Tag Archives: 4 Pages 16 Bars

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CREATORS

Success! The Cipher continues!

4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape is Heavy Metal magazine meets fabled Hip-Hop periodical The Source. Each 124-page volume is filled with comics and articles celebrating the true diversity of creators in the comic book industry.

Volume 8 – Change Clothes has a featured article showcasing some of the Visual DJs 4 Pages 16 Bars series curator Jiba Molei Anderson considers to be among the best in the business. Shawn Alleyne, one of the artists featured in the article, decided to draw up Ogun, the Architect from Anderson’s groundbreaking series The Horsemen.

“You gotta have at least 3.5 mic material… Basically, you have to have the equivalent of the Fu-Schickens first album to be in the book…”

“Born in Barbados now residing in Philadelphia, Shawn’s work is… How shall I call it… Sexy A.F. His figures are long and sinewy bursting with a sensual energy that exists in his lovingly-rendered line work. He doesn’t do too much interior work, but his covers for books like The Almighty Street Team and his pin-up work taking his own unique spin on existing properties from the “Corporate Two” are absolutely stunning.”

Next month is the 20th anniversary of The Horsemen and Shawn Alleyne, along with 4 Pages 16 Bars Vol. 08 cover artist Aries Art will be a part of the big celebration!

61 backers. 104% funded. With only SEVEN days left in our campaign, help 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape reach 100 backers by March 30. If we reach 100, all backers will receive the 96-page graphic novel JBD: The Devil’s Due (written and created by La Morris Richmond, illustrated by Seitu Heyden, Jiba Molei Anderson, and Barton McGee) absolutely free!

Unlock the stretch goal by backing The Cipher today!

So, click on the link, become a part of the Cipher and remember…

Comics Are Hip Hop!

RETURN TO THE CIPHER

The long-running anthology featuring the true diversity in the comic book industry returns!

The 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape anthology series is a celebration of where true diversity exists in the comic book industry. Curated by Griot Enterprises’ publisher Jiba Molei Anderson (The Horsemen), this anthology celebrates the work of BIPOC creators from mainstream to independent, webcomics to graphic novels and everything in-between.

VOLUMES 06 & 07 SHOWED THE WORLD WHAT TIME IT IS!

Vol. 06 made it real again…

The Kickstarter campaigns for the last two volumes were a huge success! People flocked to see what creators like Sheeba Maya, Crystal Gonzalez, George Gant, Javier Cruz Winnick, Jamal Yaseem Igle, Kofi Bazzell-Smith, Jahni Kwatrae, Alan Saint Clark, Moana McAdams, J.M. Hunter, Ronnie Dukes & Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, Dedren Snead, Mason Easley, Tony Kittrell, Albert Morales, Michael Norton Dando, and Amber Denise Peoples brought to Vol. 06 – The Feel.

Vol. 07 was fascinatin’ while it was updatin’…

People like Vol. 06 so much, they came back for Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal which featured works from Blossom Blair, Newton Lilavois, JayDee Rosario, Bradley Golden, Keef Cross, Marcus Roberts, Ryan Francis, Lance Tooks, Corey Davis, Daimon Hampton, Brian J. Lambert, Giselle “FunkyPunkNYC” Bradshaw, and Sean Hill!

GRAB A SUIT AND GET IT TAPERED UP FOR VOLUME 08: CHANGE CLOTHES!

Cover by Aries Art… We are not playing!

Vol. 08 – Change Clothes promises to keep the party going! This volume leans hard into fantastic visions of the Motherland with this next crop of Visual MCs and Literary DJs who decided to grab the mic! Aries Art, Michael Watson, Raudric Curtis, Milton Davis, Andre Roberts, Terry Huddleson, Malachi Bailey, Akinboye Olasunkanmi, Juan Arevalo, Brett Hillesheim, Curtis “Specks” Thompson, Marc Blair, and Marco Lopez have all decided to enter the Cipher!

Say hello to the Class of ’22!

