The Importance of Astounding Adventures
(Why It Needs To Be Told)
For years, as a publisher, writer and all around kid at heart, I have never ceased searching for men who look like me in comics, movies and cartoons; black men who held high moral value systems in high regard and behaved like masculine men should. I remember so vividly as a young boy waiting until the 6am morning anthem played on my thirteen inch black and white TV. And then it happened, the Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves graced the screen. I saw a man whose true power was his ability to instill trust in those he encountered and fear into those who sought to do harm to those who couldn't fight for themselves. He garnered reverence and respect and always found a way to save the day. He was everything I wanted to aspire to be, except for he was white. As a young man it struck me as a unattainable goal, to be respected, to be held in such high regard as Superman was, simply due to the color of my skin. Where were the super heroes who looked liked me? As years past, I found little if any black heroes, I could feel proud of. To be honest for a time, I was just thrilled to see a black or brown face on TV regardless of how poorly they were portrayed. It wasn't much longer that I realized how much that would indeed become a cautionary tale and my foundation for change. Inclusion within stories created and controlled by white produced movie and or television executives more often than not showcased black characters as inferior to their white counterparts. This trope was a common template for Saturday morning cartoons, where black characters leads were few and far between.
During the early 90's I studied the psychological effects television and movies can have on the human mind, especially those of African descent. It has been proven that over abundance of television viewing can alter dreams, limit and reduce attention spans and more importantly frame a individual's self actualization. For black people this has been to our detriment, where intentional conditioning and indoctrination by television and movies consistently portray black characters as dependent, intellectually challenged and lacking leader qualities that are respected by his or her peers. No other group in the United States and globally suffers from identity deficit (lack of identity) than those of African descent.
The earliest animated cartoons depicted black characters as caricatures of negativity and degradation, where their sense of dignity was inconsequential or nonexistent all together. The impact and damage that has had on the minds and psysche of black people, specifically black children is beyond measure. Television and media influence how we see others and ourselves. For those of African descent it has had a more negative effect than positive Once that was a clear and a undeniable acknowledged truth, I set forth to make changes, shifting the paradigm so to speak, using comic books as my medium of choice. Now thirty years later, I have expanded that vision and mission with animation through Astounding Adventures.
Astounding Adventures existence will broaden the appeal of black lead characters, that are often too one dimensional in children cartoons, by introducing captivating story-lines derived from African driven history and folklore. To ensure its integrity the stories must be told by myself and my team who are driven by the desire to balance the scales and provide content that will uplift and instill pride in children who are too often deprived
of representation that depicts them as leaders who can save the world. The time has arrived to usher in new and unique perspectives to expand and cultivate the minds of children.