Category Archives: Interviews

Mighty Morphin: The Karen Ashley Interview

There’s allot people don’t know about Karen Ashley, sure she was the first black female power ranger during the heights of the 90′s “Power Ranger mania” but she has the often forgotten talent of singer and dancer coupled with a mind that churns out a variety of scripts whether it be movie or sitcom. Sit back and don’t let her “girl next door charm fool you she’s the real deal!

Hello Karen Ashley

Q) Welcome Karen, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am! For those who may not be familiar with who you are, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m just a normal girl with a dream to be an actress and entertainer. I’m from Odessa Texas and was raised in Dallas Texas. I live in LA and love the weather and hate the traffic here :)

Q) How did you break into show business?
I got my first big break in a group called KRUSH. We got signed to A&M record and were on the Mo. Money sound track. while in the group we all auditioned for parts on Sister Act 2 and did not get them. What I did get was the desire to be an actress and the rest is history.

Q) Tell us about K.R.U.S.H, how did the group form and what does it stand for?

It stand for Keep Reaching Up some How and we all lived in Dallas Texas.. We formed the group at Six Flags while taping a local dance show.

Q) What was the experience like working with K.R.U.S.H?

KRUSH was a good and bad experience. It was good because my work ethic came from how hard we worked. It was bad because our dream of releasing our album never came true. It was hard to always have to compromise in a group and it was a lot to deal with at such a young age.

Q) Do you still sing? Would you go back to the music business?

I still sing but I really don’t have the desire to sing anymore professionally. That’s what I say now but who knows what the future holds.

Q) What happened to K.R.U.S.H? Was the group dissolved or did you guys just separate for creative reasons?

Both! We were dropped from our label after being signed for 5 years and through those 5 years we grew up and we grew apart. It was the best thing that happened to me because I got Power Rangers 2 months later.

Q) Any regrets in regards to your music career?

No regrets! It was so much fun and I have fond memories of being in KRUSH

Q) How did you land the role of Aisha Campbell on Power Rangers?

I went to an open casting call in Dallas. There were thousands of people there and I guess I was what they were looking for because 4 days later I had a call back in LA and got the part.

Q) How did your life change after being cast?

It changed completely. I moved from Texas to LA. I was away from my family for the first time. It was 12-15 hour days and a lot of hard work.

Q) Your role as Aisha Campbell on Power Rangers is your most popular…….who was Aisha Campbell?

she was the girl next door. Always positive and always wanting to help people. She was the kind of girl we all would want to be like, She was a super hero!!!

Q) What was the experience like working on, arguably the most popular incarnation of power rangers at the height of its success?

It was a whirlwind. I was not familiar with the show so when I first got the job I was just excited to be moving to LA and have an acting job. I had no clue how popular it was until after we shot the movie.

The Power Ranger Movie!

Q) Tell us about working on the Power Ranger movie.

The movie was an amazing experience. it shot in Sydney Australia and I had never even been out of the country. It was the most beautiful place I has ever seen. I was so happy to be apart of that shoot. I made a lot of friends and since we had only been on the show a few months prior to shooting the movie “we” as a cast really got the chance to know each other and become very good friends.

Q) Funniest moments as a Power Ranger?

Just hangin on the set and acting stupid. During a long day you couldn’t help but loose your mind a little. we would all joke around all the time to pass the time.

Living Life on my own terms

I look seeing and hanging with all my old cast members. We try to hang out as much as we can but we all have very busy schedules. It’s also really nice to meet all the cast members from the different seasons. I had never met any of them so it was very cool to get to know them all.

Q) Why did you leave the Power Rangers series?

It’s no secrete that Saban did not pay us well at all and after about a year of being on the show they started to not treat us well at all, I felt it was time and decided to go.

Q) What do you regret most about your time on Power Rangers?
Nothing! no regrets!
Q) Fondest memories of being a Ranger?

I can’t pick one but the whole experience in Australia with my cast was priceless.

Q) Tell us about Life after Power Rangers.

I have continued to be an actress and have great success bouncing around as a guest star on different TV show. I formed my own production company quite a few years ago and have had the pleasure of producing, acting and writing my own projects.

You think you know? You have no idea!

Q) Do you think Power rangers opened or closed doors for you?
Definitely opened doors for me. who else other than my fellow cast mates can say they were on the #1 kids show in America. we have a loyal fan base that after MANY years still shows up to conventions and tells us that our show changed their life. It’s amazing still to this day the impact we had on kids and I would not trade that accomplishment for nothing in life.

Q) You’ve appeared on “Hanging with Mr. Cooper,” “The Parkers,” “Kenan and Kel,” “One on One,” and had a recurring role on “The Steve Harvey Show.” What were those like?

They were all really great experiences. I learned something new on each and every show. It was different to go on a show and not know anyone and then after a week have experience and worked hard with a group of professionals. you really got an inside look at what made each of those shows so popular. everyone had their own way of doing things and that can really shape you as an actress. I learned so much!

Q) Your Hanging with Mr. Cooper was heavy stuff; you actually died at the end. What impact do you thing that episode had on television at the time?

It was a huge impact. Back then it was rare for a sitcom to talk about Gang Violence let alone have a character killed. People always bring up “Hangin with Mr. Cooper”, it was very memorable for a lot of people. It really touched allot of people too.

Q) What was your favorite project after Power Rangers?

Beautiful inside and out

So Far my favorite projects have been my own. I love to write, create and see a project or idea you had come to life. It’s the most amazing thing ever!

Q) What kind of work have you done for Disney and Nickelodeon?
I did a Halloween special for Disney and Kenan an Kel was a Nick show.

Q) How many movies have you worked on?
Probably 6 or 7 I’d have to look at my resume :) LOL

Q) (LAUGH) Could you tell us about them?

They were all different. everything from a comedy to a horror film. I love the challenge of becoming many different characters.

Q) What can you tell us about GAG Order Films?
GAG Order was my old production company. We produced 2 films together and I decided to strike out on my own and I created KASH Pictures. still very good friends with my old partners at GAG Order

Q) Any new projects you want to share with us?
Yes, KASH Pictures is in the development stage on a new sitcom names Grown Ups. Check out our fan page on face book and spread the word. we should be shooting a sizzle reel next month, shopping the show next year to different networks and hopefully bringing it to a TV near you soon!!!

2011/2012 holds many things. First off is ‘Grown Ups’ a sitcom I co-created and wrote. I will be executive producer. We are in the early stages but very excited about getting the sizzle reel, pilot and finally finding a TV home for this project.

The Future is bright!

Q) That sounds cool! Tell us a little about Grown Ups. What’s it about? cast crew etc?

Grown Ups is a sitcom about 3 friends venture into business together. Along the way they not only realize they need each other but they also need the help of their friends and family to create the “Hottest Club” in Los Angeles. This show is more mature but a lot of fun. Imagine a cross between “3s company” and “The Game”.

Grown Ups has an amazing cast: Wesley Jonathan, Karan Ashley, Alisa Reyes and Anneliese Van derPol. Many more cast members coming soon. Stay Tuned!!!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us Ms. Ashley! We look forward to your next big project!


Introducing Raw Leiba! The Interview

The Black Panther Movie has been in limbo and the rumor mill for what seems like forever! Wesley Snipes, Djmonn Honsou, adewale akinnuoye-agbaje, Idris Elba, Michael Jai White, so many great actors all rumored or talked about in relation to this enigmatic project. But while the titular character has been talked about it seems like only we here at Black Heroes have thought of the Nemesis of the Black panther in our own movie castings but recent rumors of Raw Leiba’s trip to Marvel have set the Black Panther Movie rumors ablaze! Leiba is an imposing and powerful looking actor who instantly evokes Erik Killmonger, we tracked him down for a little Q &A as we dig deeper in the Black Panther Movie and this real life Erik Killmonger doppelganger!

1) Welcome Raw for those who may be unfamiliar with you can you tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Raw Leiba I’m an actor/producer with allot of god given ability, talent and genetics that’s got me here talking you right now. I’ve had the opportunity to know and work with some great actors like Bradley Cooper, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,Robert DeNiro,Idris Elba,Jonah Hill, Tony Todd, Sam Rockwell, Jason Mamoa and Kato Kaelin (laughing)..Yeah I worked with Kato Kaelin on a TV series called The Fantastic Two look it up..(laughing)

2) Tell us a bit about your parents, in particular your dad who was a US Army Veteran and served with the famed Tuskegee Airmen in WWII.

My father is was half Comanche Indian half African American and my Mom was Brazilian I have relatives in Venezuela, Trinidad, Spain as well as the Comanche reservation in Oklahoma and of course Newark NJ. My father did serve with the “T.A” BUT not as A pilot, but was the Mechanic for the planes they were flying and that job was just as dangerous. I remember him saying how scary it was to try and fix a plane with bombs flying around you and allot of those pilots will tell you they owe their existence to him, I sometimes get a little pissed about this issue because they recognize the pilots as they should, but how about the guys they kept them up there?

3) What was life like growing up?

Growing up for me was interesting, I grew up an athlete as was most of my siblings we loved sports and excelled at most of them, its where my confidence came from, in my mind I could anything physically I first dunked a basketball when I was 12 ,could run like a Cheetah and my dad honed all my natural abilities, he made sure I ate right ,I didn’t weight train till I was 13 stayed away from drugs and alcohol INFACT I’ve never had not even a sip of alcohol in my entire life YEP not even sip, If you cut me open I’m all pink inside.

4) Who was your favorite Superhero growing up?

Wow I had a few, loved the Hulk, The Flash, Black Vulcan, Iron Man loved Black Panther because not only was did he have super powers but was very smart and was a master tactician and a fair ruler and PLUS didn’t he have a “history” with Storm?..hmmm you hear that Halle Berry?

