By day Carlton and Darrick Hargro go to their normal jobs, but at night they create a super-powered universe.
In recent years, black superheroes have made a major comeback. With the likes of Luke Cage, Black Panther, Black Lightning and others making their way on to TV and on the silver screen, young comic fans are being exposed to different types of heroes.
Atlanta-area brothers, 47-year-old Carlton and 50-year-old Darrick Hargro, are riding the recent wave of black superheroes by launching a line of comic books featuring three black superhero titles. There is “Nia Griggs and the Kimetic Sisterhood of Science” that is a spy thriller depicting a “far from mild-mannered music journalist” who fights domestic terrorists and other villains as a super-powered Amazon.
There is “Moses” which revolves around Moses Jones who is at the center of a sci-fi mystery involving alien abduction. And then there is the forthcoming “Makossa” that stars a detective who wears an African mask. Their company 20th Place Media is where you can find their new heroes.
“We didn’t like Luke Cage. He was not looked on as competent,” Carlton told The AJC. “Black Panther was cool when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced him in ‘Fantastic Four,’ and then went into wackness in the 1970s. Blade was a terrible comic book character. He was a scrub!”
The duo’s vision for a line of black heroes started in the 1990s when they met long-time artistic collaborator Andre Moore by putting up flyers at the Atlanta College of Art.
“In 1994, we published this comic called ‘Isis,’ about a black woman superhero,” Carlton recalled. “We published two books, we were in the Diamond comic book distributor catalog and we built this little network of African American comic creators.”
But sales were low then and it was hard to get the word out. In 2012, the duo had a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $5,000 to support an original collection called “The African-American Comics Anthology.” This win inspired them to write more.
Earlier this year, the brothers dived head first into the comic industry producing books that are now on ComiXology.
“We want to reframe what people think about black people,” Carlton explained. “For centuries, there’s been one kind of story about us. Look at how pop culture is transmitted around the world. One of the first black characters – Luke Cage – was an ex-con. I think enough stories have been told about that. Let’s tell different ones.”
“We didn’t want them to be white heroes with black skin – we wanted them to be based on black culture,” Darrick said.