Brooklyn, NY: While I was hospitalized with an arm injury in the Summer of 1975, my mother brought me a few Marvel Comics to read, among them: F4 #153, Avengers #124 and Marvel Superheroes #48 (Hulk v. Silver Surfer). I was enraptured by these because I was already an avid reader of ancient mythology (Heru: The Avenger!) and watcher of television sci-fi (Star Trek) and live-action superhero series (Superman and Batman). I made instant connections between these two genres. The next two comics, Avengers #125 and X-Men #96, brought these connections full circle for me, especially with the introduction of the X-Men’s Storm character!
Spring of 1980: I began creating futuristic tales for the “Yumiverse” set in the year A.D. 2035 and beyond based on super-powered characters descended from the ancients.
Summer of 1982: I created a world mythology- and comic book-based curriculum to use in Summer youth programs and tutoring sessions to improve basic literacy and reading skills: The Kemet & Komix in the Classroom Curriculum! With this curriculum participants look at the gamut of ancient mythology, contemporary comic books and related media in the contemporary classroom to improve the skills of young scholars through critical thinking and creative writing. Myriad subjects, from storytelling, comic book character development, grammar and syntax, vocabulary building, word creation, math and science, civics and ethics, etc., can be tackled using comic books / mythology as educational resources. I also created the rudiments of 45 characters belonging to a group I called Kham Chi: The Avenging Force!
Summer of 1986: First World Komix, Inc. was founded as a community-based educational and social change entity with some lofty goals in mind: FWK was designed to incorporate ancient, contemporary and neo-mythologies, art and imagery to address, promote and unveil the universality of the “Hero” and the interconnectedness of the Human Family. At this point, the 45 characters in the ”Yumiverse” had been solidified, with 1 flagship character: Apadamax (Based on the ancient Nubian Warrior God Apedemek) and 5 principal characters: Karas (Based on the millennia-old concept of Savior-Kings), Raya (Descended from a lineage of Kemetic priestesses of Ma’at), Kalía (Descended from a lineage of Dravidian Priestesses of Kali), Razanj (Descended directly from the legendary Queen Medusa) and Razaq (Descended from an extra-terrestrial clan of sci-explorers). These are all Heruic Pan-African characters based on ancient world mythologies.
Philadelphia, PA: In the Summer of 1988, I relocated to Philadelphia, the city of many national firsts: The President’s House / White House, public library, university, hospital, public park, museum, zoo, prison, and independent African American comic book publication: All-Negro Comics created by Mr. Orrin C. Evans in 1947.
I also updated / revised the FWK Kemet & Komix in the Classroom Curriculum in the Summer 1988.
First World Komix, Inc. has been in the forefront of addressing the images and portrayals of “Black” characters in comic books, sci-fi and fantasy with the [FWK] Kemet & Komix Curriculum (1982); an array of 45 global Pan-African superhero / super-powered characters, all members of Kham Chi: The Avenging Force! (1986); and the work: A New Direction in Original American Mythology (1992).
In the Fall of 1988: I came across a copy of Turtel Onli’s NOG comic book (ca. 1981). Onli, a Chicago-based comic creator, is responsible for organizing the first “Black Age” Art Convention there in the early – mid-1990’s. Turtel Onli is the “Father” of the “Black Age” concept. Between 1990 and 1992: The seeds were planted for the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) when I put together a directory of the then producers/ creators of Africentric / African-centered / Black comic book characters, and distributed this list to as many of them as I could find. My intention was that this list would make for a more cohesive network. This is, essentially, how I first corresponded with Turtel Onli, the Bros. Simms, members of ANIA, and others. Special note: A New Direction in Original American Mythology ©1992 Yumy Odom published.
Between 1992 and 1997: I was on a mission to locate local artists to render my 45 characters, or at least the principal characters of Kham Chi: The Avenging Force #1! I found several good artists: Donovan P. (’92); D. Harden (’92); Damian & Demetrius (’93); and S. Gamble (’94). However, at the time, none had the artistic fortitude or business acumen necessary to achieve their artistic goals. None, that is, except for Akinseye Brown, artist extraordinaire, whom I met in 1995!
Circa 1998: While his educational project entitled “The Changing Image of African-Americans in Comics” was being exhibited at Temple University’s Paley Library, Prof. William H. Foster III, Comic Book Historian, and I had discussed the idea of a Think Tank Project based on the “Black Age” concept introduced to us by Turtel Onli. The goal was to bring together the varied forces and interests in the myth-making and image-making comic industry, including cartoonists, illustrators, sci-fi writers, and others to share their ideas, concepts and concerns.
In the Spring of 2001: We re-hashed the idea with Turtel Onli and decided to realize it, understanding the industry’s impact and the need to create images (Pan-African / Africentric / Black) that were both ennobling and reality-based.
However, it wasn’t until the Spring of 2002, with the indispensable support of William H. Foster III, Comic Book Historian, Jerry Craft, Creator of Mama’s Boyz, and Omar Bilal, Founder of the Museum of Black Superheroes Website, that I was in a position to do so.