Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Warner Brothers Doesn’t want Humor in its Superhero Movies- WTF?

According to a report, Warner Brothers says that there won’t be any jokes allowed in their DC Comics Supehero movies.


Let me this straight: Warner Brothers doesn’t want any jokes in their DC Comics Superhero movies.

Er…The root word of comic book is Comic. And Comics books were originally designed to have jokes in them.

Superheroes come from comic books. And comic books were originally designed to be FUNNY.

But Warner Brothers wants to make movies because in the minds of their dysfunctional executives everything has to be “real” and “serious”.

Good Gravy.

One of the four elements of comic book storytelling is humor. To take the humor out of an adaptation of a comic book such as a movie is taking ¼ of the story away from the audience.

And one of the core elements of Fantasy and Sci-Fi storytelling is humor. Every sci-fi and fantasy series ever produced from Star Trek, Star Wars The Six Million Dollar Man, Xena: Warrior Princess, Planet of the Apes, Knight Rider, and He-Man and She-Ra and Transformers has humorous elements in them. It’s an essential part of the story model for the genre.

Humor is used in Sci-fi and Fantasy storytelling to give the reader or the viewer a break from the seriousness of the storyline. To allow them to breathe. To keep them from becoming overwhelmed by the world that’s being built around them. A laugh allows the reader or the viewer to relax and not take the reality of the fantasy they’re reading about or watching too seriously.

I’ve seen fantasy such as Star Wars Episodes I-III, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (later seasons), Star Trek Voyager Star Trek Enterprise, and Man of Steel that didn’t utilize jokes and humor in their stories. And all of them were frustrating to watch because they were so technical and so focused on presenting the minutest details that they became overwhelming instead of enjoyable.

I found myself feeling frustrated and even annoyed watching films in Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. It was just too serious. It took everything too literally. Same thing with Man of Steel. Just too serious. In both cases the world being built became so ENORMOUS that the characters in them became insignificant in them. Instead of us seeing Batman and Superman, we were drowning in the worlds of Gotham City, Metropolis, and Krypton.

Good Fantasy storytelling isn’t about building worlds. It’s about telling the stories of PEOPLE. And part people’s LIVES is LAUGHTER.

Humor allows the audience to laugh. To have fun. To find some humanity in the fantasy. To find something real in the imaginary world that relates what’s going on in the book or the movie to their lives. When there’s humor and jokes, we see the characters in those worlds as people. And those people in those worlds become our friends.

Warner Brothers is afraid of “Camp” of the 1966 Batman TV series. Not understanding that the Adam West/Burt Ward Series was following the spirit of the Silver Age Batman to the letter. It was a faithful adaptation of that era’s Batman. From 1945-1968 Batman was campy and silly in the comics. And the show followed that formula to the letter.

Instead of learning from the mistakes made in the 1995 Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman & Robin that made those films bad, Warner Brothers is insisting on throwing out the baby with the bath water and forbidding its writers from using a core element of storytelling that can make a superhero film adaptation entertaining and enjoyable to the audience.

What’s interesting Marvel Studios uses humor in all its superhero movies. And all of their movies are hits. They’re literally comic books come to life onscreen and capture the spirit of comic books in film.

If one looks at the humor used in movies like Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers, the laughs made us relate to Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. It made us see those characters as people. Instead of us seeing characters, we saw friends we wanted to hang out with.  

I use humor all the time in all my fantasy novelettes like the Isis series, The E’steem series and fantasy novels like TheTemptation of John Haynes. Even though the stories are serious I make it a point to put in humorous moments to give the reader a laugh and to humanize the characters and make them and their stories relatable to the reader. When I used jokes and humor, readers saw the characters as people and identified with their experiences and were so entertained by the stories that many came back to buy and read more stories.

I believe the problem at Warner Brothers is that they don’t have skilled writers, directors, producers and artists who truly understand the genres of Comic Books, Science Fiction or fantasy or the story models used in them. Which is why their movies don’t connect with the audience the way Marvel Studios do.

If we look at the employees at Warner Brothers and DC Comics currently no one has a clue on how to produce comic book or comic book related adaptations. Dan Didio has no publishing experience. And his Co-publisher and Jim Lee came into the industry during the 1990’s where many comic book writer and artists did not learn the CRAFT of storytelling in these three genres. And film Producers and screenwriters like Chris Nolan and David Goyer are so used to modernized versions of urban characters they have no understanding of the nuances, techniques or concepts applied in the genre of comic and fantasy storytelling since the inception of the genres.

As a fantasy writer with 30 years of experience, and 15 years of experience writing fantasy characters, I know humor has been a core element in comic book storytelling since the creation of the first comic strip. I know it’s been a core element of storytelling in science Fiction and Fantasy fiction since the creation of the genre. And any adaptation of a comic book, science fiction or fantasy story must have jokes in it for the audience to connect with the characters and relate to the story. What Warner Brothers is doing by telling their screenwriters to NOT put jokes in their stories is going to prevent them from producing the best quality superhero films for their DC Comics properties and will alienate most of their core audience.

Most of the executives, producers, directors and creative people at Warner Brothers need to understand that Comic books are NOT that serious. This isn’t art. This isn’t the great American novel. Or Great American film. It’s a Superhero movie; entertainment plain and simple. And the goal of a good superhero movie that entertains the viewer is to get the audience to connect with the characters in that story, not build a world where they get lost in it. Sometimes a joke can make the audience see people like Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince and Clark Kent and see what makes them and their story special. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Double Minded Negro- Unstable in All His Ways

In the Bible it says to avoid a double minded man because he is unstable in all his ways. When it comes to the Negro, being double minded seems to be a way of life. Unfortunately, it’s this double-mindedness that keeps the Negro from actualizing his potential in America.

Black folks say one thing but then do another. Their actions don’t match their words. And that’s why nothing in the Black community has changed in the last 400 years.

For example, Black women will say they want a good man.

But will go out and date thugs, drug dealers, and dusty Negroes. Then complain there aren’t any good men out there.

Black men will say they want a good woman.

But will go out and date the same hoodrats, baby mamas and whores. Then complain that there aren’t any good women.

Black people will say they want positive stories in Black movies.

But will go out and spend their money to watch coonfests and minstrel shows such as Monster’s Ball, Precious, The Help, The Butler and Tyler Perry movies.

And when producers take the time and spend the money to make movies like Akeelah and the Bee, The Great Debaters, I Will Follow, Pride and Black Dynamite which feature Black people in a positive light the Negro won’t show up at the theater.

Black people say they want positive stories in literature.

But will go out and buy poorly written Street lit, Erotica and pseudo Christian fiction.

Even our Black President Barack Obama promised change.

But seven years later the country is still the same. Actually, I’d say it’s even worse condition than what George W. Bush left it in. All because of his double-mindedness.

Actions speak louder than words. And when it comes to the Negro his actions are not consistent with his words. What he says is never what he does.

The Negro is a double-minded creature. He says one thing and does another. It’s this inconsistency that leads to many nonblacks not taking him seriously. The Negro is never willing to commit to a course of action and follow it through to the end.

The Negros’ lack of commitment is why he is at the bottom right now. He never stays the course. He never finishes what he starts. For all his talk, there’s no walk.

Whenever things get hard, the Negro is the first to head for the exit. This is why he never accomplishes anything. The Negro will talk the biggest game. But when brought to the table he does not see things through to the end win or lose.

