Dear readers of Five 2 One,
This year has been off to a slow start but it is now undoubtedly 2018. The first blockbuster film has officially arrived and its name is Black Panther. I know a lot of people are in love with this movie and certainly I have some affection for some aspects of it. And, I know everybody loves Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey and Roxane Gay’s work on Black Panther and World of Wakanda and the revitalization of the Crew as originally imagined by Priest. Yet, for me, when I think about Black Panther, I go to two story arcs. I go to Reginald Hudlin’s 2010 Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers. In this storyline, we are taken back to World War II and we meet T’Challa’s grandfather, Azzuri who teaches a young Steve Rogers/Captain America a few things about being a hero. It also features Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandoes. Really, this a masterful reimagining of the Black Panther position/rank as a responsibility that one upholds. Hudlin gets into what it means to be a hero. What is duty and nobility really about especially for a king? Also, there are some really amazing sequences with Gabriel Jones the lone black member of the Howling Commandoes.
The second Black Panther collection I want to recommend is probably an underrated one as it doesn’t take place in Wakanda and T’Challa has none of his usual superhuman abilities. In Black Panther: the Man Without Fear by David Liss, T’Challa is filling in for Matt Murdock/Daredevil in New York City and is sort of finding himself. Storm and BP are done and he has to figure out where he wants/needs to be while also dealing with lower level villains than the mighty Avenger is used to. He also gets a visit from Luke Cage and we are given one of my favorite fight scenes ever. It’s more hilarious than anything else and I laugh about it every time I see Luke Cage/Power Man ever.
Ok. Watch the movie. Enjoy. Now, moving on, what am I reading?
I wanted to read something a bit more playful to start the year so I went to my trashy place. I can’t read experimental poetry all the time and even comics don’t always put me in a happyish state of mind. But, the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance Vol 1 and 2 edited by Trisha Telep can put a smirk on anybody’s face. There are all sorts of creatures and even some queer relationships. For me, it’s goofy and fun and if you’re looking for some quick stories to read on the bus or train after a long day of work, this will do the trick. It’s on my phone and it’s been making the commute lots more enjoyable. Plus, when’s the last time you read a selkie story?
The other book on my phone is a bit heavier but downright brilliant and will get you in all your feels. I mean, this book gets to some Black Panther places – Buckskin Cocaine by Erika Wurth. This collection of stories questions authenticity over and over again. In a time of irony, the sincerity of this book is both refreshing and breathtaking in both a good way and breathtaking like a blow to the chest. Some of these stories you need to walk away from and return to. Savor each bit even if it’s hard to swallow. This book is the struggle. It’s about how one is seen and how one sees oneself. We have “traditional” characters who are constantly being tested and we have folks kind of fronting. Really, poignant but also at times funny. Wurth works this book from lots of angles.
The struggle is surreal,
Kenning JP Garcia
PS: stay tuned for the upcoming microreviews of self-published books. I have lots on deck including work by Franki Elliot and Shannon Barber.