TELL THE WHOLE WORLD THE TRUTH IS BACK!

4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape is more than just an anthology of great comics. Each 126-page volume is a portable gallery featuring the past, present, and future of comics’ finest creators of color. It’s an academic document recording the evolution of the medium… It’s living history!

The stage is set and we’re back with another banger. The Cipher returns February 28, so click on the Kickstarter link, sign up to be added to the guest list, join the party and remember…

COMICS ARE HIP HOP

Ubuntu!

Kickstarter Pre-Launch Page

www.griotenterprises.com

4 PAGES 16 BARS SPOTLIGHT PT. 2

4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape is an anthology series that records the living history of #BlackComix, past, present and future. Here is the second in a series highlighting the Visual MCs and Literary DJs who decided to grab the mic!

bloo12 by Blossom Blair

Meet the cover artist for Mass Appeal: Vol. 07 in the 4 Pages 16 Bars anthology series!

Blossom Blair is an illustrator who likes painting sparkly girls. A brief introduction that belies an amazing talent, Blossom creates images of whimsy and true Black Girl Magic. Ms. Blair also happens to be the sister of 4 Pages Literary DJ Greg Anderson-Elysée, creator of Is’Nana the Were-Spider!

Justice written by Brian J. Lambert

The Angel has blessed the Cipher!

Fresh off their own successful Kickstarter, Wingless ComicsJustice will be one of the entries in 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal!

Justice is the brainchild of Brian J. Lambert, lead contributing writer at Wingless Entertainment. Brian published his first novel, Ascention- The Chrusion Saga Book 1. Brian was selected as a Reader’s Favorite Book Award Finalist in 2019 for Ascention.

He has also edited numerous independent works, including, Is’nana the Were-Spider by Greg Anderson Elysee, Akolyte, by Derek Allen, Nia Caler, by Dorphise Jean and the upcoming graphic novel, Beyond 13th, by Michael Ralph.

Shield of the Interceptor written by JayDee Rosario

Unstoppable Comics enters the Cipher!

Finding himself frustrated with the glaring lack of representation in the industry, JayDee Rosario started Unstoppable Comics in 2008 to give a space to perspectives not usually seen in mainstream comics.

Tired of stories that centered wealthy playboys and infallible gods, JayDee’s characters were inspired by folklore and the people around him. Unstoppable’s flagship title Shield of the Interceptor is loosely based on Arthurian legend and pays tribute to David Flynn, one of JayDee’s best and oldest friends who lives with acromegaly, a hormonal growth disorder.

The Horsemen: Manifest Destiny coming this fall!

But, wait… There’s more!

Griot Enterprises is proud to announce that its flagship title returns this fall with The Horsemen: Manifest Destiny!

The next installment of The New Mythology, The Horsemen: Manifest Destiny is a 64-page journey of three tales that continues to chronicle the past, present, and future of the Horsemen Universe.

Written and illustrated by Jiba Molei Anderson (with Kofi Malik Boone), the Kickstarter for The Horsemen: Manifest Destiny will begin in August and the book will be released this October. But everyone who backs the Kickstarter campaign for 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal will receive a 24-page B/W preview of Manifest Destiny absolutely FREE as a special thank you to everyone that made Volume 7 of the hottest anthology in comics a reality.

With 65 backers and 6 days left in our campaign, we are under $500.00 from our funding goal. Help us get over the finish line by donating to the 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal Kickstarter today!

4 Pages 16 Bars Kickstarter

www.griotenterprises.com

4 PAGES 16 BARS SPOTLIGHT

4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape is an anthology series that records the living history of #BlackComix, past, present and future. Here is the second in a series highlighting the Visual MCs and Literary DJs who decided to grab the mic.

Shirley’s Day by Ryan Francis

We’re very proud to introduce the next Visual MC to enter the Cipher as he was one of Jiba Molei Anderson’s (4 Pages 16 Bars Curator) students during his time as an animation / video game design professor at the Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg!

