A short tribute to Milestone Media and the legacy of Dwayne McDuffie.
Through interviews with prominent artists, scholars and cultural critics along with images from the comic books themselves, this film examines the degree to which early Black superheroes generally adhered to common stereotypes about Black men. From the humorous, to the offensive, early Black superheroes are critically considered.
This short film provides an introduction to the Black Age movement. Artist, educator and activist Turtel Onli gave birth to the Black Age in 1993 as a means to give voice to artists whose creative visions were not represented. In this sense, this movement represents a critical response to that which the documentary addresses. The Black Age movement represents communities in which people imagine for themselves and gather together to support and encourage the kind of creative expressions that characterize the Black Age. Don’t take my word for it, watch the short and hear from the trailblazers themselves.
For more information:
http://www.dablackage.blogspot.com/ (Chicago – the original)
www.ecbacc.com (East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, Philadelphia – the largest event on the East Coast)
www.blacksuperhero.com (Omar Bilal’s site – an incredible resource as well as a growing community of fans and artists)
Brotherman Forever is a short film that I carved together early in the project. It is a small tribute to one of my favorite books. Beyond the artistic achievement (art and writing) that Brotherman represents, it must be one of the most successful independent comic books of all time. From brothermancomics.com:
Born from the fire of his father and the passion of his mother, Antonio Valor, forged a commitment to bringing a new justice to Big City. Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline is the continuing story of a man drawn deeper into the darkness to bring light to those who have lost all hope. Armed only with his strength, wit, intellect, and his drive, Antonio Valor, straddles the line of being both the keeper and dispenser of the law. Supported by a sprinkling of friends, colleagues, and confidants, the residents of Big City can begin to find peace in a place under siege. As it is written on the subway walls, “He’s here…and everything’s gonna be alright!”
Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline is the dynamic brainchild of the artist/writing team of Dawud Anyabwile and Guy A. Sims. Since 1990, the Brotherman series continues to be the most enduring urban hero to be created by an independent company. The stories have been described as fresh, poignant, exciting, funny, and inspirational. Widely acknowledged as the spark for the Black comic explosion in the 1990’s, the essence of the Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline series can be seen in many of today’s world of Black and Afrocentric heroes.
Unlike many contemporary magazines of similar genres, Brotherman crosses the boundaries of age, culture, and artistic tastes. It is in step with both the hip-hop world, as well as the mainstream comic community. It crosses generations as it is written in a voice that speaks to both the young and mature. The appreciation for the art work is exemplified through the complimentary mode of replication. Brotherman brings a new and dynamic medium affecting style, animation, fashion, music, and thought. Who is Brotherman’s audience? In today’s world, the answer is “who’s not?” The African American consumer clamors for images, stories, and mythos that speak to them, reflect them, and generate a cultural pride. The mainstream comic buyer has the affection for exquisite art styling and intriguing story telling. Teachers and those of the academic ilk recognize the value of materials that offer kids encouragement for reading and creativity.
This resurgence of Brotherman represents a new voice reaching a global audience. It presents a new form of animation, a new form of storytelling, an image still untapped, and an image that encourages energy, enthusiasm, and emulation. Brotherman is poised to reach the world through the magazine, its music, and the digitized world of communication.
Comic heroes are laid at our doorstep everyday and their cookie-cutter presentation is fine but today’s readers want to be blown away. Brotherman brings that combustion! Brotherman brings the excitement! Brotherman brings the new universe! Big City has been waiting for Brotherman…and now it waits for you!
Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline is widely recognized as the catalyst for the Black Comic explosion of the 1990’s. As people are looking for an alternative to the slew of cookie-cutter heroes, Brotherman offers within the realm of action and adventure, uplifting and hope filled stories that resonate to the cultural sensibilities of today’s generation. Brotherman offers the broad appeal through the stories and characterizations that reflect honestly the depth of the Black community.
Brotherman made it’s debut at the New York Black expo in April 1990 and has independently sold 750,000 books within a four year span without a major publisher behind it.
