Jumanne-Marshall, Buzz Da Artist, Rachel Torres, Daniel Chon, Ryan Benjamin, Brian Colding, Arvell Jones, Ryan Anderson, Mshindo Kuumba, Stanley Weaver, Jared Bymers, Kimberly Moseberry, Ken Lashley, Matthew Minor, Tyrus Goshay, Pat Loboyoko, Richard E. Dominguez, Juan Arevalo and Kofi Boone
From slavery up until, oh say, Bush’s first “placement” into office (can’t all it an election because that sucker was bought), our people knew that education was our salvation. Hell, we were killed for wanting to have the ability to read and, despite that real threat, the slave parents did whatever they could to educate the next generation so that they wouldn’t have to suffer what they went through, so that they could rise (to quote sister Maya Angelou).
And so we did. Each generation did better than the previous one (Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, the rise of the Black Middle Class). All of this came about because we, as Black Folk valued education and fought for it.
Then what happened? We forgot. We saw cats getting over from the ‘hood via sports, via Hip Hop, etc. Now I’m not knocking those elements (indeed, those cats had that same value system, that same desire to achieve and that’s why they achieved greatness).
But, once we thought we had “arrived,” a group of us got lazy and fell into the trap of “entitlement” (which the country, in general, fell into). It became all about the “Benjamins,” all about flossing and surface with no substance to support the flash and razzle-dazzle. It became more about looking fly than being fly.
Coupled with the dissolution of funding for programs like art and music (which are crucial to a holistic education because those programs promote critical thinking), the rise of Bullshit programs like “No Child Left Behind,” which are more concerned about standardized test scores rather than true education and the growing apathy of parents not truly being involved in their children’s education (i.e. not attending Parent/Teacher conferences, a growing litigious culture pitting Parent against Teacher, teenage single mothers, the Industrial Prison Complex fueled by “The War on Drugs,” etc.), THIS has led us to the state we’re in now.
The fault lies within ourselves, but so does our salvation. We cannot be complacent anymore. We cannot throw up our hands and give our power away. We can’t just sit around and complain. We have to stand up, man up, woman up and grow up. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and make this shit right. We’ve gotta go old school because that’s what is was… school.
Nobody else is gonna do it for us, so we need to do it for ourselves.
So, talking ish with partner-in-crime Jude W Mire (buy The Horsemen: Mark of the ClovenTODAY) and watching the Gil-Scott Heron episode of Unsung has given me an idea…
What if The Horsemen were created in the 70s?
What if the property was launched during that time and became a huge hit?
How would it have influenced the popular culture of the decade?
How would it have been influenced by the social and political landscape of the time?
The 70s hold a special place in my heart. Not only is it the decade, in which I was born, it’s also probably the most influential source of inspiration for my work artistically, musically, politically and spiritually.
There’s been talk amongst members of the Black Comix community of what constitutes classic and iconic. My thought is that if one recognizes and acknowledges the past while looking ahead to the future, if one uses art as a message for change and if you’ve got a property that you’d like to see others in the game interpret (Silverbacks, Contemporaries and New Jacks alike), you’ve got the makings of a classic.
With that in mind, the next Horsemen project following The Mark of the Cloven was born…
Lumumba Funk is a re-imagining of The Horsemen as 70s icons. The idea is the essence of Hip Hop and dial it back to the 70s in all its funkiness; sample the best that the past has to offer and re-mix it with the world of The Horsemen to create something that is at once classic, yet fresh to whole new generation. I’m talking about:
Saturday Morning Cartoons…
Classic Comic Book covers…
Funk, Soul, R&B, Disco and Jazz album covers of the time…
Oh, yeah… I’m going there.
Here are the parameters:
1.) This will be an art book, roughly 150 – 200 pages.
2.) The dimensions of the book will be 8.5” X 11.”
3.) This is strictly a Horsemen joint. Everything that will be created must be in the world of The Horsemen and must work with the characters in The Horsemen world. No sneaking in of your characters or concepts. You will be working for Griot Enterprises and Griot Enterprises’ properties (just like if you were being hired to work for the Corporate Two).
4.) The book will consist of Silverbacks (veterans in the game), Contemporaries (those of us currently making waves in the industry) and New Jacks (up and comers who have the chops to become future stars).
5.) Every piece of work created will reflect the Black Power movement and other cultural movements (i.e. Chicano and Latino movements, the beginning of the Gay Rights movement, Women’s Lib, etc.) of that era and everything that influenced it. And, we’re keeping it from 1970 – 1979.
6.) All artwork will be a re-mix (homage) of Comic Book covers, Blaxploitation, Kung Fu and other Grindhouse movie posters, Classic Album covers (i.e. Funk, Soul, R&B and disco) and the political iconography of the era.
7.) Writers will function as journalists, creating faux articles that would reflect how The Horsemen influenced, and was influenced by, the popular culture and politics of the 70s. All articles must be between 1500 – 3000 words.
