Saturday, September 24, 2011

The All New, All Different: Star Trek

So, with my man J.J. finally committing to directing the next Star Trek, I thought I'd celebrate by dropping a review of his first effort that I wrote at the time:

art by Brock Rizy

So we can all agree that Star Trek was butter (well, not all of us, but I'll get to that), so I won't waste time trying to convince you to like it. Instead, I'll try to lend some perspective to the franchise in light of what we have at this point. Just so we're on the same page, let's go over what J.J. Abrams did right.
One of the things that strikes me most now, months later, is how focused the movie is. It knows what it wants to do and gets right to it. Kirk's an out of control cowboy, Spock's trying to find himself, Bones is a spaz (in a good way), and never are we in doubt about these guys' personalities. The characters are established quickly, as is the plot. The story is speeding towards it's own resolution almost from the prologue. I mean, the prologue itself is a complete story: We establish the villain's goals; the destiny of our star; and the heroic nature of Starfleet itself. After that the Abrams seems to be using the ABC method of story telling. Fate seems eminent and, clocking in at a lean 127 minutes, little time is wasted in fulfilling it. Kirk's destined to be captain of the Enterprise, Spock & Kirk are destined to be friends, Sulu's destined to have madd skillz with a sword: By the time this movie is over, all is as it should be.
Of course, the vehicle of all this destiny is the U.S.S. Enterprise. She's a prime example of what pushes this movie to the next level for me; perhaps rivaling Star Wars if the merchandise is leveraged right. I speak, of course, about Stark Trek's mech design. We can start with the Enterprise herself. Have you seen her? She's built like a freakin' muscle car! The redesign on the warp engines alone is revolutionary. The bridge design is pretty much like the classic bridge, but streamlined so that it still feels futuristic, and doesn't fall into that future-retro trap. The Narada is a monster of a ship, which also works, visually, as a mining vessel. Even the Kelvin with it's single warp engine was pretty cool looking. Everything down to the phasers and that foldaway sword Sulu had, the design is brilliant.
Another positive facet of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek is the strong characterizations. This has been one of Abrams' strengths through his career. I would suggest this was accomplished as much by casting as by writing. Zachary Quinto (Heroes, as if you didn't know) was probably the least controversial casting decision, and I must admit, he didn't disappoint. Zoe Saldana(Avatar) as Uhura was another easy one, though she didn't have much to do (then, Uhura's never had much to do). Karl Urban was the most pleasant casting surprise of the movie. His Bone's was genius. He took what at first glance might have been considered an elaborate McCoy impression and brought us a brilliant, manic doctor; paranoid, but with good reason. Now, Urban's a guy who's delivered a healthy dose of mediocrity in the past. I can only attribute this energetic performance to handling by J.J. Abrams. Of course, the one everyone was worried about was Chris Pine's Kirk. Would it be an imitation; or a complete departure? In the end, they exorcised Shatner from the role, while keeping the essence of Kirk himself; the spirit of adventure, the cowboy recklessness, the gravitation to responsibility. This role is probably the one aspect that creates a wormhole from Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek to J.J. Abrams' Star Trek.
And so, I say that to say this: The movie's great. But there's more to it than that. I think Star Trek made a bit of cinema history. It's an in-continuity reboot of a franchise. How many of those have we had in the movie industry? Comics has them constantly, to it's detriment, but this is the first I've heard of a movie franchise rebooting while retaining it's continuity. I would suggest that this is due to Abrams having a comic book state of mind. And when I say “Abrams”, I'm really referring to his entire writing team. They've shown this state of mind in the past on Alias and Lost (I wouldn't know about Felicity, maybe someone out there can enlighten me) and I think it works in their favor.
And perhaps it's this state of mind that leads to some of the flaws this film has. Yes, Star Trek had flaws, and they're worth mentioning because they speak to what the essence of the franchise was and what it will be going forward. One of the most noticeable aspects of Abrams' Star Trek is that, as a sci-fi epic, it's more fi than sci. Now, that can be taken a-lot of ways, so here's what I mean by that. Star Trek, since it's inception, has been about exploration and diplomacy in space. J.J. Abrams' Star Trek has neither. No scientific discovery; no sociological anthropology; no nothin'! Even the bad guy, while very three-dimensional and who's story was capable of that social anthropology I mentioned, wasn't really gotten into because, in the end, Nero and his beef weren't the point. The point was that Kirk and Spock are great friends and great adventurers. Now, this was simply Abrams playing to his own strengths: that's what he's supposed to do, it's quality control. But, having said that, is this what we can expect from a J.J. Abrams Star Trek? And let's not forget the Romulan question. Trekkies have been complaining about the miss-characterization of the Romulans for years now, and while, granted, Nero isn't the modal Romulus native one would come across in a Trek story, this representation did nothing to allay such grumblings. And that's important. 'Cause here's the stakes:
Star Trek is a decades old, world famous sci-fi franchise; 2nd, some would say, only to Star Wars. This latest movie has set itself up not just as a narrative reboot, but a cultural reboot. It is no longer Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek; it's J.J. Abrams' Star Trek: And Abrams does, or seeks to do, what Bryan Singer couldn't do with Superman; make it relevant to today's audience. But now that it's relevant again, can it rest on just the adventurism and cool characters? Will the audience require more mature themes in the future? After all, this film brims with energy, but it's a sophomoric energy, a trait Star Trek shares with MI:3, lest we forget. Can that be maintained as a sufficient status-quo through future movies as not only the cast, but the audience ages?
And what of television? Is this strictly a movie franchise now, or can we expect another series. And what would it possibly be about? Certainly not Kirk and Spock; that's the movie's territory. Perhaps this will force the producers to give us a perspective that goes beyond a captain and his crew on a Starfleet vessel. As much as I liked Abrams' Star Trek, it does leave questions about the franchise's future. Great things are possible, but it requires someone with fresh ideas and a commitment to depth as an integral quality of the Star Trek universe. Can J.J. the take this thing beyond the first film of a franchise reboot? We shall see.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mature Themes: The Ecstatic by Mos Def

