it has always been my secret fantasy to be a cartoonist/animator. something in me keeps one eye in a comic book of some kind. when i was in austin, i got into r. crumb and stuff like american splendor and cherry pop tart, thanks to oat willie's. and then when i protested against apartheid, i got into political stuff, like sue coe. japanese anime never interested me all that much, though i've seen some movies that i really like, and some prints. neither did sci-fi, per se. but every once in awhile, i see some cool trippy stuff. my friend john f. knows about my secret fantasy and he's really great about sticking some comic book in my face and going, you should read this. (little does he know, i've started sketching again...)
needless to say, anything black and strong stays on my radar -- everything from Brotherman and Spawn to (of course) Boondocks (are those some pissed-off politically aware little children or what!. my favorites are all in the museum of black superheroes. i go there often for a little inspiration here and there because -- while we all love superman and batman and and spiderman and all that the other "man" spin-offs have to offer -- frankly, i'm sick of watching white men (and occasionally white women) save the world -- especially when we all know that they make up less than 15% of the globe's population. actually, i was kind of over it when i was a little kid. i wanted to see something of myself beating up the bad guys and fighting injustice. but i guess that's what pam grier was for -- little black girls like me that wanted to be in on the action (tomboys? wierdoes?) instead of watching demurely from the sidelines could do so vicariously through her. she wasn't a comic book superhero but she may as well have been. *sigh*
fortunately, i lived in atlanta, a black mecca. and my childhood was somewhere in the 70's. everything was still black and beautiful. everyone had an Afro with a pick stuck in it. everyone wore a dashiki. everybody wanted to go to africa or get an african name or hang out with some africans. actually, i used to babysit for some nigerian graduate students when i was in middle school. i looked so nigerian that their friends would become deadlocked in these long drawn out discussions over my features to determine which tribe i probably belonged to. i think ibo was the popular assumption, but when most nigerians meet me, they vacillate: ibo or yoruba? tastes great, less filling! i remember thinking, what the heck do they know? i'm from the low country. my people are probably from the sierra leone.
that's when i experienced fela kuti for the first time, via music and video clips. i was mesmerized. i thought that he was just stunning. one of the biggest compliments i think anyone has ever given me in my whole life was from this nigerian student i knew in austin who used to greet me with a stiff ceremonial bow whenever he saw me on campus and introduce me to his friends as one of fela's wives, in exile. all of his friends would unanimously agree. his wives -- there must have been 20 of them, at least -- were singer/dancers in his collective, and they were all quite beautiful.
but i digress.
i wish that i could make a black female superhero comix. or just blackgrrl's comix, period. some vehicle for me to put all these stories and all these bizarre things that keep happening to me...