He just quits.

Then he blames others. If he can, The Negro brings in the race card to shame nonblacks he plays with into conceding that he’s been a victim of them because they have advantages over them and that they’re racist.

And if he’s dealing with other Black people, the Negro will go into his barrage of shaming tactics he learned from his single mother and call the Black person who calls him on they’re double-mindedness:

An Uncle Tom,

A Sellout,

Or tell they’re he is acting White.

Some will go into straw man arguments like the Lightskin/Darkskin, or they’ll go into circular arguments that have no point or conclusion other than to wear a person down so they can leave and they can attack them with their shaming language.

And if these tactics do not work the Negro will try to make light of a situation by turning things into a joke.

This is why Black business owners like myself cannot rely on the Negro. Whenever we take action that’s serious about taking our businesses to the next level, the Negro does not follow through and support us by working with those who want to work with him. Out of fear of offending their White Liberal Slave masters, when approached by Black people with a plan of action, The Negro will retreat instead of standing their ground with those acting in their best interest.

When the double-minded Negro sees Black business owners like myself taking constructive action, they run for the hills. And as they hide behind a rock for the dust to settle, The double-minded Negro looks for a way to undermine Black men like myself so they can gain power for themselves with the person who they trust more than any Black man: The White Liberal.

If the White Liberal does not approve of the Negros’ actions then the Negro does not feel secure in himself or herself. While some Black people feel confident about going out on their own, and will believe in themselves and work towards accomplishing what they wish to accomplish in life, Most Negroes are so insecure they need the White Liberal to hold their hands and walk with them every step of the way telling them exactly what to do and patting them on the head to reassure them.

And when they makes a mistake they need that same White Liberal to tell them its never their fault.

It’s this lack of unaccountability that leads to this double-mindedness in the Negros’ thinking. Thanks to the White Liberal’s enabling, the Negro never learns how to commit to anything or take responsibility for their own decisions. While The Negro looks to the White Liberal for approval like a small child looking up to their parents, The Negro winds up stranded in a vicious cycle where they wind up co-dependent on White liberals instead of working interdependently with other Black men and women in America.

The roots of the Negros’ double-mindedness are in his own dysfunctional Pseudo Christian Religion. The Bible says no man can serve two masters, they’ll either love one and hate the other. But I find with this double-minded Negro that he tries to serve two masters, the White Liberal and God.

Unfortunately, God loses every time to the White Liberal. And this is why the Negro is at the bottom of society.

The Negro has no faith in God or faith in self to commit to a plan of action. To commit to a course of action. To set a goal and finish it. No, his mind is primarily on pleasing and appeasing his White liberal slave masters.

Because in the eyes of the Negro God is White.

You see, the Negro wants his freedom. But he only wants it if his White Liberal slave master is okay with him being free.

Only the Negro does not understand simple logic. If you have to get approval from someone else to be free then you are a slave.

The double-minded Negro is still waiting for his White Liberal Slave master (god) to tell him it’s okay to put himself first. To build his own businesses. To create his own industry. To protect and serve his own people.

But the rest of the world doesn’t have to ask. They just Go and DO. Not caring what ANYONE THINKS OF THEM. Which is why every other race is passing the Negro behind.

Again, the Bible says no man can serve two masters, they’ll either love one and hate the other. As long as the Negro serves the his White liberal slave master, he can’t do the work God intended for him to do. It is what it is.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Progress Report-August 2014

Progress Report-August 2014

Two steps forward, several steps back. Still Struggling to make progress.

I’ve been hard at work improving the quality on my books. I’ve heard the complaints about the covers and I’m doing my best to make sure future books have better quality covers.

I’ve spent most of the spring working on the cover quality issue. People have complained about the covers, and I’ve been working hard towards a solution. In the aftermath of the Isis series Kickstarter failure, I spent a good amount of time going through my closets. And after selling toy catalogs, toys, action figures, a Brooks Brothers shirt and a Ninja Turtle Pie wrapper on eBay I was able to raise the funds to pay an artist to draw the Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess cover.

Bill Walko of the Hero Busine$$ did a spectacular job on the cover. It really pops and tells a spectacular story. If I ever published an Isis comic, I definitely would hire him to do the art.

I’d love to work with Bill again, if I can raise the money I’d hire him to do another cover for the Isis series. His style is a great fit for Isis and captures the spirit of the character.

Response to the Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess cover has been extremely positive. Everytime I post it on social media such as Facebook and Twitter it gets a positive response from almost everyone who sees it.

Now I’m just waiting for sales. In spite of heavy promotion, Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube hasn’t sold a copy yet in paperback or eBook all summer long. I’m really urging people to pick up a copy of this story because it has all the action and humor of a big-budget superhero movie.

Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess is a follow up to Isis: The Beauty Myth, one of the best stories in the Isis series. The story reads like Marvel Studios’ The Avengers or an episode of Justice League Unlimited.

I put a lot of heart and soul into Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess and I’d love for readers to give this story a try. The writing is rock solid and the story flows smoothly from first page to the last.

To further improve the quality control on my books I’ve also been revising the previous Isis series books. Isis: Amari’s Revenge, Isis: The Ultimate Fight, Isis: The Beauty Myth, and Isis: My Sister, My Frenemy and Isis: All About The Goddess all were re-edited to fix typos, and grammar issues.

I want all the books published at SJS DIRECT to meet a standard for quality. I can’t guarantee a perfect book, but I want all the titles I publish to be the best they can be. I can honestly say Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess met the highest standard for quality when I published it in July. I spent six months editing, revising, and reading over the text line-by-line to make sure it was as good as any book published by a trade publishing house.

I want to produce more books that meet the high standard Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess met in terms of quality. I just need to see the money from readers.

Unfortunately, the Summer hasn’t been good for my eBook or paperback sales. Many of the books I launched for the summer reading season including Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess did not do well at all.

The Thetas while successful on Kindle, died on Smashwords and Nook. Lots of Facebook likes on the samples, but only one sale on Barnes & Noble through Smashwords.

I’ll release a Thetas paperback in September on CreateSpace and call it a day. I’m pulling the book from Smashwords and I’m hoping to take it back to KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited by Christmas.

All About Nikki The Sensational Second Season was a flop. The book DIED in digital format.

Due to some coding issues on Smashwords I was forced to pull All About Nikki Sensational Second Season from Smashwords and put it on Kindle Unlimited. Not wanting to leave Nikki fans hanging, I’ve given Smashwords readers a free Nikki eBook All About Nikki-All About Cliques featuring a story arc that’s part of the Second season.

From the anemic response Nikki’s last two eBooks have received I think readers are tired of Nikki and I’m just going to move on. So Season 2 will be the last in the series. I pondered doing a season 3 and even started writing a pilot episode, but I’m just gonna end that series. The season 2 finale is strong enough to serve as a series finale, so yeah, I’m just gonna move on.

In unrelated news an actress contacted me about All About Nikki. She likes the character and wants to play the role of Nikki Desmond. After I got a release I sent her a book. We’ll see where it goes.

As part of the Summer YA campaign The E’steem series seems to be going strong. E’steem: Faerie Tale has gotten over 400 downloads on Smashwords and E’steem: The Beast From the bowels is on its way to 200 downloads.

Why 70 Percent of Black women are Single a book based on one of my popular blogs did slow sales. Lots of Facebook likes, very few sales. Did get one UK sale, though.