Ryan Francis is a Chicago-land independent artist and animator who has created artwork for children’s books, comics, T-shirts, video games. He also self-publishes comics such as, Shirley’s Day, Incident at the Game Store, and The Pizza Man.

Be_Come by Damion Hampton

The next Visual MC to grab the mic is a second-generation artist whose mother was a fellow classmate of Anderson’s at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago!

Damion Hampton is a UX designer and illustrator passionate about creative problem solving and the stories of those he designs for. Hampton’s work as a freelance comic book artist displays his interest in people and the desire for efficiency. Damion uses all of the skills he’s developed, balancing user needs with function, and crafting intuitive layouts in a role in User Interface Design, research, and as a Storyboard artist.

Dayblack by Keef Cross

Finally, we’re very glad that this next Visual MC decided to grab the mic and bring his flavor to the Visual Mixtape!

“Growing up being influenced by Ralph Bakshi, Vaughn Bode’, Wendy Pini, and Robert Crumb to name a few, really shaped my visual aesthetic.”

Keef Cross is a tattoo artist, painter, illustrator, and graphic novelist. He is the author and illustrator of Dayblack Volume 1. An Atlanta, resident, the diverse cast of individuals he has met in his tattoo chair is a big part of why he began the Dayblack comic series.

Imagine seeing this hanging in your LCS!

But, wait… There’s more!

Imagine seeing this poster in your Local Comic Book Store (LCS)!

For a $75 pledge, your LCS will receive 3 copies of 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal and 3 copies of 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape presents Sequential Graffiti. For the $100 pledge, Your LCS will receive 1 copy of the entire anthology series to carry in their store. Both pledges will receive this 30″ X 40″ poster to display in their store! If we get to $5000, this poster will be the stretch goal for all physical backers.

Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal is currently less than $1000 from its initial goal. With 12 days left, help us get over the finish line by donating to the hottest anthology in comics today!

4 Pages 16 Bars Kickstarter campaign

www.griotenterprises.com

Happy Birthday to the Gentleman of comics

George Perez birthday collage

At 19, a young Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx began his career at Marvel Comics. Since then, he did a couple of things, worked on a couple of comics you might have heard about: Justice League, Avengers, Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, Crisis on Infinite Earths… Y’know. Small sh*t.

Completely self-taught, he saw the mistakes in his artwork and corrected them through the use of reference and observation. A fan-favorite as well as an artist’s artist, He also inspired a couple of artists to follow in his footsteps of creating some of the most intricate and expressive comic book pages ever produced… including yours truly.

Some say don’t meet your heroes. I say bollocks to all of that. This cat happens to be the one of the kindest, most generous, souls ever to walk the planet. He remembers you. He’ll even put you into one of his comics. He’ll follow your work and let you know how proud he is of you making your way in this industry.

Welp, today is this gentlemen’s birthday. And so I celebrate George Perez, one of my “Mount Rushmore” comic art influences and one of the best to ever do it. Feliz cumpleaños, good sir!

4 Pages 16 Bars Vol. 07 montage

By the way, the Kickstarter for 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal is 52% funded. Help us get to $2000.00 this weekend by becoming a backer today!

4 Pages 16 Bars Kickstarter

There Are No Gatekeepers

Gatekeeper.

That’s an interesting word. Let’s check Webster’s Dictionary for the definition:

gate·keep·er

/ˈɡātˌkēpər/

noun

• an attendant at a gate who is employed to control who goes through it.

• a person or thing that controls access to something.

“the primary-care doctor serves as the gatekeeper to specialists”

It’s the second meaning that I see some refer to when discussing the comic book industry.

The Gold Standard returns this week in your LCS

Lately, I’ve been doing  a LOT of podcasts, interviews and presentations. All of them, in one form or another, incorporate the question, “How does one get into the comic book industry?” That question is easy to answer:

Make a comic book.  

Simple answer, right? Perhaps it’s too simple an answer. There must be something more involved to the process. There’s a reason why some comics succeed and some don’t, right? There has to be. For some, there has to be some outside force that’s preventing their ascension to the top of the charts.

