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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Badin and the Secret of the Saami Official Press Release

The historical fiction graphic novel Badin and the Secret of the Saami
Screen shot on top half of the new press release
I took a big plunge into hiring an experienced writer to compose a press release for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. It took me awhile to find the right one. I think this is something every self-published author should consider. The writer, Eartha Watts-Hicks completely tapped into the heart and soul of the story and its connection to me as the writer and illustrator. She also provided a slew of tips and corrections to help make this project more presentable online. She called me multiple times to read the copy and ask me questions about my ideas and thoughts regarding the story and its importance in popular culture. You can download the press release as PDF or Word documents. Please spread the word. I need your support.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Six more days

I am ready. Are you ready? 2017 has been a tumultuous year for this graphic novel. Some wonderful news has come my way regarding Badin and the Secret of the Saami. But I will wait awhile before I share it…In about 6 days.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share these image of Badin and Crown Prince Gustav III that I created for a new series of tee shirts featuring the major characters. What do you think?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Graphic Novel Launch: 28 More Days!

I cannot believe I have come this far in one year. Just 12 months ago I was planning for it. Total concentration and sacrifice resulted in a finished product.

Right now the paperback edition is at Lulu and the digital edition is at Comixology. Of course they are not available until May 1.

The more I work on this project—trying to bring attention to it—the more I believe it will not be appreciated until I am long dead. It is just too profound and unconventional. Getting feedback has been like pulling teeth. Asking someone to read a 114 page graphic novel about an obscure African child of Swedish nationality and his Indigenous male mentor just is not very "sexy." Nonetheless, I persist. Some just want to support me because they know my heart is in the right place.

However, I did not write and illustrate this graphic novel to satisfy appetites for the hottest trends (i.e. zombies, vampires and transgender). I wrote a story that redeems a slandered and emasculated people (African and Saami) and paints a positive future for the human race. I knew what I was getting into, and yes, I was disappointed to receive no help from literary agents and publishers. I was disappointed because they claimed to want "diversity" and "relevance to contemporary issues" but could not see that in my story.

So I have gone the independent path. That means the paperback will be costly (probably $45 USD). That seems to be a high price, but I will only make about $1 USD for sales on Amazon. Yet the story is magnificent and the inspiration you will receive from reading it will be worth the cost. The good news is a digital edition will be $14.95 USD. 

I hope you will support this effort. Sharing these articles would be a great start!