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 not Swedish).

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. This was 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 generation.

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!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Translating Badin and the Secret of the Saami and Changing History




Please play this very short 2 minute video to learn about this very important project. It is in English and Swedish.

Monday, February 20, 2017

100 Reasons...

For the final 100 days leading up to the May 1st release of Badin and the Secret of the Saami, a daily internet "meme" is released featuring a sneak-peak of the graphic novel pages. Along with each image is a one-sentence reason why you should read this story. You can follow these updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Cover for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Badin and the Secret of the Saami graphic novel cover
The final cover
Inspired by the Star Wars Rogue One poster (a movie I really want to see), I created a new cover for the graphic novel, Badin and the Secret of the Saami. It's not a copy. However, the placement of the main character and villain was heavily inspired by Rogue One.

Badin is frontmost. He is holding a special book. Behind him is the villain (read the Kraken or the Mini-Sagas Compilation to learn more about him). Below Badin, from left is Queen Lovisa Ulrika, Crown Prince Gustav III, South Saami elder Gaaktu, Princess Sofia Albertina and Anna Olsdotter.

The other characters—including the owl—were carefully placed along the Golden Spiral, Golden Ruler and Golden Ratio. It includes scenes from the graphic novel. An abstract of the Swedish flag is in the sky. The flag is based on the Christian cross and is placed along the top section on the Rule of Thirds. The background scenes contain some reindeer, a South Saami earth dwelling (Goahti) and a deep cave with four figures approaching it. Of course, all of this was created in Clip Studio Paint.

Since the graphic novel is in the hands of a second assistant editor, I have been putting energy into promotion and planning for a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a final editor and Swedish translator. I have given up trying to get a literary agent for this book. They want stuff I don't want to make and they aren't sure how to sell a story about an 18th century Black Swedish child and his Saami mentor.

Badin and the Secret of the Saami is a story I wanted to tell. So I used comic book art as the medium. I know this is a beautiful story. I know the artwork helps tell it. I believe in it and that is all that matters. I will not sit and hope or wait that someone will believe in it.

This story is about belief—belief in sacrifice for the good of other than one's self. It's about history and redemption. It is a story that can heal the wounds of social, racial and religious strife. It is about the importance of indigenous culture for the survival of our species and how the most foreign—or different—among us, can be the ones who usher in a new and better society.

Well, I hope you believe in what I'm doing. If you do, please share the official website for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. The graphic novel is due to be released in just 100 days from tonight!