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An Interview with Sebastian Jones President of Stranger Comics

An Interview with Sebastian Jones President of Stranger Comics

Interview by: Vanee Matsalia

Vanee: Hey, out there in BGN land. This is Vanee, checking in with Black Girl Nerds for our podcast. Tonight we are talking to Mr. Sebastian Jones. He is the president of Stranger Comics and co-writer of the also popular Niobe Comic. Sebastian, say hi to the fans out there.

Sebastian Jones: Hey, Black Girl Nerds fans out there, how you guys doing?

Vanee: I’m sure everyone is awesome as usual.

Sebastian: [chuckles]

Vanee: We’re so excited to have you with us today.

Sebastian: Thank you.

Vanee: What are you working on right now? Let’s talk about it.

Sebastian: Boy, what am I working on right now. I’m working on a fairytale project which I’m super excited about. Which gets announced in about two weeks at Phoenix Comic Con. Super pumped for that, and then currently working on Niobe She is Death, the sequel to the Niobe She is Life series. Which folks can preorder with the Niobe She is Life hard cover graphic novel on Kickstarter on May 18th, and the She is Death is looking beautiful.

Vanee: Okay, so with that going for She is Death. The first one was Niobe She is Life. What happened there? What’s with the transition from life to death with this character?

Sebastian: Well, I think with She is Life, it’s very much a coming-of-age tale. There’s a lot of innocence. There’s a sense of spirituality, a sense of meditation that things can be accomplished through love. It’s a very positive tale. I really wanted to show to our readers and folks out there that, She is Life, birth it symbolizes humanity and that a woman represents all of those things. When we went to She is Death, it’s a reflection of the world that we live in now that at times you can’t always win an argument with words, with your faith.

When we went from She is Life to She is Death, my co-author is Amandla Stenberg, a popular actress from The Hunger Games and this new movie, Everything Everything. She is also growing as well, and it’s a good and authentic reflection of her becoming older and a little more angsty, 18-year old angsty. We will be following up with Niobe She is Spirit. When Niobe is a little older and you realize you have to blend both philosophies as you grow.
Then we’ll have another series called Niobe She is God. Where she becomes essentially a messiah, Jesus, Cleopatra married to the earth. Married to this kind of mythological messiah type figure that we can revere, and as a kid, it always astounded me why I guess when I didn’t read the Bible enough or go to church- [inaudible 00:03:30]

Vanee: [laughs]

Sebastian: I was like, how come God is a dude? It just didn’t even make sense to me as a boy. In She is Death, where’s Niobe She is Life is a beautiful coming-of-age, Beauty and the Beast love story, threaded with a bit of murder and mystery that leads to war. She is Death is more of a reflection of– it’s kind of a statement piece. Niobe becomes a bad ass bounty hunter and she hunts-

Vanee: Nice.

Sebastian: -down sex traf– yes it’s really cool. She hunts like a vigilante. She hunts down sex traffickers, human traffickers, and slave traders. Which was kind of in our mainstream media is not– when you’re so bombarded with all the crap that’s out there right now. The fact that young girls of color keep getting abducted and it’s not addressed in mainstream media. I wanted to have Niobe She is Death do my own little part to bring attention to that and create a heroic figure for the young girls by hunting down this kind of vile folks. That’s really She is Death, what it’s about. She’s bringing death to these wicked folks.

Vanee: I love this idea of watching her grow from this life bringer to this death bringer to a phantom. How much like the life of a woman is that? That’s really awesome especially with the connection to Amandla as her fans and the readers have been able to watch her transition from cute little girl into, as you said, angsty teenager and hopefully we will get the chance to kind of watch her grow into this fierce woman we all hope she is going to be. That’s really awesome to make those connections. Was that all very intentional or it’s something that just happened within the writing process?

Sebastian: It’s funny. Niobe’s kind of been in my heart for 30 years. I’ve been creating this fantasy world for 30 years. She was in my original graphic novel called The Untamed a Sinners Prayer, and I always felt like if I was going to write the Niobe story line I wanted to write it with a young girl. I might be mixed but I’m not a young teenage girl. I need to have an authentic voice, bring that honesty to the project. I just happened to be at a festival for one of my kid’s books that I write with Garcelle Beauvais, I am mixed and celebration of our cultures. Anyway, I saw her there and I was like, “Oh, my God that’s Rue from The Hunger Games. Of course, that moment that broke our hearts in The Hunger Games.

