Tag Archives: diversity in comics

“Not So Super Comics” is Actually Pretty Darn Super – A Conversation with Founder/Creator Jacques Nyemb

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Daniel is your average guy. He goes to work; he makes small talk and not-great jokes with his pretty co-worker; he eats bad Chinese food… and sometimes he wakes up in the morning with a brand new (and often terribly inconvenient) super power. But Not So Super isn’t your typical ordinary-dude-gets-powers-and-goes-all-tights-wearing-vigilante story.

No, writer and founder of Not So Super ComicsJacques Nyemb had something else in mind entirely. Through Dan’s more or less ordinary life, Nyemb explores the small adventures of everyday life, the extraordinary in the ordinary…

From the creepy co-worker to inane work calls, it’s clear that Nyemb is no stranger to the 9-to-5, and he captures it all with a  forehead slap at the ridiculousness and a grin at just how interesting everyday life can be.  Not So Super grabs you from the get go and doesn’t need gimmicks and superpowered aliens to do it.  

Joe Hunter‘s deft hand captures the comic’s full range from the dull greys and frays of cubicle life and the warm comforts of home and routine to the bright colors and bold lines of bang-pow! action. A range that is surprising for the comic-strip style art, but it’s the perfect fit for the story.

Issue #1 of Not So Super is out now, and there’s more to come!  Not So Super Comics is also the name of Nyemb’s bigger venture, an indie spirited enterprise with a dedication to elevating artists, and they’ve got some other cool projects on the way, but we’ll let Nyemb tell you all about that…

CoverHow did you come up with the idea for Not So Super?

At the time I wrote the story, I was freelancing.  Many of my friends where constantly telling me how much they disliked their jobs. Those conversations reminded me of the job I left behind. I kept hearing the same theme; People not deriving any fulfilment in their jobs. I heard stories upon stories about lack of realization of potential.

On the contrary, I was freelancing and unlocking so many things about myself. I learned I can take some pretty mean photography, that I could write some decent stuff and that I still had abilities even though my past job didn’t provide me the outlet to show them.

The idea kept growing and I wanted to write a story that was sort of a commentary on that. That we all have powers within us, but it’s up to us to hone them and then decide whether or not we deem them “Super”.

Why the “Normal Guy” narrative?

I wanted to write something that would be accessible to everyone. I personally was tired of the “cape and tights” comics, but was torn because I enjoyed stories about superpowers. My love of “slice of life” as well as action comics, was the only way I could blend the two and get exactly what I wanted.

As a web designer yourself, do you relate personally to Daniel in any way?

I used to be Daniel. But ever since I became a husband and father I derive my passion in other ways. My life isn’t tied to my job. I derive meaning in everything now. Even menial tasks, I always try to find the opportunity to learn and grow.

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What do you have against superpowers?! But seriously, the comic looks at superpowers in a really interesting way, very different than the typical geek-gets-superpowers-and-becomes-a-hero narrative, but that said, what makes Daniel so different from such characters? Why isn’t he interested in heroics?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not about Daniel being powerful. That narrative has been told a zillion times. It’s about him being like everyone of us. Having abilities that we KNOW about, but not realizing them because we think they’re “not so super”. I’m hoping as we grow with Daniel we all realize it and then make the choice whether or not we want to be the hero or the alter ego.

At first the Not So Super story is a bit quiet and slow (though it definitely grabs you), but that ending makes it look like we’ve got a whole new pace to look forward to in the next issues. Was this first issue mostly set-up and introduction or will the series keep the same sort of pace and tone?

The series will have lots of ups and downs and quiet spaces to reflect in. There will be opportunities to learn more about Daniel’s friends and his family and the weird powers that manifest themselves. As well as end with the cause of his powers. But unlike other comics, I tend to like to get the audience engaged with the mundane and thoroughly WOWed with the spectacular.

The art style is really interesting (that “Dilbert meets Archie” description holds pretty true for the art in particular). Was this originally the kind of art you had in mind for the story? Why this style?

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It was EXACTLY what I envisioned. As a matter of fact I seeked out Joe Hunter to do the work because it’s what I wanted. As I said before I’m aiming for accessibility. I want comic fans and non-comic readers to want to learn more about the story and Joe’s art definitely makes those “mundane” pages worth reading.

What is the mission behind Not So Super Comics? What makes it “Not So Super”?

Our goal is simple, we want to get all kinds of folks into comics. We want to stop it from being this inaccessible niche thing, but rather turn it into an important part of our literacy. We want to create stories people would want to talk about around the water cooler and not need 30 years of continuity to feel included. We want to represent ALL of us in some way in this medium that has so much potential.

What can we look forward to…both for Daniel and from Not So Super Comics?

You can expect plenty of surprises from Dan and his friends. Also it’s possible you’ll also like other characters more than Dan. They all will add some interesting things to the mix.

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With Not So Super Comics, expect A LOT of unique stories. We have a funny story about a Vegan being bit by a Vampire and the ridiculousness that ensues. It’s illustrated by David Degrand, who’s done work with MAD magazine, Nickelodeon, BOOM! Studios.

