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Department of African American Studies

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Young, Gifted, and Black: An Interview with Comic Book Writer Chuck Brown

By day, he’s a super IT expert, leaping down the hallways of Gambrell Hall, attacking the computer technical problems confounding faculty in the AFAM Studies Program and History Department. By night, he puts on a cape to inhabit the world of superheroes he’s created, developed and nurtured into a popular series of comic books. Introducing Chuck Brown.
When did you go from reading comics to developing and creating your own?
“I made the transition from fan to creator at a very young age. I was always day dreaming and coming up with characters. I would give them abilities, origins and their own rogues galley. I was just having fun and never considered that it could be a career path. I didn’t make a conscious decision to become a writer until I arrived at college. I met like-minded writers and artists who just wanted to make comics and we began self-publishing.”
What was your first comic book about?
“My first book was called ‘American Empire.’ It was a story about a world where every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard of, was true. America was just a front for an evil empire controlling it all. The main character was a woman of color named Jewel who lost her family to the empire. It was a really fun story that I may resurrect someday.”

What’s the appeal? Why do you enjoy it?

“I enjoy it for several different reasons. Being a writer gives me a voice to speak about my unique experiences and perspective on our world today. I also consider it therapy. There’s nothing like getting lost in a world you’ve built from nothing more than your imagination. And, last, I enjoy sharing my stories and ideas with others.”

Where do you get your story lines?
“Sometimes I take current and past events and mix then with fantastical creatures and situations. I also draw from personal experiences. But, most often I just stare off into space, and ideas just come to me. I take that idea and build characters and a world around it.”
Tell me about your current production.
“I’m working on a creator owned book at Image comics called ‘Bitter Root.’ It’s a story about a family during the Harlem Renaissance that hunts and cures monsters. The monsters in the world of ‘Bitter Root’ are created out of hate and racism. The ugliness on the inside transforms them into blood thirty’s creatures called Jinoo.” 

Get your copy of Bitter Root from your local comic book shop!

bitter root

Visit the AFAM Studies table in front of the Russell House during Hip Hop Wednesday on Feb. 27 from 11am - 1pm to meet Chuck Brown. The first 20 visitors will get a signed copy of Bitter Root! 

Is it your dream to have one of your comics made into a movie a la “Black Panther?”
“I just want to tell great stories and enjoy what I do. If that leads to TV and film, so be it.”


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.