Buddha V2

20130711-105201.jpg

Two days ago I finally found Buddha Volume 2 while I was browsing at Mt. Pleasant library in DC. For some reason V2 has been checked out again and again every time I go for it for the past 2 years!!! I guess I was meant to wait for greatness ;)

The author & artist Osamu Tezuka is a legendary Japanese storyteller who worked for Disney for a long time. (This can be evidenced in his cutesy drawings)

20130711-105646.jpg

This drawings actually push some folks away, but I really like them. As far as volume 2 compares to volume 1… I thought it was better! Many folks think that 2 isn’t as good. But in volume one you have to wait till page 268 before Siddartha is even born! The second book begins with stories from Siddartha’s young life. He questions death at an early age…

20130711-110210.jpg

I appreciated Tezuka’s careful yet honest way of approaching these aspects of the human condition. Later Siddartha becomes a rabbit in order to experience death itself. After this he realizes he must experience life outside his castle and soon escapes with Tatta (from volume 1). Outside of the castle Siddartha observes for the first time all the suffering in the world. He can’t take it and returns to his castle only to realize his lover from his adventures outside is from a lower caste and cannot come in the castle with him. Soon he is forced into marriage with another but Siddartha still longs to return to the outside and understand suffering. His wife becomes pregnant and though Siddartha feels troubled about leaving he decides he must understand suffering even if he has to leave his wife and child. Bandaka seeks to take over Siddartha’s wife and his kingdom. He doesn’t succeed in taking the wife but does take the kingdom and a different wife. His wife bears a child; Devadatta. At the end of the volume it is said that Devatta & Siddartha will meet in 20 years. Can’t wait till I find Volume 3! :) Hope you enjoyed!

20130711-111349.jpg

Have you read Buddha V2? What did you think of it??

Nat Turner by Kyle Baker

20130522-150724.jpg

Shout out to this GN by a POC. I came to Greenlight bookstore in Brooklyn, NY in April and I let myself get one treat: Nat Turner by Kyle Baker. There are many things I like about this GN, and the intro is actually at the top of the list. I love a motivating intro to any project where the creator/author gets real with their audience.

20130523-121532.jpg

Kyle Baker has worked with DC Comics, Nickelodeon, HBO, The Voice and more. He’s done all this and he is into self publishing? Cool. Damn cool. Because I find self-publishing to be a very empowering act. Especially for populations and communities whose stories aren’t told in the mainstream. The best way is for you and your community to make space to tell your story or an over looked story from the past… Or future ;) No doubt Mr. Baker has access to some friends that also know a lot about publishing but still I found his words empowering.

One of my favorite frames when little Nat Turner is learning about the Egyptians through reading.

20130523-122218.jpg

Nate Turner is a powerful figure in history. He was a slave who led a rebellion in Virginia on August 21, 1831. Read this graphic novel to learn more, or read The Confessions of Nat Turner -as recorded by Thomas R. Gray. I wonder if the slave population of Virginia (and consequently Mr. Turner) had been influenced by the African and Indian Nations allegiances formed during the French and Indian War, where both Indians and Blacks took part in an armed resistance to whites in 1727. What do you think?

I enjoy diving into less told/heard stories in the Graphic Novel form. Join me for more adventures!

¨Watermelon¨…A zine by Whit Taylor

20130208-153256.jpg

Sorry all, I been really sick, I have severe asthma which gets in the way of everything. But, with out further delay–

“Watermelon…and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person”- Whit Taylor (2011)

I found this gem at zine fest in dc this past July. Really, nothing can beat a fantastic new zine in the dead of summer heat when you think who is so noble and great that they are out promoting their zine? And then, there is someone. Besides the fortuitous timing Whit Taylor is a great mini story shower/teller. In her zine she is showing us why certain things don’t roll so smooth for her. She keeps the tone light even during more serious topics. Taylor is able to do this because of a dry and even tone through out the story. Her drawings rock. They remind me of the drawings from “Tina’s Mouth” another awesome lady comic.

Watermelon can easily find a place among folks working to deconstruct the stereotypes that can plague different communities. Humanizing an experience is a big part of breaking down stereotypes. When you don’t know someone personally its easier to paint them as something their not.. literally. Tayor does a great job at this. In fact my favorite quote from her is: “I love Alice in Chains, which according to my uncle makes me a teenage white boy. I grew up on my parents’ 1960’s & 70’s soul music but became a victim of 90’s suburban life. So sue me.” Her honesty is fresh. And yet it leaves me wondering about somethings… like what about her cousins in the frame about New Orleans? What kind of comic/zine would they write? Would they agree with her?

These are questions that often come up for myself as I and many other creators find pieces of their autobiographies show up in their work…would my family/community agree?