Vanee: Of course.

Sebastian: And I ran over to her like a screaming fan-girl and just said-

Vanee: [laughs]

Sebastian: -“You’ve got to check out this character in Niobe. Can I write with you? Blah, blah, blah.” I think, she was like, “All right, crazy guy, what are you talking about?”

Vanee: [laughs]

Sebastian: And then I did a reading for my kid’s book to an audience of three people. I think it was– [laughs] no one was in the audience. She came over with her mom and her mom and her sat in the front row. One old lady was in the back row and that was it. The whole auditorium.

Vanee: [laughs]

Sebastian: And- [laughs] so I did the reading. I think she found it quite funny and we met up about a week later and started brainstorming the idea of writing Niobe as a prose piece. Like short stories.

Vanee: Wow.

Sebastian: We worked with another buddy of mine who’s an artist named Young, who was going to do the art. He does some of those beautiful covers that you see. After a few months, we just realized we just don’t have the time especially her to write. To spend that much time writing prose. I was like, “Well, publishing comics, meant to be a comic.” [laughs] It should be a comic and it was a comic in the Untamed. She was in the Untamed comic series.

We had been at the Black Comics Arts Festival earlier that year and Amandla had purchased an art print from Ashley A. Woods and fell in love with the art. She saw a couple of few other artists but she was like, “I love Ashley’s work.” That was it. We hired Ashley and Niobe became the first ever nationally distributed comic book with a black female author, artist, and hero in the history of comics.

Vanee: That is pretty amazing. We’re familiar with Ashley’s work. We’ve actually interviewed Ashley before and she’s so amazing.

Sebastian: Awesome.

Vanee: I just love how ethereal, the work looks. It really lends itself to the character. She almost feels unearthly the way that she’s drawn. I know that’s very intentional. What inspired you to create such an ethereal, unearthly just hard-to-grasp kind of character because she’s similar to things we’ve seen but not really. Where did you pull this inspiration from?

Sebastian: Being a mixed kid, growing up in a very small white village, I read a lot of the– in England, I read a lot of the- of course I was really into fantasy, Lord of the Rings, that kind of stuff.

Vanee: You just made a friend right now.

Sebastian: [chuckles] You’re sure? But I was always blown away-

Vanee: I’m a huge Tolkien fan.

Sebastian: You are? Okay, we see. There you go. I was playing the D&D. I was a live action role playing. I’m Supes Supreme geek but I always like how come the prettiest folks are meant to be the fair ones and only the fair ones and I know we all write from our experiences but Tolkien, he was writing from his experiences but the thing that got me the most though was not just that. The one that were seduced by the Dark Lord were from Umbar and they look like me. How come all the brown dudes were the evil ones now except for etcetera, etcetera. I was like, “This isn’t good.”

I started creating this world that was culturally inclusive that if you’re an elf, you’re from Herfang you’re white and Scandinavian if you’re from Juwa you’re black and then, of course, you’ve got to not get too nutty about your subcultures of races, your wild elves, your what else and so on but regardless no matter where you’re from in my world it’s more anthropological and honest.

I wanted to- with Niobe specifically I think I romanticize about someone I could pour my fears and hopes and aspirations and ambitions into. Someone that was mixed, someone that could bind nations, could bind worlds together. It’s pretty ambitious I think but just conceptually I think as a boy I just didn’t realize how real that is. I think probably the conflict within me and also growing, as I grew up becoming very militant in my perspectives in life.

Vanee: That happen if you get older as a person.

Sebastian: It does. Sure it does. Then you get older again and you’re I think I’m still very of that mind but I run a record label for a decade so I was very much in crazy land for about 10 years and understand certain agendas and what’s out there and why we have media the way it is and so on and so forth. I think back to Niobe I think she was just a hope. A hope that this hero could fight the hordes of hell, fight the devil and that’s when I started creating stories around her by that time in a more rich way I’d experience a decent amount of life and had a decent amount of inspirations musically, through film and through my own son and that you can’t just create a character that so one dimensional.