     When I first read about the Hitchens incident, the article made it sound as if Christopher Hitchens humiliated Mos Def and made him look like an idiot. It then started making excuses for Mos, saying he was playing devil's advocate in defending the Taliban, etc. Of course, when I finally saw the exchange, I had a different perspective. In my view, Mos Def asked a simple question regarding the deeper motives of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and those who support them. Hitchens reacted with dismissive sarcasm, and none of the panel had the courage to delve into the issue any deeper than the “they're evil guys who want to take over the world” scenario. Weather you agree with Mos' point of view or not, this incident was a good example of him as someone with a unique perspective. He asks questions no one else is asking; and he's making music no one else is making.
 cover to The Ecstatic by Mos Def

     One thing that jumps out at me on The Ecstatic, is Mos' attitude toward song structure. People like Souls of Mischief, Doom, along with Mos Def are favorites of mine partially because of their willingness to either play with, or abandon the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/breakdown structure of the average pop song. One dalliance in this area is what I call the “one verser” or the “perfect little song”. It's a technique I'd be wiling to bet he got from Doom. The best example of this might be Revelations: Using the “one verser” method, the rhymer will set the beat moving, and spit one long verse; perhaps 32 to 48 bars. However, the verse will have physical breaks or changes in them, cadence or rhyme pattern which, taken as a whole, connote a chorus and verse, but wouldn't be apparent to the listener until the end of the song. Mos also perfects on this album a technique he's used with varying results on the last 2 albums. I call it the “reprise verse” technique. This is where the rapper spits a short verse, maybe 8 bars or so, and then spits it again, but either with different subject matter or different words for the same rhyme scheme. For a great example of this, go to track #3, Auditorium feat. Slick Rick, or even better, track #12, Worker's Comp. This may seem like a simple trick, but Mos Def uses this technique to lend great poignancy to very simple rhymes.

     Of course, Mos Def's singularity doesn't end at the Rhymes. I don't know if Mos actually made the beats on this album, but he's credited with producing the whole thing, so I assume that means he at least chose and mixed the beats that are used. Whatever the case, there are beats on this album that can literally be heard no where else in hip-hop. I don't know what he's been listening to in order to find the instrumentation and samples used on The Ecstatic, but I will say that a-lot of it reflects his fascination with Islam. Auditorium is clearly sampled from some sort of middle-eastern pop music, and The Embassy on track #8 is a great example of him rapping over an old-school, stripped down Arabic beat.

     Before I finish, can I just say: It's great to have an MC with a subject and a predicate. One of the songs that made me a hip-hop head when I was young was My Philosophy by KRS-1. It showed me that there could be an entire class of MC out there whose claim to fame was intelligence. Nowadays, even amongst the Underground, one might have to search long and hard for rappers who use madd skillz to provoke intellectual curiosity. Thanks to Mos Def, we have an MC who understands black perspectives and issues, and takes them seriously; has mature and thoughtful ideas in his lyrics; and makes songs on a wide range of subjects. I don't think he made one drug sales reference the entire album, and he even stays away from the trap of harping on “the struggle” over and over again which a-lot of so called positive rappers fall into. The Ecstatic is an all positive album of unlimited subject range.
     So, since Mos Def didn't get an NAACP image award, I'll present him with the Corance/GhettoManga Blackest Man In America award. Because he doesn't shoot people or sell drugs in his rhymes; he doesn't run around with his shirt off; he doesn't disrespect women. In fact, he brings new respect to the black community by saying things no one else is saying through music no one else is making. Brilliant!