Due to the slow sales of paperbacks I’m gonna pull the plug on the Lightning Source paperback editions of All About Marilyn and The Temptation of John Haynes at the end of this year. Five years is long enough for a book to stay in print, and with no sales this year, I’m just gonna move on. I’ll put up CreateSpace versions of those paperback editions but I’m just gonna charge both these books to the game and move on. It’s sad more readers haven’t discovered these great stories. Both these books were critically acclaimed when they debuted five years ago, but the sales unfortunately, have not been there since then. Thanks to readers of the blog last year they got a reprieve, but there comes a time when a writer has to put a period at the end of a story, even ones they love.

If you want a paperback copy of All About Marilyn or The Temptation of John Haynes head over to or NOW. Or send me $15.00 in the Paypal link at the top of the page and I’ll send you an autographed copy with free shipping. I have a couple of copies in my closet and I’m looking to clear them out. I might have a few Cassandra Cookbooks in there as well.

I hate discontinuing books, but there comes a point where a publisher has to cut their losses. If the customers aren’t there, then a businessman like myself just has to look at the dollars people aren’t spending and realize it’s throwing good money after bad. That’s money that could be better invested in other ventures.

Dealing with this sales slump has me working to regroup. During the summer I usually make most of my sales and most new readers discover my work. Unfortunately, this summer has been one of the worst I’ve had since I started SJS DIRECT in 2009. Everything just died after July, and I’ve been trying to work through the slump and get sales numbers back up.

I’m working on a plan to salvage the year with a holiday campaign. A major title in the catalog may be headed to Kindle Unlimited.

As part of meeting my goals for 2014 I’ve been doing YouTube Videos in the hopes of increasing my exposure. Hoping to get book sales and blog readers. So far I’ve done about 15 videos over the last few months. I try to post up about four or five videos a week during my trips to the library, but I’m gonna pull back to one this week.

The blog has broken past the 475,000 mark this month and is on its way to 500,000 hits. I’m averaging 1,000 to 2,000 hits a day these days.

This month, I started a new novel. Up to the tenth chapter. It’s the first new adult novel I’ve written in years. After writing and publishing so much Young Adult/Children’s fiction, I felt it was time to change things up.

I’m still struggling to make progress. Looking at the marketplace I see double-minded way of thinking of Black people. Black people say they want Positive Black literature, but I’ve yet to see the sales or hear from the readers in large numbers. I don’t know, maybe I’m not selling what Black audiences want. For all the TALK about wanting positive stories about the Black experience, more and more I see Black people buying street lit, supporting Hollywood Coons and buffoons like Nicki Minaj and making plans watch shows like Scandal. I want to stay in the game and continue providing an alternative to the Negro media minstrel show, but I’m not seeing much incentive to keep going. 

Starting a New Novel

Last week I finally decided to start a new novel. In between all the blogging, and promoting all thirty plus titles in the current SJS DIRECT catalog, I haven’t had much time to write a full novel.

If anyone has been watching my catalog, most of the books I’ve been publishing have been YA novelettes like the Isis series or Non-fiction shorts like The Simp Trilogy. Books that have been in the 10,000-15,000 word range.

The last novel I wrote The Thetas was around 75,000 words. And the one before that The Temptation of John Haynes was about 95,000 words.

For the past few years I’ve been writing Young adult/All Ages material. With this new novel I’m planning on exploring more of the adult themes I featured in my earlier books like A Recipe For $ucce$$ and All About Marilyn. 

I needed a break from writing fantasy and I decided to write a contemporary novel. I’ve had these ideas for a quirky offbeat comedy in my head for a while. Something with no social commentary on the Black community or some statement about Black issues. Like my original plan for The Cassandra Cookbook, just a basic simple story about people. With all the ideas brewing in my head I decided it wastime to put fingers to the keyboard and get to work.

I’ve been avoiding writing a new novel because it take a lot of time to plan, outline, and write. And there’s a lot more risk in selling a novel than a novelette or a short. If I write a novelette and it doesn’t sell, I can charge it to the game and move on to the next book.

But if a novel fails, I lose money on over two or three years’ worth of work. Novels are a huge risk and a writer not only loses money, but time. It usually takes me a year to complete a first draft of a novel and another year to get a book to where I’m pleased with the finished product.

And in that time the market can change, or when I release the book, readers can just reject it.

I’ve still got plans for more Isis series books and blogs, but I want to focus more of my time on this new novel. So if there are slowdowns, or blogs aren’t posted, well…I’m in the middle of a new novel.

I’m up to about Chapter 10 on this new book, and so far, it’s going in the direction I planned.

I’ll let everyone know how it’s going in the progress report around Christmastime. Stay tuned for another Progress report next week.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Isis Series Checklist

I’ve recently uploaded all-new revised editions of the modern Isis series books in paperback and eBook. I’ve made every effort to eliminate typos, and fix sentence structure and grammar issues. So these editions of the Isis series are the best quality that they can be.  

The Isis series is easy to follow action packed African-American fantasy fiction featuring a positive Black female heroine. I designed the series to be easy to follow so new readers can buy a book in any point in the series and get involved in the adventures of the goddess next door. Every story is told in a single volume and has its own beginning, middle, and end. Isis series stories are great reading for tweens, teens and readers of all ages!

I want readers to take a moment get up to date on the Isis series and discover all the titles in the series. So listed below are the titles and covers of all the Isis series so far from the first book to the last:

Crime and Punishment in the realm of the Egyptian Gods.
For the first time since the trial of the evil god Seth, The Court of the Elders is brought to order. Ra, Chief Justice of the Elders has issued a warrant for the arrest of Isis, the long-lost daughter of Osiris. Teleported from the remains of her North Carolina home, she’s brought to justice for allowing hatred in her heart and forsaking her heritage to worship another God, crimes punishable by death.
Grieving the tragic loss of her family and dealing with the shocking revelation that she’s a goddess, Isis has no idea how to defend herself in the Court of the Elders. Born of a mortal woman and raised in human culture, Isis is about to be taken advantage of by Ra when Queen Isis intervenes. Acting as her counsel, the Queen helps the young goddess adjust to the culture of New Heliopolis and plan a defense for court in the realm of the gods. Will the gods offer her a second chance to be redeemed? Or will she be judged to suffer the same fate as Seth?

A lost goddess.
A heritage Found.
A greater destiny to be achieved.
In the aftermath of a horrible tragedy, Isis the long-lost daughter of Osiris, has committed a heinous crime. Because she didn't receive guidance from her father, the elder gods show mercy on the young goddess by stripping her of her powers and imprisoning her on an uncharted island in the South Pacific.
Osiris and Queen Isis reunite with his long-lost child to begin the difficult process of establishing a familial relationship. Hoping to guide Isis towards the greater destiny she's supposed to fulfill, her parents begin teaching her the ways of the gods. However, Seth's herald E'steem lurks in the shadows offering the young goddess freedom for a price. Caught in the middle of a never-ending war between the gods, Isis must choose to either return to the troubled world she knows all too well, or take a journey down an unknown path where faith is her only guide.

Art Attack! Isis comes face-to-face with danger when a statue of Queen Amari comes to life on the floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Returned to life through a magic spell, Amari seeks revenge on the woman she believes stole the heart of her Prince and her kingdom two thousand years ago.

