Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Eyeing 'Angeltown'

At Silver Bullet Comic Books, Tim O'Shea chats with writer Gary Phillips about Angeltown, his five-issue miniseries from Vertigo. As usual, O'Shea asks some interesting questions:
O'Shea: Do you look forward to a day when an interviewer won't point out that you've developed a strong African-American lead character with Nate Hollis, a rarity still in mainstream comics at present? Would you much rather be at a point in your life (and with consumers as a whole) where they would instead note your use of two to three strong and successful female characters who are more than just props for the men in your story?

Phillips: That's a heck of a two-pronged question. Yeah, I guess black (or for that matter Latino or Asian) lead characters are still kinda rare in comics as they are in TV and film. But that fact that Nate is black is not a statement of anything other than that's how I saw the character in my head. It made sense insofar as the tough urban environment he operates in. Just as I imagine other characters as white, as women, what have you. My job is to try to bring some verisimilitude to the page and present a story that the reader will take away something of value; that they didn't blow their three bucks on ya-ya.

But let me add that being a black writer doesn't mean that I should only write black characters just as being white means you can't write black characters. Angeltown is populated with all sorts of folks of various races, ethnicities, genders and persuasions and how they interact.

And while the mini-series contains sexual content, I'm very conscious, or try to be, that the women aren't there merely as props of sexual conquest to make the hero look good. I hope I've shown them as dimensional characters as I've done with Nate.
Angeltown #1 goes on sale today.