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Shawn James is one of the most interesting and insightful writers that I've had the pleasure of meeting. I remember I started following him when I saw his comments on several social media platforms since we tend to be in the same circles and I was impressed by his knowledge of the comic book industry as a business, the importance of proper storytelling and dedication to making his characters really human and interesting.
He has been writing books as an independent author for many years now, with The Man Crisis, John Haynes and Isis being some of his successful works, often reflecting his views and feelings about several aspects of life, especially when it comes to the black community. Instead of trying to pin black men and women down in a single trait or social group, he is a huge defender of people’s sense of individuality and diversity of thought.
I had the opportunity of doing this long interview with Shawn and we addressed several aspects of his career, plus his views on modern society, Literature, the ups and downs of being an independent writer and the current state of the comic book industry. Hope you enjoy it.
Independent creators don’t get enough credit in the comic book industry, especially in these harsh times. With coronavirus now spreading, the industry is struggling even more and at a time where Marvel and DC are failing to listen to the fans, customers, and retailers, it’s always a bit uplifting to have the chance to talk with an artist and writer like Josh Howard, who has been in the independent trenches for many years now and has no sign of stopping.
Josh has been in the industry for over a decade now and he has released several independent comics, plus a couple of jobs at Marvel. His most recent work is T-Bird & Throttle, which deals with the story of a struggling superhero, but I’m going to let the man himself do the talking instead of me!
This issue of Uncanny X-Men is not a groundbreaking comic or something that is going to be mentioned in the lists of the franchise’s best stories. It’s not going to be remembered in decades to come. But, from my perspective, it’s one of the most powerful inside looks into one of the most important characters of the Marvel Universe and a phenomenal writing example of what you can do with deconstruction when your goal is not destroying the character but rather to enhance him and make him grow to be better.
Dan DiDio was fired from DC Comics last week and this has obviously become major news in the comic book industry considering that the man was the company’s co-publisher, along with legendary artist Jim Lee (who is now going to be in charge on a temporary basis, according to reports), for ten years, minus a small gap between 2016 and 2018 (more on that later).
This wasn’t something that DiDio saw coming when considering that the very morning of the day he was fired he was doing business as usual, sharing information about DC on Facebook groups and overall doing what he always does.
Wally West was, for all intents and purposes, a broken character afterHeroes in Crisis, butFlashForwardwas a great example of taking what was a tremendously erroneous event and turns it into one of the greatest challenges that our protagonist had to overcome. Writer ScottLobdelland artist Brett Booth took Wally, at a time when no other creative group wanted to deal with the character, back to the heroic path, making a decision that very few men ever do and it’s a testament to the character’s legacy and value that has such a monumental impact.
Flash Forwardis much more than a classic superhero story (which it is). It’s a story about redemption and families.About hope and resurgence.A story about doing the right thing, even if it means rejecting what you cherish the most.
The Herald Ordeal is a cosmic action blockbuster and one of Marvel’s best-kept secrets. The Silver Surfer is a beloved character and one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s greatest creations, so I always love it when someone takes this character and writes great stories with him–sometimes I think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
A phenomenal story and definitely worth your time if you want some classic comic book action.
Flash Forward #5 is perhaps not the strongest issue of the miniseries, but it's certainly far from a dud. It has struggles, emotion, threats and a sense of urgency that you don’t usually read in most modern comics these days. Both Lobdell and Booth are veterans of the industry and you can see and feel that understanding and care that comics need in order to thrive–they know what they want and they know how to deliver.
The final issue will come this month and it’s certainly going to be a very important conclusion to a character’s story that has been going through multiple ups and downs in the last decade.
A generation’s Flash may finally get his due after all these years.
The 2009 Wonder Woman movie is one of DC’s hidden gems as far as animated films go: you have absolutely everything you could ask for in a Wonder Woman story (epic elements, great battles, solid moral values, and heartfelt emotion) and it delivers with a solid pace, not wasting time and doing justice to every character that appears on the screen. I often wonder how much the 2017 live-action film took from this because there are many similar elements, although there is a major difference in the third act.
This is a really remarkable movie that you must check out if you are a fan of Wonder Woman or if you are just interested in a good superhero story. Definitely worth your time.
Ever since DC got the rights for Billy Batson and his powerful alter ego, the company hasn’t managed to get the character going for a sustainable comic book beyond Jerry Ordway’s solid 90s run, The Power of Shazam!, which lasted for 48 issues plus an annual. But there have been multiple attempts to give the character a much-needed refresh, reboots, and whatnot, and yet, these stories never manage to catch on with readers or maintain a stable book. And this begs the question: What’s the problem with this character and why can't DC manage to make him work on a critical and commercial level?
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Flash Forward #4 is so far the best issue of a miniseries that has been very clear and concise about what they wanted to do: to reestablish Wally West’s righteous place as one of the best heroes of the DC pantheon and also to tell a great story that is benefited by having some of the best art of 2019. It has everything you could ask of a classic superhero story combining the best attributes of modern tendencies.
Wally West, the Flash for a lot of us, has gone through a lot, and for the fans that are really invested in the character, this issue is particularly special, showing how good DC is when it goes back to its classic roots.
A very good issue and quite likely my favorite of the entirety of 2019.