Saturday, September 22, 2012

So, what's the project?

                My senior project is a novel I have been working on for about two years, using characters I’ve been modifying for even longer.  It is Sovereign Tribe: Rebels without a Pause. That's the current subtitle, because it sounds more catchy than "Fear of a Black Superhero Team", and way less confrontational.  If you know which group made the song the subtitle is based on (hint hint, Chuck D was in it), then you have an idea of what this novel is about.  It’s about confronting the euro-centric tendencies of the superhero genre while doing something that is near impossible in mainstream comic books: forming a superhero team completely comprised of black heroes.

                Now, that of course does not mean that every hero on the team is African-American, straight, or male.  In fact, out of the seven members of this team, only two are of African-American descent; the rest are either from other parts of the world, or they are mixed race.  The lineup is mostly female, and only two of the three male heroes on the team will have chapters based around them.  They come from places like Japan, West Africa, and Brazil.  There are two straight members of the team; there are two pan-sexual heroes, one lesbian, one questioning, and an androgynous member.  In short, this team is nothing you have ever seen before.

                I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of questions.  Namely, why?  Why have teams this diverse?  Well, to that, I say why not?  I’ve spent the vast majority of my life consuming speculative fiction, literary fiction, and numerous storytelling mediums.  The situations may change, the settings may change, and the sub-genres may change.  The perspectives and voices however don’t change as much as we would like to believe, especially not in the superhero genre.  I want people to see a genre many of us know and love through lenses we are not used to.  Through these new lenses, I want to see if the conventions within the genre remain the same, or if they morph, or better yet, are deconstructed.

                So far, it has not been the easiest task in the world.  I’ve been doing a lot of research across the board, from the LGBT community, to Islam, hyper-sexuality, military technology, the Caribbean and South America, and so much more.  However, no research in the world will matter if my craft isn’t up to snuff.  That is, if I don’t become an essayist instead. 

                This novel will confront many social issues because to me avoiding them is pretty much avoiding to create a three-dimensional character.  The first dimension is the regular character traits, the second is confronting the flaws that Marvel is famous for innovating within the superhero genre, and the third is confronting the influence the world has on them as a person.  The philosophies, sociological knowledge, and ideologies that the character upholds or fails to uphold.  How their environment informs them, both positively and negatively.  This is all in my opinion of course.  Just one of my few literary theories that will spill out every now and then on this blog.  

                Now to avoid the tl;dr moment, I’ll talk about where this blog is going.  Next one will be about the line-up again, but in member-to-member detail, with commentary, but no spoilers.  The one after will go over the restructuring I have done so far to the book and why, and the last one for this weekend will be about the (new) first chapter.    

Thanks for Reading!

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