Vanee: Yes, that is so boring, right?

Sebastian: Yes, you can’t create stories either that. I saw on the nose, they need to be complex and she needs to be vulnerable. She needs to make mistakes and as smart as she is and as wise as she is she needs to make some bird-brained moves as well.
[laughter]

Sebastian: She needs to make her mistakes. Honestly, when working with Amandla on the first, she is like Burke. I remember going through some of the passages and Amandla saying like, “No, that’s too poetic or whatever. She needs to have some teenage moments.”

Vanee: You’ve got to be flawed if you’re a teenager that’s part of the process.

Sebastian: Yes. Yes and still be flawed as you grow up and still make mistakes and so on.

Vanee: Okay. Can you talk a little bit about her origin? Where was she born? Your world, her world our world, where does Niobe really come from? Where was her history rooted in?
Sebastian: Wow. I’ve created the world of Asunda and I guess spiritually, she’s created in my brain being inspired by your Tolkien’s and Greek mythology and just stuff I would read as a boy. Certain mythologies from all around the world but in my world, her father is actually from England which is essentially he’s English. He’s the European King. Her mother is Joe and Galemren. She is the chief of a tribe in all of Galemren, they’re nomadic elves in a certain area, the Utonomo and the Ugoma jungle and Ugoma is so very West Africa.
A bit of a back story for you but a spoiler backstory fun is her father came to that area of the jungle and no white man or no human had set foot in that world in a thousand years, that part of the world. Her mother did a ceremonial dance and it was said at that point the human king, the devil was within him. He had to have her, the devil was in him. See, you can take it spiritually, literally, metaphorically. He abducted her from her husband leaving all of his retinue to be slaughtered and took it back to where he was and where he was in his kingdom and tried to win her over for a year.

She refused his advances and then one night the devil was really in him and he took her and took her by force and then couldn’t bear the shame of what he had done so he locked her up in a dungeon.

Vanee: I noticed when I was going through and I was reading, I noticed that the language of the devil is used to describe Niobe and her actions a lot early on. Is that a very intentional connection you’re making with the character?

Sebastian: It is because when he locked her up that’s when Niobe was born. She was born in prison and she is the daughter of essentially you can say the human king but maybe also the daughter of spiritually the devil.

Vanee: Yes, I really picked that up and we learned really early on. She wants to kill Dad, she has no interest in.

Sebastian: Yes, yes, right.

Vanee: It’s not exactly your typical dad-daughter relationship they’ve got on there.
Sebastian: Yes. I want you to choose life. Throw you in I’m like you know it’s like Star Wars or Star Wars you like. All right I’m on this starship. I’m on the ship and off later. Okay, I’m in. What’s up? I didn’t I didn’t want to be like here are the elves. This is a human. This is a vampire. No this is just it just is and she’s running from the Knights the cops. There’s a lot of subtle stuff going on or not so subtle and just straight off the bat, I want everyone to know. That sucks and she’s going to kill them one day. Who is the father who is really the father? His mom still alive or she’s dead? We don’t know yet. That’s one thing I haven’t thought of the spoilers on.

Vanee: I was wondering if we had any spoiler are you going to do us any and in our direction?
Sebastian: No. not with mom. I think for me that’s always the journey though. I like keeping the if we’re going to have some kind of conflict some serious conflict with father and daughter. I want the mother and daughter relationship to be really a driving force for a very important thing. There’s something sacred about my mother and daughter and I want to keep that honest because it’s funny. Everybody picks up on all we all and you’re a Tolkien reader so you know and you’re not an avid reader no at home picks up the some of the more underlined spoilers.

Vanee: I’ve got a couple of degrees in English so if I just make that stuff that’s me.

Sebastian: Good good. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I don’t. I’m terrible so bad that the latter part of my school is I kind of dropped out ish. It’s funny because I teach creative writing and how to take your ideas too- [crosstalk] Vanee: Oh, dream job.

Sebastian: -universities and I remember telling this guy, the lead professor of Swedish University. It’s like, “Have you read this, that?” and I answered like, “Nope, because-” “Okay tell me what you would do with your class.” I told him he said, “Okay, you’re perfect. [chuckles] When can you get on a plane?” It worked out great. Yes. I know it’s fun because I do love planting a lot of easter eggs for folks to find in all the comics or kids books that I write. There’s so much to know because she’s such a rich character.