8.) The book will be funded through Indiegogo. The bigger the name of the creator that decides to be a part of this, the more funding the book will get. It’s that simple.
9.) Anyone who decides to be a part of this must help in the marketing process. That means posting the project (and your contribution) on your Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Pintrest, blogs, etc. You will become an active participant in getting the word out to the masses; no Prima Donnas will be accepted.
10.) Every creator must supply a 150 word bio directing people to your website and/or listing your professional credits (I know that the pros involved will already do this, this is just a heads-up for the new jacks). They will be printed in the contributors’ section at the back of the book.
11.) You will get paid a fee for your work from the Indiegogo campaign. That means you’ll definitely have to put in a little marketing time so that we can ensure that this bad smoker gets funded.
12.) This book will be available in print and digital. It will be available on IndyPlanet and DriveThruComics as well as Amazon and at bookstores all over the world. THIS IS NOT A GAME, PEOPLE… This is the real deal!
I’m looking for creators who are not afraid to get funky, who know that the Revolution will not be televised and who know how to free their mind so that their ass will follow. I’m looking for those who will tap into their inner Stevie Wonders, Roberta Flacks, Herbie Hancocks, Santanas, Chics and Parliament/Funkadelics…
When I think about having a discussion about comic books, I know that I just don’t stop at the books themselves. The conversation can easily turn into a debate about animation as well. Often times comic books are the inspiration for animation. In either case, diversity is always an issue. Next up on the guest blogger list: Carrie Tupper.
“You’ve got a pretty colorful crowd here. Did you check off a list or something?”
“Where are all the white people?”
This is a pretty normal response we get when people see our pitch for Kamikaze, a TV show concept that my husband, Alan and I created. See, the majority of our characters aren’t white. In fact, our core cast only has one white person in it, who also happens to be female (but that’s another discussion entirely). Because of this lack of white people we sometimes get ‘The Rainbow…
The Indie Comic Book market is grown. It’s been grown since, roughly 1995… The African American audience is just a little late to the party.
In my opinion, this is what happened: the success of Milestone, T.R.I.B.E., Brotherman, Spawn, Martha Washington and others in the early 90s put the “Corporate Two” on notice. It showed that African American characters sold, and sold well.
So, they, in turn, looked at their stable and started promoting them more and started publishing more books based on those characters (hence Bishop, Steel, etc.). African American readers stopped looking for independent images of themselves because they were “placated” by the “Corporate Two.”
Another reason why the “Black Comics” movement of the 90s failed to gain even greater traction is because of, unfortunately, A.E.G. (Artist Ego Bullshit) getting in the way of some of these cats forming alliances to ensure the movement stayed healthy.
The cool thing is that in the 90s and the early 00s, we saw more brothers and sisters get into the game either through the Indies or the Mainstream (i.e. Ken Lashley, Keron Grant, Sanford Greene, Khary Randolph, Felipe Smith, Jamal Igle, N. Steven Harris, Afua Richardson, Rob Gullory, C. Spike Trotman, etc.).
However, because the African American comic buying public is not an informed one, a lot of us don’t even check to see exactly whom we’re supporting. We just think that by supporting characters of color, we’re supporting the African American presence in comics, which is definitely not the case.
As a result, this is why we are in this situation right now… And, I am glad that we, as creators, are taking steps in order to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. But, as usual, it is going to take an informed buying public to support the product designed to address their needs.
So, knowing this, as a creator (especially as a creator of an underserved demographic) how do you compete in this landscape?
First things first, instead of trying to create a whole line, work on one concept and make that concept the absolute best it can possibly be. Out of all your concepts, which one keeps coming back to the front of your mind? That’s the concept you should concentrate on.
Second thing is this: When creating your own concept, DON’T LOOK TOO OTHER COMIC BOOKS FOR INSPIRATION.
The reason is that your creation won’t be your own; it’ll just be a derivative of your favorite comics.
Instead, think about what you haven’t seen in comics, what stories, you feel, haven’t been told in comics. Write from your interests outside of comics.
Be in the world. Live in the world. Keep an eye on what’s really happening not just outside your window, but on the global scale. That will be your inspiration for creating something unique and different.
As an artist, you’ve got to study. Study anatomy, study proportions, study classic drawing so that you have a strong foundation to take the stylistic chances to make your vision a unique one.
Finally, study the competition. Don’t just look at their art or read their story, look at the lettering, look at the coloring, look at the design of the package. Compare different books (not just DC and Marvel) and how they design their covers. What works for you? What doesn’t? How can you incorporate what they did that caught your attention into your package?
This is just a start, but I hope this helps you on your way.
BTW, as this is Black History Month here in the U.S. a group of independent creators of color (including yours truly) have gotten together on Facebook and formed an event called BLACK COMIX MONTH. This an amazing display of solidarity and a chance for you, the reader, to see the diversity and talent that we have to offer. Click on that link to join in the festivities.