Friday, September 2, 2011

God Body: Return of the Protege-page 12

Our newest story comes to an end. I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you thought, and stay tuned for more. Click here to start at the beginning and read it again!

by Corance Davis and Rasheed Hines

Friday, August 26, 2011

God Body: Return of the Protege-page 11

Check out page 11, or Click here to start at the beginning. . The finale is next Friday. Holla!

by Corance Davis and Rasheed Hines

Friday, August 19, 2011

God Body: Return of the Protege-page 10

Aha! Now things get interesting. Enjoy page 10, or Click here to start at the beginning.

by Corance Davis and Rasheed Hines

Friday, August 12, 2011

God Body: Return of the Protege-page 9

Page 9 of the newest God Body story: Return of the ProtegeClick here to start at the beginning. Remember, a new page every Friday!

by Corance Davis and Rasheed Hines

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

God Body: Return of the Protege-page 3

by Corance Davis and Rasheed Hines
Here's the 3rd page of the second God Body short story, Return of the Protege! Click here to start at the beginning.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interview with Rasheed Hines, artist for God Body: Senseless Acts of Savagery

Here's a short interview I did with the talented Rasheed Hines. I thought it would be cool for the fans out there to learn a bit about him.

  • For those who don't know Rasheed Hines; Who are you, where are you from, and how'd you come up?
  • I'm a native of stamford CT, and I grew up on anime and other cartoons.

  • I see a lot of variety in the comics found on your web site. Do you have a favorite genre, character type or theme that you enjoy making comics about?
  • I like stories about martial arts the most, but that theme, like any other, is just a vehicle to teach a tale of morality.
  • seems like space opera chaos. And it's in color! There appears to be a war between the Sun kingdom and the Jovian planets. How did the earthling Maia get involved, and where does Max himself fit in?
  • the story of meteor max takes place in the distant future and the girl Maia is a priestess who represents the earth, at this point in time, which is just another planet in the solar system with life. Meteor Max himself was born from a meteorite and is a former freelance space pirate.
  • Let's talk about Maya Zulu. With Maya Zulu you've got a great action-comedy going. Where are you going with this concept?
  • Maya Zulu has a distinct beginning and middle. I even know exactly how it's going to end, something I completed ten years ago.
  • What inspired Maya's character?
  • I used to draw sonic the hedgehog comics years ago and part of her design evolved from an oc sonic character, and the rest I saw in a dream.

  • When are we gonna find out what's in that space-ship on page 9?
  • unfortunately, probably not in this issue or the next, but it's definitely coming up.

  • Monster Hunter is easily the longest work work you have out right now. The star of the story, Tero, being the third act of human evolution, do his people consider themselves human, or nocturnan/monsters?
  • the majority consider themselves better than both, tho they stem from a common ancestor.
  • What kind of damage can Kalina do? She's one of the coolest villains I've seen.
  • thank you. she's a witch, so she uses magic.
  • Personally, Yukito Kishiro is a huge influence on how I write comics. Am I right that Akira Toriyama is a big influence on your art? What's your experience with his work?
  • I have all of Kishiro's original GUNNM (battle angel) and all of Toriyama's dragonball (original series). both their works as well as Rumiko Takahashi's have inspired me.
  • You fit in that exclusive category of writer/artist. There are those like Kyle Baker who are artists who can write, and those like Frank Miller who are writers who can draw; which, if either do you consider yourself and what are your ambitions in that direction?
  • Ah, the "Wartist" I just liked to tell stories when I was young, and comics is one of the cheapest ways to accomplish this, as well as being very generous to the audience. my aspirations have not changed since I was 6, where I drew my first comic about the Akari Warriors, from the old NES game.

To see more from Rasheed, visit his web page: Rasheed Hines

Friday, June 3, 2011

God Body: Return of the Protege-page 1

written by Corance Davis. Art by Rasheed Hines
Who's that little nappy headed girl? Could it be-a 9 year old Pure?
Remember, a new page every Friday!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dallas Comic Con 2011 was awesome!!!

We here at Ghostwerks would like to thank the fans, our fellow artists, and especially Mark Walters and Ben Stevens for a great show!

Special shout to Eric Reeves, the coolest cat in comics, who has some of the best stories of misbehaving by a comics professional I've ever heard. And he's got dope lyrics!

By the way, the new God Body story is almost done and will start posting soon. Rasheed did a great job on this one, so keep checking back for it.