Vanee: She is. Speaking of planting things there for readers to digest and chew on, tell us a little bit about Sin.

Sebastian: Sin. Yes. He is someone that Niobe can relate to because he’s also mixed. I think the way I view Sin is like a lot of folks, not just mixed folks or folks of color, but kids, in general, feel out of place. Sin represents the kid that apologizes just for being. I think Niobe sees that in him and sees– That aspect of their relationship allows them to be close and I think Sin lapses even though there’s obvious love and honest connection between the two outsiders.

These two outcasts who feel that, like a lot of kids, again that you can fit in different places, become belong anywhere. Unless you’re in a real extreme confidence at some point you feel like, “No one gets me. My parents don’t get me,” and so on and so forth. Sin is that representation of the misunderstood teen.

Vanee: I love that character. I am a middle school teacher, I teach middle school kids.

Sebastian: Oh, awesome.

Vanee: 12, 13, 14. I love the character and the whole idea of that outcast because at that particular age group that I work with, man, that’s the whole of them. They all think they’re the outcast even when they’re not. I love having this character who just is the epitome of what an outcast might feel like and look like and the things that they might deal with this self-doubt-

Sebastian: Oh, that’s cool.

Vanee: -and all of that. I particularly love that character. I love the particular nuance of Niobe being the daughter of the devil, being the product of the devil having such a relationship with Sin. I’m going to guess that that’s not by accident.

Sebastian: Well, yes. No. It’s not really. The reality is Sin’s dad is a big bad orc. He’s a Grachukk, he is Morka Moa. These characters have so much backstory, being a Tolkien fan, I could bore you to days of massive backstory for these guys. Sin being half orc, half-orc in our world, he’s half-orc and half Juwan. He’s also half black man and half orc of that region. Half-orcs get consumed or cast aside. Basically, if you grow up in an orc tribe, it’s survival of the fittest.

In my world, when an orc female is pregnant, she gives birth to a litter, right? Her gestation cycle is different. Let’s say, you have four or five orcs that are born, screen nerdy talk right here, but the female only has two nipples. Then the kids are going to fight over each other to get to the two nipples to feed just for survival. Orcs have a hard time surviving in our world. If you’re an orc in our world and the way they are ridge. Their bone is pushed down on the frontal lobe, it causes them to be in pain which releases certain things into their system that always makes them aggressive. It’s not just, “Me orc, me bad,” kind of stuff.
I worked with my friend Darrell Maze, an anthropology major. He’s responsible for a lot of these extra brilliant touches. On the other side for Sin, it’s very important for me that the story aspect for him is he’s never good enough for his father. He’s there as a spy but falls in love with his prey. He’s torn as most, many of us our young folks pleasing our folks and following our heart.

It’s his duty to his father. Someone he’s always trying to please or to the first time, he’s ever felt love. Those are some of the backstory aspects of which you try and cram in as much as you can without being overbearing in a four-issue comic, but if this is a book, there’d be a lot more to it.

Vanee: Well, that would be a lot of backstory for you are clearly a Tolkien guy. [laughs] We Tolkien fans, we do backstory.

Sebastian: Backstory, backstory. He’s a cook. He seasons his food because he can’t eat raw meat like the other orcs. Just all sorts of crazy stuff. The more folks want to discover about Sin, the more they should fall in love with his character. Intention as well. The other aspect. The other dude in the love triangle.

Vanee: Yes. The classic teenage love triangle. I love the way tension is drawn. Oh, my gosh. He is beautifully drawn. Whenever he’s in the panel, he just draws your eye.
Sebastian: He does.

