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BHM09 Coda

March 9th, 2009 by | Tags: ,

42 drafts, 36 images, 28 posts, 28 days, and I’m still number one.

Black History Month has been over for a week. Coincidentally, this post is about a week late. I’d intended to do it after Wondercon ’09, but I ended up pretty sick without even realizing it. I figure I caught the nerd flu from the con or something, because I am positively miserable.

Anyway, BHM09 was an interesting experience. I started out with a solid third (give or take) of the posts written or in detailed notes form. That was enough of a head start to carry me through the month with no problems. But, I quickly went off script. I’ve got a folder full of half-finished drafts that’ll never see the light of day, either because I couldn’t make them work or because I made them work and then realized I hated them. Best laid plans, meet open window.

I had some very interesting conversations, many of which helped realign or clarify my own views on race and comics. I only ran into two outright trolls, neither of which had any heart, so I guess I didn’t make anyone important angry. Hopefully, and I think this is true, people read and learned or understood or got something they didn’t before. I realized partway through the month that I was repeating and reiterating what I’d already said, but race in comics isn’t exactly rocket science.

This is basically a table of contents for BHM09. It will explain what each post is about, in as few words as possible, and also the title. That’s probably the only real secret- each post’s title is a music reference. “Hip-hop and comic books was my genesis,” right?

Before I get into that, I’d like to thank the people who linked me when I first started out: Cheryl Lynn, Johanna Draper Carlson, Jog, Tom Spurgeon, Heidi MacDonald and especially JK Parkin, who so kindly offered to syndicate a post a week on Robot6, which is in turn hosted on one of the two biggest comics news sites around. Extra thanks to Pedro Tejeda of Funnybook Babylon and Cheryl Lynn (again) for a couple of really good suggestions for posts. Thanks also to everyone who emailed me over the course of the month who is still waiting on a reply. To all of you, I can only say, “I suck.”

If you don’t want to read this entire list, I asked around and apparently posts 22, 12, and 20 are pretty good. I also want to give special notice to this post on the official Atomic Robo blog, which is really very thoughtful and I’m kind of honored to have at least partly inspired it.

I’m pretty burned out on black stuff right now, so it may be a while before I do anything like this again. I am, however, planning on doing something big at least every other month this year. It may not be daily blogging (it will not be daily blogging), but it’ll be something.

Thanks for reading.


#01: “You Are Appreciated” – Single mothers, and the relative lack thereof (Tupac, “Dear Mama“)
#02: You Can’t Win – How to write black people (Big Pun, “Super Lyrical
#03: This Is The Way The World Begins – Post-racialism (whoops this was TS Eliot’s The Wasteland The Hollow Men and not a rap song)
#04: Never No In-between – On extremes, and the middle ground between them (Black Star, “Thieves in the Night“)
#05: Make the Cipher Complete – Fighting racism with hamhands (Nas, “The World Is Yours“)
#06: The Fear of Mandingo – Sometimes being bad isn’t that bad (Nas, “The Fear of Mandingo“)
#07: These Are Your Shoes, These Are My Shoes, We’ve Got Issues – Black characters are inherently political… or are they? (Atmosphere, Shoes)
#08: The Theme Song is “It’s Yours” – 11/18/1992 was an important day for me (Ghostface Killah, “Malcolm“)
#09: Shakey Dogs – Shades & Comanche are good characters (Ghostface Killah, “Shakey Dog“)
#10: Stay True – How New York Comic-con 2009 showed me what I already knew (Ghostface Killah, “Stay True“)
#11: America! United We Stand, Divided We Fall – Am I black or am I American? (Wu-Tang Clan, “Rules“)
#12: Banned For Life (Spit the Real) – Nothing is taboo (Ghostface Killah, “Apollo Kids“)
#13: I Could Forgive The Past, But I Never Forget It – Don’t ever write a comic like this again (Ghostface Killah, “You Know I’m No Good“)
#14: Simple, Ain’t It? But Quite Clever. – I love Jack Kirby (Double word score: Eric B. & Rakim, “Move the Crowd” and Ghostface Killah, “Ghost Deini“)
#15: Halftime – Sometimes, comics come ill-equipped for grown-up ideas (Nas, “Halftime“)
#16: My Country – on John Ridley & Georges Jeanty’s The American Way (Nas, “My Country“)
#17: Still Dreaming – Why Marvel won, DC lost, and Milestone is the GOAT (Nas, “Still Dreaming“)
#18: One What? One Love – Black culture is American culture (Nas, “One Love“)
#19: Bridging the Gap – On Unknown Soldier (Nas, “Bridging the Gap“)
#20: It Ain’t Hard To Tell – It ain’t hard to tell what’s authentic and what isn’t (Nas, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell“)
#21: Ether – Why Bill Willingham’s response to “America is a nation of cowards” is cowardice (Nas, “Ether“)
#22: Shake This – Racism has subtle effects sometimes (Royce da 5’9″, “Shake This“)
#23: We Gonna Make It – Black voices needed in comics (Jadakiss, “We Gonna Make It“)
#24: Ready for Whatever – Robbie Robertson, supporting character #1 (T.I., “Ready for Whatever“)
Black History Month Interlude: Illmatic
#25: Re-Definition – Bishop doesn’t work for me (Black Star, “Re-Definition“)
#26: The Message – This is all I want out of comics (Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five, “The Message“)
#27: Life Is Illmatic – A eulogy for a necessary throwback (Nas, “Life’s A Bitch“)
#28: You Can’t Stop Us Now – In which I share entirely too much (Nas, “You Can’t Stop Us Now“)

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3 comments to “BHM09 Coda”

  1. Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed the series of articles (hm, I posted almost the same thing after your Top 8 of 2008 series. Oh well).

    One thing though, about your index: “This is the way the world begins” isn’t from “The Waste Land.” You’re probably thinking of the final stanza of Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”: “This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but with a whimper.”


  2. Oh man, I can’t believe I screwed up the Eliot quote.

    In my defense, Waste Land is probably my favorite work of his (I did a paper on it in college), so that’s why I confused them! :(

    Fixed.


  3. @david brothers:

    Yeah, “The Waste Land” is my favorite Eliot poem too (one of my favorite pieces of poetry, period, I suppose), it’s fantastic. And, coincidentally, I did an essay on it myself in college, last year (well, it was on the presence of hope in the seeming hopelessness of “The Waste Land,” “The Hollow Men” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” so it was on a bit more than just “The Waste Land,” but still).