5) What’s your fondest memory as a kid?

Again this is not just a single answer question cause it’s not just one moment, but every time my parents would say they were proud of me, no matter what it was ,sports ,school or whatever I was doing, to hear them say that meant the world to me.

6) How did you become a model?

I don’t know..lol..to be honest..I remember a casting agent calling my physique “Superheroish” and saying “ya know you’ve got a great physique you should do so modeling maybe sports modeling I’m gonna give your picture to some clients of mine, next thing you know i was in a commercial for a sporting goods chain and doing print work.

7) Breaking into show business is hard, how did you manage the transition from just a “pretty body to actor?

Wow a couple things happened, while still doing sports modeling I was fortunate enough to land a job at a Radio Station in NYC (I and my brother were communications majors at Arizona State University), I enjoyed being on air I thought radio would be my calling and worked at a couple of stations in the area when a chance meeting happened.  I was walking on 53rd street in Manhattan reading a magazine (this is not something you wanna do in NYC), I glance at the magazine and ran smack into “TheFonz” Henry Winkler, while I was apologizing he says “no problem, Hey you have an interesting look you should be an actor I bet there aren’t 2 people that look like you” I took that as a sign and went to Howard University in DC to take acting lessons with Al Freeman who played Elijah Muhammad in Malcom X, then I heard about this show called “Help Wanted” on the TLC where they wanted people who could act, but also were athletic and could do stunts and I figured this could be my way into the film business so I put my acting, sports and Martial Arts background to the test and out of over 75,000 people who tried out nationally it came down to 5 people and I was one of them.

8)  “Help Wanted” for TLC what was it and what was most memorable about it? Help Wanted was a show where competitors compete for one real job

World renown stunt coordinator Brian Smyj, he’s a tough no nonsense guy who knows his stuff in the world of movie stunts and he wasn’t easy on me or the other 4 competitors..in the finals I faced Kelly Bellini, who’s now one of the top stunt people in the United States and I won in an epic battle.

So I owe Actor/Producer Henry Winkler,Brian Smyj and another great stunt coordinator Jeff Gibson who did The Wire for being in the position I am now.

9) Tell us about your role on “The Wire”, what did you enjoy the most?

The Wire was awesome I remember it being one of the best experiences in my career. I got to work with great actors and two outstanding directors, I played a character who was originally unnamed but then Director Joe Chappelle decided on set that my character would be named “Cave” and I was to work directly with Idris Elba who was playing Russell “Stringer” Bell , I learned allot from him, he’s a great guy and I consider him a friend..as you know THE WIRE was a hard core show and realism was very important. I remember in one scene Stringer walks past me as I’m guarding the door, as I start to go with him he say’s “stay the f-ck there”. After the scene was over Idris comes up to me and in the most delightful British accent says “I apologize for my language, know that I do not talk like that”, I was in shock and I said “Idris its ok we are actors, we are acting and besides do you think I’d take that shit from you in real life”. The Irony is my character and Stringer were killed in a warehouse that same day by the hands of Omar Little (Michael K. Williams).The next day talented director Ernest Dickerson was the director for the final show of that season.

But the thing I remember most is telling Idris that his end on The Wire was the beginning for Idris Elba the actor and he hasn’t disappointed, he’s a fantastic actor.

10) Man your pretty “ripped” to say the least, tell us about your training regiment and diet?

When my schedule allows it I work out(lift weights) 5 days a week for about 1 hour and a half with days 6 and 7 just for Cardio, I normally have all this worked out with the director and producers of the films I’m doing and manage to find a gym in whatever city or whatever country. My diet is basically a low carb high protein diet, I eat allot of fish, chicken, veggies, Salmon is my favorite food I never eat pasta and haven’t had a slice of Bread in 12 Years and no I don’t miss it..lol

10A) You were voted one of the 55 sexiest actors in a recent publication this year,How did that make you feel…

Flattered, you have to be..I didn’t expect it, but it’s nice to see somebody is watching :) Now to be sexy with my shirt on that’s another thing, I will have to consult my cousin (World famous Hollywood stylist Freddie Leiba) for some fashion tips.

11) What do you do for fun?

I love Basketball and use it as part of my Cardio (and I will not hesitate to dunk on you),but I love to ride horses and on occasion I skydive, I’m really looking to get a pilot’s license, I’d like to own my own plane and fly to the Caribbean and island hop .

12) Rumors abound of your casting as Black Panther’s Erik Killmonger, Why the interest in this particular character who’s not very well known? 

Easy one, because he’s an expert fighter and can match Black Panther both Mentally and Physically and hopefully if I’m officially offered the role of Erik Killmonger my performance will make him very well known. Actors will tell you its allot more fun to be the bad guy, you can go outside the script a little bit and add your own personal touch to the character and it doesn’t hurt I look EXACTLY like the guy.

13) Why do you think is it important to have black Superheroes?

Well let’s look at the Word “Superhero” you got the word “Super” and you’ve got the word “hero”, I think a hero should be positive in some way, there are many heroes in different fields and they are and should be a positive influence on all of us. A Superhero is just a hero with more advanced powers whether they be physical, mental or what have you and why not have those superheroes be more reflective of the world we live in..if your Latin, Black, Chinese or Native and grew up when I did you more than likely didn’t know much about superheroes of color, heroes and Superheroes are in all colors. I love what Marvel did with the Blatino Spider-man, it was overdue and they took action, I think it’s much more reflective of who we are as a society.

14) What are you currently working on?

Well I had the opportunity to work with Jonah Hill and Sam Rockwell in THE SITTER I recently finished a project called “Ember Days” where I play the role of “Azazel” and another feature film called “Cybornetics” where I play “Ice Morales” which will also be out in 2012…. As a producer myself, Tony Timpone (chief editor at Fangoria Magazine) and Antonio Saillant (Angellight Pictures) are working on “Dream Destinations” The Biography of Ted Kotcheff who produced and directed some of the most iconic films of our time like “Rambo First Blood”, “Weekend at Bernie’s” and is Currently the Executive Producer of “Law & Order SVU”, I’m also working on an action feature film called “Mambo2Mambo” which will be a hot, sexy action feature with Mambo dance as the backdrop

15) What can we expect from you in the future?

I want to take on more challenging roles, I like things that are outside the box so I’m hoping more of those will be offered to me I’d like to play a superhero or supervillain role if not this one maybe some other one in the future..I’ll also be producing more and work with other experienced producers and directors..Then sometime soon I will take the director’s chair.

16) Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to hang with us Raw, and you Surely have my vote for Erik Killmonger we look forward to a long action packed career with you center stage! 

The pleasure was all mine thank you for having me and giving me the opportunity to share myself with your wonderful readers.


Help Jamaica Interview

There’s something to be said about reading and writing and how much it really does change your life on every conceivable level. Before I even started this site I had tried and successfully found that comic books were a far better way to teach young males an appreciation for books and reading. Imagine how thrilled I was when I ran into Birte Timm, called Brite by her friends who’s part of the “Help Jamaica” organization which is all about facilitating and nurturing reading programs here in Jamaica.   I was so impressed with their work I had to sit down with Brite to share the details on this exciting and life changing Non Profit organization.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Birte Timm, in Jamaica many people call me “Brite”. I am born close to Hamburg, Germany, and studied history, philosophy and educational studies at the University of Hamburg. I am currently working on finishing my PhD thesis about the Jamaica Progressive League, one of the first groups that demanded self-government for Jamaica. I currently live in Berlin, but during the past years I spent much time living and working in Kingston, which really became my second home. I love Jamaican music and I love to dance, I love cooking, discussing, reading, meeting interesting people and live life to the fullest.
Tell us about Help Jamaica, How was it formed?

The idea was born when I visited the Trenchtown Reading Center. The founder, Roslyn Ellison from Canada, had invited me when I met her at the place I was renting at Black Scorpio Studio. When I saw the type of book collection with its focus on Caribbean literature, history, children books and biographies, the idea connected immediately. For a long time, I had the vision to work with youths, do explore alternative approaches to education, to offer opportunities to the bright and ambitious youths that lack access to the resources and the environment that channels intelligence into knowledge to empower themselves. But it was at this time, that the idea manifested and a concrete vision took shape. The next time I went to the TRC to show it to my boyfriend, Hilmar “Hille” Keding, who was likewise impressed by the atmosphere in the facility, and the kids that were all engaged in educational activities and beamed with joy about the books and games that were offered. He immediately shared my vision to support the TRC by fundraising activities in Europe.  As a selector for one of Germany’s biggest sound-systems, Soundquake, he had the links to make things happen. We started to cooperate with a T-Shirt company that produced a charity T-Shirt for the TRC and organized charity parties in Germany. Our efforts were met with enthusiasm and success, so that we decided to put things on another level and to build another similar facility in Kingston. Together with a friend, Kevin Thompson, and some other people from Cassava Piece, we started to map out how things could be going and started to look for a suitable building. In August 2008, we officially registered the non-profit organization in Germany and started to look for members and supporters to stem the work. Our little team started to grow, and many supporters of the first hours are still very active in the organization. In March 2009 we additionally registered a non-profit organization in Jamaica. In October 2010, two of our members joined our board in Germany; Nadia Hentschel from Sentinel Sound and Annina Beck. They share not only their links in the music industry, but also their professional educational experience and are instrumental in the design of our educational concepts. Annina now takes care of our accounting and financial matters in Germany. Both of them have been in Jamaica around the time of the opening and helped to build the Education Center that we recently opened in Cassava Piece from scratch. They and the whole team of HELP Jamaica! members and volunteers dedicate an impressive amount of time and dedication towards the project … without all this voluntary work, for example by our volunteers on the ground, Julia, Ashanti, Janika, Maja and many others, the project would not be possible.
What does Help Jamaica do?
HELP Jamaica! raises funds to support and establish educational projects in Jamaica. We focus on literacy and want to provide access to knowledge, support creativity and encourage talent to build the self-esteem of young people. Our projects are aimed to especially support youths who grow up in poor inner city communities and often lack the access to books, computers and also to encouragement to focus on education and to explore and develop their talents. For this purpose, we established our first Center in the community of Cassava Piece in Kingston 8. We offer daily homework assistance and help with Gsat and CXC preparations, reading and literacy support, art and craft, computer classes for young and old, maths classes, a gardening class where kids learn to grow vegetables, various games and outside activities, a weekly drama group, we soon want to form a football and a netball team, start a youth club and have millions of ideas what else we would like to offer! But of course, funding is crucial, so we start basic and very happy about what we can offer already.