That's all for now.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More God Body Coming Soon From Ghostwerks!!!

I'd like to thank everyone for following our first God Body story. SAOS was a-lot of fun to produce, and I hope it was fun to read.

Oh, but it ain't over! We'll be starting a new God Body story in the coming weeks. I've dropped some preview pages below.

And, stay tuned for even more previews in the coming days. Until then...


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Finally, Ghostwerks has come back to DCC!!!

The Ghostwerks crew WILL be at the Irving Convention Center Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22 for the Dallas ComicCon. It's only two weeks away, and it's gonna be massive! We'll be breathing the same air as none other than Stan "The Man" Lee and Leonard Nemoy! Are you kidding me?

Go to the DCC home here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get Free Shipping of either of these GhostWerks Books!

If you need an excuse to buy my artbook Spontaneous or Khalid's artbook Off The Floor (I mean, other than the fact that they're awesome), this is your lucky day! The fine folks at are offering $4.99 off the shipping with the US Postal Service, so if you order one book, shipping is free. You don't need to strain yourself too much trying to decide; you still save money if you buy BOTH books! All you hafta do is click these pics to go to the book you wanna buy, add one (or both) to your cart, then enter coupon code APRILMAIL305 at checkout and it will discount your US Mail shipping $4.99! Sweet, right? So get a move on and order! Coupon expires April 30!
If you already have both books (thanks!) feel free to pass this on to a friend! And please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the books!
FREE Mail Shipping
Offer ends April 30, 2011
Enter code: APRILMAIL305 at checkout
Use coupon code APRILMAIL305 at checkout, select Mail Shipping and receive the single book shipping cost free. Maximum savings with this promotion is $4.99. Print and tax amounts are excluded. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer ends on April 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM so try not to procrastinate! While very unlikely we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so. Transaction must be in US dollars.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview with the creator of Southside Nefertiti

Here's a fascinating interview I found. speaking with Southside Nefertiti creator Michael Sales.
If you don't know about Southside Nefertiti, go here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

R.I.P Dwayne McDuffie

I wake up today, get on Facebook and the first thing I see is a status update from an esteemed colleague, "R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie".

My first thought was, "Maybe it's a different Dwayne McDuffie, or maybe it's a mistake." As I saw more news around the internet, I realized it was no mistake. We have lost a jewel of our industry. Mr. McDuffie was not only a champion of comics in general, but of comics that included black faces, among others.

Mr. McDuffie can't do what he's done anymore. And, I'm not saying we should try to be Dwayne McDuffie, or do what he did, but we've got to do
something. Dwayne McDuffie was 49. That ain't old, man! Whatever took him, could come for any of us. They haven't said how he died, and I won't pry. What matters is, he's gone, and we don't get him back. But, I'm still here, and so are you.

If you make comics, get to makin'em! If you read comics, read harder! If you love comics, keep loving them until they love you back. Don't waste time. Comics can save the world!

Friday, February 11, 2011

God Body: Senseless Acts of Savagery Page 1

written by Corance Davis. art by Rasheed Hines

Great news!!! The first story from the God Body universe is done and I'll be posting it here, exclusively on Drawn by the prolific Rasheed Hines, with mech & character designs by Gilbert Colomo, and created and written by the man himself, he is I and I am him, Corance Davis; it's called Senseless Acts of Savegery.

I'll be posting a page here every Friday.
[continue to page 2]

Monday, January 10, 2011

The God Hour #4

Guess who's bizack! I know it's been a while, but here I am with another God Body update.

First thing's first: Around the beginning of February, we'll start posting the first story from the God Body universe right here on It will be drawn by the well known and well respected Rasheed Hines! For a sample of his work, go here. So keep your ear to the street on that one.

I'd also like to take this time to talk about the concepts behind God Body and my weltanschauung regarding the giant robot genre. I believe that giant robots are best when showing man's endeavor, through technology, to be God, and managing only to destroy himself in the effort.

God Body is a story about geniuses. A brother and sister who compete through their engineering prowes; mentors who live vicariously through the skills of their proteges; pilots who can make these powerful machines do what no one else can. It comes down to man vs. man; via machine. In a world where giant robots exist, those without them get stepped on. I hope to tackle these issues with a uniquely American sensibility in regard to character, storytelling, and especially design.
I love manga, but I don't want to just bite the Japanese. We can do better than this OEL stuff. God Body isn't a giant robot manga. It's a giant robot comic! And, I'm hoping to drop a jewel that proves to be singular on the comics landscape; both here and Japan. I believe the stories that will unfold from the God Body universe have the ability to illuminate something of human nature, and our relationship to our technology, our governments, and each other.

That, and they'll blow stuff up real good.