Brian Williams, CEO/headwriter/partner at Ravenhammer Comics, brings his superhero comics to Queen City Black Comix Day on June 25! We talked to Williams about his company and his comics inspirations and aspirations.
Midwest BSFA: How did you get into drawing?
Williams: I got into comics because of my parents. I had developed a healthy interest in Popeye, Superman and Batman. This was back in the early seventies. And as I grew older this interest in superheroes blossomed with my introduction to the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Doc Savage and The Flash. I actually started drawing what I saw in the comics. Strangely enough, my interest in movies, particularly black characters in the blaxploitation movement of the seventies began to merge with my fascination with comic books. I immediately fell in love with heroes like Luke Cage, The Falcon, Black Panther and Black Lightning. My parents bought me comics because it kept me quiet and focused…and they saw that it was helping my vocabulary. Much later in my youth they would soon regret their decision to introduce me to the medium. But by then it was far too late. lol
Midwest BSFA: Who are your influences?
Williams: I’ve been reading comics, particularly Marvel and DC comics, since I was 5 years old. I am a lifetime fan. My influences are many but if I had to pin down a few choice names they would be: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita Jr. Gil Kane, and John Buscema. More recently I am inspired by the likes of Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Christopher Priest.
Midwest BSFA: Why do you want to participate in Queen City Black Comix Day?
Williams: I wanted to participate in Queen City Black Comix Day because I am a native of the Queen City and an independent comic book veteran for the past 16 years. I have two self-published comic books that feature black characters and I am a huge proponent of the black comic movement. The continued success of events like this are necessary to keep pushing the obvious changes we have seen in the industry.
Midwest BSFA: Why do you think it’s important to support black comics creators and illustrators?
Williams: It is important to support quality black comic book creators and illustrators because it is from that support that we can truly create something different. Organic. Unbound. We have yet to see what can truly be produced when the top black creators are free to pursue their own life experience fantasies and visions without being edited or censored by the status quo. Without support, word of mouth or patronage…these books are dust in the wind. But if we harness the energy that creators are infusing into their independent publishing efforts…we might see a true art form emerge quite like in the burgeoning days of hip hop when Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash introduced us to a brand new funk.
Midwest BSFA: Where can readers find your work?
Williams: Readers can find my work on Comixology. Right now you can buy the Harlem Shadow there digitally. You can also go to http://www.comicfleamarket.com and buy The Harlem Shadow and Lucius Hammer. We also carry a line of posters and trading cards. And I not only encourage you to buy these things because I’m trying to make money off of them…I encourage you to buy them and share them with folks. Kids, family members, friends…etc etc. And what will I do with the money? Turn around and invest in giving you more great black superhero content! That’s what this is all about. This is what I’ve been called to do.
For all things related to Williams’ company and characters, visit www.ravenhammercomics.com. June 25, noon to 4 p.m., Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, 2802 Vine St., Corryville (Cincinnati, OH 45219).