One trap that I’m trying not to fall into with my “On -isms” pieces here is dwelling too heavily on the negative. There are plenty of examples out there where there are failures of diversity, intentional and unintentional. So let me take a moment to highlight when someone does things right.
I recently stumbled across an upcoming story called Blades of Hope
from Jabal Entertainment. The idea was sold to me as an international group of heroines trained in specific martial arts trying to help the world after the apocalypse. The protagonists come from a variety of locales, including Malaysia, Algeria, Burma, and Kashmir. The martial arts they use are real, and the creative team has worked with experts to help ensure the accuracy in the depictions of the likes of Taekwando, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai.
Here’s a snippet from the book’s description…
Blades of Hope is a celebration of the inner strength of women expressed through martial arts. Through our characters’ stories, we hope readers are reminded. Reminded that noble character defines one’s actions. Reminded that vicotry can come through defeat. Reminded that the best characters inspire because of who that are… and what they become.
The concept comes from Maryam Awan and Sohaib Awan. And while they both put their thoughts into the story, they went ahead and hired a full creative team to execute the project. While I’m a big fan of the lone creator doing everything him/herself, I have a lot of respect for these people who had the self-restraint and self-awareness to recognize that they might not be the best talents to make their dreams come to fruition without help. Far too often I’ve seen people who can draw try to write, or who write and try to letter, or whatever, and the results are frequently less than great. But here, they’ve stepped back to allow a group of professionals put together the finished product to make it as good as it can be.
Here’s how impressed I was with what I saw. The book they have out now (pictured here) is a zero issue. There’s no story here, just character portraits and descriptions, and some preview layout sketches. The actual graphic novel won’t be out until late this year. But I was so impressed with what I heard and saw, I purchased this issue anyway. That’s just something I don’t do. I’ll buy a preview issue if there’s a story there, but sketchbooks and writer’s notes? No offense but I’d prefer to spend my money on other things.
But I like what I saw so much in Blades of Hope
that I bought it just as a means to show my support for this type of thing. I’ve seen promising-looking sketchbooks before, and never saw a story develop from there. Here, I feel there’s something different. I think this will get made, and will be something people will be talking about in 2015.
So I encourage you to check out the Blades of Hope Facebook page
and keep an eye out for this book. I think there’s something really special here, and I can’t wait to see the finished product!