Monthly Archives: January 2012

Book of Monsters – Collaboration

I’m a regular visitor of the Comic Book Resources Forums, using the screen name, Your Imaginary Pal, and do the frequent Draw-Me-An-X and Draw-Me-An-Avenger art JAMS there. A fellow site member liked some of my work and asked if I’d do a few strips for his web-comic The Book Of Monsters. It’s a fun site that features the writing of Steve Morris or as he’s known as on CBR, Seresecros, and the artwork of assorted artists. The comic follows Susan and Colin on their adventures in mystical and even mundane realms as they find and converse with monsters and beast from a variety of folkloric figures.

Here are a few of my contributions.


For the uninitiated the setting the kids are in is the backdrop of many a Super Mario Bros. game. The Monster here is a GOOMBA.


I had fun researching this monster, because there was only one article that had the Bluatschink of legend. Most of the search results were for what looks like an Austrian band that makes children’s music, which is a little terrifying considering the Bluatschink lures children into ponds and lakes so he can eat them.

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Beeboy Art and Comics

Here are some comic strips and character designs for Beeboy and some assorted cast members.

Beeboy and Tabi Tha Tigress © created by Baqi Abdush-Shaheed
Mogadishu and King Midas © Created by Baqi Abdush-Shaheed and Glenn E. Bryant

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Red Tails – Review

Red Tails, George Lucas’ ambitious historic war drama about “Negro” pilots in WWII is a film I really wanted to like. Co-written by Aaron McGruder, creator of the Boondocks with Lucas as the visionary and executive producer raised my expectations, but some of the decisions from casting, to dialog and the credit sequences were really baffling. The opening title sequence looked like somebody put it together on iMovie. It had to be explained to me that the film was going for the feel of a 1940s era war film, but that was still off-putting for me considering Industrial Light and Magic was used for the other visual effects, which were quite brilliant.

For fans of HBO’s The Wire, four of the show’s alums were prominent characters of the Red Tails cast (Bubbles, Michael, Cheese and Wallace). Michael (Tristan Wilds), or Junior as he was called in the film was among the film’s elite pilots in Captain Easy’s (Nate Parker) squadron, which also consisted of Joker (Elijah Kelley) the daring and somewhat reckless Lightning (David Oyelowo the executive from 2011’s hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Lightning seems to be the films major hero having the highest rate of kills and the inter-racial love interest. The more known cast members with multiple awards to their names, such as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston didn’t have much screen time but were given prominent billing on the promotional materials. R and B star Ne-Yo and the younger Brother from UPN’s Moesha (Marcus T. Paulk) also had performances in the film, but not necessarilly the good kind of memorable. Ne-Yo choose to use a horrible accent, that he stuck to for the entire film, you could tell he was really trying to be taken seriously but it came across as forced and comical for the wrong reasons. Moesha’s brother had the nickname Deacon in the film because of his dedication to his worship of Black Jesus, a dedication that is rewarded by an unfortunate fate. Which left me to wonder what that was symbolic of, was that if he prayed to the more acceptable White Jesus he would be better off? That’s the feeling I had, which was just a little unsettling.

The film’s most prominent antagonist is the Nazi ace fighter pilot known as Pretty Boy, despite (or because of) the obvious scar on his face. He appears in the beginning of the film with his squad wreaking havoc on an American transport envoy. Setting him up as the A Number One Badass of the film, I like to say he was similar to Darth Vader in that regard. The squadron encounters him on their first actual combat run where his plane is damaged by fire from the daring pilot Lightning, who has the plan to follow him back to the Nazi airbase, instead of finishing him off. This leads to a major victory for his squad where they take out a fleet of new German planes, bunkers and gunners, proving the value of the all-colored fighting unit. A victory that Terence Howard’s character uses as leverage to keep the unit active and secure them further missions and new aircraft. The P-51 fighter plans that the mechanic Coffee, (Bubbles from the acclaimed series The Wire,) paints the tails of the planes red. Upon doing so he and Method Man’s character describe the planes as “distinctive.” This exchange came off as hilarious to the entire theater.

I get the feeling that the hope for this film was that it would be the Glory for this generation. It’s an ensemble black cast that centers on segregation in the United States military. There was the level headed field leader and the  hot headed ace fighter that was always ready to fight for the respect of the race and got a beating for these ideals, which sort of paralleled the relationship between Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington in Glory. The complaints about substandard equipment for the black squadron were similar to the inferior boots as well. Glory, however, benefits from superior dialog and performances. The quality of the editing was another let down although Ben Burtt, the editor for the Star Wars prequels  for Lucasfilm was on the job.