Vanee: Just beautiful. I enjoy the tension that you guys built in there with these guys.
Sebastian: Thank you. I was very concerned because- and I do have other comics like Dusu Path of the Ancient which is all black love and it’s actually the story of Niobe’s tribe that she hasn’t met yet. I was very concerned and I wanted to make sure that even when you have a love triangle that the black man is represented in a really positive way but also that it’s not just like, “Oh, great.” She goes with Sin, not Temsion. That Temsion is understood that he will actually rise up and he’ll become a king. His representation and his journey is also seen as something as a beautiful thing and something strong and powerful and also flawed and also a kid coming through the–

Vanee: I like the Temsion. He’s such a strong character. He doesn’t seem like the type of character that will be easily written off not even for the likes of Niobe. I can appreciate seeing a strong black male character in that way where it doesn’t really feel cliche because he’s graceful and he’s an elf. Come on. He’s pretty awesome. Also, I feel like he was really well done. I was drawn to Temsion’s character in the reading. I might just go like this is something very special about him I really like. Let me be honest. I really liked both of the male characters so much.

They feel as if they could inhabit their own world and their own stories even free of Niobe. Not that Niobe is not completely amazing, but both of those characters are just all so well rounded that you just want to know and love and grow with all of them.

 

Sebastian: That’s cool. Thank you. Yes. We really tried to make these folks seem as real or relatable. To me, it’s just, do your best to have as much emotional connectivity for a reader. I really respect the fact someone spends four bucks and picks up a comic. One thing I was telling some folks recently is fans they’re used to these big comic companies that have the big budgets and so when we come along as an independent company, we have to still bring as much quality- a philosophy of quality to the stories as possible. The stories and the art.
If I walked away feeling like that’s $4 well spent and maybe a kid only has $4 in one of my conventions he’s picking Niobe over Spiderman. For me, it’s a big deal. It’s our responsibility to do the best we can.

Vanee: I feel like when looking at independent writers of various comic houses and things like that, it seems as if it’s your time right now. I think that a lot of readers have gotten fed up on just waiting on the big boys to give them what they want and we’re looking and we’re finding what we want elsewhere and spending our dollars to get the stories that we want. Which is why I imagine, I’m guessing that Niobe is probably being pretty well received with the conventions, the comic shops and all that?

Sebastian: It is, it’s been pretty incredible. It’s funny actually so many comic shops sold out immediately of Niobe. When it first launched and obviously large in part to Amandla and her fan base and publicity and so on. Some stores won’t and don’ts and they really were pretty blunt about it. They just didn’t care, some just don’t want to carry black comics, but that’s not super common. Most are pretty open but some don’t want to take the risk on an independent. There’s only so much room in a store, but some tell me they sell Niobe just as much as they sell Black Panther.

They said intelligently they put Niobe right next to Black Panther. Folks come into the store they go, “What’s that?” They might know Black Panther but go, “What’s that? I haven’t seen that before I’ve never seen anything that looks like that before.” Some stores say they sell out more of Niobe than anything else. They say it is so easy to sell Niobe because how many black females have part of the lead character in their own title?

Vanee: I think that in the comic book world that people think that black girl readers are non-existent, but there are lots and lots and lots of us. Obviously weird black girl nerds, that’s what we do. [laughter] Literally all we do is nerd out, so there are so many of us and you’re right, if it catches our eye, I’ll be honest, a lot of the comics that I read, I’m reading for example Birthright right now, I picked it up because on the cover that I saw this really dope black warrior angel chick. I didn’t even know what the comic was about and I didn’t care and I bought it anyway because it was like, “Whoa, that’s one of us on there.” That matter so much.

Sebastian: Massively.

Vanee: I think they’re separating.
Sebastian: Some store owners, big, big education process for store owners. Majority of store owners are older white males. When Thor came out there’s a lady, they were like, “That’s not going to do well,” and it did better. We take it one step up with Niobe. It is not uncommon for folks to cut for girls and obviously especially black girls to come to our booths at conventions screaming if they’ve seen Niobe they come screaming. Sometimes it happens on multiple occasions where younger black girls have picked up Niobe and then again I’ve seen kids come out of their eyes.

Older folks like grandparents and older parents saying what we’re doing is so important. I was thinking more recently 10 or 11, 12 years ago when I had a script for the Untamed and a few producers wanted to make it into a film. The only reason I said no is because they wanted to make Niobe a white male in the film.

Vanee: They’ve done enough of that out there?

