Tag Archives: Tim Smith 3

Preview: Black #5

BLACK #5

Created by: Kwanza Osajyefo & Tim Smith 3
Written by: Kwanza Osajyefo
Illustrated by: Jamal Igle
Cover by: Khary Randolph
In Stores: April 19

In the aftermath of his defection from The Project, Kareem comes face-to-face with the harsh consequences of his decision. Juncture and his team enlist Detective Waters’ help in a drastic effort to find the boy before he’s too far gone into the system – but a great threat may have nefarious designs for Kareem’s unique abilities.

Preview: Black #4

Black #4

Created by: Kwanza Osajyefo & Tim Smith 3
Written by: Kwanza Osajyefo
Illustrated by: Jamal Igle
Cover by: Khary Randolph
In Stores: February 8

A schism between Juncture and Kareem sets the young man on the run from the people he thought were his comrades. Traversing the depths of the Project, he searches for answers he can’t get from Juncture – will he find what he’s looking for or will his discovery put everyone in danger?

black-4-7

Preview: Black #3

BLACK #3

Written by: Kwanza Osajyefo
Designed by: Tim Smith 3
Art by: Jamal Igle
Cover by: Khary Randolph
In Stores: December 14th

In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers?

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

X-Men meets The Wire, BLACK’s Kickstarter blazed through Black History Month 2016 earning more than three time its funding goal.

black-3-cover-1

Listen to Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 Talk Black, Their Hit Comic Series on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers?

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

This Monday we welcomed two of the individuals behind the comic series Black on Graphic Policy Radio. Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 will join us to talk about the series published by Black Mask Studios and which saw the second issue recently released after selling out the 22,000 copy print run of the first.

Creator and author of Black, Kwanza Osajyefo was a digital editor at both Marvel and DC Comics – best known for launching the latter’s Zuda imprint, which published series like the award-winning Bayou, High Moon, Night Owls, as well as Superton, Celadore, Black Cherry Bombshells, Bottle of Awesome, and I Rule the Night.

Co-creator and designer of Black, Tim Smith 3 (A.K.A. TS3), has been working in the comic industry for over 15 years. He created and self-published Red After the Party, and has worked on hit titles for publishers such as Marvel, Archie, and DC, just to name a few!

Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 Talk Black, Their Hit Comic Series this Monday

black-1-1In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers?

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

This Monday we have two of the individuals behind the comic series Black on Graphic Policy Radio. Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 will join us to talk about the series published by Black Mask Studios and which saw the second issue recently released after selling out the 22,000 copy print run of the first.

The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Creator and author of Black, Kwanza Osajyefo was a digital editor at both Marvel and DC Comics – best known for launching the latter’s Zuda imprint, which published series like the award-winning Bayou, High Moon, Night Owls, as well as Superton, Celadore, Black Cherry Bombshells, Bottle of Awesome, and I Rule the Night.

Co-creator and designer of Black, Tim Smith 3 (A.K.A. TS3), has been working in the comic industry for over 15 years. He created and self-published Red After the Party, and has worked on hit titles for publishers such as Marvel, Archie, and DC, just to name a few!

We want to hear your questions! Tweet them to us @graphicpolicy and listen in live this Monday.

Listen in live this Monday.

Review: Black #2

black-2In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers?

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

I read Black #2 before the election results this past Tuesday and the issue’s social commentary is as relevant then as it is now. Black #2 is an example of the entertainment we need, not just because it shifts the narrative away from the white superhero, but also because it touches upon issues that we need to think about as readers. Entertainment is supposed to entertain, but it also has a role in reflecting society and challenging those who consume it. Black does exactly that and then some.

The concept is simple, that African-Americans have super powers and it’s a secret that’s been kept for some time. There’s numerous levels the comic works on and the commentary and issues it brings up are both at the surface of this issue and also a bit more subtle.

The comic as a whole has a theme about presentation and what we allow the public to see and what we don’t. It’s an interesting take on “acting white” or “code-switching” based on who you’re around. We see that in the difference of opinions within the comic of allowing the “white” world see that Black individuals have these abilities while others want to keep it quiet thinking it’ll protect them. It’s interesting and nuanced in some ways with different opinions presented and no clear answer given. It reflects very real debates going forward about conforming to a “white standard” in things. This issue takes it a step further introducing a Transgender character which further complicates the politics of it all, especially since even within the Black community there’s issues when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. Thankfully Osajyefo, Smith 3, and Igle don’t hold back displaying the ignorance of our main character. That complicated discussion, a minority within a minority within a minority, challenges the reader to reflect on their status in many ways and think about the outsiders within their own community. That’s the more subtle aspects of the comic, the discussion of identity and how we present to others.

Then there’s the in your face aspects of it.