Ultimately the premise of the film is what makes it worth seeing. If the quality matched the intentions of the film it would have made the viewing experience so much more pleasurable. I think we need to support this film so others like it will be made and taken seriously from a studio standpoint. It’s widely publicized that George Lucas had a hard time getting funding and support for this film, which is evident in some of the presentation. The visual effects were probably the best aspect of the production. The aerial battles were sharp and exciting but were only the appetizer and overpowered the main course of acting and pacing, which made character development, and plot points suffer. It made me wonder if the actors only got one take to get it right. Lightning gave the strongest performance of the films leads. Moments that should have been powerful fall flat, because the way the lines are delivered lack emotional authenticity. There are also over the top racially charged lines that come across as back handed compliments, like the line during a prison break where the white officer tells Junior he won’t be seen at night because of his color, although he’s one of the more light complected of the black actors in the film.

It’s a hard movie to sit through considering what it could have been, but as I said supporting this film would encourage Hollywood to more chances on bigger budget films for the African-American community and maybe we’d have a little less coonery and simple stories that get rehashed over and over.

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The Stunning Adventures of Beeboy pt. 3

Chapter 5

I locked eyes with Mogadishu despite the chills I felt seeing how furious he was. I could hear his breathing becoming more shallow and rapid. It was a symptom of his anxiousness. His mind was moving just as rapidly. Suddenly he glanced to his right, then turned to look back at me and lunged toward me with a howl. I was sprawled on the stage before I knew what hit me. Then I heard the gunshots. Moga got off me and asked if I was alright. He told me I owed him one.

King Midas and his street team, the 14 Karats ran up in the club guns blazing. I don’t know how I didn’t notice. I must have been too focused on what Mogadishu was going to do. I felt a buzzing in my head, but I just figured the danger was coming from Moga. King Midas had it in for both of us and he wasn’t taking any chances this time. He was supposed to be here to judge the battle and it completely slipped my mind entirely once I saw what Mogadishu looked like in person, all six and a half feet and near three hundred pounds of him. I kicked Midas’ ass last week and beat him in the battle. Mogadishu and King Midas had a long-standing beef. That’s when it hit me that this battle was a set up. Midas was going to up his rep by eliminating two of his enemies at once. But Mogadishu saw it coming and I’m pretty sure he just saved my life. I did owe him one, and it was mere seconds later when I would come to repay that debt.

One of the 14 Karats jumped up to the stage with a golden knife and slashed at Moga. I kicked that fools fronts in, grabbed his arms and threw him at two of his partners that were approaching the stage. Moga nodded his head at me and cracked his knuckles. ”It’s a problem in here now, fam.” That’s all he said then he rushed at some of the remaining Karats, dispatching them quickly with world shattering punches to their faces. He was making a beeline for King Midas, who was still firing shots wildly in the club. It was surreal, some of the Karats were still coming for me and I was so ready for the ruckus.

I was a blur, my pop and lock jabs and windmill kicks were making short work of these henchmen? His crew? Other than canon fodder I really don’t know what to call them. One came at me swinging a golden pipe, trying for the back of my head. I dropped back and bent my knees like I was doing the limbo and his swing landed wide off the mark. Then I rested my hands on the ground and kicked him in the jaw. Another leaped at me with a katana. I rolled to my left picked up a microphone stand and used it to deflect the sword which got stuck in the middle of the pole. As he was struggling to remove it I tossed the stand to the side got him in an arm bar then slammed his face on the ground with more force than was probably necessary.

Mogadishu didn’t seem to be having as hard a time with these goons as I was. There were about 10 of Midas’ flunkies scattered around the dance floor of the Ziggurat club. One was lodged inside of a turned over speaker, another was shoved headfirst into the drywall. His legs were all you could see. Moga ripped this spot up and now he was lumbering toward King Midas who was trying to reload his Gloc before Mogadishu could get to him. Moga reached into the back of his pants and pulled out what I swear was a cannon. At the sight of that gun Midas dropped his gun and ran for the exit. Moga stood still raised his gun and took aim. I heard a loud crack like thunder as Mogadishu let off one shot, missing Midas but obliterating the window and blowing the passenger side door off of an SUV parked in front of the club. Midas was still running and Moga yelled out, ”You’re a dead man walking Midas. Gunning for me twice. Twice? But your bitch ass can’t shoot for shit.”

