Another Competition

I’m sure some of you remember my I2CAP picture post.

Well, we had another competition, this time in Tamale, the capital of Ghana’s Northern region. Pictures and a short write up are on the work blog (still under redesign)

My pictures and thought will be up either later today or tomorrow. Either way, enjoy. I did. Smart kids make me happy.

Here we go again (race and scifi part ???)

Thanks to this post from Nalo I just found a comment on my Octavia Butler obituary that I must have missed the first time. I guess that’s what happens when I get lazy and start occasionally skipping my daily blog reading.

Since that quote was attributed to Nalo, she went ahead and answered it here and covered the topic pretty well. I still felt the need to address it though. I guess something in my ego just keeps me from just letting this slide.

Of course, the really amusing thing about that blog entry is how generic it was. Generally speaking, as Pam noted, there seems to be a generic white response to these kinds of complaints about genre writing. Namely, the assumption that any mention of the whitewashed nature of the genre most imply some sort of automatic dislike of white people. Usually this is just followed by some kind of MLK-lite suggestion that we judge the writers by the content of their works instead of the color of their skin. I have seen it over and over again in discussions of race and science fiction and comics. At this point I can pretty much see them coming.

What is really amusing about these statements is that they tend to reveal how little critical thought the person making them has really put into the issue.

Why do I say this? Simple. How exactly would a black person who hated white people get into a whitewashed genre to begin with? Who would they be reading?

Personally, I’ve been a science fiction fan for the better part of two decades. I already made a post about the books that most influenced me as a child. Long before I’d ever heard of Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany, Steven Barnes, Nalo Hopkinson etc. I was reading Asimov, Heinlen, Ben Bova, Andre Norton, John Brunner…. Obviously I have absolutely no idea what it means to relate to someone who does not look like me. Ok, bad sarcasm aside, the truth is that every genre fan of color must by definition be able to relate to people who are different from them. There is no other way to get into the genre. There just aren’t that many non-white people in it. The chances of there existing a black science fiction fan who has only read black authors and/or characters is so small I’d rather lay odds on that snowball in hell first. On the other hand, it would be remarkably easy to find white fans who have almost never read a science fiction book which didn’t have a white writer and/or character.

Hell, as far as I know there isn’t a stigma against putting white faces on a book because they might not sell as well. Which makes it remarkably interesting that the question being asked is why people who have to make a special effort to *not* read a genre story which requires them to identify with someone who doesn’t look like them are prejudiced. If anything, the question should be reversed.

Why is it that putting a black face on the cover of a book is automatically a bad thing?

Why are non-white authors such a rare thing?

Where are the non-white fans?

What keeps them out of a supposedly universal genre?

And why is it that those who do exist tend to cluster into their own communities?

What is the cause of this defensiveness that shows up chiefly among white fans whenever the racial makeup of the genre is discussed?

Like I said, that piece displayed an all too common lack of critical thinking about the issue. I understand its probably due to long standing unquestioned assumptions that people are not even aware they hold. Still, since cornute was kind enough to ask…..

Some things of interest

My first Prep Time Posse piece is up. In true Die Whitey warrior tradition (yes Pam, I’m stealing that from you) I talk about marvel’s new family of black Captain Americas and how much they irritate certain fans. Enjoy

Pam also sent me this link which covers a lot of the frustration I feel whenever I hear people talk about the continenent: How to write about Africa

New writing duties

Those of you who also read Pam’s blog already know about my new hobby, a collaborative comics blog called Prep Time Posse. This is another one of those things Okayplayer has gotten me into. The people on this blog are people I usually end up discussing comic books with on the boards. Between all of us I’d imagine there probably hasn’t been a significant comics event in the last two or three decades that we lack expertise in. The stuff currently up is definitely gold and I expect that to continue.

(sidenote: the name comes from our version of the standard ‘which hero would win in a fight’ argument where it was eventually agreed that given enough prep time batman could defeat pretty much anyone)

I don’t have a piece up yet but it will be coming soon. In keeping with my comics talk here, it will probably border on the sticky issue of race and comics fandom at some point. I’ll also talk about comics I think you should be reading, recommend old stuff I like and maybe work in at least one Milestone Comics post. There will also be some general ‘what is wrong with comics’ posts

I’ll definitely let you know when my stuff starts to roll out.

I’m also taking part in an online food log where I shall be providing all the gory details of my daily eating patterns. I might also use it to log exercise. That I haven’t decided yet.

Comics plug: What’s a Nubian?

Rich Watson, the writer of Glyphs (which, for those of you who haven’t clicked on the link, is a pretty comprehensive look at comics with black characters or creators) is now writing a column for Buzzscope entitled ‘What’s a Nubian?’

For those of you who missed the reference, its from Kevin Smith’s ‘Chasing Amy

Its basically a continuation on the theme of his blog, but in front of a larger audience. For any comic book fans looking for new stuff to pick up I think its very much worth reading, and especially for comic fans of colour its a great resource to find out about books that usually get little to no mainstream exposure

here are columns #1 and #2

I hope you like them


BP figurine

Guess what I’ll be getting myself next month


Another Comic Book Post: Fierce


This weekend, I ended up in New York City hanging out with an old friend. While I was there I passed by Midtown comics specially to see if they had a copy of the Fierce Trade paperback. Fierce is a product of Ghettosake comics(link in sidebar), the brainchild of brothers Robert and Jeremy Love.

The plot is action movie fare. Actually, the entire movie has an espionage thriller type feel. It would work great as a movie. Jamaican-born psychic Jonathan Fierce work for Razor, a special FBI unit. Someone betrays the unit and they all end up dead except for him. In their search for vengeance, the former members of his team all lend him their skills, turning him into a world class shot, hacker, martial artist, explosives expert and driver. With these new skills he returns to Kingston to find out who betrayed his team and exact bloody revenge. As with any good story, there is also a romance between him and the FBI psychiatrist assigned to help him deal with his psychic visions.

The writing is pretty much what you’d expect for something this action oriented. Its enough to develop the characters and make us empathize with them, but not so much that it interferes with the action. The great things about this book are the art and the action scenes. Every single panel is beautifully drawn. Honestly, I can skip the words and just enjoy the images. That’s really rare for me. Usually I’m more about the writing than the art. As for the action, like I said before its more than ready for the big screen. I was really impressed with how well the scenes were imagined. I’m guessing the brothers are both huge film buffs. Either way, this takes up a well deserved spot in my collection and I have no qualms about recommending it to anyone.

Sidenote: Below is the cover of Ghettosake’s next project, Chocolate Thunder. Its supposed to be a mesh of blaxploitation and martial arts movies on page. Personally, I can’t wait.
I also picked up the first issue of Kyle Baker’s latest project, Nat Turner. Seeing this art makes me wonder why he was unable to turn out work like this for Marvel’s ‘Truth’ miniseries
Chocolate Thunder