Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Working For a Better Sweden—and the World

Part of the website promoting my return to Sweden
Four years ago in October, I swore I would never return to Sweden. I hated the country, the white people who lived there—and in the USA—and could not wait to get over the pain of a humiliating experience.

However I did it for my mother and her family. They had lost all contact with relatives in Sweden almost a century ago and I became the bridge to reunite them. That was a worthy sacrifice.

Nowadays, I just hate one white person (he's actually more like an orange person with raccoon eyes and hideous comb-over). However, I have never met a Swede that likes him either.

Much has changed. In fact, thanks to my fellow Afroswedish brothers Kitimbwa Sabuni and Michael Law-Barrett, I have been invited back to Sweden as an honored guest at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm for a series of events during Black Swedish History Week. However, this time I'm not going as recipient for a gift from the Swedish people. I am going as a gift-giver to the Swedish people: The sharing of a tool to heal the divisions in its society through a completed graphic novel about—and a full vindication of slander for—Sweden's most famous citizen of African descent: Adolf Ludvig Gustav Fredrik Albert Badin.

As a supporter of my work, I need to ask for your immediate help. No, I won't bother you about my 2018 book tour right now. I have something more immediate: If you live in Sweden, I need you to attend this event—and events through October 7. Moreover, I need you to invite politicians, community organizers and religious leaders. This includes media.

Frankly, I have had very poor luck getting any response from anyone! I believe all my email messages are being sent to junk mail. I especially need to meet with the Swedish government's Minister of Culture: Ms. Alice Bah-Kuhnke. I can do this while I am in Stockholm. I hope she and others can come to me while I'm at the museum. However, I think I can arrange ways to meet with them in their offices. It is important that we get the ball rolling for an official government recognition of Badin as a member of the Royal Family and a Prince of Sweden.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

One Month Until I Go To Sweden!

A snapshot of the program brochure draft
In a little over one month, I will return to Sweden as a guest panelist for a program at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm.

I am very excited to be on this panel. We will talk about historical pictures of Black Swedes. This panel will be moderated by Ylva Havel of Södertörn University. With me will be art historian Catherine Anyango-Grünwald and Joachim Östlund from the University of Lund.

It made me so happy to see that Michael Law Barret and the team at the museum used my re-imagined portrait of Badin in the brochure (top-left). I have been studying the Swedish language for 3 years now. So I am hoping it comes in handy, as the other two segments will be in Swedish.

Do you remember my book tour in Sweden? Well, it's still going to happen. Unfortunately, due to my failure to raise enough money in time, it must be postponed until 2018. So please spread the word and contribute. I need your help to inspire a new generation with a new folk hero: Sweden's forgotten Black Prince: Badin.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Comic Book Convention Report (Retcon)




I was thrilled to sell copies of Badin and the Secret of the Saami and do a lecture at the Chicago Retcon earlier this month. I met many new customers and allies. The privilege of speaking about Telling Historical Fiction Through Sequential Art was the highlight. I have posted a video of it from Facebook live to my YouTube channel above.

Fun cosplayer TV-Head with #BadinSecret at RetCon
Retcon was alot of fun. Traffic was a bit slower than I expected. But the staff, volunteers and overall spirit was fantastic. This was their first year and this was my first convention as a creator. It was very affordable, child-friendly and I am looking forward to doing it again. Geeks A Gogo wrote a detailed article about the convention. They even featured me in one of the pictures drawing a doodle.

One of the highlights was a surprise meeting with the man who first taught me how to draw cartoons, Tim Jackson. I hadn't seen him since grade school. I got a picture of us along with his granddaughter at Retcon. He is the author of a fun to read history book: Pioneering Cartoonists of Color.
Tim Jackson (center) with granddaughter

Please check out and support the fascinating people I met (some of who bought Badin and the Secret of the Saami or helped me out):

Kimberly Mosberry, Illustrator
Katie Armentrout, Illustrator.
Monica Gonzales, founder of Geeks A Gogo
Asia Dye, Illustrator
Jon Brown, Illustrator
Alex Hernandez, Writer
Victoria Perez-Segovia, Illustrator
Alejandro Rosado, Illustrator
Markisan Naso, Writer
Dimitri Fisher, Illustrator
Sean Kleefeld, Writer
George Kant, Illustrator
Ben Miller, Illustrator
Rafael Nieves, Writer
Kevin Sheller, Writer
Jessica Lynn, Illustrator
Max Bare, Illustrator
Rebecca Rothschild, Illustrator

My next convention is Wizard World Comic Book Convention in Chicago. I'll be in booth E16 with a fantastic writer and creator of the Yi Soon Shin historical fiction graphic novel, Onrie Kompan.



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lecture: Telling Historical Fiction Through Sequential Art

Eric Basir's lecture at Chicago Retcon 2017
Please join me at Chicago Retcon, a new and innovative comic book convention on August 12 and 13. I'll be there as a guest speaker and a vendor. If you want an autographed copy of Badin and the Secret of the Saami, I'll be there for that as well.