The comic straight up deals with a lynching as the cover of the comic shows. The situation presented isn’t anything particularly new, we’ve seen it with the X-Men, but it involves a super power going off and causing damage, but also some straight up racists killing African-Americans. It’s raw, unflinching, in your face, and needed. Especially as we ponder the future of our nation (and a world) where racism is emboldened and out in the open in a way we haven’t seen in some time.

And in that way the comic itself creates an interesting duality. There’s the in your face nature of the events within (and presented in an amazing cover by Khary Randolph) and the more subtle politics behind the scene. It reflects the real world in a way that’s often missed in writing. Kudos to Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, and Jamal Igle for understanding that and making it a part of the reading experience.

While some may have been disappointed in the debut issue, I think this second issue shows this is a series that’s much smarter and deeper than it may seem. It definitely is meant to shock in some ways, but it also speaks a truth that’s rare and not sugar coated.

I enjoyed the first issue, but this second issue has me excited to see what comes next and ponder the layered nature of it all.

Story: Kwanza Osajyefo Designed: Tim Smith 3 Art: Jamal Igle
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Black #2

Black #2

Written by: Kwanza Osajyefo
Designed by: Tim Smith 3
Art by: Jamal Igle
Cover by: Khary Randolph
In Stores: November 9th

In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers?

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

black-2

Review: Black #1

stl016642-600x928

I dunno — maybe I wanted to like this one a little too much.

Seriously, though, who wasn’t rooting for Black, the Kickstarter-funded indie comics project from writer/co-creator Kwanza Osajyefo, “designer”(we’ll get back to this in a minute)/co-creator Tim Smith 3 and artist Jamal Igle, which has recently found a publishing home thanks to the always-interesting Black Mask Studios?

The book is certainly topical — police brutality, BLM, poverty, and Trump-esque “fear of the other” are all front and center in this series, and that provocative-as-all-hell cover by Khary Randolph grabs you by the throat before you’ve even flipped open to page one. Yeah, I got a free digital “review” copy of this comic, but I was so determined to support it that I plunked down $3.99 for it at my LCS, regardless. Then I read the thing — cover to cover. And when I say cover to cover, I mean that I read the copyright indicia, as well. And that’s when I started to feel like I’d “been had” a bit.

black-03-thumb-500x768-512850

Don’t get me wrong, the premise here is as cool as they come : how would the world react if super-powered humans were real — and exclusively black? I think we all know : white people would freak the fuck out and things would get pretty ugly pretty fast. For now, though, it looks like those with powers are keeping a low profile : our protagonist, Kareem, seems like a nice enough Bed-Stuy kid who gets caught up in a confrontation not of his own making with the bullies in blue that escalates pretty quickly — perhaps even unrealistically quickly, even by the sorry, trigger-happy standards set by much of contemporary American law enforcement. Still, it turns out that he’s every bit as bulletproof as Luke Cage, and when he runs from the scene, he’s saved by the timely intervention of a mysterious interloper who ushers him into the world of secret labs and “meet the others who are like you.” Apart from a couple of cringe-worthy moments that have all the subtlety of some of R. Crumb‘s racially-charged strips (waking from — or maybe it’s into, it’s kinda hard to tell — a dream featuring a grandmotherly figure singing “I’ll Fly Away,” telling a female scientist “damn — you so fine” right off the bat), Kareem is a fairly effective pair of eyes and ears for readers, but it’s more than fair to say that no one else featured in this issue really makes much of an impression one way or the other. Osajyefo’s script is an efficient, economic, style-free affair that gets you from points A to B to C with little fuss or muss, but doesn’t offer anything particularly compelling enough to make you say to yourself “dang, I’ve just gotta see where this goes.”

black-05-thumb-500x768-512856

Much better is Igle’s black-and-white art which is, again, fairly economical and “no-frills,” but has a pleasingly “old-school” look and feel to it that is more concerned with sticking with, and successfully utilizing, sequential storytelling basics than it is offering flashy, “look at me” pyrotechnics. It’s no stretch at all, in fact, to say that Igle is the nominal “star” of this comic.

So why is he being treated like a pencil (and brush) for hire? I told you I’d read the copyright indicia on this comic, and this series is owned lock, stock, and barrel by its writer and “designer,” and while I don’t know what the work of “designing” this world entails, especially given that all the characters wear street clothes, look like ordinary folks, and live in the real world, I feel pretty comfortable saying that Igle did almost all of the heavy lifting here based, at most, on perhaps a handful of sketches Smith may have initially provided. Black is hardly unique in terms of being a “creator-owned” project where the artist gets jobbed, of course — the entire Aftershock Comics line is writer-owned and so is a depressingly large percentage of Image‘s output — but it is, significantly, the only book with a purportedly “revolutionary” political perspective to do so. My advice? Put your money where your mouth is and cut your artist in on the action, given that he’s the one who’s probably put more sheer labor hours into this thing than anyone. I prefer to see creators who want to “stick it to The Man” over those who want to “become The Man,” and that’s exactly what will happen if Black gets picked up for movies or television and Osajyefo and Smith laugh all the way to the bank while Igle is left to live off his no-doubt-meager page rate. At the risk of using perhaps the single-most inappropriate line I could possibly think of, it appears to me that the politics of this series only run skin-deep.

