Done (Sung to the tune of N’Sync’s “Gone”)

Bring the Thunder by Alex Ross
Bring the Thunder by Alex Ross

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.

This is my purge.

So this sparked a “conversation”…

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…

Val-Mar, Prince of the Damned by Grey Williamson
Val-Mar, Prince of the Damned by Grey Williamson

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…

Shadowman by Roberto de la Torre
Shadowman by Roberto de la Torre

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.

Mambo de Erzulie Freda by David Poe
Mambo de Erzulie Freda by David Poe

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.

Seraphim II: High Vigil by Sequoia C. Versillee
Seraphim II: High Vigil by Sequoia C. Versillee

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…

10 thoughts on “Done (Sung to the tune of N’Sync’s “Gone”)”

  1. This is an unfortunate phenomenon as far as many different aspects of fandom is concerned. I’ve lost count of how many damn times in the last several years I’ve been on Facebook, or a message board, or something, and someone has started complaining “There are no good comic books being published today.” And my response is always the same: “When was the last time you looked at anything that was not being published by Marvel or DC? Because there are a hell of a lot of great books coming out from Image and Dark Horse and IDW and many other publishers.” And my comments almost always fall on deaf ears, because so many fans have this myopic, narrow view. They’re literally unable to perceive the existence of anything unless it is released by the Big Two.

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