As Isis works with her estranged sister E’steem, she seeks to extend an olive branch to the bitter Queen. Will she forgive and forget? Or will she continue to hold onto her two thousand year old grudge and finally mete out her vengeance on the goddess of retribution?

Girlfight! Nemesis, the undisputed Queen of the Octagon is hungry for competition. After defeating twenty-four of the world’s best MMA fighters, she’s out to prove to both man and god that she’s the best in the world. Traveling to the Island of Solitude she issues a challenge to the goddess Isis to fight her in the eight-sided chain-link roofed steel cage where the only way to win is to knock your opponent out. It’s a war of the gods as New Heliopolis’ Sword of Nubia takes on the Greek goddess of Retribution in a no holds barred brawl for it all.

Glamorous! Raheema Sanders, 85-year-old CEO of Sepia Cosmetics seeks to find a way to reverse the effects of aging on herself. Learning that Isis is more than human, she has the goddess kidnapped and taken to her secret lab so she can learn the beauty secrets of the gods. However, when she comes face-to-face with the goddess she soon learns Isis’ beauty is more than skin deep.

Isis: Death of a Theta (Kindle Exclusive)
Requiem. In this flashback story set in 1973, Isis is called to the Theta House by her sorority sisters who want her to step down from her leadership role the Senior Grand Mother. With her mortal alias Andrea Robinson being 98-years-old, and Isis being immortal, they fear that if she continues on with the organization her secret may be revealed, and their mission compromised in the Black community.

Coming to terms with her aging secret identity, Isis realizes that she has to start making plans to get her human affairs in order. As she lays down the life of her alias in the mortal world for her friends, Isis comes to realize that she has to have faith in the women she taught to build on the foundation she established and pass it on to the next generation of Theta sisters.

Frenemies! Things come to a head as Isis tells her estranged sister E’steem she still doesn't trust her. But when E’steem is kidnapped by the demon D’lilah, Isis realizes that she has to move their relationship past the frenemy zone to save her former arch-enemy from a fate worse than death.

Isis: All About The Goddess
Action! After someone makes a threat on the life of current college student and former child star Marilyn Marie, Isis goes undercover as an Art Model at the Next School. While the goddess exposes herself to the student body in class, the she tries to sketch out the details that will allow her to solve the mystery behind the threatening messages.

Danger! Three months after her encounter with Isis, Dr. Raheema Sanders transforms herself into the Cybergoddess, a creature with powers far greater than Isis’. Determined to replace the order of gods with an order of science, she plans to kill the goddess and remake the world in her own image. Can Isis stop this Digital Diva before she implements her mad plan? 

And I highly recommend readers also read The Temptation of John Haynes because it’s the book that lays the foundation and continuity for the modern Isis series!

Death Kills the Flesh.
Compromise kills the soul.

The Devil doesn’t like John Haynes.
To take his soul, Lucifer recruits E’steem a beautiful black she-demon to seduce him. If she can get John to compromise his beliefs and values, he’ll allow her to join his Elect, a cadre of powerful demons in his inner circle.
To balance the playing field in E’steem’s favor, Lucifer isolates John by having him fired from his job and forces his fiancĂ©e Colleen to leave him. Unemployed and emotionally vulnerable, John eagerly takes what he thinks is the job opportunity of a lifetime as CEO of Morris Phillips. Distracted by his new high-powered job and its many duties, he has no idea that Lucifer secretly controls the multinational corporation or that his beautiful live-in assistant is a she-demon placed there to corrupt him. However as E’steem becomes romantically involved with John, she’s torn between achieving her theocratic aspirations and saving the man she loves from eternal damnation.

Catch up on the Isis series in paperback or in eBook at your favorite online bookseller!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thoughts on Michael Brown

Last week, Michael Brown was shot and killed by a cop and left dead in the street And in response frustrated Black people in Ferguson Missouri took to the streets.

However, the Police response to the riots and protesting was downright disturbing. Police in Ferguson Missouri looked like they were ready for war. Officers responded with military style body armor, tear gas and rubber bullets. They drove MRAPS and carried submachine guns and established a no-fly zone over the city

I thought this was America, not Palestine. But here it was broadcast on TV An American police department using the tactics and weapons Israelis use to counter terrorists like HAMAS in Palestine.

These were angry frustrated brothers and sistas, tired of racial profiling, being denied jobs, and being harassed by police for being Black. It looked like Brown’ death was the straw that broke the camel’s back for most Black folks in that neighborhood. Brothers and sisters who had heard about Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and Eric Garner here in New York City. Brothers and sisters who were seeing the same pattern of police brutality perpetrated in their own neighborhood by them by law enforcement.

But the police acted like they were Israeli soldiers fighting HAMAS. I didn’t know Black people protesting injustice were terrorists.

America the Democracy showing its true colors as a Hypocritic Republic. From the deaths of Michael Brown, Renisha McBride Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, it’s clear that there are clearly still two worlds in AmeriKKKa, One Black and One White.

In spite of everyone’s efforts nothing has changed since 1964.

Jim Crow has returned to AmeriKKKA. Right under the auspices of our first Black President.

What we saw on the screens of our televisions in Ferguson with that military style response was the equivalent of watching dogs and fire hoses used on our grandparents and great-grandparents who marched in the Civil Rights Movement.

I thought our first Black president was supposed to bring change to AmeriKKKa. But here we are with a situation that parallels the early days of the Civil Rights movement. It’s a powerful statement about how much things have deteriorated under his ineffective leadership.

Ferguson is to Obama what Katrina was to George W. Bush. A defining statement about how incompetent he is as a leader.

Barack Obama’s response to the violence in Ferguson is to deflect and delegate, not take responsibility for what’s transpiring on his watch. First with a terse, vague statement about the situation. Then when the violence escalated, he sent Eric Holder to Ferguson. He didn’t take action of a LEADER.

Ferguson needs a visit from the President. Why? To show people the President is in charge. To show the country he is a leader.To Unite the people.  To reassure the public that he is aware of the situation and is going to take control of it.

Barack Obama Like George W. Bush he’s lost touch with the people who he serves. His vacation seems more of a priority than a chaotic situation transpiring right in front of the eyes of Americans both Black and White.

The Michael Brown situation shows how bad things have deteriorated in Black communities over the last 20 years. Even with a Black president, there is no Black leadership in Black communities across the country. Black folks are clearly still looking for Barack Obama to be a Great Savior like Dr. Martin Luther King.

Instead of getting up off their asses and doing for themselves.

The definition of Insanity is doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result. And what I’m seeing transpiring in Missouri clearly shows me the vicious cycle regarding race and race relations in AmeriKKKA.

Unfortunately, the response from our old Civil rights leaders is to keep marching and protesting in the quest for justice. Doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result.

The rest of the world calls this insanity, but Black people call this Civil Rights.

Shawn says Black people, it’s time for a new approach.

We took a step forward with the election of our first Black President. But over the past seven years, the country has taken twenty steps back to Jim Crow under his incompetent leadership. When local law enforcement uses a military response to escalate violence against protesters in a country where Freedom of Assembly is guaranteed under the Constitution, things are falling apart in America.

No other minority community has to deal with brutal police officers. Do we hear of police officers beating up Hispanics? No. Do we hear of police officers shooting Asians in the Street in Chinatowns and Koreatowns? No. Why?

Hispanics control a lot of manufacturing and importing of fruit and food products to America. One story of a White Cop killing and beating a Hispanic and they shut down and slow down the import of fruit and food products to White America.

