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Two African American brothers who hail from Indiana are looking to add some more melanin to the pages of comic books through their publishing company, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Aware of the lack of racial representation and diversity in comic books, Darrick and Carlton Hargo joined forces to create their Atlanta-based company called 20th Place Media to develop a series of comic books which feature Black superheroes, the news outlet writes. The brothers say they started their company as a platform to pull Black characters out of the shadows of White protagonists and into the spotlight. While coming of age during the ‘70s and ‘80s it was hard for both of them to find characters that they identified with. They told the outlet that they couldn’t find a superhero that spoke to them in mainstream storylines.

“We didn’t like Luke Cage – he was not looked on as competent. Black Panther was cool when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced him in ‘Fantastic Four,’ and then went into wackness in the 1970s. Blade was a terrible comic book character. He was a scrub!” Carlton told the news outlet.

According to the source, the brothers tried their hand at comics in 1994 with the release of a Black comic book entitled Isis, but struggled with sales. This time around they are leveraging the network of Black comic book writers and artists that they have cultivated over the years to push their projects forward.

Their new series features an array of different narratives surrounding Black characters, including the story of Nia Griggs; a Black woman who is a music journalist by day and fights terrorists and other villains by night. Their comic book Makossa is about a detective who dons African garbs and the story Moses is a futuristic tale about an alien abduction.

Darrick, 50, and Carlton, 47, say that they want to use their comics as an avenue to reshape the narrative about African Americans. “For centuries, there’s been one kind of story about us. Look at how pop culture is transmitted around the world. One of the first black characters – Luke Cage – was an ex-con. I think enough stories have been told about that. Let’s tell different ones,” Carlton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It seems as if 2018 will be a major year for African Americans in the comic industry; especially with the highly anticipated February release of Marvel’s Black Panther film which will star Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Lupita Nyong’o.

SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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