|Comicbook Creator and Afro-Futurist, Merrick Moore-Fields
Q1: Merrick, please tell us a bit of your project’s background, why you wrote it, and what you hope to achieve in doing so.
The Pit-Fighters is science-fiction action tale about a group of fighters competing in a fighting tournament. Meanwhile, the nephew of one of the fighters manipulates time to stop and otherworldly horror threatening the universe. I have been working on this series since I was in middle school. This project has been through several drafts (I still have trouble reading through my early work, mostly because my handwriting was atrocious back then.) and I hope to finally get this series off the ground. I wrote The Pit-Fighters as a stepping stone into a larger universe, one inspired by Star Wars and Afrofuturism.
|Learn more about the Pitfighters, here.
I love comics. I have enjoyed reading them since I was 4 years old. I started off with comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes and then moved up to more complex graphic novels like Watchmen. I just think it is a very expressive medium that allows for complex ideas.
Q3: Were you interested in writing in school?
Yes, I was mostly into poetry and spoken word. I was in a spoken word club in high school. I did some creative writing, although that was mostly on my own.
Q4: What is Afrofuturism? And why is this your genre of choice?
There are many definitions of Afrofuturism. One definition I like comes from Jamie Broadnax, a guest writer at the Huffingtonpost. In her article, "What the heck is Afrofuturism?" she states, "Afrofuturism is the reimagining of a future filled with arts, science, and technology seen through a black lens." I believe this to be an accurate description. It is a genre that allows me as a writer to construct black characters without the overarching presence of Eurocentric thought.
Q5: Tell us about your development team and how you develop your stories?
I found some incredibly talented people online through sites like Deviantart and Facebook.
Sebastian Sala was a great artist who helped bring my characters to life, while Angel Rondon
brought vibrant colors that gave each page energy. Finally, Cristian Docolomansky Cerda
created fantastic lettering that really made the comic pop. I normally would write the script first,
do some concept drawings, thumbnails, and then send the necessary documents for the team
to work on. I am very hands-off, and I want to give the artist some breathing room to put their
own spin on my characters.
Q6: The Pit Fighters features a main character who is first referred to as "Little Sun-Born." Please tell us about this character. How did he come to be and how did you develop his voice, his style of language and talking?
That's Zeke. His full name is Ezekyel Arken-Spire, and he's one of the first characters I wrote. I
wrote him when I was in 5th grade. He's a kid who was given the ability to control time from a device called the Chronosphere. I developed his style by modeling him after my older brother
while throwing a bit of my personality in the mix. He's fun to write about, and I hope readers will
become engrossed in his character when his tale unfolds.
Q7: What are your goals for the book and series? What's next for The Pit Fighters?
I consider The Pit-Fighters to be my "launch-pad" for an even bigger project that I have been
working on since I was in middle school. I plan to separate The Pit-Fighters into two parts, finally
leading into my main series. For what's next in the story hopefully there will be some fighting.
Q8: How do you feel your work can impact young readers?
It always puts a smile on my face when young readers pick up and read my work. I hope the
impact would be that they see themselves in my characters, and hopefully in the future, cosplay
Q9: Are you familiar with Rudine Bishop Simms’ famous discussion of “Windows, Mirrors and Sliding Doors”? How if at all, do you feel it applies to The Pit Fighters?
I actually just looked up the discussion (thank you internet.) I think that The Pit Fighters fits right
into it. It is very important for little readers to see themselves in what they read. I hope my
writing will help make their library a little more diverse.
Q10: What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
I want my readers to see black characters as multi-dimensional and complex, capable of
anything on the page. When I was little, I always wanted to see characters who looked like me
doing more than what society expects them to do. With Afrofuturism, black characters can
literally do anything they want.
Q11: What advice would you give other aspiring comic book authors?
Keep writing: there will be a time when you are able to go back and iron out all the fluff in your
stories, but keep building your stories and characters, and you will create your own universe in
Q12: Last, please share anything more you’d like to contribute to our discussion.
I feel we are in the midst of a renaissance going on when it comes to Afrofuturist works being
published by POC. I hope to contribute to this growing market.