We hope that we can help bridge the gap between uptown and the poor and disadvantaged communities and hope that a lot of Jamaicans who had enjoyed a good education take on responsibility and support our project in whatever way. Internationally, HELP Jamaica tries to offer a channel for people who love Jamaica and its culture to directly support young people in their development and thereby help them to help the whole country. The next generation is confronted with a big challenge to deal with the problems the country faces, so the youths need to be well equipped!
Why was Jamaica chosen as a Beneficiary of Help?
Well, Jamaica and the love for the music have been there even before we thought of a project. So there was no need to choose a country… Everything just developed naturally. Everybody who is involved in HELP Jamaica! shares this deep love for the country, that was at the foundation of the idea. The majority of the funds are provided by people who live with Jamaican music and culture every day. Bob Marley’s message had truly spread out all over the world. Many Reggae artists today help to spread not only the positive vibes that Reggae music embodies, but also the protest against the bad living conditions, the discrimination, the hardships that growing up in Jamaica also means for many. We believe that people who play sound systems, who love Reggae and Dancehall, who love to sing and dance wish to contribute to the upliftment of the people and to give something back for the gift they receive through the music. This is true for the founders, the members and the supporters, this is the foundation of HELP Jamaica! Apart from that I believe that Jamaica as a country really needs many projects like the Center in Cassava Piece to overcome poverty, divide, violence and hatred that is poisoning the society.
As a non profit organization how do you keep things going?

All our work in Germany is done by volunteers in and outside the organization. Without the selfless efforts of the members of HELP Jamaica! and of all supporters, our work would be impossible. For example, our webmaster Severin Collins and our designer Hekmek, who developed the logo, constantly donate their services. Since we have started to work in Jamaica, volunteers from Germany have been living in Jamaica for several months and helped establishing the facility. In Europe and slowly also in other parts of the world, people get to know HELP Jamaica! and support our work with donations, charity parties, or donations of books and material. So many sound systems from all over Europe have organized or played at charity party’s and donated the proceeds, artists and musicians performed for free… Jamaican bookstores like Bookophilia and Sangster’s Book Stores and the Book Industry Association have been instrumental in providing our initial collection. Food For The Poor donated a computer-station with 10 monitors. The German Embassy has provided a grant of 10.000 Euro for the renovation of the building and the landscaping.

The promoters of Germany’s two biggest Reggae Festivals, support us, the Summer jam in Cologne by asking for donations from the people on the guest list and Sheriff, the promoter of the Reggae jam in Bersenbrück donates 5000 Euro after the festival and offers us place for our info-booth in the middle of the festival ground. Sound-Systems and promoters organize charity parties for HELP Jamaica! and donate the benefits, artists, bands and selectors perform for free and many individuals support us with donations or by subscribing to our supporting membership (you can download the form on our website). We also sell charity products, like the “Gullside College” T-Shirt that the Swedish Label Skank had produced for us without taking one cent for the design or the distribution; this year we will have new edition on another color and try producing the shirt also for girls. We sell charity calendars for which professional photographers donated their pictures, from Stasha Bader (Rocksteady – The Story of Jamaican Music) to Peter Dean Rickards (Afflicted Yard) and many many more. The artist and comic author Nicholas DaSilva included us in his “Dread and Alive” story and donated a percentage of the proceedings. The German “Help The Children Foundation” donated towards the opening ceremony and money for printing staff T-Shirts. Many more people supported us, too much mention! Currently we work on a cooperation with the artist Michael Thompson and we will produce a set of art-postcards that will be available in a few weeks. So in a nutshell, everybody who supports our work helps to keep things going…

What impact do you think Help Jamaica has on young people?
The HELP Jamaica! Center in Cassava Piece offers all sort of support, from homework assistance to creative arts. The books provide inspiration and encourage youths to appreciate their heritage and to know their history. Access to computers prepares and equips them with the necessary skills to be competitive in job applications. The guided usage of the internet connects them with the outside world and helps them to do the research for their various projects at school and all information needs they have. We hope we can have a positive impact on the life of the young people who come daily, and it is a very good sign, that a lot them come on a regular basis, many of the 50-60 kids that come daily are there every day. The team of professionals and assistants from the communities act as a positive role model and tries to encourage the youths in their personal development. The love, respect, encouragement and appreciation that the kids feel when coming to the Center alone can change how they feel about themselves.

Why do you believe that Reading is so important?
Reading has played a crucial role in my personal upbringing, my parents used to read to me before I went to sleep, my grandfather read to me every mid-day and so I was blessed to grow up in a lot of phantasy worlds. I couldn’t wait to read for myself and since then, I do that extensively. I believe that reading and books provide inspiration for children and helps them to develop their personality. By exploring other worlds and learning about different cultures we inescapably develop a different outlook, fresh ideas, new ways of thinking. It also equips you with powerful rhetorical skills and weapons to argue, to discuss and to convince people. Well, and of course you can learn all sort of things and expand your knowledge and your horizon…
What are the benefits of being able to read as opposed to not being able to?
At our opening ceremony, many of the speakers cited Garvey’s statement that if you want to hide knowledge from a black man you have to put it into a book. Being able to read and have access to books about history, culture, biographies of inspiring personalities will inspire critical thinking. This is necessary to assume control over one’s own decisions in life and can encourage young people to want take over responsibility for the surrounding they life in, for their communities and their country. Illiteracy is a means to keep people uneducated and to deny them access to jobs, opportunities and a self-determined life.
What kind of feedback have you gotten on the work you’ve done?
The feedback is overwhelming. Sometimes the encouragement and big-ups from very different types of people literally shake me up in the daily working routine and help me to overcome the many challenges and strives.

The feedback from the supporters and partners in Europe and America is really encouraging and everybody is proud and happy to see that our common efforts now start to bear fruits. The feedback from the children and adults who utilize the Center is wonderful. Their turn-out in considerable and increasing numbers is a proof in itself! About 50-65 kids utilize the Center and a great number of adults come every day to read a book, to look up things on the internet and to meet others. The community is proud that we all together have been able to establish this facility. We are really happy that many conflicts and feuds have been ended amongst people who now cooperate and are part of our core team. The Center has provided a sign of hope and encouragement and really has unifying effect on the community suffers a lot from division, violence, fear and suspicion. Many people have warned us and recommended to keep our hands off Cassava Piece as it would be too divided and to difficult. The fact that we have reached so far and really opened the facility within 2 years of planning and fundraising impresses a lot of people. So we got a lot of positive feedback from the community and also advise and support from the surrounding institutions, like the neighboring schools, the police, the Abilities Foundation, the Social Development Commission and many other organizations and individuals. What is missing now are the big companies that love the work we do and come on board by helping us to stem the monthly costs, to improve the facility and to finally one day make our dream become reality to open up more similar facilities in Jamaica in the future!
What’s the proudest moment for you since Help Jamaica began?
In the night before the opening ceremony a 23 year old youth from Cassava Piece I had not consciously met before approached me in front of the Center. He told me how much he loves to see what is happening and that the community really needs a library and community center. In that moment I started to realize that what we have dreamed of for two years of hard work, sweat and persistence was now about to become true and that young people already started to look towards the Center even before we have opened our doors to the public. During the whole ceremony on the next day an indescribably pride and joy was flowing through my veins – when Karl Samuda admitted that he has not been successful in his effort to establish a computer center in the building that we now use, when Romain Virgo sang “Who feels it knows it” and Darrio from the Subkonshens Camp encouraged the youths to fulfill their dreams. Or when Rising Star Second Winner Camaley from Cassava Piece encouraged the youths that everybody can rise up and had the Director of the Culture Department o the Ministry for Youth, Sports and Culture, Mr. Bartles, skank in a frenzie, when my partner Hille and I cut the ribbon and we all went inside and saw the finished library equipped with books and computers – that was the proudest moment, maybe in all my life.
How can we the public help you continue the great work?
There are so many ways, and everybody can be a part of our effort! Of course one of the most crucial needs is to raise funds for the monthly expenses, the salaries, the utility bills, communication cost, and of course money for material, games etc. We also appreciate donations of books, art and craft material, office supplies, especially when directly donated in Jamaica, as shipping is a financial challenge. Individual donations, supportive memberships, charity cooperation with companies, charity parties or shows are ways how we do our fundraising at the moment. People can support our work by volunteering their time and actively help in the daily work at the Center. Business could donate towards our non-profit organization in Germany or in Jamaica and get their tax-deduces, we are looking for powerful partners from corporate Jamaica, but up to know we lack the time to really start approach them. Musicians and Artists can do free shows and charity concerts or donate their time and come give a music workshop to the youth at the Center. Journalists could write about HELP Jamaica! to raise awareness for our work – actually everybody can help to spread the word. Please have a look at our website www.helpjamaica.org – there you will find additional information on our project and also many ideas how you can join our efforts to HELP Jamaica!

