(JG): Growing up what type of genre did you gravitate to ?
(LT): I was a big fan of Langston Hughes, Jess B. Sample stories. These stories were humorous. Mr. Hughes wrote everything i .e. short stories to novels, biographies and poetry. I lived a block away from the Contee Cullen library (NYPL). There were so many stories available. I used to read H.P. Lovecraft. Plus I was and still am a big Sherlock Holmes fan.
Librarians were hero’s to me.
(JG): What was the first comic book you ever read ?
(LT): I believe it was Archie comics. I was bussed from Harlem to an elementary school in the Bronx. I was exposed to Archie comics by my classmates. For me it was short lived. I just couldn’t relate to the Riverdale life of Archie, Betty etc… One of my brothers use to get Marvel comics, Thor, Fantastic Four etc… He was a big science fiction literature fan. I read Submariner, Dracula and Dark Shadows comics when it came to Marvel.
(JG): What is Afrofuturism to you?
(LT): I remember when comedian Richard Pryor talked about the movie Logan’s Run (1976) ” there ain’t no n*&%$#s in it. White folks ain’t planning for us to be here” That’s why we have make our own movies. Afrofuturism to me is a combination of art, writings, film and historical elements of the Black Diaspora culture to create our own futures, our own worlds. Octavia Butler said it best “there is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns” I attend the Schomburg Center for Black Research (NYPL) annual Black comic book festival ( Jan. 17-18 this year) every year and yet I didn’t make a connection to Afrofuturism or Black speculative arts for a long time. Then I attended presentations by Dr. William Forester, Dr. Jonathan Gayleb and John Jennings. Seeing Sheree Thomas and Ytasha Womack , it was as if a whole new world was being presented then it happened. Sept 14th 2015 a panel discussion :
The only person I knew on the panel was Dr. Nettrice Gaskins yet the panel was a who’s who of Black science fiction :
Reynaldo Anderson , Steve Barnes , Tananarive Due , Nalo Hopkinson , John Jennings , Nnedi Okorafor and Nisi Shawl.
I stayed for over 12 hours, what an eye opening experience! It was an amazing event. I was exposed to a new vision.
Artwork : A rendering of Marvel comics The Falcon circa the 70’s by Barron Goodridge (R.I.P.)