Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Icon Passes. (for Dwayne McDuffie)

when i was younger, i was still enthralled by the world
of comic books and everything they held. that love was
nurtured in me by my sister Andrea and her collection
of Archie comics, and my own foray into the world of
G.I.Joeand soon, everything Jack Kirby did beginning
with Black Panther. i still do recall one day in particular
when everything that dealt with my love of comics changed.
and for the better. my neighborhood rests on the border
between New York City and Long Island. three blocks doesn't
seem like a good enough distance to make a difference but
whenever we went into Elmont as kids, my friends and i noticed
it whenever kids there saw us. our main reasons for going
were to play ball mostly. i started going to the corner store
right on Dutch Broadway for video game magazines and comic
books. 'cause outside of that store,my only chance to get
comics was off of Jamaica Avenue in this one newsstand in
the 165th Street terminal. this one day in particular, i
remember just going into the corner store to check out the
latest releases. the place had begun to have an odor, one
that would get stronger and stronger as the years passed.
don't ask me what it was. as i scanned all of the titles,
one caught my eye. 'Blood Syndicate'. i saw nothing but brown
and black and yellow faces, more than i had ever seen before
on the cover of a comic. more than that, the art felt so crisp,
so BOLD. i wound up grabbing that issue, number 3. and a bag
of Ruffles and a Mistic. i walked home as fast as i could,
also carrying the first issue of 'Icon'. once i got home and
started to read, i was floored. these comics were way
different than Marvel, DC or even Image comics, which i had
just begun following. i mean, 'Blood Syndicate' was DARK. a
street gangwith superpowers? bananas. 'Icon' was even more
compelling...an alien who comes to Earth, becomes part of a
slave family and then becomes a Booker T. Washington kind of
brother? C'MON FAM. that had me open. just the fact that
Milestone could come up with these storylines and make them
more compelling that what was going on with Superman hit me
in the heart in amajor way. soon, every time a new issue came
out i was grabbing them left and right.and it was good that
i did because if you didn't pick them up fast enough,they were
GONE. Milestone Comics came into my life at a point where i
felt i needed it most. they helped bolster my imagination
that much more,and made me feel connected. the storylines,
artwork, characters...it all had flavor. now, i realize that
they also influenced a lot of my particular views on
storytelling, and helped me create my own voice as a writer.

it never ceases to amaze me how much one can learn standing
in front of comic book racks. but i'm grateful i did.

Mr. McDuffie, thank you for creating new worlds where i
truly belonged.

Rest in power.

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