“Money for marketing. That’s it. We don’t have enough money for marketing. Naw, it’s because we’re not unified as one comic book company. Yeah. That’s the reason why our books don’t get the acclaim that DC or Marvel get. No wait, I got it! The reason why we’re not getting noticed is because of the industry gatekeepers! Yeah! Distribution! Marketing budgets! Lack of corporate funding! All them gatekeepers. That’s why!”

Ummm… No.

There are no gatekeepers.

The grand finale to an epic run is also hitting the stands this week…

There is nothing keeping anyone from creating, printing, distributing and marketing your comic book. There is nothing in the way of preventing said creator to find, advertise and sell to their intended audience.

Print-On-Demand (POD) printers and distributors such as Amazon, Drive Thru Comics, Ka-Blam, Barnes & Noble will not only print books as needed, but also place them for sale in their online marketplaces with no cost for set-up fees nor minimum print runs.

Independent creators don’t need to follow the success model of the “Corporate Two.” We don’t have to pay for that infrastructure to be successful.

In terms of marketing, I have found that independent comic book creators actually do MORE promotion than the “Corporate Two” from consistent posting on social media, podcasts, conventions, etc.

Regina King is about to bring this gem to the screen!

Many of us #BlackComix creators already have our own comic book companies. Many of us have our distribution streams down pat as well as promoting our products throughout social media and other venues. In addition, there is an entire network of conventions, and a growing number of Local Comic Book Stores (LCS) that are owned by and cater to the African American audience.

Independent comics are having a moment, especially #BlackComix. For example, The World of Asunda (Niobe: She Is Life) is being developed for an HBO series, Bitter Root is being developed at Legendary (directed by Regina King) and more. Hell, my book The Horsemen is part of a long-term installation in the Smithsonian.

So many independent Black creators (that apparently don’t have the budget for promotion) are making power moves that are getting noticed. You may try and write off Kickstarter, but these cats are selling in-store numbers based on the funding goals.

I am SO looking forward to having this book in my hands this summer!

So, at the end of the day, the real fantasy is that #BlackComix are languishing unheard when cats like YouNeek Studios (Malika, EXO) signed major distribution deals with Dark Horse or a Black Comix company like Advent Comics signing with Diamond Distribution to get their books into your LCS or brothers like John Jennings (Kindred) are overseeing imprints like Megascope and pushing content that the public, at large, are picking up.

Nothing holds us back. Personally, I’m not competing with DC or Marvel. Different companies, different sizes, different goals. In fact, I’m not competing with anyone but myself.

There are no gatekeepers.

So, if there are no gatekeepers, how does one garner acclaim for the book that they want to create? The answer that question is simple:

Do the work.

Books like Abbott exist because the creators did what needed to be done!

This is doing the work:

Make the product. Make sure that the product can stand shoulder to shoulder with the industry standard and make sure that your product stands out from the rest.

Figure out what success looks like for YOU, not the “Corporate Two.” You don’t have corporate dollars. You don’t have damn near 100 years of market saturation. So why try to fashion your business after a model that is, honestly, outdated?

Market your product. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of money to market effectively. Again, social media has democratized the playing field. Me interacting with you, right now, is an act of marketing. But you have to know who you are as a brand to market effectively.

BE AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN THE COMMUNITY. Real talk, the reason why this question pisses me off is because every who asks this question is not doing their homework. Again, y’all so focused on what the “Corporate Two” is doing, y’all haven’t really been paying attention to the network that has already been created. I see more cats bitching about Black Superman than showing love to a book like Tuskegee Heirs. There is a whole history of #BlackComix that has been present since the beginning of the industry. More cats need to read up on it.

And don’t say that the work isn’t promoted because it pops up in Facebook groups & ads, Instagram and Pinterest posts as well as Twitter feeds all day, every day.

