What is art? Art grows from joy and sorrow. But mostly from sorrow. It grows from human lives.Edvard Munch
How do you handle your struggle? Your pain? What outlet do you use to channel that hurt into something of meaning and something of beauty?
Do you write lyrics?
Do you express yourself on a canvas? A blog post?
We make comics.
Comics with stories and characters with purpose that fold in the issues and realities we go through daily and tell them through the perspective of men and women who so happen to be superheroes.
When we started Arclight, we knew we needed a cast of characters to be able to tell the kinds of stories we were going to tell today.
So we built a company that was inclusive and representative; that did not exclude, did not discriminate, and held no prejudice or bias against one particular group of people. And at the helm of this ship, as a Black man, naturally I created what came from within and what I knew.
And what I knew was that we were in trouble.
In fact, we had been in trouble. The Black life was disposable. It seemed to matter less. And I felt powerless. Powerless against a system designed to allow the murder of Black boys, Black men, Black girls and Black women slide under a proverbial rug and continue living life as if nothing had happened.
And that hurt.
Are were we that inferior? Are we considered that much less to where this concept of justice never, ever shines its light on our front door?
And out of those questions, out of that hurt and pain of seeing body after body lie lifelessly in the street—from Trayvon, to Oscar, to Mike and countless others—I had to do something with this feeling of being hopeless and without power.
So I wrote our first mini issue: Enough Is Enough
In this space—in this fictional world—I was able to stop all of this. I had the power. I had the strength, the speed. I felt responsible and heroic, shutting out the reality of the situation and just for a few moments in time connecting with my larger-than-life self in the shoes of one of our characters: Bolt.
There’s levels to this
You may be unaware of this, but Bolt’s real name is Trevaughn Grant, which made him the perfect character to tell this story through.
His name is a combination of Trayvon Martin’s first name with a different spelling and Oscar Grant’s last name. So I am in constant remembrance of the lives that continue to be taken by people who volunteer themselves to be executioner when it isn’t called for.
This story was meant to put the power back in our hands even if for a brief moment in time. To give a life back before it was unjustly taken. To let the world know that Black Lives Matter, and when we rise, when we use our gifts, our talents, and our collective strength, we are absolutely unstoppable.
When we rise and use our collective strength, we are unstoppable.
There’s also a level of responsibility
There was a moral responsibility with this story, too. Not all police are evil. Not all are bad. There are upstanding men and women on the force who would do anything for someone like me to make sure I got the protection from them if I needed it.
It’s not about Black people v. Police.
It’s a fight against police brutality, an unfair justice system, and those who continue to take the lives of Black, United States citizens without consequence. And in this story, in this world, someone who looked like me was able to save the day and correct these wrongs within our society so that a young man, not that much older than Tamir Rice, could live to see another day.