madtwiinz

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blokhedz episode 1. Based on the dope comic of the same name by the Madtwiinz. Check the book out on Amazon.

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BLOKHEDZ (2009)

an independent comic book/graphic novel series created by the Madtwiinz, Mark and Mike Davis. Since the release of Issue #1 in 2004, the 4-book comic series has developed a small but dedicated underground fanbase. It is characterized by a gritty style, and its “unflinching” look at the harsh realities of inner city life.

In February 2009, the creators announced a partnership with Gatorade to create an animated web-series for Blokhedz

Why was it forgotten?: NEVER AIRED ON TELEVISION

I’m sort of breaking my own rule of not posting cartoons that were only available online and not on television/theaters  but I’m gonna make an exception. Why, because this cartoon is so bad ass and so criminally thrown to the wayside that it needs exposure.

Now, as said before the series is based on a supernatural hip hop graphic novel about a young rap artist with a gift for turning rhymes into reality. The story is basically about his journey with his friends to discover the power within him, dodging gangs, arch rivals, and a en evil record producer who might not be of this world.

The comic has an extremely devoted cult following that praise the story for it’s gritty depiction of inner city life and for not being afraid to show every facet of it. It’s short, sweet, and does what it sets out to do.

Now since this a blog about cartoons and not comic books we’re gonna talk about the 2009 partnership with Gatorade to produce a series of web cartoons to promote their Mission G ad campaign. I don’t remember what the overall mission behind the campaign was, I think it was to promote their  new line of G-series products. I’d have more information but the domain has long since been closed, the Blokhedz mini-series along with it.

What a drag but thankfully Youtube is here and you can catch all 3 episodes. Yeah, that’s right, 3, they only got 3 episodes presumably before the whole thing went kaput. That’s a shame because the story was just barely beginning at the third episode.

Truth be told, they do manage to cram a fair amount of story into about 20 minutes of animation all together. We get to see the main hero and his crew sneak onto a train, hustle dudes at a basketball game, have the first big rap battle, outrun a gang, and meet the inventor of the heroes boombox who also sees the gift our hero has.

That’s it, the show leaves us on a cliffhanger in which our hero confronts a gang of otherworldly shadow… dudes, and that’s it. You can read the rest of the story in the comic but to think  we won’t be seeing the conclusion in animated form is tragic. It’s double tragic because the people at Imagimation Studios put out some damn good animation given the budget they probably had to work with, Making 3D computer generated backgrounds with 2D animated characters and having it all mesh well together is no easy feat so hats off to them.

Just goes to show you the hard work and dedication Black folks put into anything they do. I ain’t just saying that, I mean it.

Let me tell you, gathering information about this was pretty hard to do. The most I’ve found is very persistent rumors that Adult Swim wants to pick this series up for full production. That’s been going on for years and I can’t tell if they have or ever will but Blokhedz would be a good fit for Adult Swim. They love to pick up Black made and inspired programs like The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, Loiter Squad, Freanik: The Musical, Black Jesus, and Mike Tyson Mysteries.

Here’s hoping it happens someday.

TRIVIA

  • Voice credits for the series include:

 Talib Kweli plays the main character, Young Blak. 
Lauren London plays Essence, Blak’s love interest. 
Bobbito García plays Eatho, the smart Puerto Rican b baller.
Gary Sturgis plays Biskit, the leader of the biker gang, Wild Dawgs. 
Dorian Harewood plays King Tubby, the Rastafarian store owner technician.

  • the franchise has won awards including

Glyph Awards: Rising Star Award for Best Self-Publisher

New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age 2008.

YALSA 2008 Quick Pick Nomination

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I want to see this on television, I really do. The dedication behind the comic and the series rings completely through, and its got so much substance and strength behind its story that it needs to be seen on a mass scale.

If you can, follow the Blokhedz tumblr page and their facebook and give them your support.

Shout out to all my excellent Black followers out there, this entry is for any and all of you.

vimeo.com
Original Hip-Hop Animation Rap Battle

This our animation test produced to show a world where a few of the “gifted” have powers and can manifest rhymes into the physical form. 

Mark and Mike envisioned this world initially in the BLOKHEDZ comic book.  

We collaborated with the late Andy Knight, a trailblazing animator and director (Tank Girl, Natural Born Killers) from Toronto, who ImajiMation crew worked with previously on a 7 minute R. Kelly animated music video. DJ Khalil blessed us with this banging track and (Boston Area Hip Hop Group) Natural Born Spitters dropped the inspired rhymes.

 As far as I know it is the worlds first animated Rhyme Battle.  Against all odds, the quest to make our full-length animated feature goes on. The battle for Empire CIty continues.

Dedicated to Andy Night R.I.P.