Hey and Welcome to the next Lesson in BLACK BUSINESS MONTH!
Black Sands crated by Manuel Godoy and illustrated by David Lenormand. It’s another title that was promoted to me on Facebook. (Starting to see a pattern here) The thing is, though, I’d seen it on Instagram prior and it just so happened I had enough money and they a sale on the Collector’s Signed Edition so I bought it.
Upon reading this though, I was given…mixed feelings.
From the start, you can tell by the illustrative style that this book’s intended audience is in the kid’s range. Characters are a bit rounder, there isn’t too, too much detail and the main cast are children. None of these are bad things, in fact I thoroughly enjoy that! It encapsulates a specific kind of story and never sacrifices artistic skill.
This especially comes out in action scenes. As each of our main characters have powers, they display them in scenes not unlike The X-Men, My Hero Academia, or Avatar: The Last Airbender.
You have one particular scene where two kids go at it in a style that looks like it belongs in a Marvel Vs. Capcom game with the way their attacks have special names and displays. It’s like hitting a Kombo Breaker in Killer Instinct and I couldn’t get enough of it.
This book is related heavily on African mythology, something I can’t explore enough, and it teaches kids at an easy, accessible way to learn more of that culture. As someone who’s a novice, I dug how easy it was to just jump into it.
There are even info-graphs on certain pages that illustrate where they got their inspiration from. You can tell that it was approached with care so as to not throw new readers into the deep end of mythology, but also not hold your hand when giving new material.
I mentioned before how the main four characters are kids, but this is kind of where things got lost on me. There are four characters: Ausar, Seth, Auset, and Nehbet, five if you include Ausar’s rival, Bes, but only two of them (in this volume, anyway) really are fleshed out.
Don’t get me wrong, all have their moment to shine and display their abilities. Auset in particular has one of the most awe-inspiring scenes in the volume. It’s just that, they’re not really shown…as much attention as the following two.
Ausar is one and his brother Seth is the other.
Ausar you see from the get-go he’s about action, fun and, above all, strength. It’s drilled into him that he needs to be strong and we see in flashbacks why strength is so important to him.
He’s a prince that will one day will his lands and failure, even in the smallest degree is looked down upon and you feel his struggle as you see he just wants to be the best. It’s a really compelling story.
Seth…is my favorite character.
I need to say this. I HAVE NEVER SEEN OR HEARD OF ANY COMIC CHARACTER WITH VITILGO IN ANY CAPACITY EVER! As a Black man, I didn’t have very many options growing up on which superhero I wanted to be. Not too many looked like me, but I can’t even imagine what it would be like for someone with this rare pigment. Representation is a huge part of the comic culture and this CANNOT be slept on.
This is real. He is here and he’s the best written character in the book.
We see him not for his brawn, but for his brain. Often times of delegation, his introspection and decision making makes him stand out amongst his siblings and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
He’s a fleshed-out character whose skin isn’t made mention of but one time and that’s for expository purposes. He’s treated like a normal person AS HE SHOULD BE. He’s not any less a kid. He’s not any less black. He’s not trying to be anything. Seth is…BY FAR one of my favorite comic characters.
I think the most appealing thing about this volume are the typos. As an aspiring author, seeing fully created, quality products with minor imperfections, it’s a humble reminder that, yeah, maybe I can do this, too, you know? It wasn’t a distraction, it wasn’t a deterrent.
It was an ENCOURAGEMENT.
To Manuel Godoy and David Lenormand, thank you for your work and giving me, in my 20’s, a NEW favorite comic character and story to follow.
If YOU would like to support
and read more of their work, you can go to their site at:
https://blacksandsentertainment.com , their twitter @TheBlackSands , or their Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTgMnV021odcWKnoBh2EUAg/featured All three display their work and Godoy is not shy about spreading it around.
Well, that’s all for now. So, until the I become a Pharaoh or the gods bless me with powers, I’ll see you for the next lesson.
Until then, class dismissed!