When I was growing up, I didn’t even know that the world of the Black Nerd community existed. Black Nerd! What is that? You read comic books, you watch science fiction shows, you hide that from all your friends. No one must know! LOL
That’s the world that I grew up in. My parents didn’t value comics either. As far as they were concerned, that’s not reading. These were interests you had to sneak and hide. It’s so refreshing to see how the world has come full circle and the world of comic fandom is now main stream.
In this conversation, I’m sitting down with writer, Lorraine Jones to discuss the comic world, the entertainment industry, and navigating these spaces as women of color. Of course, we also spent a lot of time just chopping it up as we ladies do when we get together.
Who is Lorraine Jones?
Lorraine Jones has been a professional writer for a number of years. During her time as a professional writer, she written for various types of publications, including the motorcycle magazine “Full Throttle.” As a long time fan of comics she decided that it was time for her to put together a work of her own that represented people like her, MTheory.
Lorraine has a very clear vision for her recent graphic novel series. Choosing to incorporate text chapters within the comic which in her own words is “a very different approach” but allows her to be very flexible within the story and incorporate a “different level of depth” that provides “texture to the book itself.” Through her stories she wants to provide representation for people like her (Black women) which is still fairly new for the comic industry.
Listen to our interesting and fun discussion:
What is M Theory?
MTheory is about Makeba, a secret guardian of earth that has been protecting it from the shadows. While her son has her powers, he doesn’t have her heart. In order to stop her son’s plans for taking over the world, she recruits her great-great-great-granddaughter, Mimi, to help her stop him. Now, her new challenge is convincing her far-removed progeny to help her out.
I sort of had this idea from that fun time in the 90s before you could be followed around by your cell phone completely and a lot of things were done without being recorded, and that made breaking the story a lot easier. There’s a little coming of age stuff going on there and a lot of supernatural. I tried to incorporate the parts and stories that we don’t always see and show.Lorraine Jones
Children in today’s society have so many options to be who they are and express themselves in ways that older generations would never have even considered. Especially given the stresses of today’s world, it’s great that they have more outlets for their frustrations and come up with creative ways of addressing some of the social challenges they face. What makes the world of comics even more exciting to me, is the fact that these creative expressions can also translate into career and business opportunities.
I think representation on every level is important. I think that we have to be represented anywhere that they’re creating stories because they are finally realizing that we are part of everyday life. So, they have to include us in the story. They’re not going to get a realistic understanding or representation without our faces, without our voices and without our presence.Lorraine Jones
Lorraine advised that as minorities and people who are not in the mainstream, we have to create the space for ourselves to thrive. Creators within the community have to work together and align themselves with others in the community who have essential skills, like lawyers, marketers, film makers, and others.
We as Black people, we as women, we as people who are not in the mainstream of whatever the cultural interests are at the time, we have to create the space for ourselves. The up and the down and that is we have to create it, but we also are able to take ownership of it. I think that’s something that we are becoming more savvy about and that’s something that we are learning to become more practical about. I’ve seen more and more people pulling together as a community to try to push our work out front, to try to reach out to people who’ll be interested in what we are creating as individuals and as a group. …The whole Black speculative fiction movement. It’s amazing!Lorraine Jones
The world of Black comic creators remain challenging but, as we discussed, there is also tremendous potential. Creators are pushing the boundaries of storytelling and paving the way for future generations to inherit a landscape of expression that once seemed impossible.