I’ll tell you all about U Cre-8 Comics, But first…a Story!
Do you like to read — would you say that you’re an avid reader? I have to admit, as a child, I HATED reading — despised it! And it wasn’t that I suffered any deficiencies or difficulties. I just found most books and their stories boring!
That is…until they announced on the news that Superman was going to die.
I remember standing in the living room, watching the montage of iconic drawings and movie clips play, as the news anchor revealed that the Man of Steel’s demise was already in production. With only a peripheral knowledge of comics and their lore, I still recognized Superman as a heroic icon and pop cultural being. And that was enough to beg the questions: “How was he going to die?” “Who could even do that?” “What would happen afterwards?”
I mustered the only response a sensible ten year old would in that moment: “I WANT to read that.” From the kitchen, my mother overheard what I almost absently spoke. She rushed into that living room demanding I repeat the words — daring me to make them real with repetition. And I did; I said it again, this time with a confidence and passion I hadn’t wielded towards anything else — “I want to read that.”
And with those five little words, my life would change FOREVER. The next day, my mother awarded me a stack of comic books and by supper time, it was official. I was a reader — a comic book reader! It would propel my life forward with purpose and meaning, not only as I tried to learn and absorb as much about the culture and the characters it birthed, but as a learned to write and draw characters and stories of my very own; daring to add my name mark to the lists of creators that inspired me.
In the decades since, I’ve produced work on a number of titles, most of them award nominated or critically acclaimed…and in a few cases, both! But just being a part of comics was never enough. I recognize the opportunities the medium has provided me. Not only as an outlet for my creative passions, but also educationally — heightening my vocabulary, my comprehensions, as well as my abilities to express. Owing so much, I felt that it was my absolute responsibility to pay that back.
To do so, in 2011, I launched U Cre-8 Comics.
But seriously…WHY COMICS?!
As a professional in the comic book industry, the merits of reading and creative expression abound, prevalent in everything I do. Whether it’s in scripting dialogue, laying out a page, or lettering finished artwork, I am crafting epic tales of my own design, utilizing the fundamental skills of reading and writing I’ve nurtured since child hood. With school-aged children of my own, I’ve grown increasingly aware of how difficult it is to establish an interest and appreciation for the language arts. Quite honestly, at their age, I too was guilty of the same disinterest that plagues so many, not having found a subject or format that could keep up with the frenetic pace of my young attention span…that is, until I was introduced to the world of comics.
With comics, particularly through the superhero genre, I found a reason to read. With every passing panel, I became even more consumed by these characters and their myriad histories, delving headlong into worlds of alien super-men, mutant civil activists, nocturnal vigilantes, and mythic gods. And despite their fictitious origins, each character served as both inspiration and aspiration, affecting the real-world lessons of selflessness, social awareness, culture and optimism I needed to understand in order to survive being an African-American male growing up in the 1990’s. As comics have done so much to shape my path, I feel it no less than my responsibility to share that value with the next generation of readers. To do so, I’ve created the “U Cre-8 Comics” line. Designed as an innovative bridge to creative expression and classroom fundamentals, the U Cre-8 Comics line uses the sequential arts as a backdrop to promoting reading comprehension with critical analysis, vocabulary building, creative writing and an appreciation for the visual arts.