Asians control most of the Manufacturing of imported goods from hair weaves to iPhones. If White cops beat up on a Chinese American or a Korean American the way they did Eric Garner, the Chinese government would shut or slow down the production of goods imported to America.

Even at the height of 9/11 and the Iraq war, Arabs in America weren’t brutalized the way Blacks continue to be. Not a single police officer put them in choke holds as they sold loose cigarettes in their stores like they do right now. Why?

Because the response from Arab countries would be SWIFT. Don’t think OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries such as Quatar and Yemen would quickly impose an oil embargo on the U.S. again if White cops started applying a military response like the one in Missouri to Arab business owners in America.

Each of these responses would cripple the American economy. So big business lets police departments all over the country know not to FUCK with certain communities. Because the flow of dollars that pays their salaries will be CUT OFF LIKE THAT.

The economic pressure these countries would use would force a change in political policy in America. Black people have that kind of power, but are too divided to use it.

It’s time for Black people to realize we are behind enemy lines. And it’s time we started pooling our resources. Using the $3.3 trillion dollars in spending power we use to buy Air Jordans, 40 ounces, Playstation and XBOX games to build the economic base needed to create the political power needed to build a strong Black community.

The only way to stop brutal police from racially profiling and killing Black people is Group Economics. When Black dollars are spent with Black-owned businesses such as mine, they can be pooled together to get the political power to create laws that protect Black communities.

Every other community pays itself FIRST. By shopping with their own businesses and buying their own supplies to make their products from their own people. Keeping the flow of money in their community. Building wealth and political power.

Every other community uses group economics to apply political pressure on local politicians. People all over the world don’t value Black people because Black people don’t value themselves. The Black dollar is seen all over the world as “liquid money”, the easiest to make in the world.

I say it’s time for us to cut the faucet off.

If Black people can’t be safe from racial profiling and police brutality then it’s not safe for us to go shopping at stores during busy holiday seasons such as Back-to-school, Black Friday, and Christmas. Maybe if nonblack businesses from corner owned stores to big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Target see how many Black dollars they lose in retail, travel and tourism during a season, maybe they’ll start learning to value Black people.

And maybe once they LOSE enough money during a season, Black people will actually start to see a change in the policies regarding how communities of color are policed. Nonblack Businesses need to see the value of the Black dollar. They need to see the impact Black customers have when they’re kept from shopping in their stores due to the racist and brutal policies of law enforcement.

But most Black people lack the backbone, tenacity, discipline and commitment to make that kind of statement. The character and resolve of Black people is so WEAK these days they couldn’t participate in that type of protest.

Hell, most Black people don’t the backbone and discipline to shop at their own stores. If we shopped at our own businesses a lot of these problems would be solved. If we patrolled our own communities like Jews, a lot of the crime would be solved. But we’d rather march and protest, praying to White Jesus to change everything for us.

Black folks I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the time for protesting and marching are OVER. It’s time for a new approach to Civil Rights. One where we apply economic power and economic pressure to get political change.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

No Good Deed- Return of the Black Brute to Cinema

I saw the trailer for a new movie called No Good Deed, a film starring Taraji P Henson and Idris Elba. In the first few seconds of this trailer for this film a Black man is shown brutalizing and assaulting a White Woman before he’s sent to jail.

Further along in the trailer, viewers are shown him at the door asking for help then the camera cuts to a phone with the line cut. And no one is at the door. Then the Black male predator springing into violent action.

No good deed goes unpunished in this film. Unfortunately, this so-called thriller punishes the Black community by promoting and perpetuating a destructive stereotype about Black men: The Black Brute.

After watching the trailer I went to IMDB to learn more about this abomination calling itself a film …film The synopsis for this film says an escaped Black male convict terrorizes a Black female homeowner who offers him help.

14 years after Denzel Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor in Training Day, the Black Brute has returned to AmeriKKKan movie screens. And Black folks have no idea how destructive this stereotype is to all our young brothers out here.

Who is the Black Brute? Back in Jim Crow, the Black Brute was the caricatured image a big muscular, violent Black man who terrorized everyone who came into his path. A savage who lived for violence, especially against White women. A violent predator who was a menace to society. Someone we don’t need to see right now on movie screens across the country.

In the aftermath of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown the last thing the Black community needs is a movie featuring a Black Brute terrorizing people on movie screens across the country. Further perpetuating the idea in people’s minds that Black Brutes are out and about.

And that the world needs to protect itself from them.

Black men have it hard. And movies like No Good Deed make it even harder for Black men and Black boys to go about their lives in American society. With racial tensions at an all-time high the release of this kind of movie presenting a Big Black predator is the last thing we need.

The first clips of the trailer show this Black Brute assaulting a white woman. An attempt to get an emotional response out of White men and White women. An attempt to polarize the audience on a racial level.

The later clips show him terrorizing a Black woman at her home. An attempt to put fear in Black women about their perceptions regarding Black men.

The only thing missing from this film are a noose and a tree.

This movie isn’t entertainment. It’s social engineering. It’s social propaganda meant to put the idea in audiences’ heads that Black men are violent sociopaths who are a danger to all those around them. Like Training Day, Monster’s Ball, Precious, The Help, and The Butler, No Good Deed breathes new life into old stereotypes. Bringing the Black Brute back to the minds of a new generation of Blacks and Whites.

Reinforcing the idea in the minds of sociopaths like George Zimmerman and his enablers that this kind of Black menace exists. And the only way to protect oneself from them is with concealed carried handguns and use them to terrorize Black communities and eliminate their menace from society.

What most Black folks don’t understand is that usually the only way White folks thought they could stop a Black brute was to kill him. And in old pulp novels where the Black Brute was featured the only way to kill the Brute was for a White mob to hang him or to burn him alive. I have a feeling this will be the conclusion of this movie.

The Black man will be put in his place: Six feet under.

Brothers and sisters, you have to be careful about the media you imbibe. These racist stereotypes from Jim Crow and the Antebellum South have been repackaged in brand new boxes for a new generation of viewers. And if you watch too much of this media, you’ll start believing it to be the standard for the behavior of Black people.

Moreover, Black folks have to be careful about controlling the media that’s promoted in their communities. Images of Black Brutes are detrimental to Black men because it shows the world Black men are violent savages and not intelligent responsible and conscientious fathers, husbands, sons and brothers. The images in these kinds of films devalues the life of Black men by saying they’re not human.

Films like No Good Deed promote the idea that a Black man’s life has no value. And the only solution for any nonblack person dealing with any Black man is to execute them like an animal with depraved indifference and extreme prejudice.

The only way to stop this kind of dysfunctional media from being made and promoted is to vote with your wallet. And I’m urging Black people across the United States to not go see No Good Deed when it’s released. Buying a ticket for this movie is just like buying a White man a bullet to kill your brother, husband, son or father. The more we go see movies like this, the more Hollywood will produce. And the more they’ll perpetuate old racist stereotypes about Black people into society.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Isis Series and The Lightskin/Darkskin Issue, and Dysfunctional Color Struck Negroes

Sometimes the ignorance of people is an opportunity to teach. A couple of weeks ago, On seeing the cover for Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess paperback, family members told me that the characters on the cover weren’t “Black” and began to go into the old lightskin/darkskin argument instead of looking at the content of the story.