The reason why I created the 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape anthology series was to show that we don’t need one company to represent #BlackComix. Just like Hip Hop isn’t just Death Row or Tommy Boy or Disturbing Tha Peace, #BlackComix isn’t just Stranger Comics or Advent Comics or Griot Enterprises. It’s a culture hence the tagline “Comics Are Hip Hop.”

At the end of the day, those who complain and worry about gatekeepers, quite simply aren’t doing the work. They’re trying “game” the system and plan for success before putting pencil to paper. The rest of us are working the program and making it happen. There’s a whole community already there and it is strong. Y’all just need to pay attention… Because there are no gatekeepers.

Vol. 07 – Mass Appeal… The Cipher continues!

BTW, The Kickstarter of 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape Vol. 07. – Mass Appeal launches in June 1. Click here to be among the first notified!

www.griotenterprises.com

THE MEAN OL’ LION RETURNS

August 17 is the day that this #MeanOlLion makes his annual solar rotation. The only thing I ask for my birthday is…

Buy a Griot Enterprises product.

For example…

The Griot Enterprises Bunker Bundle

Want to read some great stories but don’t know where to begin? Then enjoy this affordable sampler of titles from Griot Enterprises! Return to the black & white format that put the company on the map with the 48-page one-shot Contrast: Blackness In White! Eshu, Navigator of the Crossroads travels the 256 Paths to recruit heroes from the dimensions of Black Comix in 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape presents The Union! And enter the worlds of The New Mythology with Griot’s flagship title, The Horsemen!

$5.00 for Digital, $20.75 for Print40% off the cover price!

Next up…

The New Mythology Bundle

Obatala, The Creator. Yemaya, The Protector. Oshun, The Light. Oya, The Catalyst. Shango, The Avenger. Ogun, The Architect. Eshu, The Trickster.

The Horsemen is the story of seven ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, as the gods of ancient Africa possess them. They have been chosen to protect humanity from itself…whether humanity wants them to or not.They combat those who control the fate of the planet. Through their actions, the world would never be the same. Read the groundbreaking Afrofuturistic saga from the very beginning and discover who controls the Eight Immortals but the number Seven!

$26.00 for Digital, $73.00 for PrintOver 40% off the cover price!

Oh, and what’s this?

The 4 Pages 16 Bars Bundle

The 4 Pages | 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape trade paperback series is a celebration of where true diversity exists in this industry, a sampler for potential fans to enjoy unique intellectual properties, a showcase for existing and upcoming talent as well as a source guide for those fans to purchase these books.

Each of the artists and writers in this series bring a unique, but shared viewpoint, in the creation of their work. The comic book industry is more than DC or Marvel. The scene is more diverse than Image or Dark Horse. This is visual Jazz, Rock, Funk, Hip Hop and electronic music. This is art for the people.

$25.00 for DigitalOver 50% off the cover price!

And last, but certainly not least…

The Devil’s Due Pack

“I’m hella uncomfortable at any attempt at glorifying the “sambo” image…”
– Someone who hasn’t read the book

“I’m good on this. Consider a name change…”
– Someone who hasn’t read the book

“And this is why people don’t take Black people seriously in the world of literature…”
– Someone who hasn’t read the book

Imagine what they would say if they actually read the book?

He rose up against those who oppressed his people. Using an image meant to denigrate a race, he united a people and created a mighty nation. Now, he must rise again to save the nation he created from the corruption within.

Incendiary, triggering and revolutionary, JBD: The Devil’s Due Definitive Collection, written and created by La Morris Richmond, featuring the art of Jiba Molei Anderson, Seitu Heyden & Barton McGee is available NOW from Griot Enterprises!

$4.00 for Digital… %50 off the cover price and the full trade paperback (with extras, natch) will available in Print ($24.99) and Digital ($9.99) formats August 23!

This is Leo Season! It’s a celebration! Drink up, be merry and grab some books from Griot Enterprises to build your collection of Black Comix!

Roar!



http://www.griotenterprises.com


A Word for 2019

Man.

I’ve been that “jack of all trades” for 20 years. 