I was like, ”Yo Moga, ease up man. There are still people out there; you might hit one of them. I’ll go after Midas and, I don’t know, drag him to a precinct or something.” Moga gave me a mean scowl and said, ”Jail, nah man anything less than the emergency room is better than he deserves. Personally I’m trying to toe tag this cock gobblin’ boxer streak sun of a bitch.”

We were arguing about it long enough for Midas to get away and for us to hear sirens approaching. I said, ”I understand if you want to shake the scene man, but I’m going to give the cops my statement and try to help out here with the clean up.” Mogadishu looked at me with a doubtful smirk on his lips.

“Man, just when I was starting to respect you, you say some old punk shit like that. I respect your skills though.” Looking over his shoulder at the wreckage of the bar and the broken remnants of King Midas’ crew, Mogadishu says, “Yeah, I guess I’d better get out of here. If the cops ask, I bounced as soon as mo’ foes started shooting.”

He gives me a pound then walks up to the shot up SUV, hotwires the engine and drives off with the passenger door slamming open and shut as he heads back to Brooklyn, turning the corner to avoid the oncoming police cars. The bartender and host crawled out from behind the basement door, and seeing as I was the only rapper still there, he gave me the prize money. I take some plastic handcuff strips out of my pouches and start locking up the unconscious 14 Karat Gang before the police arrive.

What a heck of a night.

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The Stunning Adventures of Beeboy pt. 2

Chapter 3

The host calls us up to the stage. I walk up when I hear my name.
”Coming up to the center square, BEEBOY!” the announcer proclaims followed by a smattering of applause. I earned some respect here because last week I took down King Midas to get my spot tonight. King Midas is the guy with the five times platinum album and all the radio play. His record label is co-sponsoring this event. The fact that I’m getting all this love tonight is pretty cool. It’s quite a boost of confidence. Then the host calls Mogadishu to the stage. Dead silence. He stomps across the club like I’d imagine a T-Rex would while hunting its prey. The crowd is standing stark still as though he actually were a T-Rex and can only spot them if they move. I gotta admit, shit is pretty tense right now.

In the eternity it takes for him to get to the stage it gets to be that all you hear is the sound of his feet stomping accompanied by the faint drum of the crowd’s heart beat and their shallow breaths. His last footstep leaves him standing four feet away from me staring directly at me. Practically looking through me. He has a deep squint as he examines me, I feel as though he’s picking me apart in his mind. Luckily I’m wearing a mask and dark goggles or he might have seen me blink.

Even if he does have lyrics, I’m sure intimidation was a huge part of him making it this far in the battle. His breath is fogging up my goggles from four feet away. He’s got a strategically ripped black T-shirt with a blood red capital letter M in the center with the military stencil lettering style made to look like splattered and dripping blood. He’s got a camouflage T-shirt wrapped around his head like a turban and is sporting a very grizzled beard. The turban matches his BDU pants. To complete his look of menace he had on some “butter tims” the typical Brooklyn boots. Tan Construction Timberlands laced only half way up with the tongue hanging over the front. They look brand new and yet worn out at the thought of being on Moga’s feet. Like he’s somehow kicking his own shoes ass every time he takes a step. I shouldn’t feel sorry for a person’s shoes, but I tell you, I don’t envy being in their position.

Chapter 4

The Announcer waits for the noise from the crowd to die down after our introductions. When he feels he has control of the audience he explains the rules of the battle. There’ll be a portion of the battle that we go back and forth for 8 bars apiece. After that we Each have to freestyle based off of whatever the host pulls out of a bag and finally we each have to spit our best a capella, up to 48 bars. I’m a little concerned because this wasn’t part of the last battle and I never put any energy into reciting my verses a Capella. I also generally keep my verses to 16 bars. I guess I’ll have to mash a couple of verses together and hope for the best. It turns out that Mogadishu is up first and he’s relentless from the gate.

He begins by staring me down and gesturing in an effort to make me flinch. His efforts do not go unrewarded. The crowd erupts in laughter and begins to taunt and mock me. It’s not a great feeling. I guess the goodwill I believed I had when I came in didn’t amount to much.

Look who they let out the beehive dressed like the queen
Hey Beeboy, you’re looking mighty good in them jeans
Spray that Raid in your grill, A.K. to your grill
Pest control Terminex put grenades to your grill…

Shit! Mogadishu isn’t just threatening me; he’s also thoroughly going in on my gear and general appearance and quoting Eddie Murphy and he’s only getting started. I expected the threats and all, but not punch lines and wit. Wit delivered stone faces and menacing, but I think I know what to do. All I have to d….

