Rich Watson and Black Comic LinkBlogging

While looking back over some favorite minicomics for my new feature, I stumbled across some of Rich Watson’s work. I found myself wondering why he doesn’t seem to do comics much anymore (instead concentrating on journalism).

What an interesting coincidence that his recent column answers that question. The short answer is “obsession over a failed relationship”, but it’s more complicated than that. At first blush, my response to his explanation was “you need help moving on”, but at the same time, I admire his willingness to share the story. Any cartoonist who’s used autobiographical elements in his work knows how rewarding and yet painful it can be to make yourself part of the work — because then reactions to your art can feel like judgments on you.

If I only had one piece of advice to share, though, it would be “keep your work in print!” I loved Rich’s Rat, but I don’t recommend it because there’s nowhere for people to find it. I also enjoyed his The Path minicomic series, but I don’t know if it ever concluded.

Speaking of Rich’s journalism, I found his post on the San Diego Black Panel quite interesting. Reportedly, the men on the panel (there were no women) responded to an older woman’s questions by being dismissive towards her concerns, commenting on her appearance, and saying something that was taken by some as “let the guys get there first and then the women will get their turn.”

The fights against sexism and racism have many similarities, but they can also wind up working against each other. Sadly, the comments at that thread show that Reginald Hudlin, for one, doesn’t get it, insulting and blaming the woman who pointed out the issue. Given that he wrote the recent Black Panther comic that minimized Storm, I find his reaction sad but unsurprising.

Moving to more positive news, The Guardian Line has been announced as launching in September.

UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), the largest independent African American media firm providing positive content for the urban market, announces one of the biggest launches in comics history for the young multicultural audience-The Guardian Line. This series is the superbly styled result of the combined resources of UMI and creator of The Guardian Line Michael Davis [one of the founders of Milestone].

“This series of comics will invite young readers to become part of a universe filled with memorable and inspiring characters who look just like them. Teenagers and kids in America face daily choices between good and evil. As The Guardian Line keeps them highly entertained and coming back for more, it will nudge them toward the good,” states president of UMI, Carl Jeffrey Wright.

For over 35 years UMI has been the trusted source for teaching materials and inspirational book titles in the African American church market They are poised to reach a network of 40,000 churches and 1,500 bookstores with The Guardian Line-a larger audience than that of even Michael’s own Milestone Media. The Guardian Line will be available to the general market through Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc., the world’s largest distributor of English-language comics and related merchandise.

They’re scheduled to be the Chicago convention, so I’m hoping to stop by there and check them out. I admire those who want to create morally positive comics, but I hope that they’re more interesting than Serenity.

It is a great lesson that they’re not primarily focusing on the direct market, which has shown an unfriendliness in the past to more diverse projects. Instead, they’re going where their customers are — in this case, churches.

I’m a little concerned that there’s no information on creators beyond Davis. He clearly can’t do all four books, and I’d like to know who else will be writing and/or drawing.


One Response to “Rich Watson and Black Comic LinkBlogging”

  1. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] In a followup to the controversy over the San Diego Black Panel, Pam Noles elaborates on the sexism demonstrated. What clouds that panel is the ignominious treatment of a female audience member by certain of the panelists. For me, the secondary stunner was the message delivered by the level of gender-based creator cluelessness on display by another panelist’s wearying myopia. And the continued attacks against her and anyone else who has expressed doubts? Not helped the cause much. [...]




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