Thanks for the time Brite and be sure to let us know when you need some volunteers next time, keep up the good work!


David Liss Interview- The Man Without Fear

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Black Panther fan! While some wander in and out of T’challas life Ive been a cash tossing middle ground holder for over 20 years, I buy everything that has the black Panther in it! Love it or hate it! Now granted T’challa has moved on from Wakanda and taken up shop, no pun intended, in Hell’s Kitchen I was wary. But potential is rich in the soil of this premise and the seeds scattered by David Liss are bound to bear interesting fruit with a shade of everyone’s favorite “Priest action”. The opening arc is through and now I get to but heads with the new man at the helm of T’challa‘s tales David Liss. Enjoy!

Welcome David for those who may be unfamiliar with you can you tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a writer living in San Antonio.  My 7th novel will be out in August, and, oddly enough, my 8th will be out in October.  That is unusually prolific for me.  I’m also writing comics full time.  I have a wife, two kids and two cats.

Who was your favorite superhero growing up?

Probably Daredevil, though I was always big on Spider-Man, Punisher, Batman, Superman and Martian Manhunter.

What has the experience been like working in the comics industry?

It’s been a lot of fun.  Writing novels is a fairly solitary business, and I’ve enjoyed the collaborative nature of comics.  It’s a blast to write a script and then have someone else get to work bringing it to life.

How did you land the job of being the writer for Black Panther: Man without fear?

The project’s editor was Bill Rosemann, with whom I’d already worked with on Daring Mystery Comics and Mystery Men.  I was lucky enough to be asked to submit a pitch for how I would handle bringing T’Challa to Hell’s Kitchen, and they accepted it.

Coming into the Black Panther how much of T’challa’s back story do you know?

I knew a fair amount — but I also had to read a lot of comics before I felt I was really up to speed.  I started picking up Black Panther regularly when Jonathan Maberry took over, since he’s a friend of mine, but I knew the character best from his time in the Avengers.  I missed the Priest run (though I’ve now read a great deal of it) since it came out when I was in grad school, which is basically the period of my life in which I did not read comics.  No money and no time.

What was your favorite Black Panther series of the past two decades?

Priest, like just about everyone else.

Tell us about Black Panther Man without fear, what’s it about?

Reduced to its most basic premise, T’Challa — who is no longer king of Wakanda, or even technically the Black Panther, comes to Hell’s Kitchen ostensibly to fill in for Daredevil when Matt Murdock leaves town.  More personally and importantly, now that he has lots his powers, his tech and his vibranium, he wants to find out just what he is made of.  The first arc was mainly about him coming to terms with who he is now, and figuring out how, now that he lacks the resources he once had, he can still be the most dangerous man alive.  Some readers complained that he wasn’t as powerful and confident as Black Panther should be, but the way I see it, that’s kind of the point.  But he has been tested by fire, and you are going to see a more confident T’Challa in the issues ahead.

Who is T’challa/Black Panther to you?

He is the guy who will go to any lengths to do what he thinks is right.  Maybe that sounds like a lot of guys in the Marvel U, but I’ve always seen T’Challa as someone who is a little more determined, a little less bound by other people’s rules, a little more willing to take risks.  You could also say that Captain America will also always do what he thinks is right, but I’d much rather be on the wrong side of Cap than Black Panther.

T’challa’s secret identity has been severely compromised in this opening arc, how does that affect future stories?

I originally intended the secret identity to be a big deal in the story, but things evolved in the scripting, and it felt right for it to be one of the things that gets away from T’Challa.  You’ll see it even more endangered in the issues ahead, but that provides some interesting context for the stories we are going to tell.

How much does T’challa’s past factor into Black Panther man without fear?

We’re not wiping the slate clean by any stretch.  This is a new chapter in Black Panther’s life, but the old life still happened.  He is who he is because of his past.

Can we expect characters like the White Wolf/Hatut Zeraze and Kasper Cole or even the 66 Bridges to make an appearance in Black Panther man without fear?

Without giving too much away, I think it’s safe for you to be on the lookout for characters from T’Challa‘s past.  We want to bring some of them in when it makes sense and when it tells a good story — not just to bring them in because we want to cross certain characters off our list.

Historically Black Panther has “sales issues” how much does “looming cancellation” factor into working on a Black Panther comic book?

Of course.  I know I want people to read this book, and Marvel needs a certain number of people to buy it.  Ideally, we’d like to have more people reading Black Panther than ever before.

The impending clash between Kraven the Hunter and Black

Black Panther: Man without fear #519

Panther, what can we look forward to?

Our first arc was a dark and brooding business, so we wanted to follow it up with something a bit less moody.  This is going to be a fun, high-octane, action-packed story.  I loved the idea of a Kraven/BP match-up, and I had a great time with this one.  Jefte Palo has really nailed the look.

What can you tell us about the American Panther? T’challa or not? :)

This one is top secret.  Ask me in July.

If you could change one thing from the Black Panthers long sordid history what would it be?

That’s an interesting question.  I find some of his early enemies, like Klaw and Man-Ape to be a bit silly, but I suppose that’s true across the board for a lot of Silver Age villains.  I’d also say I never felt quite comfortable with the rendering of Wakanda.  I think Marvel deserves a lot of credit for trying to create an advanced and sophisticated African country that was advanced and sophisticated on African, rather than European, terms.  At the same time, there was always an element of colonialism and minstrelsy involved that made me uneasy.  So I think my ultimate answer would be an even more nuanced rendering of Wakanda.

What does the future hold for Black Panther man without fear and David Liss in comics?

I wish I knew.  Hopefully a lot more stuff.

Can we expect an artist change anytime soon?

For the next batch of issues, we’ll be switching between Francesco and Jefte.  As far as I know, there will be no other artists involved.
 I felt really cheated in Man without fear #518, Vlad was a complex character, villain yes but the love and care for his family was humanizing and made him oddly relate-able. In 518 he became just a cliched evil villain. What happened?

Sorry you saw it that way.  The way I intended the story to go was that Vlad had all these lofty ideals about what kind of man he wanted to be, how he wanted to do things differently than the other guys, but what he failed to realized — and what he soon discovered — was that the pressures of trying to be a crime lord, or watching his empire crumble under the Panther’s assault, was more than he could handle.  In effect, he snapped.

One more thing before you go David, why do you think it’s important to have Black Superheroes?

BlackPanther-Most Dangerous Man Alive

The superhero universes position themselves as alternative versions of our own world, and it only makes sense that they should be similarly populated.  So one answer is that it makes no sense for there not to be black superheroes, and to leave out members of any race or ethnic group is an act of deliberate omission.  But more importantly, comics — at their best — have always been an interesting place to work out social issues.  Race relations are an important part of American history and American culture, and I think it would be a shame not to use the superhero genre as a platform for discussion, expression and experimentation.  I strongly approve of using comics as a sounding board for all cultural issues — especially since social issues make for great stories.

In the on-going Mystery Men limited series, which is set in the 1930s, I made one of the heroes a man of color because doing so gave me an opportunity to gesture toward the role race, like economic disparity, played in the stratified culture of the period.  It’s not a comic about race issues, but if I don’t mention race issues then it’s not really a comic that deals honestly with New York in the 1930s.

Thanks allot David and keep up the good work!


Fred Van Lente Interview

Fred Van Lente is one of those writers who’s consistency has caught my attention over the years. As a New York times best selling author with an exclusive contract with Marvel comics and a range of writing credits which include Cowboys & Aliens, Marvel Zombies 3 and  Incredible Hercules among others. I wanted to take a sneak peek inside the mind of this celebrity writer  before the new Alpha flight series debuts and the new Power man and iron fist series ended.


Q) Welcome Fred and thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us.  Tell our readers a bit about yourself.

I write comics and like long walks on the beach. And mean people suck,
don’t they?

(Laugh) They sure do

Q) Who was your favorite superhero growing up?

I’d have to say Spider-Man. My parents got me those color 1970s Pocket Books reprints of the Lee/Ditko run and I literally read them until


Q) You’ve worked on the Incredible Hercules, Amazing Spiderman and X-men Noir among others.

Yup. I’ve also written much of the Marvel Adventure kids’ line, Power
Pack, the official prequel to the Captain America movie, MODOK’s 11,
Taskmaster, Marvel Zombies, Power Man & Iron Fist, Dead Avengers,
Chaos War, Prince of Power, the new Scorpion — and that’s just for
Marvel.

I like to stay busy. It keeps me off the streets.

Q) What do you think were the highlights of your X-men Noir
  mini-series?

My buddy Dennis Calero and I traveled New York City to capture photo
reference for the city. The Hellfire Club mansion was the Morgan
Library, the interior of the Empire State Building radio tower looks
as it does today, and we toured Roosevelt (then Welfare) Island with
the local Historical Society to invoke the Angel’s prison home.

Q) What were the highlights of your run on the Incredible Hercules?

I really enjoyed doing that series — the whole three years-plus run
was pretty much something Greg and I conceived of early on, and it was
awesome to be able to execute the entire series through Chaos War.

Q) What were the highlights of your run on the Amazing
  Spider-man?

I enjoy rehabilitating seemingly lame or forgotten villains and making
them badass again. I tried to do my small part to turn Spot,
Chameleon, Sandman and the White Rabbit into something resembling
formidable threat.

Q) How does Chaos war change the marvel landscape?