“Ooh,” the audience howls in unison. I don’t even know what this bastard just said. I was thinking too hard about what to say. Now I’m up and I don’t even have a solid strategy. This is not where I want to be at all. But the DJ scratches the record, crosses the fader and plays the next beat. It’s the instrumental to “Shook Ones” by Mobb Deep, usually a crowd pleaser. But I think the DJ is trying to play me because I flinched earlier. Damn, I have to stop over thinking shit. I just gotta go in.

Moga, you pack artillery but lack delivery
I spit, and split you down the middle with symmetry
Your mom must have gotten boned by a Howitzer
Or maybe a gorilla fucked the shit out of her
Explains you, looking like an ape in tank top
All that gun talk But I bet you shoot blank shots
How tough are you now, softer than sponge cake
All you can do now is stand around with the dumb face

On the last line I make a slack jawed dumb face, which is lost on the crowd, because I’m wearing a mask that covers my entire face. They get the gist of it though.

“Aw Shit!”

“Get ‘em Bee!”

The Response from the crowd got me open. The two of us were on equal footing now. I was feeling good about this battle again. Then I took a look at his face. It was far from a “dumb” face. It was more of an, “I’m going to thoroughly destroy this Mother Fucker, right here” face, a face that combined hatred, anger, determination and joy. I was the object of this intense emotion. Some people have all the luck.

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Final Judgment – Part 1.

Installment 1

The Crescent Bay Cemetery is real estate for the wealthy. Even in death they chose to share their eternal slumber with the elite. The soil here is no better than the soil across town and the worms are not of an exotic breed. The bodies here will decay like all other flesh. At least, most of them will. For tonight there is a woman who has dark designs for one recently deceased judge. Judge Joseph Leminsky. He is the judge that presided over the trail of her husband’s killer. Bethany Corazon had no malice towards the judge; he did an admirable job that led to the murderer’s conviction. But the defendant, Mackenzie Cobb didn’t agree with the judgment and swore to come back and kill the judge, the jury and the witnesses for the prosecution. Cobb was true to his word, because he escaped the prison transport and found his way to Judge Leminsky’s home. Those were the events that left his honor to reside in a plot in Crescent Bay.

Bethany’s intentions this night are to resurrect the judge by performing an arcane ritual. One she knows better than to use, but she feels that desperately needs to conduct this rite. She needs to make Judge Leminsky’s corpse a servant of her will. It’s the only way she can get vengeance.

Bethany chants while she is spoiling the earth that conceals the dead. “I call on the forces of night and shadow. I call on the spirits within this hallowed ground. Let he who in life condemned the wicked continue his work as an agent of my will.” She continues, “Let the sweat and blood of my tireless work be a sacrifice for these spirits, evidence of my need for your aide.”

She exhumes the carcass and reveals her nakedness to perform a dance that will bend his body to her whims and commands. She uses the items that were buried with him, his gavel and his robe to bind him. The sweat from her body is the key ingredient to the spell she is casting. As Bethany dances she wields the gavel and brandishes it about and the judges body begins to stir. She bangs the gavel on the tombstone and it starts to transmute it’s essence from wood to stone. The tombstone of the resurrected judge now crumbles to dust. Clouds form in the sky and thunder begins to rumble violently. The wind blows in gusts scattering the dust from the tombstone and envelopes the body of the judge. His rest is over he is now at her command, his skin, now stone and his resolve is the only part of his form that remains dead. He is hers now, body and what is left of his soul. The rain that falls is thick and slaps on the judge’s stone form with a tone that rivals the thunderclap from the storm. Bethany grins at the result of her dark labors. She says, “Now we begin our work. Now the justice I seek is at hand and Cobb will pay for what he’s done. We were both his victims, now with your body and my will; we will be the agents of his Final Judgment.

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Journey of A Magical Negro: The Story of Solomon Lincoln

Chapter One

Solomon Lincoln Lays in an alleyway bleeding out. The darkness of the night and the black asphalt don’t quite mask the pool of blood that surrounds him. Only to the vigilant and determined eyes does the pool’s crimson tinge and slightly acrid odor reveal his peril. But to all cursory glances he looks like he belongs there. Just another black vagrant resting in a pool of his own urine, unable to contend with the dark liquor he apparently over indulged in.