We have a secret story about a quirky group of food costumed vigilante “heroes” as they prepare to battle their greatest enemy, the H.U.N.G.E.R. Pack. Which is illustrated by super talented artist Justin Wood.

On both comics my good friend Marc Jackson is lettering them giving my comics some unique and often complimented text.

We’re also dipping our feet into Sci fi. I wrote a story for the Earth Dream Project anthology hosted by 7 Robots. It will be a FREE digital anthology that highlights environmental issues on Earth day 2014. It will be illustrated by yet another amazing artist, Aviv Itzcovitz. It will be an interesting challenge because I wrote my first wordless comic.

I have over 10 stories I could tell you about. But I won’t bore you. But everything you see thus far is a product of working with a great team. I hope to work with many other artists, gain new readers and hopefully generate enough revenue to sustain everyone involved.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to interview with you. Hopefully this will be the first of many! 

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Check out all the awesome going on at Not So Super Comics!

Website: http://notsosupercomics.com

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/NotSoSuperComics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nsscomics

Indie Wednesday: Hip-Hop Icon DMC Bringing Color & Cool to Comics

DMC_CharacterDesign02After the world tragically lost visionary Run-DMC member Jason ”Jam Master Jay” Mizell in 2002, founding member Darryl “DMC” McDaniels swore, out of respect to Mizell, that he’d never make new music. But DMC remains committed to the pursuit of social justice through the arts, and has ventured into (or rather returned to; turns out this king of cool has always been a bit of geek!)  the world of comics with his new indie imprint Darryl Makes Comics. 

Fittingly, the first project from the imprint will be a graphic novel set during the height of hip hop glory in 1980’s New York, titled DMC. That’s right, DMC. The story will kick off with an alternate universe version of DMC himself, a universe where DMC never became a rapper, but instead fought for justice as a superhero. But DMC is only the first hero the comic will introduce, the comic promises an exciting cadre of diverse heroes who’ll bust up the typical hero paradigm, add a little color to the comics world, and switch up the style we’re used to. You can see for yourself in the preview of DMC #0 over at EW.

Featuring veteran talent like Damion Scott, Dexter Vines, Ronald Wimberly, and Chris Sotomayor, the imprint promises diversity both in its pages and behind them. In an interview with Jay Deitcher over at UnleashTheFanboy, DMC got real about his geeky roots…

“For me, before hip hop came over the bridge from the Bronx to change my life… It was comic books.”

about why geeks rock so hard

“The reason why this world has everything that is cool and influential is because of geeks…The geeks create everything.”

and why the “King of Rock” is bringing all his cool to the comics world

“People seem to forget that hip hop was always so evolutionary, and revolutionary.…whether it was a record, whether it was a graffiti, whether it was spoken word, whether it was a break dance, it represented those conditions that are continually the things that we fight for…The comic book is going to have the consciousness of what hip hop… is economically, politically, and socially relevant, if that’s the word.”

DMC #0 was offered exclusively at NYCC earlier this month, but you can nab the whole first graphic novel when it drops in January 2014. In the meantime, satiate your taste for geeky-cool with this throwback…

Kid Superheroes of Color! Nova & Spider-man Leading the Way to Diverse Heroes for All Ages


If you know Brian Michael Bendis‘ work, then you know he’s been huge in helping making comics more diverse. He gave us a super cool and hardcore real women in Jinx and Jessica Jones, he made Luke Cage a major player in the New Avengers before hooking him up in an interracial relationship with Jessica Jones, and he even started his own creater-owned comic Takio with sister superheroines one of whom was adopted and of Asian-descent.

But his biggest win for heroic diversity in comics was when he killed Spider-man and made him a mixed Black and Puerto Rican kid, Miles Morales!

It was a insanely dope move on his part, and bold as hell.  And as far as I know, Ultimate Comics Spider-man isn’t going anywhere. That said, Miles Morales is an alternate universe Spider-man. Alternate universes have been used to make changes in race and sexual orientation for several superheroes at this point, like Earth 2‘s gay Green Lantern and Filipino Captain Steel.  And though Spider-man is a big win, the majority of heroes of color or LGBT heroes are part of teams or relegated to the sidelines, like Reptil and White Tiger (who’ll soon be joining the new Mighty Avengers) in the recently cancelled Avengers Academy, and Hulkling and Wiccan in Young Avengers.

The tide is definitely changing and it seems to be most prevalent with the kids.

And Miles Morales isn’t the only kid hero of color with his own comic. In 2011, Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness introduced half-Latino Sam Alexander as the son of the superhero Nova…

Keep reading at Unleash The Fanboy!

Friday Find: An *All* American Take on Supergirl

There’s no denying that when we think of the Supers (Superman, Superboy, Supergirl), we think “all-American” (despite the heroes alien heritages).  The costume colors evoke the American flag, they represent truth, justice, and the American way, and the dimple-chinned Clark Kent and the blonde-haired blue-eyed Supergirl reflect the stereotype of the idealized typical American.

But fan girl and artist Cheetoy came up with a more accurate picture of an all-American superheroine. Dopeness.

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by Cheetoy, at DeviantArt

Thanks to @cubbieberry for the Friday Find! Check out more of the artist’s work here.