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Hey [...]! You STOLE my idea -- now PAY UP!

Posted On Monday, February 6, 2017

In 2011, Vantage:Inhouse launched its inaugural series, The Samaritan, featuring a bulletproof black man, donning a hooded sweatshirt, intent to clean up his crime-ridden neighborhood.  Lasting only seven issues, the limited series wrapped just two years later, and through it's hard-boiled story and dynamic art design, has become the bestselling title of my self-publishing imprint.

Wait.  Bulletproof...hooded...and BLACK.   

Sound familiar?  

If you've seen the 2016 Marvel/ Netflix release, Luke Cage, I'll bet it does.  Starring Mike Colter in the titular role of Cage, the formerly known Hero for Hire, sheds his longstanding yellow blouse and shiny tiara, to cover his bullet-bouncing frame in a dark, hooded sweatshirt, as he patrols the streets of Harlem.  And based on THIS exclusive interview with CBR (comicbookresources.com), Marvel Comics plans to continue at least the visual trend with a new ongoing series, brought to life by David Walker and Nelson Blake II.


And I couldn't be happier.

Sorry...I just couldn't help but play up a little click-bait.  But now that I've got your attention, I hope you'll indulge me a little bit more, so I can explain.

First things first: 

1.) I'm seriously NOT taking shots at Marvel, Luke Cage (as a comic or a television series), and especially not Mike, David or Nelson!  I have the utmost respect for all the above parties.  It's kinda silly that I would even have to say this, but I want to make that ABUNDANTLY clear.

NO.  SHOTS.  FIRED.

2.) Do I think think there are similar elements in both The Samaritan and the M/N Luke Cage -- ABSOLUTELY.  Too many to be a coincidence -- maybe?  Detrimental impact on me as a creator -- ZERO.  The way I see it, the success of Luke Cage and it's hoodie-hero imagery is nothing short of a multi-million dollar ad campaign for my own work, that I didn't have to foot the bill for!

Keeping it Real:

The Marvel/Netflix series is out and moving forward (look for The Defenders this summer!).  The same can easily be said about the upcoming comic.  No amount of (online) petitioning is going to change that.  And recognizing that I can't fight that wave, my only recourse is to get swallowed up by it (which just isn't my nature), or to successfully ride it to greater heights (a FAAAAAR better option)!

The truth is this: There's no reason why both takes on the concept couldn't/shouldn't exist.

We're talking about a strong, black, comic book, superhero here!  With diversity being such a hot-button topic, there's no way I can say that we already have enough characters to fit that mode.  We need as many as possible -- and if that means a few dance around similar archetypes, then GOOD!  Our individual fans can choose which ones they like best, IF they even feel the need to choose at all. 

What I REALLY want:

Featuring issues 1-7
David Walker has been CRUSHING IT as one of the premiere black writers in comics.  He's worked hard and diligently to make his a household name to comic readers, around the world.  So, it's against his mettle that I want to sharpen my own.

To measure that, I want to move (at least) ten-percent (10%) of the units he will do for Luke Cage #1.  
Just one order of The Samaritan (the collected trade paperback -- I want you to get the full story!), for every ten issues ordered from Marvel.  That would be a TREMENDOUS feat for me personally, as well as a HUGE upswing for the value of small-press/indie comics everywhere.

So, do me this favor -- go to your local comic shop and order Luke Cage #1 (by Walker/Blake II) RIGHT NOW.  Then, while you're waiting for it to hit your pull box, order The Samaritan (by Dandridge/McKinzie).  If you've already bought it -- write a review, or tell a friend (...or buy THEM a copy).  I promise, there's more than enough love for both series to go around!  #AlwaysForward #NoExceptionsNoExcuses 

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