 Now every other African-American fantasy group, Black book group, nonblack book group and comic book group on Facebook I’m on has told me they clearly see how Isis is Black. Many more have praised the cover by Bill Walko and it’s gotten dozens of likes on social media. Not a single person has gone into a lightskin/darksin argument when I present any Isis Series cover to them. They simply enjoy the stories.

I don’t want this lightskin/darkskin issue to take away from readers’ enjoyment of Isis character or the Isis series stories.  Nor do I want it to poison the perceptions of brothers and sisters regarding the character. So I’m going to take the time to clarify things about the Isis series and the character of Isis.

Everything I do with the Isis series is based on years of research. I took a year of trips to the library to research Osirian legend and Egyptian mythology before writing a single word of the first Isis story back in 1999. And I did two more years of research on Egyptian mythology, Egyptian History, Nubian history, and Black history before I typed out the first draft of the manuscript back in 2001. And I did even more research on those subjects and even the old Filmation Isis TV series before publishing the first book in 2002.

Isis is the daughter of Osiris because I wanted to make a statement about the relationship between Egypt and Nubia. Isis is Horus’ sister to symbolize how she came from Nubia, Egypt’s sister nation. At one time Egypt and Nubia were like the United States and Canada, they shared a trade border, shared the same culture and even worshipped the same gods. There were numerous temples to Ra, Isis, Horus and Osiris in Nubia just like there were in Egypt.

Isis’ character design was based on the Egyptian and Nubian myths themselves, and pictures and statues I saw depicting the goddess. Isis’ golden skin tone is based on Egyptian/Nubian Mythology. In ancient times statues of the gods were made of gold. Gold was a precious metal and esteemed the high value of the gods Egyptians and Nubians worshipped.

The brown color I use for Isis is meant to symbolize her golden skin tone and distinguish her as a goddess. I was trying to get as close to the hieroglyphs I studied as possible.

Isis’ Auburn/Chestnut brown hair is based on what I read about the Egyptian god Seth. Seth is depicted in numerous versions of the Osirian legend as having red hair. The way I saw it the red hair gene would have to be within the Heliopolitan bloodline. Plus it was a way to make the character stand out and look distinct.

I also gave Isis the chestnut/Auburn Hair color because many Ancient Egyptians in ancient times dyed their hair and wigs red with henna. During ancient times women would color their hair and wigs this color during holidays and other celebrations. I even believe it was a fashion trend in one era.

In addition, Isis was also given Chestnut/Auburn hair to make her look distinct from the brunette Queen Isis and her brunette sister E’steem.  At the time I was planning Isis it was meant to be a comic book. And if one looks at the Golden and Silver Age Wonder Woman and her Mother Queen Hippolotiya they’ll notice Princess Diana is a brunette while her mother Queen Hippolyotia is a blonde. This was done so that the characters would be easy to distinguish when they were drawn together in a comic panel.

In real life, I’ve seen many Black women with the same hair color Isis has in my drawings. And when one looks at a color photo of Malcolm X they’ll see he has reddish/auburn hair. That’s the same hair color Isis would have in real life.  And NO ONE was BLACKER than Malcolm X.

I want everyone to know Isis is a BLACK woman. In my eyes the Egyptians were BLACK. The Nubians were BLACK. And I designed the character so BLACK people could trace their history and heritage back to Ancient Egypt and Ancient Nubia.

When Isis talks about emigrating to America in the first Isis book, she says that the people who had skin her color and hair her texture were Negroes. Black people come in a variety of shades of brown and have various hair textures. And I make a point of showing a variety of skintones and hair textures in all my stories.

Isis’ backstory is rooted heavily in Black history. When Isis recounts her past in Isis: Death of a Theta, and Edna Flowers talks about Isis’ previous alias Andrea Thomas Robinson in The Thetas, she talks about a Black woman who taught her how to overcome Jim Crow racism.

Isis’ experiences with racism in the 19th and 20th century in the first Isis book were based on real Black women like Sojurner Truth and Harriet Tubman. She is a teacher because I was inspired by the historical contributions of Great Black female American educators such as Ida B. Wells and Mary Mcleod Bethune. She is the Matriarch of the Theta Sorority to show the roots of Black history in our Black fraternal organizations and the direct impact the Black woman has as the teacher of culture to women in those social organizations.

 With Isis I wanted to show the richness of Black culture Black women have and what’s beautiful about being a Black woman inside and out. I didn’t just want her to be a superhero. I wanted her to be a social crusader to showcase the role Black women had in Black society throughout history.

Being raised in traditional Nubian, Egyptian and Black culture Isis practices concepts such as group economics, and has a clear understanding of what her Black female identity is. In designing Isis personality and “voice” I studied great Black women such as the late Corretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, Lena Horne, Rosa Parks, and Ruby Dee in her conceptualization, and contemporary sistas such as Tia Mowry, and Salli-Richardson Whitfield.

Isis is a supporter of Civil Rights and a social crusader who teaches her Theta Sisters the importance of keeping Black wealth in Black hands. Again, the character was created as a hero who understands of how the Black woman is the teacher of culture to Black women and children. These were social concepts that were taught in Black communities before the encroachment of White feminism on the Black community, and the establishment of the Matriarchal welfare state in the 1970s.

And when Isis lived in America in the early 19th Century, She was married to a college educated Black man, Joe Robinson. She and her husband gave up a comfortable life in Boston to help teach the newly freed slaves in the South the skills they’d need to have a better life during Reconstruction. And in 1883 she watched her husband get lynched and saw her son murdered in front of her by Klansmen.

In the first Isis book I clearly make the point that In AmeriKKKA no one cared that Isis was a goddess. For all her golden skin and chestnut hair, all those White racists saw was a nigger bitch. Someone to rape after they killed her family. 

And in Isis: Trial of the Goddess I make the point that her mind was so corrupted by the hatred of White Supremacy and Racism she experienced that Ra and the elder gods had no choice but to imprison her on the Island of Solitude. It’s only when she gets her mind right that she’s allowed to return to the world in 1900.

I make every effort to make almost every Isis series story feature some reference to Black culture or Black history. For example when I write books like Isis: The Beauty Myth I make every effort to include Black-owned institutions such as Ebony Fashion Fair, and present fictional Black-owned businesses such as Sepia Cosmetics, which are based on real-world Black owned-businesses like Ebony Fashion Fair.

When I created Isis back in 1998-1999, I wanted to give little Black girls their own heroine. Someone who looked like them, had their struggles, and dealt with their issues. Whenever I watched TV shows like Jem and movies like Clueless, the Black female character was always the furthest in the background. Or in shows like She-Ra and GIJOE she was nonexistent. And I wrote this series of books so she could stand up front and be featured as the main character. With Isis I wanted little Black girls to understand what’s great about being a Black woman.

Doing further research into Black superheroines I was deeply disappointed by the few Black female superheroes and even more disappointed by their lack of depth and backstory. Storm was powerful but just a chocolate fantasy for White men. Vixen just…drifted. Bumblebee was a footnote in Titans history. Monica Rambeau was here then…forgotten. Rocket had all her promise destroyed by single motherhood in the second issue of Icon. Most Black females in comics were never given their own series, their own archenemies, their own storylines or a chance to shine. 

I sought to rectify that with Isis. I wanted to put a Black woman up front show what made a sista had in the Black community. Isis is a hero not because she’s a princess and a goddess, she’s a hero because she’s a friend to Black people who seeks to teach them life lessons as she overcomes the challenges put in front of her.   

