Philadelphia has a vibrant local comic book scene and artist Jamar Nicholas is an integral piece of that community.
Nicholas’ adaptation and illustration of FIST STICK KNIFE GUN, Geoffrey Canada’s memoir on young adult violence, has won many awards and is taught in schools around the country. Nicholas himself is an educator, teaching at local colleges.
We talked with Jamar about his newest projects, his geek obsessions, and Philly of course. Read on!
Tell me about your most recent projects, the webcomic DETECTIVE BOOGALOO: HIP HOP COP and the comic adaptation of Geoffrey Canada’s FIST STICK KNIFE GUN.
My webcomic, DETECTIVE BOOGAOO: HIP HOP COP was a weekly comic strip I began eons ago in 2002 (That’s 40 years ago in internet-time) for filmmaker Kevin Smith, on his site MoviePoopShoot.com, famous for being the website from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but so many people actually tried to visit the site online, that Kevin made a real place.
The quick and dirty elevator pitch is: break-dancing Detective gets superpowers, – fights super villain rappers. It goes deeper than that, but that’s usually all I need to get a raised eyebrow. Boogaloo is my love-letter to Hip Hop, and is at its’ core the ages-old Cain and Abel story, with a rap wallpaper. In 2006 I moved the strip to www.detectiveboogaloo.com but has been on ice for a few years. I plan on bringing it back with new content in late spring of this year.
FIST STICK KNIFE GUN was an amazing story by educator Geoffrey Canada that I had the pleasure of adapting and illustrating into a graphic novel, shining a light on Canada’s childhood in the South Bronx in the fifties, growing up and being trained to survive in the streets of a violent city – where that fight begins on your front stoop, against the kids on his block.
I like to call this project ‘The Secret Life of Boys’, who are taught at an early age that to exist outside of the sanctuary of home, you must fight. The problem is, that societal violence is at a point now where young men don’t fight anymore, they solve their problems with guns. It won several awards in 2011, and was also on the YALSA Great Graphics for Teens book list, as well as being taught in several schools and universities in the classroom.
I also have a podcast about being a professional comics artist called COMIC BOOK DINER, which I host with my two virtual studio partners John Gallagher and Rich Faber. I also do product reviews and interviews for DRAW! Magazine.
Beyond that, I’m also a professor at Moore College of Art and more recently had my second term teaching Writing for Comic Books at Drexel University. I spin a lot of plates on tiny, tiny sticks! Continue Reading…
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