It de-powered Hercules, but he is still going strong with the most
formidable mythological weapons in Greek history and going medieval on
crime’s ass in the new HERC series. It also resurrected ALPHA FLIGHT,
who will be reborn in a new series in June.

Q) I enjoyed the “Shadowland: Powerman” series quite a bit.
Why did you decide it was time to have a “New” Powerman?

It seemed like the name as lying around with nobody using it –Luke
Cage having dropped it long ago– so SHADOWLAND seemed like a good
opportunity to do that. I thought making the new Power Man a direction
contrast with Iron Fist — letting him absorb chi the way Danny Rand
can channel it — would be cool too. And the Marvel Universe could
always use new and awesome heroes of color.

Q) For that series you brought back many classic Hero for
 Hire villains like Mr. Fish and Comanche, why is that?

I thought they were awesome! I read both volumes of the Luke Cage
Essentials (pretty much the whole run of his series until Iron Fist
joined) and was just impressed how well they held up. No one had seen
them a while, so it was time to put ‘em back into a rotation.

Q) Who is your favorite classic “Heroes for Hire” villain and why?

That’s a great question. I’d have to say … Comanche, because he is
simultaneously offensive to so many races. And he is an archer with a
sweatband. Pure 70s!!

Q) What exactly are the “New Power man’s” powers?

He can absorb the life force — the chi — in all things, and channel
them through his punches. What he hits, explodes. So yeah, he’s pretty
badass.

Q) Tell us about the New Powerman and Iron fist series

At the end of Shadowland, Iron Fist took Power Man as an apprentice
and puts him to work at the Rand Foundation, his charity, where they
become non-profit heroes-for-hire.

Q) How is the new series different than the original?

Well, there’s a big age difference between this Power Man and Iron
Fist, of course. Vic Alvarez — the new Power Man — doesn’t feel like
he needs a teacher, and barely listens to Danny at all. Danny has to
figure out how to deal with this kid — it’s bad enough most kids
think they’re invulnerable, but Vic actually is!

Q) How is it similar?

It has the same 80s buddy team up feel of the original — Power Man
and Iron Fist have to solve a mystery after Danny and Luke’s
secretary, Jennie Royce, is accused of a murder she didn’t commit (or
did she?) — the slaying of Crime-Buster, a rival hero-for-hire from
Kurt Busiek’s run on the title.

And they keep fighting insane villains, just like in the original –
but I made up my own, like the Don of the Dead and Pokerface.

Q) Tell us about your newly introduced Villains “Commedia
  Dell’Morte”.

They are a theater troupe cursed by Dr. Strange’s old enemy Baron
Mordo for trying to steal from him. Their souls were trapped in their
masks and they are condmened to kill a person a day for all eternity,
and thus have become Europe’s greatest assassins. They are involved in
Crime-Buster’s murder somehow, but don’t think you know the solution
until the final reveal.

Q) What can we expect from Victor Alvarez in the future?

He will be appearing in a backup story with other teen heroes written
by me in FEAR ITSELF: THE HOMEFRONT and he may very well be joining a
certain a certain super hero school…

Q) What can we look forward to from Fred Van Lente in 2011? What’s the next “Big Thing/project” ?

Most excited for ALPHA FLIGHT, one of my all-time favorite Marvel
titles, premiering in June from me, Greg Pak and Dale Eaglesham.

Q) What’s the experience been like working in comics?

It’s better than getting a real job, that’s for sure. Also, I’ve made my best and closest friends in this industry.
Q) Why do you think is it important to have black Superheroes?
Because everyone of every background needs heroes, and the genre, which is so quintessentially American, should reflect every aspect of our nation’s culture and heritage, in which African-Americans have played such an enormous part.
Q) Tell us something you’ve never told anyone else in an interview before.

I’m sitting next to Nick Spencer (MORNING GLORIES, JIMMY OLSEN, soon
ULTIMATE X-MEN) while typing us at Free Comic Book Day in Acme Comics
(Greensboro NC) and when I read this question out loud, Nick saiod
“Ooooooooh!”

And as he just pointed out, I not only told you something I’ve never
told anyone before, but also something I’ll never be able to tell
anyone again.

(Laugh)
Thanks for your time Fred and we look forward to buying and reading your next project.

Thanks for the support!


Jonathan Maberry Interview- Doomwar?! All questions answered!!

It’s no secret that I adored Doomwar while it was lambasted by the mainstream press and I must tell you guys Jonathan Maberry is easily my favorite celebrity personality of 2010. The interview flowed like gravy, I could talk to him until next year and it would never get old :) When we’re  done you’ll finally understand where Wakanda stands in the new marvel Universe, why Doomwar was a must read event and how Shuri and T’challa are very different Black Panthers!

BLACK HEROES: Tell our readers a bit about yourself.

JONATHAN MABERRY: I’m a full-time writer and that’s the best job in the world.  Since 1978 I’ve sold over twelve hundred magazine articles, tons of reviews, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, many nonfiction books, short stories and novels.

For most of my career I concentrated on nonfiction articles and books.  A lot of my early stuff dealt with martial arts and self-defense.  I’ve been a practitioner of jujutsu for 46 years, and I worked as a bodyguard in the entertainment industry, a bouncer, and then a college teacher (teaching Women’s Self-defense, Jujutsu, Martial Arts History, etc.).  But after a while I began focusing on my other love—folklore.  Writing about the folklore of vampires, werewolves and other monsters led me into writing fiction.

My first novels were the Pine Deep Trilogy (Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man’s Song and Bad Moon Rising), and I won a Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.  That was pretty strong validation, so since then I’ve been concentrating mostly on fiction.  Last year I novelized the remake of The Wolfman, which was my first New York Times bestseller.  I write the Joe Ledger series of action thrillers.  Patient Zero and The Dragon Factory are already out and have been optioned for TV by Sony Entertainment; and there are at least three more in the series due out, starting with The King of Plagues, due out in March.  I’m also writing the Benny Imura series of post-apocalyptic zombie thrillers, which just launched with Rot & Ruin.

A couple of years ago I was scouted by Marvel Comics (after editor Axel Alonso read Patient Zero), and I’ve been splitting my writing time between novels, short stories and comics.

Jonathan Mabery's Joe Ledger Series

I teach experimental writing for teens, and I run a free Writers Coffeehouse that brings writers of all kinds together.

BH: How did you land the job as writer for Black Panther vol. 4 when Reggie Hudlin left?

MABERRY: Reggie was starting to get insanely busy while he was writing the book –remember, he’s a film producer and director—so I was asked to help with some edits and revisions for the last few issues of his run.  That was a lot of fun, because banging ideas back and forth with Reggie was like getting paid to play.  He’s a terrific guy.

Marvel Comics by Jonathan Maberry

Reggie had also never intended to be a regular writer.  He had wanted to do some limiteds and then move on.

I’d just written a couple of projects for Marvel –PUNISHER: NAKED KILL and a Wolverine short called ‘GHOSTS’ that appeared in WOLVERINE: THE ANNIVERSARY.  The editor liked my style, and he liked the revisions I was doing on Reggie’s last issues…so he offered me the book.  I jumped at it.

BH: How would you describe your experience writing the Black Panther?

MABERRY: It was very rewarding and very frustrating.  The frustration came from the fact that Black Panther is a frequently canceled title.  It has a very loyal, very dedicated core readership, but that readership isn’t large enough to keep the book afloat in this economy.  That’s a drag, considering how important the character is.

Black Panther: Power

However my overall experience was a very rewarding one.  I’ve always loved the character, and I actually owe a large personal debt to T’Challa.  You see, I was born and raised in a very low income white neighborhood in Philadelphia called Kensington.  This was in the sixties, and a lot of people in my neighborhood were strongly racist.  We’re talking local chapters of the KKK.  Unfortunately my father was part of that racist movement, so as a kid I was being fed a lot of propaganda about blacks, Jews and anyone who wasn’t white (by their standards of what ‘white’ meant).

Then I started reading the Fantastic Four, and I encountered T’Challa.  Wow.  This was in 1968.  Here’s a black character who is smart, powerful, honorable, and respected.  He’s a friend of the FF, and he becomes an Avenger.

Black Panther #7 - Power, Part One

Then in 1971 I hit a real ‘moment’.  An issue of FF came out in which T’Challa is arrested in a fictional country based on South Africa.  This was my first encounter with the concept of apartheid.  That story was so powerful that I started going to the library to look into the whole ‘race’ thing.

At the same time I was taking martial arts lessons on the sly.  My father would never have approved, especially since the only school I could afford to join was predominantly black.

I approached my sensei, a retired black Army captain, and showed him the issue of FF.  I asked him about apartheid, and he really set me straight.  So…in a very real way, I learn my core values from T’Challa.

BH:  Shuri is your Black Panther, how does she differ from T’Challa?

MABERRY:  She’s completely different from T’Challa.  She’s much younger; she’s not a scientist; and she has very little practical experience in statecraft or superheroics.  What she has is nerve, a huge ego wrapped around massive insecurities, and rage issues.

However, like T’Challa, she has a deep core of genuine honor and integrity –which is something the Panther God, Bast, recognizes.  Reggie wrote the story in which Shuri becomes the Panther.  That happened in DEADLIEST OF THE SPECIES.  I took over at the point where T’Challa has been forced to retire because of injuries sustained in an ambush by Doctor Doom and Shuri is now the Panther.

My run, POWER, is actually as much the story of T’Challa’s recovery as it is of Shuri’s exploration of her role as the Panther.

BH:  Tell us about DoomWar and how it changes Wakanda and the rest of the marvel Universe?

MABERRY: For ten thousand years Wakanda has been a small but powerful independent nation.  The source of their power is vibranium, an ore from a meteor that landed in Africa.