My original plan was for Isis to be a comic book. Unfortunately, the comic book industry collapsed six years before her creation. So I went the YA fiction route. However, my love for comic books is deeply rooted in Isis and the Isis series. 

As a comic fan, I make a quiet homage to Filmation and DC Comics a by giving her second alias the name Andrea Thomas Robinson in Isis: Death of a Theta, a reference to the comic book and TV version of Isis played by White actress Joanna Cameron. Ironically, Andrea Thomas Robinson dies in December 1973, a few years BEFORE the Joanna Cameron Isis TV series goes to air.

Unfortunately, all of those concepts and ideas are lost on some shallow dysfunctional color-struck Negroes who judge my books by their covers. For them Isis is just light-skinned. And a few not “Black” enough to be considered “Black”.

What many of these dysfunctional color-struck Negroes don’t understand is that Black is Black whether you are light-skinned or dark-skinned. And Black is who you are on the inside. It’s the content of your character that makes you Black, not the color of your skin.  

Again, I don’t want my work poisoned by the dysfunctional lightskin/darksin issues some Black people have. My mission as a writer and a publisher is to create positive fiction that inspires and uplifts Black people. My ultimate goal with the Isis series is to give Black girls their heroine, someone they can relate to and identify with. Someone who makes them proud of their culture, their history and their heritage. Someone who makes them proud of their skintone and hair texture. Someone who deals with their issues in her adventures.

In a world filled with hypersexualized images of Black women such as Beyonce, Rihanna, and shows like Scandal, racist movies like Monster’s Ball and Precious, disgusting Twerk videos, fight videos broadcast on World Star Hip Hop, street lit and erotica where Black women call themselves bitches and whores, the images of Black women in media being presented to Black girls is one that is increasingly negative, and incredibly self-destructive. My goal with the Isis character and the Isis series was to create a heroine who was rooted in Egyptian mythology and Black history for Black girls and Black women see as a role model.

Writing and publishing the Isis series books means a lot to me. When publishing houses wouldn’t consider my work, I published the first Isis book in 2002 with $200 of the last $600 in my personal savings at the time.  And even though I’ve been out of work for so long, I’ve been investing my own dwindling savings in writing and publishing these books for the last five years.

Because the protecting and uplifting the image of Black people means that much to me.

That cover for Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess my own family members said wasn’t black enough for them? I paid for that with my own money. I spent the last 60 days selling action figures, toy catalogs and collectibles from my own personal collection on eBay when my Kickstarter failed. I make those sacrifices because I want to make sure that Black people have an alternative to the minstrels and Jezebels currently bombarding Black people and Black children in the media.

I make every effort to improve the quality of SJS DIRECT publications because I want Brothers and sistas to have the very best. I want everyone to know I’m making every effort to respond to customer complaints such as the covers. For me it’s not about the color of the character’s skin. It’s about the quality of the content and the content of the character. I’d rather publish a book featuring a golden skinned goddess with her own chestunut hair than one featuring a weave wearing brown skinned baby mama, a caramel skinned side piece, or a dark-skinned hood rat.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What’s Wrong With Wonder Woman And How to FIX IT

Wonder Woman is the first female superheroine in comics. And over the last 75 years Princess Diana has become an American icon. Unfortunately, the third most popular character at DC Comics has had an identity crisis over the past 40 years. And it’s that identity crisis that makes it hard for anyone to write comics for her or adapt her for other media such as the silver screen.

Working with Wonder Woman has become a challenge for most writers. Yeah, she’s an icon. And externally she’s got these amazing powers and an fascinating backstory. But internally there’s nothing tangible for readers to relate to. Unlike Superman or Batman no one has given us much of a reason to CARE about Princess Diana or her supporting cast in decades.

If one looks at modern interpretations of Diana such as the New 52 she’s an afterthought in her own comic book. In TV shows like Justice League, Hawkgirl stole the show right out from under her because she had a stronger “voice” and personality. Hawkgirl was rough and tumble; one of the guys. But Diana…Well….She was just there in the background not saying or doing anything to make us see what’s special about her.

And every Wonder Woman centered episode was just BORING. Even with top talents like Dwayne McDuffie, Bruce Timm, and Paul Dini working with her, there was no way to make Wonder Woman really stand out like Flash or John Stewart or even the Martian Manhunter. Her villains and her supporting cast were background fodder at best. Sure she had chemistry with Batman in Justice League Unlimited but I believe people were more interested in the build of the implied romance, not because they liked her character as a person.

I believe the big problem with Wonder Woman is that she hasn’t been defined for the 21st Century. Back when Wonder Woman was created in the 1940s she was special. In a world where men did all the heavy lifting in society, she was the only woman with super powers. One of a few women doing incredible things.

But today in a postfeminist America she’s struggled to stand out in a world filled with superheroines with powers like hers. In comic book world filled with Batgirl, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Rogue, Storm, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk and the Invisible Woman, a TV world filled with Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and a movie world with Ripley, Lara Croft, Selene, and Black Widow, what’s so special about Wonder Woman?

Over the last 75 years we can still define who Superman and Batman are by their missions. Superman is a friend who helps everyone. Batman is The Dark Knight who watches over Gotham. But who is Wonder Woman? What’s her mission? And why should we care? These are the questions that haven’t been answered in four decades by any comic book writer since Gloria Steinem demanded she be brought back to comics.

Being the first superheroine has cemented Wonder Woman as an American icon. Unfortunately over the last 40 years she’s gotten lost in a larger crowd of powerful women. And the challenge for any comic book or screenwriter today is to find a way to make her stand out in a crowded 21st Century World filled with equally powerful superwomen and real women such as Hilary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Carly Fiorina, and Gina Carano.

I believe in order for a Wonder Woman to remain relevant in a postfeminist world she has to show the public how she’s our friend. She has to have those feet of clay that show her humanity to a new generation of fans.

The way I see it the whole Ambassador of peace and goodwill concept George Perez came up with back in the 1986 is outdated, too complicated and hard for regular people to follow today. It’s a great concept but it needs to be simplified to make it accessible to new readers.

When I began the  Isis series back in 2012, the slogan I used to sell her books to readers was “The goddess next door”. It’s a way to tell to everyone how she’s a friend to those she serves. Someone who is always there when you need her. Like Superman, a friend.

In my proposed Wonder Woman run, I wanted to turn Diana into “The Princess next door”. Someone who is there for the world. A friend just like Superman.

The girl next door is a part of American Pop Culture. An integral part of American culture just like Wonder Woman. She’s someone we all can count on. A best friend to women and someone every guy wants to date and marry. Someone who we know will help out in a time of trouble. Again, A friend.

While the girl next door is someone we all can relate to and touch, Diana today is always shown mostly as a super warrior who is often on these missions to faraway and exotic places. Someone most people can’t see as being part of their lives. When it comes to Wonder Woman, I believe in any form of media, whether it be comic book or movie, there needs to be a focus on showing how she’s available and accessible to the community she serves. How there’s a possibility for her to connect with real people. Readers need to see her being a friend. Someone like Superman they can count on to help them out in time of need.

Someone who is possibly a phone call away or a knock on the door like Isis was in Isis: All About the Goddess. In that story, Isis poses nude in a college art studio to help catch a campus stalker harassing one of the students. While I know the idea of Diana posing nude in an art studio is kind of crazy to some comic fans, I believe it’d make a strong statement about her character. It’d show readers how like Batman, what length Wonder Woman would go to put herself on the line to protect others from danger.