Sebastian: Right. The say Medusa and I said no and stuck to my guns and their film was made about 10 years, 11 years yet later here we are with Niobe. It’s suddenly in some, dare I say, some way in vogue. Literally, I’ve had meetings they go, “It’s hip, you’ve got something black or something where the female, Oh, it’s hip. Oh, my God, you’ve got both, this is great.” You have to navigate the waters for someone that’s honest and wants to just stick up something versus something that just sticks up something in media or someone that genuinely cares and wants to create something that’s important, understands the value of how important this character really could be in this market.

Vanee: Speaking of her importance, Niobe and who she is to girls and black girls, what are your hopes for Niobe? What do you want for her?

Sebastian: I’ve always thought of Niobe as transcendent. My hopes are little girls can have their Niobe dolls, their cuddly toys, their action figures, and girls can grow with her like they grew with Harry Potter. I can see Niobe when she’s older in that film like Logan. I can see her kicking butt in a really brutal movie, with the same token I can see her in video games. I can see her in board games. I would like for her- I know her roots, I know where she’s been and I know how hard it’s been to get her where she is. I slept in my car for this stuff.
Mainstream to me is nobody needs to be mainstreamed, we need to see her as an icon, up there with Spiderman, up there with Superman. I’d like her to be a happy talking point where everyone can rally around and get behind as someone that can buy nations or which is really ambitious. [laughs] But that’s a dream. I think it’s extra special for girls of color and especially black girls to finally have someone that represent- for them to have an icon to be mainstream and scream it to the heavens. That’s a beautiful thing in this time.

Vanee: Speaking of screaming it to the heavens and making her an icon and getting her out there, tell us about your Kickstarter and why use Kickstarter as your way to get Niobe out there?

Sebastian: Thank you. We do it with the Untamed and people seem to love it. We did that a couple of years ago. I think for comics it’s really cool, you get an opportunity to essentially pre-order a Niobe hardcover special edition that might not be in stores. There’s special super cool edition, super cool edition was special foil and extra trinkets like Niobe jewelry line may be made by the Badali jewelry who are the Lord of the Rings jewelers. As you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you’ll flip. The Badali jewelry guys, they make Wheel of Time jewelry line, they have a license for Lord of the Rings and they make the Niobe jewelry line.
If you’re a hip-hop kid you can get the Niobe backpack like how it was in the ’90s when we walked around with our backpacks. It’s just a chance for fans to get really cool, exclusive, rare stuff at a discount price and before it becomes mainstream before it gets out there in stores. You can get the Niobe, She is Death first edition, first issue before it comes out in stores and with really cool cover versions. You could even be drawn into the Niobe comic if you want. You could even get onto one of the special edition covers and be drawn by Jae Lee who does The Dark Tower and he does Wolverine and Batman V Superman.
We’ve got some crazy, crazy, crazy, rewards and it drops May 18th, goes through June 24th. You can find it at Stranger Comics, any of the social media sites or on our website, strangercomics.com. It will have all the information.

Vanee: Our listeners will be able to find the link right there in our podcast. We’ll definitely make sure everyone can get to that because that sounds pretty amazing being able to get drawn into the cover of comic book and their dream come true.
Sebastian: [laughs] Yes. It’s fun, it’s fun. Also dropping on May 18th at the same time, we’re doing a competition. Any artist out there or cosplayers out there, there are three tiers this competition. The first one is if you submit you have a chance to win $300 and get your exclusive Niobe She is Death cover. We did it for, She Is Life and it was a big hit and folks seem to have a lot of fun. A second part to that tier is if you cosplayers Niobe were doing a competition cosplay. Cosplayers Niobe drops May 18th through the June 24th, you also could win $300 and have your own cosplay cover. The last one is, cosplay as your own original fantasy character and we’ll figure out a way to put you in one of our comics as well.

Vanee: Now that is cool, especially for all those cosplayers out there. Come up with your own original character and cosplay and have it put into a comic, that is epic.

Sebastian: It has to be fantasy though, it has to be savage fantasy, no technological- [crosstalk]

 

Vanee: [laughs] No robots?

Sebastian: No robots and Sally, no Steampunk. I love Steampunk but in my world, everything is very swords and magic.

Vanee: You heard him BGNers, we’re going to keep it a real high fantasy for this competition. Go ahead and pull out your Tolkien lore for this one. [laughs]

Sebastian: There you go. [laughs] Absolutely, absolutely.

