Now in Glorious Color!


So the New Year is upon us. It's this time where I think about the past 12 months and find something noteworthy to what we do here. This time, I found something that gives me great pride.

Often, when Afro Stache Studios does conventions, we get a typical reaction where the spectator will see our name first, chuckle, stop and look at our books. This usually follows with introductions to ourselves and the books in question. Whether the conversation is successful or not, sometimes people walk away with an issue #1 or the whole set of issues/trade. The latter is always a great feeling for us, and reinforces why we do this in the first place. Honestly, we just want to make you all smile.

But occasionally, we get other reactions.

One in particular has happened more than once: A person of color (like myself) will approach to see why we have a diverse cast and to see if it's worth their perspective.

Some appreciate what we are doing, while others don't approve of the comedic angle, and moreso, the association of the word "poverty" with minorities. To quote one individual, we are "skating on thin ice". I try not to take offense to such a ignorant assumption, however, as my intent was to comment on the recent ressesion the whole country suffered. If they took the time to talk with us, read our books, they'd find it was a situation that affected a whole city and not just "targeted individuals". Oh well. You can't please everyone, right? Or maybe because I was raised on the Norman Leer sitcom, certain things aren't so sensitive to me as today's generation?

Then there is the response that sort of blindsided me. It's happened more than once: women of color will come and express their gratitude for showcasing more than one in our book. It never occurred to me that this would impact so many, but I'm flattered everytime I hear it. It's possibly the most rewarding compliment for me personally. It makes me feel now that we have a responsibilty to these characters going forward.

Now to backtrack, Ted and myself never conceived Poverty Pack in the angle of "we're going to make a superhero book with a diverse cast of races!". In fact, most of these characters were just naturally developed and added to the roster.

Now, to play devil's advocate, all the characters are developed to be satirical to some extent. Cookie Brown or Willy Johnson have a archetype or stereotype attached to them, being "blaxploitive". Street Sweepah is immersed in black culture and is socially more accepted than Black Pigeon, who is looked on as somewhat of a corny crimefighter. Brown Wristband's ethnicity has never been divulged (But I know who she is!), and even though Whistleman's head is that of a giant golden whistle, well, you'll just have to read Poverty Thrill Adventures #8 to see who he really is. Will there be other cultures? I hope so. But as long as we can do them right and not be completely offensive to the reader.

Anyway, I wasn't aiming to make this a hot-button topic, and I hope it doesnt turn out that way. I really just wanted to address our angle with this book concerning a potential sensitivity. My suggestion? Read these stories, and leave your insecurities to the wayside. We're not here to offend you...maybe.

Happy New Year!


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