How do they see it?

And this is what’s great about Watermelon. This is how Taylor experienced growing up where and when she did, being who she is. Really that’s all we got: our experience and it’s one that others are either going to learn from or identify with. Zines really open up a space for folks who usually don’t show up in books or magazines to share their version.

Thanks Ms. Whit Taylor for sharing yours. Watermelon is a great zine about one girls’ reflections on the stereotypes that live in her world. Specifically this zine helps to thwart the power these stereotypes might have on others by simply humanizing them and breaking them down. After all it did spark a pretty humorous discussion amongst friends about our own battles with awkward/embarrassing moments striving to straddle the lines between our cultures and the way others see us in our culture. It never ends, as is shown by Whit Taylor in Watermelon. I look forward to finding more by this author in the future.

Thank-you for Being A Friend Zine Tour

20130311-150125.jpg

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a zine reading at The Doll House, a group house in upper Petworth D.C. I wish I could have got the other two zines but I budgeted for two and stayed with in my means. :-)

But the event was awesome! Each reader brought a unique voice to their presentation. The readers were:

Kerri (deafula)– a transcribed conversation between the author and her mother. Really beautiful exploration of a parents journey with a hard of hearing/ deaf child.
JC (tributaries)– I didn’t get the zine that JC actually read from; I got one from 2012 because the cover was so cool! And she is a librarian (Awesome!)

I got these two! ^
And…

Sarah (tazwell’s favorite eccentric) — a great reading about religion and finding your own path with… a fantastic balloon presentation to accompany!!!

Taryn (lady teeth) — awesome examples for self-care!

———————————————–

I’m so happy to have gone and hope the rest of their zine tour has been rockin’!

Find them on FB at “zine tour, thank you for being a friend”

10-Year Anniversary: Iraq War Through the Lens of Dawn Land

20130222-161457.jpg

I am paying respects to the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War by reading three authors: Howard Zinn, Andrea Smith and the author of this weeks graphic novel Joseph Bruchac.

“I honor those who die in war, but I do not honor war it self” — A Power governments cannot suppress by Howard Zinn (2006)

“Orientalism (understood as the West defining itself as a superior civilization compared to an “exotic” but inferior “Orient” or other) serves as the anchor for war, because it allows the United States to justify being in a constant state of war to protect it self from its enemies” — Color of Violence by Andrea Smith (2006)

I engage this GN today in honor of all Native/Indigenous peoples and all those who experience war, violence, genocide and colonization.

——————————————–

Dawn Land assumes full participation from its readers. I love this. When reading a creation story, readers are compelled to recall their own engagements with origin stories. These are special stories that exist in all cultures. In Dawn Land we share in an Abenaki creation story set in New England 10,000 years ago. There is a giant who devastates communities eating only people. Two young boys survive from one village. One boy has mischievous side to him, which is explored throughout the book. Ever present are two loyal dogs who travel with the boys on their journey. The artwork wasn’t my favorite, but it is nonetheless very beautiful. You can see some frames by clicking the link below:

This is the native Abenaki creation story as told in Dawn Land using artistic frames of the GN via youtube:

http://youtu.be/GgnAR-rwsj0

Check it out!

And, heads up the Lakota grandmothers are traveling in from the Pine Ridge Rez in SD this April…here’s their website below!! They will ultimately land here in Washington, DC on April 16th. If your in the area come out to give your respects to these elders!

http://www.lakotagrandmothers.org/action/getinvolved/

Comic Saturday!! “The House I Grew Up In”

20130302-081339.jpg

This was a contest for Pantheon Books: “Draw the house you grew up in; mimic Chris Ware’s Building Stories style”. Well, I did kind of. But the directions are hard to follow if the question it self assumes things about you that are not true… Like growing up in a house, one place with one family… That’s not how it went down for me, but I still tried! Hope you like!

Good-bye, Chunky Rice

20130227-110208.jpg

“Cuteness” is a main character in this GN. And of course I secretly, but not so secretly hope that Merle and Chunky are queer and have strayed from one another to work out their complicated queer love. ;-)

In Good-bye, Chunky Rice we don’t know the genders of the main characters. Also, the story doesn’t really show any romantic couples. There are pairs but usually we can assume they’ve stuck together out of fate rather than choice. For example, the Siamese twins and the sailors. So much of our media/story telling revolves around romantic love, usually hetero romantic love and so Chunky gives us a break from that. We can read that story line in to it (as I did by queering the main characters) but in the end it’s now explicitly there.

Queer love, friendship love or it doesn’t matter?

This is one of my favorite GNs and so i’ve included it here as a guest, in this space that is foremost reserved for comics, graphic novels and zines by womyn/folks of color.

20130227-111837.jpg