Sunday, September 27, 2009

The birth of "Militant Malik"

I never thought I'd utter these words: I actually like DC. There, I said it.
Yes, my heart is still in New York City, but I must say that living in the District of Columbia has definitely changed my cartoon "Cafe con Leche" for the better. There is something distinctly edgy about the District, not to say that NYC was edgy. But its a bit different here. While in New York, my focus was on writing about the relationship between main characters Trey and Maria and how they got along. Looking back that was probably a bad idea.
Since coming to DC a year ago I've put the focus squarely on Trey and surrounded him with a cast of characters that come straight from my experiences in DC. The biggest success has come from a character that I call "Militant Malik." This character has definitely added some spice into the mix. Malik is dashiki and combat boot wearing self-described pro-black militant and professional street protester. I got the idea of Malik from my very own neighborhood in DC. You see, I live in the Chinatown section of downtown, a hub for tourists and such. I typically make a trek to my gym, which is on the corner of 7th and H st. Nw. I noticed that almost every Friday afternoon a few brotha's dressed in quasi military garb gather and literally get up on soap boxes and yell to the top of their lungs about all-things black to commuters. I found this fascinating, since I've never seen this display in any major city. I almost instantly began to think of creating a character based on this. Malik was born.
I wanted to thank the fellas for giving me the inspiration, but that probably won't go over well.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Coming out of the closet to my mother

No, its not what you think (though there's nothing wrong with that either). I came out as a vegetarian, and my mother almost lost her mind. You see, my mother is sort of a traditional African-American mother from south Georgia. I grew up on her black eyed peas, collard greens and regular helpings of fatty stuff such as ham hocks and pork chops.
My family grew up on meat and lots of it. I don't think that there is a single vegetarian in my family, so you can prolly understand her surprise. I thought that she might faint as I described to her the reasons that I went veggie. I've been a vegetarian for about 4 months now but I just neglected to tell anyone in my family.
The reason for the shocking header (Coming out) was that I was so floored by my mother's reaction. You'd think that I just told her that I was gay and was running off with my Rupaul. I don't think that I'd ever heard my mother gasp over the phone. It was weird. It was strange. We got through it.
I'm really not looking forward to Thanksgiving in the Gary household. Me and my 6 siblings sitting at a table filled with all kinds of meat products that I can't (won't) eat.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting ahead

Man, didn't know how good getting ahead on my toons felt until now. I've finally put some distance between my deadlines, and now I can concentrate on doing other stuff. Like (gulp) illustrations. I gotta admit I'm a little nervous about this new childrens illustration venture that I'm about to embark on. It would be better for me if I hooked up with a writer, but a good writer is hard to find (for children's books that is). I'm going to have to do this solo, so we'll see what happens.
In the meantime, I've got to think about moving again. My lease is up and I'm just not willing to pay to live in downtown DC anymore. Looks like I'm Maryland-bound.