What goes unseen in the distance is Adonis Paylor with his lungs straining as he urges his legs to propel him away from danger, a danger that was temporarily averted because of Solomon and his sacrifice. Good old Solomon who entered Adonis’ life just when everything in his world was spinning completely out of control. Solomon made it a point to steer him out of trouble and offered much unasked for and underappreciated counsel. When Adonis wouldn’t listen Solomon would know just where to find him and have the exact method to get him out of a tight spot. He never asked for anything in return. Paylor never thought about what made him so selfless it was almost like he expected Sol to be there for him. They hadn’t known each other for too long, but for some reason the situation just felt right to Adonis. A guardian angel came into his life at his time of need, but now Solomon Lincoln needed him. He was a good fifteen blocks away when he just couldn’t run anymore, hunched over with his hands pressed just above his knees as the sweat that collected on his forehead trickled down his nose and dripped silently on the street. Moments later after catching his breath, he stood upright and patted himself down, straightening out his clothes, rubbing his eyes and taking a long deep and sobering breath of the chilly night air. After he felt he was alert and presentable he hailed a cab and sent a text message to his fiancée, “Vanessa I need you to meet me at O’Keefe’s Bar. It’s Urgent!” He heads back to where he last saw Solomon, or Link, as he liked to call him. When he gets there he tells the cab driver to idle across the street from O’Keefe’s and waits for Vanessa to Arrive.

She opens the door to O’Keefe’s about twenty minutes later and does a quick survey of the bar, looking for Adonis to be on a stool when she faintly makes out the ring tone accompanied by a rumbling in her purse. She answers her phone, “Donnie, I don’t see you where are…”

Adonis interrupts, “I’m across the street in a yellow cab with the meter running. I need you to get a bouncer and go into the alley. Link is down there and I think he’s pretty bad off.”

She responds, “Why didn’t you call an ambulance? How long has he been there?”

“It’s complicated honey, there may not be much time. Just do this for me then meet me in the cab. We’ll follow the ambulance when it arrives.” He pauses, trying to remember the details of tonight’s events. “Oh, and my wallet is in my jacket it should be on the coat rack by the bartender. Just get to Link and I’ll explain everything in the cab.”

The cab driver raises an eyebrow at the news Adonis doesn’t have his wallet on him, and he takes a quick glance his rear view mirror. The man in his back seat looks a little disheveled and panicked, but he’s got freshly cut dirty blond hair is relatively clean shaven and has deep blue eyes. The cabbie decides, “I’d trust this man with my newborn baby, my wife and my life savings, he’ll probably leave a nice tip too.”

Vanessa shrieks when she gets to the alley, “Oh, Link! Link are you okay?”

He stirs slowly awake, looking up at her. He smiles, “Well if you’re tending to me, I take it Adonis is making out just fine. Knowing that makes me feel much better, all things considered.” He winks at her and drifts back out of consciousness, closing his eyes and keeping a satisfied grin on his bulbous lips.

Sometime Later Solomon awakens in a hospital room with a bandage dressing down his right side with his left arm in a sling. Donnie and Vanessa are sitting by his bed while the nurse changes the tube for his IV drip. It takes a while for his eyes to adjust and the view of the room comes into focus. Adonis rests his hand on Solomon’s shoulder and for a brief moment Solomon grits his teeth and furrows his brow. He then contorts his face into a wince indicating pain as opposed to resentment or more accurately anger. He reaches across to put his hand on top of Adonis’ and asks, “You wouldn’t happen to see my glasses around here, would you?”

“Glasses?” Adonis says puzzled, “I didn’t even know you wore glasses, Link.”

“Well, I don’t normally, but I keep them in my jacket pocket along with my contact lens case, he continues. “Practically blind without ‘em. I suppose it’s for the best though, the way I feel I’d hate to actually see the shape I’m in.”

Vanessa let out a nervous laugh, she could never tell when Solomon was joking, and he spoke plainly most of the time. Adonis sat stunned at the revelation that Link wore glasses. Link knew so much about him and did so much for him, but what did he do for Link? What did he even know about him? Link came well near death tonight and Adonis realized he didn’t even know his birthday or where he was from. He didn’t even know his phone number. This didn’t sit right with him. Vanessa’s nervous laughter just made things more uncomfortable. The discomfort stemming from the sudden awareness that Link, who is laying in a hospital bed on his behalf was little more than an abstract idea of a person to him only forty seconds ago. Not knowing what the diagnosis was yet, there was a good chance he’d be asked to notify Solomon’s next of kin. Adonis Paylor was now responsible for his guardian angel. For this man that did so much for him, even took the beating he deserved. Adonis had some questions now, and he was hoping Link would provide answers. He was praying for answers he could live with.

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