I am very excited about this because it will be my first lecture about Badin and the Secret of the Saami and artwork. For 15 years I have lectured about photo retouching. But never about writing and illustrating. So I cannot wait to incorporate my speaking experience with this exciting topic about creating historical fiction graphic novels.

Here's the official description for the lecture: From ancient folktales in every part of the planet to modern history, storytellers have inspired future generations to avoid past mistakes, improve themselves and build better societies. There is not one aspect of our lives that is not affected by some precept or idea put forth through a legendary tale. Moreover, every legend, myth or tale owes its existence to an actual historical event. Historical fiction is indeed the most ancient genre. Using his own historical fiction graphic novel, Eric C. M. Basir will share the methods he used to tell a new story about an obscure African man who was adopted by a Swedish queen.

My lecture will be on Sunday August 13 at noon. The convention will be open from 11 am to 6 pm August 12 and 13. Please check out the official Chicago Retcon website and look over all the great things going on. Of course you should buy tickets! There will be plenty for children to do as well!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Call for Articles for the Badin and the Secret of the Saami Special Edition

Cartoon of businessman writing by Eric Basir
Businessman Writing by Eric Basir
I want to publish a few short articles by Saami and Afroswedish people in Sweden who want to share their experiences growing up in that country. I would also like to include Swedes of any foreign backgrounds who were adopted by white Swedish families.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to pay you. However, you will get full credit and a free PDF of the graphic novel which you can read and enjoy at anytime. You will also need to read the graphic novel before writing your article and it needs to be in English.

Please send your article through the form at the Badin and the Secret of the Saami contact page.

Those which I cannot fit into the book will be published in a special page on the Badin and the Secret of the Saami website.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Where Do We Go From Här?

Truly, the revolution begins after the first shot of liberation.

Four years ago I embarked on a journey just to reconnect my mother's family with their lost Swedish relatives.

A year later I decided I would start a new journey to take Badin aka Cousche out of the dustbin of Swedish history and elevate him to the much deserved status of Legend.

As of May 1, 2017, Badin was liberated from 200 years of slander, emasculation and racist misinterpretations through the historical fiction graphic novel, Badin and the Secret of the Saami.

Now that the graphic novel is complete and on sale worldwide, it is time for the next step. That is, will I choose to create a sequel, spin-off or other story? While doing the graphic novel, I have simultaneously created a "special edition" of the graphic novel full of director notes, teacher guide and character diaries. Right now I am aggressively exploring various options by reading articles by writers—along with dissecting various books, TV shows and movies related to various genre.

One thing for sure, it will be focused on middle grade readers. Obviously, you can expect to see more of Badin. What kind of "next" would you like to see?

Those who are curious about the "Här" in the title should know that is the Swedish word for "Here."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Badin: A New Royal Portrait

Compare Gustaf Lundberg's original to Eric Basir's reimagined portrait
Before and after: Reimagined portrait by Eric Basir
It has been almost 200 years since the death of Sweden's forgotten Black Prince, Badin. He was intentionally and unintentionally emasculated and buried in racist stereotypes until 2017 when I released the historical fiction graphic novel Badin and the Secret of the Saami.

Adolf Ludvig Gustav Fredrik Albert Badin, né Couchi, known as Badin, was Queen Lovisa Ulrika's adopted African son. She adored him and was undoubtedly his soulmate. Although he was just a child, in him she saw a little bit of herself: Eager to learn and a stranger in a strange land (she was born in Prussia—a large area now part of several western European countries).

The above (left side) portrait by Court painter Gustaf Lundberg is most likely a partial fabrication. That is, the feathers and quiver were probably added after the sketch of Badin was complete. Such embellishments were common for all royalty in 18th century Europe. Intrinsically, the choice of the feathers and arrows are rooted in gross stereotypes of African (and other non-white) men as lustful savages ready to rape and pollute the white race. The late Allan Pred's The Past is Not Dead explains this in more detail.

As of recently, there is no historical documentation I could find which points to Badin having a fascination with archery or feathers. However, there is proof that he was an avid reader, writer and chess master. So the chessboard is appropriate. However, as part of my full frontal assault on the stereotypical and racist portrayal of this intelligent and honorable Swedish man, I recreated this famous portrait for the graphic novel, Badin and the Secret of the Saami.

So I chose to enhance the ideas behind Badin's literacy and genius by replacing the chess theme with one of writing. I also freed up his Masonic uniform and crown by removing the feathers. Now those familiar with his membership in the Freemasons can be interpreted without distraction. It is possible that Lundberg resented that Badin was a Freemason and added these items to debase Badin.

I would hope more  artists would "reimagine" Black figures in Europe. They were great men and women—and they lived under great scrutiny. It is our job to elevate them—and when appropriate—redeem them through new stories to inspire new generations.

This new portrait is displayed in the first act of the Badin and the Secret of the Saami graphic novel