jvdsteen jvdsteen at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 21 13:07:21 PDT 2006

Time for my two cents...

Tom is right in saying most of my characters are meant to be iconic.
With Godling I wanted to create what for me would be the 'ultimate
comic book'. That is why Godling has a 'weaker' alter ego, a love
interest who doesn't love him back, an invisible, scheming arch-enemy.
That is why he lives in the fictional city of New Troy.
I enjoy the original takes of comics in the stories in this newsgroup.
What I wanted to do was do someting different than that however. And in
this case doing something different is... not very different. I wanted
to take all typical things I could think of and enjoyed in comics and
put that into one universe. Sure, in time to come I will use them to
explore several social issues as well as themes like loneliness,
poverty... But all using very recognizable characters and settings.

When I decided I wanted to tackle the 'urban' superhero / vigilante I
also decided to tackle the animal-like characters like Beast Boy,
Animal Man and the like. Godling's alter ego is a professor in
mythology, giving him the link to his superhero-identity. For Safari I
wanted to have the same link, so I decided to make him someone who has
lived among the wild animals, an African man (because there are not too
many of them in the USA). In later stories I will tell more about his
background in Africa.

Indeed, if I was going to introduce a martial arts character chances
are it would be chines monk or something like that. Not because I think
a chinese character can be nothing else than that, but because it is
the most iconic choice.

The gangbangers are stereotypes indeed. Most villains in comics used to
be, and often still are. That's why comic book thugs (no matter what
race) often talk slang that's basically outdated or wear clothes that
most real-life criminals don't. Comics exaggerate. Just look at how
selfless and heroic Godling is. Look at how businessman are shown in
comics, almost always as schemers or rich playboys. So yes, I created
exaggerated criminals in a basically black neighbourhood talking like
the worst and most ridiculous of gangstarappers.

The story of Safari that will unfold is one of how we all can make a
difference, how brave people can fight to change their surroundings for
the better. Would every character in Godling that is black be a gangsta
it would seem racist. Would every woman in Godling be a helpless woman
just there to be saved it would seem sexist. While the thugs in that
brief scene were gangstas, Safari is a lawyer. While Monica might be
more or less the 'woman to be saved', officer Janson will turn out to
be very tough lady.

What I thought was interesting about the Milestone comic 'Blood
Syndicate' was that they chose to make them a 'gang' more than a
typical supergroup. Was that racist? No, it was a way to tackle the
very real subject of gangs in a fictional context. I understand that,
but sometimes I wonder how the public would have reacted if it was a
'regular' DC Comic (Safari probably is more like Icon or Hardware by
the way).

Well, that concludes the writer's side of the story. Hope you will
enjoy what's coming up...


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