I think this overfocus on the superwoman and almost masculinization of the character is why so many people today can’t relate to Wonder Woman. Today’s comic fans need to get to know the Diana the woman and learn what she believes in, what stands for, and why she’s willing to fight for it. It’s Clark Kent and Bruce Waynes’ personal values that make Superman and Batman the heroes they are. But there hasn’t been much effort to define Diana’s personal values over the last 40 years. What motivates her internally to do fight that good fight. And that’s what makes making movies and other media so hard for writers and screenwriters like myself.

The way I see it Diana being made from clay that symbolizes how she’s not perfect. Even though she lives in paradise and has been given powers by the gods, it’s being made from that soft clay that comes from the earth that I believe makes her imperfect. It’s what connects her to the world. In some ways it’s a great contrast to the hardness of all the amazon warriors around her.

If one looks at a sculpture closely it’s not entirely perfect, it’s those small imperfections and rough edges that makes it stand out, just like those personality imperfections and flaws make characters interesting. When it comes to Wonder Woman, there needs to be more of a focus on those soft feet of clay and how they connect her to the people in her life.

When I write the Isis series I put all of Isis flaws up front for readers to see. I show how she struggles with her feelings of awkwardness and inadequacy in the presence of goddesses like her stepmother Queen Isis and her sister E’steem and even other women. How she struggles with her role as a goddess and a princess in New Heliopolis and how she tries to balance it with her life as a human being. And how she has reservations and fears regarding her life. Isis is a skinny little woman who screws up fails, but what makes her a heroine is the fact that she always perseveres and fights to stands up for what she believes in and makes every effort to help those in need.

The way I see it, Wonder Woman’s origin needs to be updated to show how no one on Paradise Island believes in her. Her peers like Artemis should see her as a runt, and a screwup not fit for their military. Intellectuals like Nubia should see her as not smart enough to grasp science and Amazon tech. Others could believe she’s a spoiled princess coddled by her mother. A few like Aresia should think she has no direction and is not fit to be the future Queen of the Amazons. She doesn’t fit in the Amazon world, and struggles there and sees Man’s world as a way out of her misery in paradise. Before she becomes Themiscyra’s Wonder Woman she’s just a regular woman.

And over the course of the story it’s shown how she works to become the Island’s greatest champion BEFORE she gets her powers from the gods. How it’s her internal character that shows us why she was given those powers by the gods over the other Amazons.

And Paradise Island needs to be re-defined to fit in a 21st Century world. I believe the whole Amazon warrior concept has been taken WAY too seriously by too many writers over the last 30 years. Back when William Moulton Marston created Paradise Island, it was a peaceful place with a focus on advanced technology and science. Yeah, they had a military, but aren’t these women supposed to be the best of the best? Where are the Amazon scientists, engineers, chemists, and IT people on par with today’s men?

In a world filled with iPads and smartphones, Themiscyran women spend most of their time fighting with swords and spears and arrows. And they spend every day doing military drills. That always sounded like sloppy writing to me. What happened to the Amazon tech such as the Purple Ray and the Invisible Jet? Why don’t they have armor, energy shields, and cloaks?

Iron Man has all that stuff for close to 30 years. So does Batman. Black Panther out in the plains of Wakanda has had all sorts of high-tech stuff since his creation. Steel and Mr. Terrific have all sorts of kickass tech at their disposal. Even a fish-talking LAME like Aquaman has had all sorts of tech in Atlantis. But Amazons who live in an advanced society filled with BOTH SCIENCE and MAGIC that’s supposed to be on par with Atlantis are still fighting with arrows and spears. WTF?

The way I see it we need to get to know the Amazons on the island. We need to see how they have a distinct culture all their own. Build a true supporting cast. Showcase Amazon tech. Showcase Amazon magic. If I were writing Wonder Woman, there’d be room for Artemis, Nubia, and Aresia. (Yeah, I know she sucks, but I know from experience writing both E’steem and Nemesis there’s a way to write a female rogue and make her interesting.) We need to see the world of Paradise Island and how it stands out like Aquaman’s Atlantis.

On the rogues gallery front Diana has a lot of strong villains, but there’s never been that big defining feud to showcase Wonder Woman’s internal character strengths. Her villains challenge her physically, but never make that challenge to who she is and what she stands for. Barbara Minerva’s Cheetah has a great look but her motivations for feuding with Diana aren’t strong. She wants her lasso? Meh. Circe has great powers, but again no serious motivation that grabs me. Giganta? What’s her beef with Diana? And why should I care that a 50-foot woman wants to kick her ass? Ares? What’s he done in the last 30 years to make me pay attention to him? Aresia? Everyone hates her. But not because of her track record, it’s because she’s LAME.

And when I read Diana Prince: Wonder Woman trades last year I saw Dr. Cyber’s potential absolutely WASTED. This narcissistic over-the-top diva could have been cemented on DC’s A-list with Lex Luthor and the Joker by now if writers back in the 1970’s built her up into an egotistical BITCH we love to hate instead of copping out and making her a lame female Dr. Doom Knock-off. From what I saw she could have been that bitch, the iconic Wonder Woman baddie we all associate with her. But due to poor execution, she got lost and forgotten in the shuffle of DC’s catalog of villains.

Today Wonder Woman needs her Green Goblin. Her Joker. Her Lex Luthor. The one bad guy we associate with her without thinking about it. In a character driven model like comics, villains drive stories. They create the conflict the heroes have to overcome. They are who get butts into seats for movies and people buying comics.

From what I’ve read there’s never been that one Wonder Woman story that had that right mix of chemistry to make it spark. Most times in her comics there was always some element missing to keep it from becoming her definitive story. Character development is often off. Plots aren’t strong and Storylines are flat. Then there are the weak villains and the poorly defined relationship between Diana and her arch-enemies. That’s primarily what makes it so hard for screenwriters like myself to adapt her to the screen today.

I believe the only to get to a true Wonder Woman movie way is to completely rebuild her character in the comics from the ground up. It had to be done with Iron Man and the X-Men in the 1970s and with Daredevil, Teen Titans, and Superman in the 1980s; it’s the rebuilt concepts that redefined those characters and turned them from midlist characters with no direction into iconic fan favorites. Many of Wonder Woman’s concepts are obsolete in today’s post feminist world, and the savage currently slaughtering her way through the pages of DC’ Comics’ New 52 is only exacerbating the problem with the character.

To rebuild Wonder Woman’s character onscreen in a film adaptation would be too jarring a transition for comic fans and moviegoers; the heavy lifting has to be done in a run of comics before a movie can be made. From the structure established by those comics screenwriters can have something to work with and audiences can have a foundation to give them background knowledge of the character.

There are so many great concepts to be explored in Wonder Woman’s part of the DC Universe. Unfortunately, most writers and screenwriters today are so intimidated and confused by Wonder Woman’s past they can’t figure out how to make her an icon for future generations of comic fans. As a writer who has written strong intelligent heroines novels like The Thetas, A Recipe For $ucce$$ and The Temptation of John Haynes, screenplays like All About Marilyn and All About Nikki, and Young adult fiction like the Isis series, I know that there’s a way to contemporize Wonder Woman for the 21st Century and make her relatable and accessible to a new generation of fans. It’s just going to require a writer to come out of the box and show the world the character in a different light.