The question for me has always been…would the Wakandan people emerged as a powerful and honorable warrior race of they did not have vibranium.  I rather like the idea that they would.  That’s the seed I planted in POWER and which blossoms in DOOMWAR.

By the end of that series, Wakanda is no longer a resource-based economy.  They don’t have their secret weapon.

Or do they?

The end of that series suggests that the true power of Wakanda is their depth of honor and unshakable quality of their integrity.

Stepping away from their dependence on vibranium is a dangerous choice, but I believe it is a good choice, because it means that Wakanda and its people are truly the heroes that we’ve always believed them to be.  Yes, it makes them more vulnerable, but a true warrior does not fear attack.

BH:  In DoomWar T’Challa met with a Feline God…..was this Bast? or something else?

MABERRY: Yes, that was Bast.  Doom got to meet her and to plead his case for why he should be allowed to take the vibranium.  Some clever readers have asked if Bast foresaw the rebirth of Wakandan honor and power as a direct result of having to ‘lose’ to Doom.

BH:  How much does the technology pioneered by T’Challa during DoomWar play into the new Wakanda?

MABERRY: That’s something I did a lot of prep for, but which I haven’t yet had a chance to explore.  David Liss may delve into some of that with Black Panther: Man Without Fear.  For my part, I give a few hints that Wakanda did not have all of its technological eggs in one basket.

BH:  DoomWar was a bold step into unknown territory, how much of Doom war’s ending was you or editorially mandated?

MABERRY: It was my ending.  Marvel gave me a lot of creative freedom with that book, and we all knew that it was going to make some people cheer, some people curse me, and some people perk up and take a new look at the characters.

It was always the plan, from the earliest days of writing POWER that DOOMWAR would end the way it did.  That was the point of the story, and it’s T’Challa’s speech near the end that defines the character.  This is a man to whom honor is the most powerful weapon; and a man who loves his country so much that he is willing to risk its safety in order to save it.

Age of Heroes #4 - Honor

BH:  Where do you see Wakanda in the post DoomWar Marvel universe?

MABERRY: Again, that’s hard to say.  DoomWar was a very successful series, so we drew in a lot of readers who would not normally look at a Panther book.  Klaws was also very mainstream; and BP/Man Without Fear will tap into the Daredevil crowd.  In an ideal world that would result in a new run of Black Panther.  We’ll see.

But at very least, the characters in the Panther’s world are being taken very seriously.  Which they deserve.

BH:  You have a great handle on Dr. Doom, your characterization harkened back to past great Doom stories….why was he chosen as the Villain for your run on Black Panther?

MABERRY: Reggie started writing Doom into his run, but he wasn’t going to be the next villain on the mat, so to speak.  I lobbied to use Doom and I built a good case for how he’s the only guy clever enough to figure out how to take down Wakanda.

I love the old-school Doom, the way Lee and Kirby did him.  I wrote him to be cold, calculating and subtle.  Not a ranting madman, but a genuinely brilliant scientist and tactician. Someone who would be a good match for another brilliant scientist and tactician: T’Challa.  T’Challa is so smart and savvy that it’s tough to come up with a villain who could honestly give him a run for his money.  Doom is a natural choice.

BH:  Tell us about Klaws of the Panther staring Shuri.

MABERRY: Klaws is all about Shuri’s path to self-discovery.  She was a peripheral character before, without much in the way of a personality.  I wanted to give her dimension, but at the same time I wanted to screw her up so that I could explore her process of personal redemption.  This is something writers love doing: deconstructing a character so that we can get into their heads through the cracks we’ve created.

In BLACK PANTHER: POWER and DOOMWAR we see that Shuri is smart, capable but very headstrong.  Her rage issues and ego get her into trouble time and again, and in DoomWar she’s become convinced that the only safe way to win a fight is to kill her enemies.  From the outside that appears to be a strength (and we can thank our first-person shooter videogame culture for that perception –and I’m just as guilty of it as the next guy); but in truth it’s a weakness.

In KLAWS, Shuri is trying to save the world, but at the same time she’s trying to save her own soul.  She seeks advice from some sources that might appear to be unlikely (such as Wolverine), but once you’re inside the story you can see why she makes those choices.  And why they’re the right choices.

The guest stars in the series aren’t simply stunt casting.  Ka-Zar and Shanna are there because the Savage Land is now the primary source for vibranium (albeit a different kind).  Wolverine is there because Shuri really needs to learn how to control her rage, and Logan has been wrestling with rage issues for over a century.  In book #3 she tries to hire the Avengers, but only Spider-Man is on deck.  Their interplay helps Shuri take another step, because –let’s face it—Spidey may be young but he’s logged more field time than just about anyone in the Marvel U.  And in the final issue, the Black Widow is brought in to help crack a Cold War-era Russian security system.  The Widow also provides some key woman-to-woman advice.

BH:  Are there any plans to write another comic book series after Klaws of the Panther wraps up?

MABERRY: Not at the moment.  I’m doing a bunch of other projects, including a five-issue Captain America mini-series, HAIL HYDRA and a prequel to MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE PUNISHER.

Black Panther #11 - Power, Part Five

The Black Panther appears in a couple of issues of HAIL HYDRA, by the way.  Issue #3 is set at the point in Cap’s career where the Panther designs the flying suit for the Falcon.  So I got a chance to include both of those characters.

BH:  What would you say are the highlights of your run writing Black Panther?

MABERRY: I wanted to explore the nature of honor, and I think I accomplished that.  And I got the chance to define Shuri’s personality…and to even let her have some fun.  KLAWS is a fun series, with as much humor as drama.

Also, writing Panther gave me an opportunity to write scenes with some of my favorite characters:  the Fantastic Four, WarMachine, Namor, Doom, the X-Men and Deadpool.  Each of them played a crucial role in the story, and for the most part it was my first time writing those characters.  I may be a rough, tough martial arts guy and a bestselling writer and that all that…but at heart I’ll always been a comic book geek.

BH:  Would you do anything different if you could do it all again?

MABERRY: That’s hard to say.  I feel very good about what I did on the Panther book, so I guess my only regret is that book was canceled.  Things were already heading in that direction before I took over, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise…but it left me with a number of Panther stories that I didn’t get a chance to tell.

As far as the content of the books…no, I wouldn’t change anything.

BH:  You teamed with Reggie Hudlin briefly while writing Black Panther, any plans for another team up?

MABERRY: I’d love that, but right now it doesn’t seem to be likely.  Anything’s possible, though.

 

Black Panther #12 - Power,

BLACK HEROES:  Tell us something you have never told anyone else in an interview.

MABERRY: Wow.  That’s a tough one.  Here’s one, and I’m not ashamed to say it: I enjoy ballet more than my wife.  She’s more of a modern dance fan, I still dig stuff like La Corsair and The Firebird. Go figure.

Thanks for your time Jonathan it was a pleasure and good luck to you on all your future endeavors.

_________

JONATHAN MABERRY is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winner, and Marvel Comics writer.  His novels include GHOST ROAD BLUES, PATIENT ZERO, THE WOLFMAN, and THE DRAGON FACTORY.  His nonfiction works include ZOMBIE CSU and WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE.  His comics include DOOMWAR, CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA and MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE PUNISHER.  He’s a Contributing Editor for The Big Thrill, and a member of SFWA, MWA and HWA.  He is a frequent guest and keynote speaker at genre cons and writers conferences. Visit his website at www.jonathanmaberry.com or find him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Reginald Hudlin Interview-We discuss all things Black Panther!

As busy as he is directing, writing and ruling the world Reginald Hudlin Writer, Director, businessman and all around comic book fan sat down with world of black heroes for a heart to heart about all things Black Panther. The Black Panther animated series, is there a black Panther movie? Flags of our fathers and working with marvel comics we ask it all!!!

Tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Well, they can go to http://www.hudlinentertainment.com and find out tons about me!  I’ve got my bio and a reel of my work there, and I post regular updates about my life and career and participate quite a bit on the forum pages.  You can even buy the comics you read about in this article on the site.  I’ve also started http://www.reggiesworld.com, a retail section on my site where you can buy comics, posters, statutes and DVDs because I’m tired of turning people onto comics and then having to explain where to find a comic book shop in their area.

Growing up who was your favorite superhero and why?

I never had a favorite character. I’d read everything from Marvel to DC to Gold Key to Harvey and enjoy them all. But I had a special appreciation for black characters like Black Panther and Luke Cage, and would get upset if I felt they weren’t being written appropriately. I didn’t like it if Black Panther didn’t get enough shine in the Avengers. I didn’t even like that Luke eventually had to share his book.

What was the experience like working with Marvel Comics?

It was fantastic. Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso understood where I wanted to go with the character and were incredibly supportive in every way. They got me great artists, marketing support and were understanding of my brutal work schedule. They were also supportive of the Black Panther animated series, which was a very unusual project.

Who is the Black panther?

To me Priest was the writer who restored Black Panther to the intentions implied in his debut appearances by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

When I relaunched the book, I took so much inspiration from what he wrote.  My take has been described as a more Black Nationalist approach, which I think is fair.  I think that Black Panther is no different than Captain America.  Cap is strong, good man who represents the best of American values.  The Panther is the same thing for Africa.

What do you believe were the highlights of your run on Black Panther?

I think the first six issues (collected in WHO IS THE BLACK PANTHER?) were very strong.  So many people don’t know who the Black Panther is, so having a book that doesn’t rely on previous knowledge of the character or the Marvel Universe is very useful.  It also delivers the tone that fans of that character want – a strong, intelligent, regal, kick ass character from an advanced, strategically sophisticated, and tough as nails country.