Yeah, it’s a grind for real. I’ll say this: writing a business plan before starting to draw page one has allowed me to navigate the game thus far. But yes, I am ready to advance to the next stage…

Now, let me address (once again) the feasibility of the oft-mused about “Black comic book company.” 

I’ve seen some people try to take on the task of creating a huge comic book universe with dreams of a bunch of artists and writers coming on board to make this vision come true. Most times, it’s one person who wants to be the architect of this vision with the idea that they would become the next “Stan Lee,” the epicenter of this grand creative enterprise…

And, such thoughts lead, unfortunately, to nowhere or worse (feelings of betrayal, bitterness, clique-forming, etc.). Why? I’ll tell you… 

Today, creators want to tell their own stories, build their own universes, and they can. Nothing is holding them back not even economics if they have the skill set to make their IP come to life (or create fundraisers on platforms like Kickstarter to raise capitol). 

Making the comic is the easy part, the “fun” part. Handling the marketing and business of promoting the comic is where the real work lies. Building a fandom is a beast. That takes marketing, consistently putting out a quality product (not monthly, necessarily, but consistently), having a web presence (not just Instagram or Facebook but an actual website), going to conventions, pressing the flesh… The game ain’t for the faint of heart nor part-time players.

What would become The Horsemen began as “The Race” (later retitled The Manifest) in the wayback of the 90s…

The good thing about Diamond when I got in the game was that they demanded seeing three issues before soliciting the first one. So, one had to have a complete arc from jump.

A lot of neophyte creators don’t plan for the long haul. Too many focus on that one issue hoping it will hit before doing a second one.  I think some people need to focus on creating a solid story (beginning, middle, and end) as opposed to creating universes from jump. Universes come with time and consistent output. But first, you need to get a story out there to build the universe on. 

Let me also say this on the creative end: don’t wait for your universe to be built before launching your title. 

With The Horsemen, I did have the makings of a comic universe based on a couple of concepts that were percolating when I was an undergrad at U of Michigan back in the day. this existed before I even thought of The Horsemen themselves. Those concepts didn’t begin coming to fruition until my graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where my thesis project birthed both The Horsemen and the 4 Pages 16 Bars project.

Graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago gave birth to The New Mythology…

When I decided to enter the game, I knew that waiting until I had everything fleshed out creatively or skill-wise could mean that I’d be waiting forever. In other words, I knew that I would get in the way of my work seeing the light of day. Getting the book out was the most important thing. 

I stopped looking at comics from a fan perspective and started to really look at them as an art form and as a product. I knew I had the skill set to make it look and read comparable to the industry standard package and design-wise. I also knew that the more I did it, the better and more sophisticated the work would become. It had to be good, but it didn’t have to be perfect. The point was to get the property out to the world, to “plant my flag” and to keep coming with new product.

On the creative side, I allowed the universe to grow naturally bringing those concepts into the story as the story progressed. I also kept myself open to new ideas as they popped up. By the time I published Mythos: The Official Handbook of the Horsemen Universe and Lumumba Funk, I realized that I had my universe with the characters, worlds and rules intact. I also found out that I established at least two spin-off properties from that world if I so choose to do that. It took 20 years, but in that 20 years, I put out The Horsemen so that readers could take the journey with me.

The world kept getting bigger, and I took my readers along for the ride…

The reason why I created the 4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape series is for people to sample different works from creators of color and guide them to said creators’ websites and such to purchase those books. Somewhat of the same concept as a company without the hassle of needless “continuity” between disparate creators and their own publishing/transmedia goals.

When it comes to bringing different properties under one banner, a business model similar to the Image Comics of 2019  is more feasible than a shared universe. Reason being, as stated above, building a cohesive comic book universe takes time. For example, DC’s multiverse exists because of acquisition (i.e. absorbing the properties of other comic book companies like CharltonFawcett,Wildstorm, etc.) whereas Marvel’s was more cohesive with a singular writing architect (initially Stan Lee) with equally creative artistic input from visual storytellers like Jack KirbySteve Ditko, etc. Even then, that took years to build. 