In case you did not know (and you SHOULD know), the Brotherman team has released an incredible new graphic novel. The book is what Brotherman has always been, groundbreaking.
We are headed to San Diego for the BIGGEST COMIC CON OF THEM ALL! The film will screen on Friday, July 25 at 7:40pm. The festival is screening some very interesting films. We are in good company indeed. The Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival will be held at the Marriott Marquis & Marina (it’s directly next door to the San Diego Convention Center). The Film Festival room is Marriott Hall 2. Marriott Hall is located at the far (north) end of the Marriott main lobby. You do not need a Comic-Con badge to attend the festival. By the way, they are sold out of badges! If you’re in the area, please come by and say hello! ‘ll start posting photos as soon as I set foot in San Diego.
Tonight, 7pm in Hodson Hall. Many thanks to Joseph Colon and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. Uraeus (Jaycen Wise) will also be there to share his work!
I haven’t posted in a looong time. So much has happened… Anyway, I’m very excited about an event TOMORROW at the Schomburg Museum. If you’re in New York, I’d love to see you there. Once again, the brilliant John Jennings put his touch on the event poster.
We generally watch films passively – not critically. The purpose of this guide is to encourage more active engagement of the documentary. I have never been a fan of providing students with guides prior to any activity for fear that they will focus only on the pertinent portions identified in the guide and ignore everything else. The questions included in the guide are intended only as points of reference for class discussions of the documentary.
The documentary pursues a critical engagement of the manner in which Black masculinity is represented in comic books featuring the first Black superheroes. Consequently, many of the questions focus on issues of representation, race, masculinity, and the influence of racial/ historical contexts on the first Black superheroes. This is not THE study guide. As the filmmaker, I am probably far too close to the material to develop a comprehensive guide. This is simply a initial point of entry for your class discussions. If you want to share some good questions, please submit them (along with your name and institutional affiliation if you want to be credited) to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will create a list of “community questions” and update them every few weeks or so.
Additionally, the documentary should not be the only source for this study. The documentary shares scholarly space with a number of academic domains including African-American Studies, hip hop studies, gender studies, popular culture studies, communication, American studies, media anthropology, as well as ethnic and racial studies. Drawn for your own area(s) of interest to use the documentary in your work.
This guide reflects only the documentary. I have not developed questions for the more than forty video clips available on the site. Many of these clips should be useful to your class discussions.
I was just informed that California Newsreel has just made an individual purchase option available (24.95)!
Many thanks to NCORE for including the film in a impressive film schedule.
“NCORE® is designed to provide a significant forum for discussion, critical dialogue, and exchange of information as institutions search for effective strategies to enhance access, social development, education, positive communication, and cross-cultural understanding in culturally diverse settings.”
John Jennings, my good friend and colleague, has created an incredible cover image. I LOVE the image. I got a chance to hang out with John at the 2011 ASA conference. He organized a great panel entitled Black Panels, White Gutters: Race, Resistance, and Representation in American Comics and Sequential Art. John is working on some truly groundbreaking art. I got a peek at some of it and my vocabulary is not extensively enough to describe what I saw. Anyway, check him out here .
California Newsreel has selected the documentary for distribution! I have been a fan of their catalog for decades and the thought that this documentary will be included in their impressive catalog is humbling. They have the master so it is just a matter of time before the dvd is available for purchase. I will certainly keep you posted.
Adilifu Nama, Chair of the African American Studies Department at Loyola Marymount University.
Ph.D. Sociology, University of Southern California. 2002.
Dr. Nama’s research is highly interdisciplinary and rests at the intersection of African American studies, cultural studies, black cultural criticism, critical theory, film studies and communication studies. Moreover he examines popular culture as a compelling conduit that connects peoples and places, politics and power, commerce and commodities in ways that forge new social relations, lifestyles and racial subjectivities concerning black racial formation. His publications include Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes (University Texas Press, 2011), the award winning Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. (University of Texas Press, 2008) along with a variety of articles examining black racial formation and representation in Sci-Fi film, comics, hip-hop music and television.