ff0jfpcaqqymnxximt0e

There’s a larger issue in play here, though, as well : racism and its various manifestations are tools used by the elite capitalist economic class to keep the rest of us “in our place.” The police, the government, and the military, among other institutions, are paid hirelings of our economic “superiors” that act as foot-soldiers in this ongoing class war. A “revolution of consciousness” or somesuch just ain’t gonna cut it if we want to get rid of racism and other forms of bigotry once and for all — it’s going to take an economic revolution, over and above anything else, and two of the three creators involved with Black either don’t understand that, or simply don’t care. Yes, of course I’d rather see any creator own a book instead of a publisher, but ideally I’d like to see all creators cut in for a stake. And Igle definitely deserves it here.

My concerns about its ownership structure aside, though, Black #1 is still, at best, a very mediocre comic. It’s got a legitimately killer premise and highly competent art, but not much else. I’m game to give it another issue or two, I suppose, but can’t really recommend it as something worth your own $3.99, dear reader. And I sincerely hope that Jamal Igle knows a good lawyer who can help him get what’s coming to him if Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 go on to achieve Robert Kirkman levels of success. Of course, Kirkman himself tried to screw his Walking Dead co-creators out of their share when the show hit it big, and they did have copyright ownership. But that’s another story for another time — and one that I sincerely hope isn’t repeated here.

Stor : Kwanza Osajyefo Designs: Tim Smith 3 Art: Jamal Igle
Story: 3  Art: 7  Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Black #1

black-1-1

*Warning Spoilers Below*

Black Mask Studios is at it again. This time, they are giving us pure fire in the form of their latest comic book, Black. The first issue of this comic book series throws some very real, modern situations into the mix. Writer Kwanza Osajyeffo serves up a story that is not only relatable but, hopeful and new. We are introduced to a new hero named Kareem, who possesses some very Luke Cage-esque super powers. He’s indestructible and he’s a recently shot black teen.

The story starts off with a late to the scene, but local, Bed Stuy cop named Ellen Waters being interrogated by what we can only assume are government operatives. This is a nice entrance point into the story because it shows the gravity of the situation. We are then thrown into the story and get to watch three black teens stopped by police for existing while black. Officer Waters is late to the scene and arrives in time for the aftermath, three black teens shot dead by overzealous officers. Except, Kareem doesn’t die. He escapes an ambulance with multiple bullet wounds.

Kareem takes odd running and is cornered by not only cops but, a mysterious man who tells him he can save him. He wakes up in a bedroom in Chicago. The mystery man from the building in Bed Stuy is nowhere to be found but, he stumbles upon a grandma shelling peas. This short scene is a brilliant touch. Almost every black person alive has a fond memory of shelling peas and talking with a grandma or aunt. It was a nice coded way of creating calm within the confused and distressed Kareem. It also signals to the reader that Kareem is in a safe space.

Kareem is then summoned to meet the mystery man who throws him off a building to test the limits of his powers before introducing him to the doctor and his new home and family. In Black‘s comic book world, a small portion of black people are born with a special kind of Quark that mutates them and gives them special powers. Because of this the government wants them dead, or used as an experiment or a weapon.

The story is solid, realistic and relatable. It’s an interesting take on a current social issue and adds an element of hope to a bleak comic book world with real world correlations. It is well written and tells the story from all available sides. Kwanza provides the reader with a nice starting point for what I am sure will be an interesting story as it unfolds. The issue serves as a nice jump-on point to introduce the characters and set up the world in which the story takes place.

Tim Smith 3 and Jamal Igle‘s black and white artwork adds to the story by providing a harsh backdrop to the harsh reality of the world in the comic book. It also makes the story read visually like a newspaper post and shows the weight of the story being told. The artistic choice in this issue was a very good one and the details in the panels, down to the hail of bullets that Kareem and his friends are gunned down in are just as much a part of the story as the words. The style reads somewhere between a police blotter and a news blog making it a perfect fit for the seriousness of the story being told and, the real world  backdrop that provides the inspiration for the story.

Overall Black was a good read that can only expand on a smart, interesting premise and story. I look forward to seeing Black‘s world expand and finding out what Kareem does with his powers, what his new “family” wants him to fo with his powers and, what the government wants to do with the people who have the super powered multiquarks.

Story: Kwanza Osajyeffo Art: Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Black #1

Black #1

Written by: Kwanza Osajyefo
Designed by: Tim Smith 3
Art by: Jamal Igle
Cover by: Khary Randolph
In Stores: October 5th

In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers?

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

black-1-1

Recent Entries »