February 1, 2018

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Celebrating Black Creators Day 1: David F Walker

[Sometimes ideas hit you mid-day. This was one of them. -Rob]

As much as I can, I always try to make sure that Panel Patter is a site where we cover creators of all kinds, with a special focus on those creators who don't always get the appreciation they deserve. I was thinking a lot about this today, and decided that while I believe strongly that 28 Days is Not Enough, given all that is happening, both in comics and in the wider nature of our country, that I'd sit down and talk a bit about a different black creator that I dig.

This isn't meant as a review or an overview so much as a, "Hey, this creator is really cool!" There's no shortage of black creators that I know about, so if I miss any days, it's because Rob has trouble keeping to a schedule, NOT because there's only 28 African Americans in comics. Hell, if I do this right, my goal is to do this as many years as I can without repeating a single person.

I'd love it if I never ran out.

David F. Walker
So who's first? Well, it's David F. Walker, mostly because I was reading one of his books today (more on that in a moment). David is an extremely talented guy, and one of the best people I've seen on panel programming (hint hint, conventions). I think the first thing I ever read that he was involved in was Army of Dr. Moreau (I reviewed the first issue here) and it's been great to watch him work on much larger projects, such as bringing Shaft to comics. (You HAVE read those, right? If not, go do so now! Don't delay!) I also reviewed the first issue of that series, too. David's also done some work with Marvel on one of my favorite characters, Luke Cage, and also on DC's Cyborg.

David's ear for dialog is simply outstanding. His characters may share some characteristics, like being tough and dealing in worlds where others fear to tread, but they each have their own unique voice, and within each series, the supporting cast also speaks distinctly enough that you feel like you're in that world. He's good with a plot twist, knows how to keep a reader turning the page, and has the flexibility to work with a wide variety of art styles, from the more realistic Bilquis Evely to the stylistic work of Sanford Greene.

And speaking of Greene, David and Sanford have a new comic coming up from Image, Bitter Root, that I cannot wait for. Imagine monster hunters that go back generations fighting evil in 1920s Harlem.

Yeah, exactly. I can't wait, either!

Oh, and lest I forget--he's also a prose novelist. I'm finally getting to Super Justice Force, and it's great so far. Easily jumped into the world without giving too much detail, characters with distinctive voices, and some really cool concepts so far. I miss seeing a visual partner, but if you are looking for some superhero prose, I recommend it!

Every time I've spoken with David, he's been a pleasure to talk with, and he spends a lot of time with anyone who comes to his table, whether he knows them well or is just steering them into his comics orbit.

If you haven't read any of David's comics yet, I'd say start with Shaft (if you like crime-related books) or Cyborg (if superheroes are more your speed), and be on the lookout for Bitter Root. It's going to be one of the best books of 2018, I expect. No matter what you choose, you can't go wrong with David. He's quietly one of the best writers in comics right now. Let's make that not-so-quiet, huh?