Vanee: Tell us, what’s next for Stranger Comics outside of just Niobe but what’s’ next for you and Stranger Comics? Where are you guys going from here?
Sebastian: Boy, we, well, fingers crossed, we are chatting to a couple of production companies for our stuff that will live beyond comics. Conventions-wise, we’ll be jumping to Phoenix Comic-con, we’ll be doing Denver Comic con. I think most likely we’re doing San Diego Comic-con now, we’ll be doing New York Comic-con, Kamikaze. Just stay in touch, you’ll find us at one festival or convention somewhere around the country. Apart from that, just more kids books, more of fairy tales that we’ll be coming out with and a comedy book or Ruining Christmas, which is something completely different and it’s going to have people scratching their head a little bit going, “Really? That’s you guys?”

Vanee: You’ve got to keep them guessing.

Sebastian: Yes, keep them guessing, stay complicated. Yes, that’s basically it but yes, you guys are out there and you get a chance to check out what we’ll announce at Phoenix Comic Con, that’ll be in two weeks time. It’s going to be crazy.

Vanee: Oh, wow.

Sebastian: Yes, so a lot of really good fun stuff cooking at Stranger Comics.

Vanee: Do Amandla and Ashley ever join you at the convention?
Sebastian: They do. Amandla has- not last year but the year before, she came to like six conventions, which is incredible. Last year was tough on her schedule so fingers crossed for this year because obviously when she’s there, it’s– She’s just so busy with filming, she’s literally filmed, I think four back-to-back-to-back-to-back movies.

Vanee: Wow.

Sebastian: Her schedule is bonkers busy but fingers crossed for at least one or two this year because fans really- they have a good freak out when they see her there and it’s a beautiful thing.

Vanee: I bet.
Sebastian: Yes. Ashley came to C2E2 in Chicago. She’s there, she’s pretty much a regular which is great. Yes, those girls are very down for the cause so it’s very cool. Very, very, cool.

Vanee: What’s it like being the one guy in this creative team? With Amandla and Ashley?
Sebastian: Well we do have Darrell, Darrell does all the layouts. He does the layouts at a lot of the concepts and Sheldon Mitchell is doing the art for, She Is Death but on She Is Life it–and also She Is Death with Amandla. It’s just great, it’s beautiful to get conflicting opinions and the best idea wins.
[laughter]

Sebastian: I mean, we’re writing a girl’s perspective and I need it to be authentic so sometimes it’s just good for me to shut up and listen.

Vanee: That never hurts when working with women. I’m just going to tell you the truth. [laughs]

Sebastian: [laughs] Yes.

Vanee: That’s kind of how it works.

Sebastian: That’s kind of how it works on multiple levels, yes. [laughs]

Vanee: Thank you so much, Sebastian. It has been absolutely so much fun chatting with you this evening.

Sebastian: Thank you.

Vanee: We’ll remember, Black Girl Nerds out there, we’re looking forward to the contest, and you said it was May 18th, correct?

Sebastian: May 18th and one last thing I should let you guys know is, Sheldon Mitchell is the artist that did the cover for Black Girl Nerds. Niobe She Is Life exclusive, that first issue, that’s his cover and that he’s the guy doing the She is Death entire series.

Vanee: Well, we’re already sold.

Sebastian: Yes, if you like the Black Girl Nerd’s exclusive cover, the same artist on She Is Death. It’s a nice little tie in and trust me his art on She Is Death is incredible. I haven’t shown anyone any interiors yet so stay tuned. Yes, May 18th for all things, Kickstarter competition, May 18th it all goes down. There are early birds specials, so for the book, for the comic and the graphic novel, you want to jump on it immediately on May 18th because we are doing early bird specials on some of the rewards.

Vanee: You heard it here first Black Girl Nerds, May 18th, it is going down in the world of Niobe. Niobe, She Is Death is coming, the Kickstarter is coming, the competition is coming and we are there first. All right, ladies and gentlemen out there, in the BGN lounge, kicking out to you saying, goodnight. You want to say goodnight to the people one more time, Sebastian?

Sebastian: Good night people. Thanks so much for having me, appreciate it. Much love.

Vanee: Much love. All right guys, until next time.

Sebastian: Peace.

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