Initially, all that creating the Image Comics’ model would take is a number of books carrying the same brand logo similar to the Image “I.” In addition to carrying that brand on the selected properties, said books would cross promote each other’s properties via social media, free ad swaps in their books, pooling resources to get small press tables at conventions, much like Hip Hop crews like the Native Tongues (The Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Black Sheep, etc.), the Soulquarians (D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Common, J Dilla, The Roots, etc.), the Wu-Tang Clan and others whose similar sensibilities added to the success of the individual groups or artists.

4 Pages 16 Bars: A Visual Mixtape is the comic book equivalent of the fabled “posse cut…”

I have a plan for that and a symbol…

And yet, you still find people complaining about the lack of representation in comics.

The real issue is that, simply, some people call themselves comic book fans when really, all they only read is either DC or Marvel comics instead of really looking for what’s out there. Even when they say they read comics from other publishers, it’s either early Image (SpawnYoungblood, etc.) or Milestone, which hasn’t published a book since 2010.

And, the whole excuse of “we can’t find them” is complete and utter bullshit as we creators are promoting our works every single day on social media. Point blank period, the DC/Marvel acolytes ain’t checking for them because of the fact that those books aren’t from DC or Marvel.

Can you believe that this property secured the bag and will become an animated series? I can! Congrats, Anthony Piper!

The point is this: if you just read DC or Marvel comics, that’s fine. We all read DC or Marvel. They’re the “fast food” of comic book companies especially today.

But, if you complain about a lack of Black characters or Black creators, and only look at DC or Marvel as salvation as opposed to at least exploring offerings from independent creators, that’s a problem. 

The whole “dreaming and wishing” phase has long past with so many creators and properties getting shine and making waves. Unfortunately, it seems that its only Black fans, the loudest complainers honestly, who refuse to be up on the game…

I think that’s partly because those cats don’t need to “invest” in DC/Marvel properties like they do the indies. 

They can talk about what DC/Marvel does all the live long day subconsciously knowing that the “Corporate Two” ain’t really listening to them. Also, they don’t necessarily have to buy “Corporate Two” books because of close to 100 years of market saturation.

Not gonna lie… Far Sector is the business…

With indies like us, first they have to buy our books. There’s no workaround from that. Second, they know whatever they say will get a quick response, which isn’t necessarily a good thing (seriously, some cats need to get out of their feelings). 

Also, there’s a fear factor involved in the sense that those who yap and create aren’t ready to hear critiques of their work (for real, get out of your feelings).

Finally, the “Corporate Two” stans want to feel like they are a part of the “mainstream” comic book community. That’s why they bitch so much about a Blue Marvel or John Stewart flick because they feel “if ‘mainstream’ fans (read: you know what I mean) watch it then I am, tangentially, of value.”

Yeah, I said it. I said that shit.

I’ve heard this same argument or plea or solution for the past five years. And, even though I personally made inroads to solve this problem, the fact is that if cats want the Black heroes, they think DC or Marvel should be making, they need to look outside of DC or Marvel to find them.

I see way too many people wish for the “Corporate Two” to make the type of Black characters or books that some #BlackComix creators have already made. I see too many fans wish for some sort of mainstream “approval” when there is more than enough material we created to build and support our own fandom.

Just like Jazz, Hip Hop, and Rock & Roll, we as Black folk have the opportunity to be ahead of the curve by supporting great indie Black Comix which would lead to more books which would lead to the “mainstream” wanting that content. 

This book looks like hot fiyah! Looking forward to getting this in my mail box…

But until that day comes, I’ma keep making comics and celebrate other great books from Black creators like Crescent City MonstersExcellence, Is’nana the Were-Spider, the upcoming Bass Reeves and more because they deserve more of my support and energy than a book from the “Corporate Two.”

A blueprint has been laid out. Question is: will someone follow it?

For real, y’all. Get familiar…

http://www.griotenterprises.com