The perfect match

The marriage of Storm and the Black Panther was gigantic because it was the first time in comic book history two black heroes of any note were married.

To say they are a power couple is an understatement.

I also like the storyline collected in the BAD MUTHA book because it is the only team up of some of the biggest black super heroes – the Black Panther, Luke Cage, Blade and fan favorites like Brother Voodoo and Monica Rambeau.

The Civil War issue was probably my favorite dialogue. The conversation between Namor, T’Challa and Ororo was a pleasure to write.

Tell us about the relationship between Storm and T’challa? Why do you think they were meant to be together?
It’s hilarious to me when haters say the marriage between a Wakandan King superhero and a Kenyan Princess superhero is “forced”. When the people who complain endlessly about “decompressed storytelling” complain that the wedding was “rushed” even though it was set up for months with two different storylines published.  They should just admit they want Storm with Wolverine and they don’t care about Black Panther one way or the other.  Although if you’re really into Storm, why would you want him to have Jean Grey’s leftovers?  T’Challa and Ororo are so perfectly matched it feels like they were created for each other.

Since you had T’challa and Storm marry… perhaps in the future would you have had her get pregnant and have kids?

I wrote the only Black Panther Annual EVER and that story BLACK TO THE FUTURE is about T’Challa and Storm’s five children. Some of them had powers, some didn’t.  One day I would like to go into more detail about who they are and what they become…do a DUNE-style generational epic.

You and Mayberry worked together briefly before you left black panther, what are the chance of you two teaming up again?

No plans, but I’d be open to it. Mayberry is a gracious, classy dude who loves the character.

I’ve spoken to quite a few celebs this year and I must say your easily one of the most humble and humane. How do you find time for fans with your hectic schedule?

Thank you. I use facebook as a work avoidance tool.

Why was Azzari in Flags of our fathers as opposed to T’chaka?

Because of the “sliding timelines” of Marvel, T’Chaka used to be the Panther that Cap met in World War Two. But now it’s Azzuri, who is a cool character I written about in the Civil War issues of Cap as well as FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS.

During your run T’chaka despite being T’challa’s dad was never really given much of a spotlight,  Were there ever plans to “flesh out” T’chaka?

Yes, I have a sequel of sorts to FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS about T’Chaka, who appears in FLAGS as a kid.  It’s pretty kick ass period story that connects him to a lot of Marvel characters and real historical characters.  I just haven’t had time to develop the proposal.

I’ve always been fascinated by S’yan the swift…..you left him in the background a lot can we ever hope for a story where his time as Panther will see the light of day?

The Black Panther Royal Family

Family is so important to royalty so I added a lot of family members for the Panther.  I gave T’Chaka a brother, S’yan, who ran things after his brother’s death until T’Challa was old enough to take the reins.  He’s a key guy because he keeps things running while T’Challa is gallivanting around the globe fighting Dr. Doom or spying on the Avengers.  I always thought his death would be a major event in the world of Wakanda because you need that trusted guy with his eye on things back home.

Are their any plans to return to comics? Or Black Panther in the future?

I’m working on several comic book projects right now.  One is a major graphic novel that I’m almost done writing.  There are two more projects in the works that are creator-owned properties that are also pretty hot.  I do have some more Black Panther ideas but Axel Alonso, who the editor during my run on the book, is no longer working on the character, so I would have to see if the new editor is interested in the type of stories I want to tell.

What can you tell us about the Black Panther DVD set (which me and everyone have been clamoring for since forever) which was recently announced?

It’s the whole series, uncut, and it’s generated some of the best buzz of anything I’ve done. Some people think it’s better than the original books it’s based on, and a lot of people watch it and can’t believe something this politically provocative ever got made. Lot of compliments about the look of the show too.

I’m taking pre-orders for the Black Panther DVD at www.reggiesworld.com if folks want their copies autographed.

How did the Black Panther become an animated series under your watch?

When I did my deal with BET, I had already started writing the series for Marvel. I specifically put a carve out in my deal so I could continue writing. There was no way I would going to become an executive with no direct creative outlet. So I wrote in on redeye flights, in hotel rooms, early in the morning before my kids woke up.

Black Panther gets animated

One day at the office a couple of the staff members suggest we should do it as an animated series. I said that would be cool but didn’t pursue it. But Denys Cowan, my head of animated did. He produced a five minute short that literally blew everyone away. I didn’t even know about it till he showed me. I took it to Marvel and everyone there flipped. They gave me the okay to pursue it, so I took it to Debra Lee the Chairman of BET, and she was very happy to say yes. She was hoping BET would get a Panther series.

By the time the show went into production, I had left the network, so I stepped in, writing the show, casting the voices, and just being all over the thing. The animation house titmouse was great considering how hands on I was.

Any chance of us seeing a season 2 for the Black Panther animated series?

If people really support this DVD, yes.

How did Djimon Honsou become the voice of the Black Panther? (he’s perfect)

Casting an African actor seemed like a good idea to me, and since there was Academy Award-nominated African actor who looks like a superhero and was interested in the role, it was a no-brainer.

Djimon took it very seriously and worked really hard. He’s a really nice guy and he’s married to my St. Louis homie Kimora, who I’ve known for years.

The teaser to end all teasers!

I love the music used in the Black Panther animated series will those tunes ever be made available to fans, Itunes or perhaps the DVD set?

I can’t say enough about the fantastic score by Stephen James Taylor. He is a brilliant composer who generated an amazing amount of music in a brutally short window of time. I come into a show with a lot of ideas about music, usually weird ones, and the composer has to make sense of it all. He got where my head was and took it further. I loved working with him.

What secrets can you tell us about the Black Panther Movie?

None. I don’t know any.

Who would you cast as the titular Black Panther in a Black Panther Movie?

I’m not at liberty to say.

What’s next for Reginald Hudlin arguably one of the biggest and brightest minds of the 20th century?

Man, again with the praise. I’m blushing!

I’m working some movie projects, some TV projects, a couple of books and maybe a live show.

What would be your dream project (movie or comic book)?

I’m working on original material now that will hopefully be both.

Tell us something comic related that you’ve never told anyone before.

I’ve never seen STEEL or CATWOMAN.  I’m a black filmmaker who writes comics, which has got to be the ultimate in target demo.  That’s how unappealing those movies were to me.

Thanks for your time Reggie it was a pleasure and good luck on all your future endeavors.

There you have it folks one of my favorite interviews of the year! Reggie Hudlin ladies and gentlemen. Reggie celebrates his birthday in just a few hours(December 15)  so let me be the first to say Happy Birthday Reggie! Head on over o the Hudlin fan club and sign the questbook to make his birthday special for making the Black Panther more popular and in the public eye. You may want to join too since it rocks!


Artist Spotlight #1-Chris Herod

From the moment I saw a piece of Chris’s work I was in love! It was bold and refreshing in an art world where everything seems so similar. He was a breath of Fresh air! That’s why it’s with great pleasure that he’s the very first artist that gets the spotlight!


Artistic mind

Tell us a little about yourself.

I consider myself a man of faith, husband, father, and visual conduit for the voiceless.

Who’s your favorite Black Superhero?

I applaud you for introducing so many Black superheroes that I didn’t even know existed! My favorite superhero by far is Brotherman.

Favorite comic book series?

I am truly a child of 80’s comic vintage. My favorite comic series was probably the first Dark Phoenix saga, until I picked up X-men years later and found out that she didn’t actually die. Watchmen is probably my next favorite, unless they decide to bring Rorschach or the Comedian back to life.

Storm by Chris Herod

What inspires you? (to Draw)

I am inspired by quite a few things- my faith, my family, literature, political and cultural movements, music- but not limited to these by any means.

Have you ever worked on any projects that your very proud of?

My first gallery show at the South Dallas Cultural Center, curated by renown artist Vicki Meek. The fact that she took interest in my work when I was wet behind the ears; I am awed that she saw something in me worth exhibiting to the world.

Favorite Music while working?

Again, the 80’s thing for me- PE, BDP, Eric B and Rakim, Stet, EPMD…

Your art is very ‘animated’ expression ect, what motivated this style of art?

I think that when you create, there is an element that you explore outside of your own persona. I try to “think” as my characters would, and pose them in ways that communicate their personal worldview.

Are there any artists that have influenced you and your work?

Too many to name!
Phase2, Caravaggio, Case2, Refa1, Emory Douglas, Cey, Dawud Anyabwile, John Byrne, Jack Kirby, Bill Sienkiewicz, Klimt, Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Rivera, Siqueiros, Orozco…

Your work is great! Is it self taught or were you formally educated?

Thanks! I studied animation at Cal Arts. Before that, I studied on my own and under the tutelage of quite a few gifted artists

Is there anything you like to draw the most?

I like to capture people most of all.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist?

I was one of 20 recently selected to compete in the Bombay Sapphire/ Rush Arts competition held during Art Basel in Miami on December 2-5.

What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced as an artist?

Most of my challenges artistically are internal. I struggle to stay with a medium and am easily bored once I discover a technique that works comfortably for me. I always have to the urge to expand my vocabulary visually, constantly challenging and pushing myself creatively- often losing continuity in the process.

Man with a plan

Have you ever experienced Racism in the art world?

I haven’t really been anything other than a hobbyist with my work, intentionally. I’m sure I can tell you some stories shortly- now that I am trying to make a mark out there.

What do you think makes an artist successful?

Success for the artist to me means you personify an emcee visually- masterfully conveying your worldview and moving the crowd to action with your work.

Thanks for your Time Chris and all the best in your future endeavors.


Monsoon talks about Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes

Our “Lost Days Event” continues here at WOBH as we Interview Monsson.

