At this time in my art career, I am pursuing my long time aspiration of making comics. If you are new to my page, or my work, I am the creator of a horror-comedy comic series titled Cypress Tales. Comic book making has always fascinated me. It was actually the deciding factor in choosing what university I would attend. Comics are a popular media and many of the characters in these image-text hybrids are known and beloved worldwide. For some, the characters become the readers heroes, their friends, their family.
When I think of my series I picture my childhood, my community, and the things I enjoyed most about it. I was just a fearless inner city kid riding my bike to the neighborhood Liquor Store, Tradewinds on 54th St. There I would buy as many swiss-rolls and strawberry cakes as I could afford with my leftover lunch money, then ride a few blocks back home. I remember feeling safe, like the neighborhood was an extension of me, and I an extension of it.
I liked buying the sweets to eat them as I read children’s books. I enjoyed the way the images complemented the story lines. As I continued through school, the stories became more complex, more interesting with nuance and characters that felt real to me. But as I got older, the books contained less images and more text, and this bothered me. I wanted to see the lives of these characters being lived out on paper. I wanted to join them, to fight with them, to rescue the troubled and be the world’s heroine. I wasn’t aware that comic books existed at this time, but I’m sure that if I had I would’ve began this journey then.
Now that I’m an adult, I don’t see my neighborhood the way I once did. I rarely even see myself the way I once did, with the potential to rescue the troubled or be anyone’s heroine. Still, Cypress Tales is an homage to my childhood, my culture, and African-American history. It’s charming, curious, and familiar, yet gritty, fearsome, rudimentary and full of immanent danger.
Just as I, the characters exist as an extension of their neighborhood, and the neighborhood solidly remains an extension of them.