Hey @bjkicks - thanks for the review and taking part in this discussion. Before I get into the talk about this incredible book let me say two things:
- Your cat is adorable
- Open those blinds and let it see out into the world!
As for ‘The Other History of the DC Universe’ it seems that you and I had very similar reactions to reading this but you being a black man and me being a white man it probably landed harder for you. I loved every page of this and you and I both commented on how this was a book with artwork to complement it rather than a comic book. The style of writing that John Ridley brought to this project was so engaging - you wanted to read more and were getting hooked without even knowing why. There was never any real peril for Jefferson Pierce, there was no other-worldly villain for him to fight and yet I was turning the page with anticipation to see what would happen next until I ran out of pages and had to just mentally exhale and appreciate what a phenomenal book I had just read.
I think you and I could have a good discussion about race in comics some other time and in some other place, whether it be in another thread here in the community or elsewhere, but for now I wanted to echo your love of this book, say how glad I am to hear that you loved it as a black man and that it spoke to you and engaged you in a way you didn’t even realize you needed.
You mentioned JR Tolkien and fantasy works and how hard that is for you, as a black man, to relate to and escape to and I’m curious about that. I get the trouble with comics because they have drawings of each character to show you exactly what they look like, what species they are, what race they are and what gender they are. If you don’t see a black character I get why it would be difficult to relate to the characters you see on the page. But in the written word you paint your own picture of the world the book describes. You’re essentially your own artist and I’m curious why you wouldn’t imagine a world that was relatable to you - as much as it could be in a fantasy story like that. I’ve never thought about it, really, but that came to mind when you mentioned that in your video so I thought I’d ask. Not an accusation of any kind just a genuine curiosity.
I think you and I have a lot of similarities in that we’re both middle aged guys (not kids but not old), both seem to be doing well enough in life (not rich but not poor) and both got back into comics as adults after taking a long time off for whatever reason. Neither of us seem to have the emotional connection to characters that many who have been reading the books for literally decades do and thus neither of us seem that bothered with re-imagining characters as different races, genders, etc. I love Hawkman and cannot wait to see what Aldis Hodge does with the character in ‘Black Adam’ - the fact that he’s a black man doesn’t bother me one bit and I was surprised to see so many people react negatively to the announcement. He can be from another planet but he can’t be black? Come on. But again, I got into comics about four years ago and am coming at this from a different perspective than someone who’s been following these characters for decades. Personally I’m looking forward to Future State and seeing what John Ridley does with Batman.
I thought the end of ‘The Other History of the DC Universe’ was brilliant to show how John Stewart and Jefferson Pierce approached being a black superhero differently yet with the same goal. I loved this book, I cannot wait for the next installment and am glad you are a part of this community to bring your perspective, voice and input to the discussion. Thanks for taking the time to chime in, for reading this and for making that video to promote a book you have no financial investment in but loved enough to recommend.
Take care, be good and give your cat an extra scratch behind the ears for me.