Tell our readers a bit about yourself.


Dread & Alive The Lost Tapes vol.1

BIRTH NAME DENTON BEDWARD, BORN IN CLARENDON JAMAICA. STARTED TO DJ FROM AS EARLY AS AGE 5, LEARNED AND IMPROVED MY CRAFT FROM REGGAE ARTISTS SUCH AS JOHNNY P, NINJA MAN,SINGING MELODY, LADY MACKEREL (NOW MACKA DIAMOND) I ALSO OPENED FOR INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS INCLUDING BERES HAMMOND, THE WAILERS, YELLOWMAN, EEKA MOUSE, CAPLETON, COCOA T, ANTHONY B ,SHABBA RANKS, SHAGGY & SHAGGY TO NAME A FEW.
What was your interest in being part of this comic book/music collective?

JOSH OF “SOUL OF THE LION” TOLD ME ABOUT THE IDEA OF ADDING MY SONG TO THE PROJECT AND IMMEDIATELY I WAS INTERESTED KNOWING THIS IS A VERY GREAT IDEA.

Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes is released in association with Soul Of The Lion and Zoolook

Were you a comic book fan in the past?

YES

singer/deejay Denton "Monsoon" Bedward

Who was your favorite?
ONE RANGER AND TONTO

Can you tell us about your song on Dread & Alive The Lost Tapes?
ITS A TESTAMENT FOR ITSELF, AS A GOD FEARING PERSON IT’S ONLY RIGHT FOR ME TO ASK FOR HIS GUIDANCE THROUGH LIFE AND LET PEOPLE KNOW HOW GREAT JAH IS.

What makes “Jah” stand out from your other tracks?
MY PASSION IN THE SONG WHEREBY I’M GIVING JAH THANKS FOR EVERYTHING.

What was the experience like working on the very first comic book/music collaboration?
A GREAT EXPERIENCE …WONDERFUL. I’M THANKFUL TO BE IN THE MIDST OF OTHER FINE ARTISTS AS WELL AS A GREAT PRODUCT.

This is history in the making, how do you feel being a part of that?

The Dread & Alive series

WONDERFUL, WHEN YOU GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE PART OF ANY HISTORY THATS REAL WONDERFUL AND A BLESSING…

GIVE THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT.

Thank you for your time Monsoon and all the best to you in the future.

Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes vol.1 Is available on itunes Now!!  Get your copy!!

Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes is released in association with Soul Of The Lion and Zoolook!!!


Series creator Nicholas Da Silva talks about the music and series Dread & Alive

Dread & Alive The Lost Tapes vol.1

Thanks for being patient BH fans new and old. It took some doing but I tracked down and chained to a chair (jk) Dread & Alive series creator Nicholas Da Silva and managed to squeeze all the juice we possibly could about the man behind the music and the comic! BH fans…. prepare….. :)…. have I got an interview for you!

Q0. Tell our readers a bit about yourself.

I am the founder and creative director of ZOOLOOK, a San Francisco-based new media agency I established back in 1996 that develops entertainment properties for the web, video, television, film and wireless entertainment. I’m also a graphic designer specializing in print, web and video, and a musician.


Dread & Alive creator- Nicholas Da Silva

When I’m not in the studio, you can find me, an avid

snowboarder, traveling around the world, looking for the perfect snow.

Q1. Can you tell us about the Dread & Alive series?

A1. Dread & Alive is the first comic book of its kind with a Jamaican protagonist. The hero, Drew McIntosh, is inspired by the Jamaican Maroons, ex-African slaves who fought back the British and escape into the Cockpit Country of Jamaica where to this day, they govern themselves and are recognized as being independent. The story meshes fact with fiction while offering an insight to the ways of the Jamaican Maroons. The series is also the first to feature a cd collective featuring the best in conscious reggae music. The story follows  Drew as he travels the planet with his partner, zoologist Brandy Savage and his mentor, Cudjoe, wise and benevolent village chief of the Maroons, as they confront the forces of babylon in an effort to protect the earth and all its inhabitants.

Q2. What prompted you to create this series?

The Dread & Alive series

A2. As a kid, my dad would always take me to the library which I found fascinating. To me, the library was not only a place of knowledge, but a place where one could escape into a world of fantasy. At the time, I was into reading science fiction and comics! But the more I read, the more I discovered the lack of compelling stories centered around african-based characters. So I began writing my own stories. I used my love for history to study Jamaica’s culture, music, people and history to create Dread & Alive.

Q3. Tell us about the main character Drew McIntosh.

Dread & Alive #3

A3. Andrew “Drew” McIntosh is an anthropologist, adventurer and eco-warrior. Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in the Cockpit Country, he is a descendant of the Jamaican Maroons. At the age of 15, he is given a sacred amulet with untold powers by his mentor, Cudjoe, the wise and benevolent village chief of the Maroons. The amulet empowers him as he fights the forces of babylon in an effort to save the earth and its inhabitants, humans and animals. Drew doesn’t like fighting but he doesn’t like wicked either. He sees himself as the roaring lion, protector of the animal world to which all humans belong.

Q4. Every good hero has one, does Drew have a nemesis? If so tell us about him.

A. Drew’s nemesis is none other than the nefarious Shadowcatcher, an Obeahman trained in the black arts of Obeahism.


The evil "Shadowcatcher"

Shadowcatcher was born Quaco, the Akan name given to a male born on a Wednesday. He is the brother of Cudjoe, the leader of the Jamaican Maroons who just happens to be Drew’s mentor.

In the past, the two brothers ruled the Cockpit Country together, each using their special gift of magic to protect the existence of their people. Cudjoe, was the myalman, practicing myalism to cure all illnesses and remove all curses, while Quaco was the Obeahman, using his black magic to strike fear and cause death in their enemies. When Quaco began practicing the black arts on his own people, Cudjoe had no choice but to banish him from the village, sending him to exile deep inside Windsor Cave. To this day, Quaco has swore his vengence against his brother, taking the name Shadowcatcher as he plots to take back absolute power in the Cockpit Country and to possess the sacred amulet of the Jamaican Maroons held by Drew McIntosh!

Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes is released in association with Soul Of The Lion and Zoolook

Q5. Tell us about Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes? How did it come together?

Music has always been a source of inspiration for me, especially in my creative process. As a comic book fan, I’ve always read my comics with headphones on, listening to a song that I thought best fit the mood of the story. So when I first began working on Dread & Alive back in 1993, I told myself that I would create a soundtrack that featured conscious reggae music that fit the theme of the story and the mindset of Drew McIntosh.


Dread & Alive poster

At the time, I was deep into Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear and Third World to name a few. Unfortunately, the world wasn’t ready for Dread & Alive yet, so I took a little break to work on another comic series I created called HITLESS.I decided to create this series as a digital comic book that could be view on both the Sony PSP and the original iPod (pre-iPod Touch). The comic included a soundtrack that represented the theme of the storyline. HITLESS was releases in December 2007 and was an instant hit. I received numerous awards including a major feature in Web Designer Magazine (UK) in January of 2008.

Drew McIntosh

I wanted to do the same for Dread & Alive so I setup a plan to launch the actual series in 2010 with the release of Dread & Alive: Issue #1 on Bob Marley’s birthday (February 6, 2010). The release was accompanied by the launch of the official website for the series. On the site, I included a music section so that I could look for conscious reggae music. And that’s when Soul of the Lion reached out to me. Soul of the Lion was working with Zeke Stern who is part of Green Lion Crew. Zeke had told Soul of the Lion about my interest in music for the series. Fortunate for me, Soul of the Lion had heard about Dread & Alive before and had even read some of the pages through the Gleaner in Jamaica. When he called me to share his ideas of how reggae music could be included with the series, we realized we had the very same ideas. And thus, Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes was created!

Q6. You have some very talented people collaborating with you on the Lost Tapes but I note its called vol.1? Is this intentional? Are there plans for more such collaborations?

Yes indeed. As long as there is a Dread & Alive story to tell, there will be music to go with it. Soul of the Lion and I have finished the next compilation for Issue #4 and are planning the tracks for Issue #5. We’re looking forward to surprising people with how well the music and the comic book can work together.

Q7. Why do you think it’s taken so long for the comics and music medium to come together, when comics and movies have had a tenuous relationship since….. forever!?

Nicholas Da Silva "Black man with a vision"

When it comes to comics, it’s hard to get a comic book artist to step out of their comfort zone and try something new or different. We’re use to sticking to the norm because it’s what everyone does. There’s no surprises to deal with it. Well, I’m not everyone. I get no satisfaction in doing something that has already been done before. I want to push the limits. And, as an independent artists, I can afford to take chances unlike the big boy of comics.

Q8. Tell us something you’ve never told anyone else about the dread & Alive series.

The amulet that Drew possesses has two sides. On one side, the amulet bears the mark of the conquering lion of Judah; on the other side, the symbol of

Drew vs Shadowcatcher

peace. The amulet symbolizes the peaceful spirit of the Jamaican Maroons (peace side) and their determination to remain free and independent (the lion side) … So Jah Seh!

Q9. Before we go is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

I would like to give thank and praise to all my fans for being supportive and for recognizing the importance of Dread & Alive as a comic book series. I would also like to say a BIG UPs to all the amazing reggae artists who are the masters of their craft. Anyone can make music but it takes a true artists to write conscious lyrics and melodies that empower, inspire and unite us! That’s the power of reggae!

Thank you for your time Nicholas, all the best to you in the future and thanks for meeting with us.

Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes vol.1 is available on itunes NOW!!! Get your copy!!!!

Dread & Alive: The Lost Tapes is released in association with Soul Of The Lion and Zoolook!!!


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