In addition, we’ll be offering FREE books for download. My contribution? The Horsemen: Divine Intervention will be available until February 10 at Drive Thru Comics… That’s right, all three issues absolutely FREE!
This goes to certain individuals; not an entire group of people, but only for this chosen few.
They are not many, standing on the fringe, puffing their chests and ruffling their feathers.
But they get loud, angry and “armchair-bitter.” They so desperately want to sound as if they are experts to something that they know absolutely nothing about other than what they’ve read in passing or seen on television.
I’ve realized that I’ve spent too much time dealing with these individuals. And so, think of the following statements as a sort-of “Dear John” letter ending a particularly worthless relationship.
Sorry, but this “conversation” you’re having is the exact same conversation that has been going on for all of 2013… And, I’m sick of it.
What’s really annoying is the fact that no matter how many times the question is posed and the solutions are offered, there are those who still want to get into this circular conversation that absolutely goes nowhere.
“How come there aren’t more characters of color at DC or Marvel?”
“What can we do to get Marvel and DC to create more characters of color? Or, why won’t they do the Black Panther movie with Idris Elba or Michael Jai White or ‘whatever-the-flavor-chocolate-of-the-month-actor’ is on our radar?”
“Why has Milestone gone? What can we do to create another Milestone?”
“Do white readers like Black characters in their comics?”
The thing is: They don’t want to hear the answers. They don’t want to put their money where their mouth is. They don’t want to support… Not really. They don’t want the truth…
Here’s the truth:
For those who want to talk about how we Indies fail because “others don’t buy Black books” or we Indies don’t create what the “market” wants… you are the fucking market! We used to be like you and we said “enough.” Yet, for all of our efforts, we are invisible to you.
And, I get it. I’m sure many of you are strictly DC and Marvel. I’m sure you don’t have any Image books after 1995. I’m sure you don’t read Valiant, BOOM, Dark Horse, Dynamite or many other books outside of the “Corporate Two.” So, if it ain’t from them, you don’t know and don’t care.
So you wait, you get frustrated and you bitch about how the “Corporate Two” don’t serve your needs or desires. You get frustrated because white folks don’t go out of their way to create meaningful characters of color. Do you want to know why you are so frustrated, so angry?
It is because you have become lazy and you have willingly surrendered the ability to form your own identity, your own fantasy, and have grown to depend on others who share neither your viewpoint nor the commonality of culture to define your imagination.
Yeah, you’re a sell-out.
Oh, you’ve got your excuses, your ramshackle philosophy about this and that. You hope that by using big words and, if that doesn’t work, juvenile emotion, you’ll be given a pass…
Guess what? I’ve heard it all… and all of it is bullshit.
You want internships? Mentorships? That’s called school. Art school, marketing classes, etc. You need to get yourself educated.
What’s the most important aspect of comics? Art? Story? How about all of it. How about lettering? How about your logos? What most people fail to understand that making a comic book is an exercise of graphic design. That includes typography, page layout, color choices, etc. You want to be a better comic creator? Study all aspects of creating a comic from writing to penciling to inking to coloring to lettering to editing, etc.
You want a new Milestone? It’s called Lion Forge, Action Lab, New Paradigm, Griot Enterprises, Ravenhammer, etc. There are many of us putting it down every day. You see us posting how we get down every day.
BTW, don’t ever ask me this question: “How can we get Marvel or DC to act right and give us cool characters of color?”
Not a damn thing. I’m not trying to figure out how to put more money in their coffers… I’m trying to figure out how to put money in mine.
The question is are the “fans” gonna stop complaining about not being represented and make that move off the “Corporate Two” teat to properties where they are better represented. I just read a quote from Joe Illidge (former editor for Milestone and DC Entertainment) that 1 in 5 comic book readers are either Black or Latino.
Imagine if that one out of five bought an indie book by a creator of color? That would help ensure the book going beyond four issues, help establish a fan base, help have these characters create a sense of longevity, that “iconic” status people so desperately strive for.
Do you realize the reason why DC and Marvel in the 90s did Black Lightning, Steel and Cage solo books ultimately leading to 1999′s Black Panther was due to the financial success of Brotherman, T.R.I.B.E. and Milestone? The reason why your precious Marvel and DC don’t cater to your needs is because you give them your money anyway. If you spent that money on even one indie a month, that would begin to get their attention.
Finally, and this is for those “fans,” if you really want to support, buy the damn book. You don’t even have to look around as we are marketing to you every single day.
If this offends some people, good. You need to be offended. Maybe it’ll make you take a second look at what’s really out there. But, I’m not waiting for y’all to get it. There the rest of the planet Earth that I’m working to connect with.
You know what? I’ve gotta get off this horse, too… Because I’m offering the same solutions every time this question comes up…