Here is an interview I did with Aseer the Duke of Tiers about his take on the world of Black Scifi and his upcoming book the DS418.
NM: Introduce yourself to our readers
Asser: I’m known as Aseer the Duke of tiers, I’m an author, writer artist musician scholar, metaphysician and anything else I need to get the devil off the planet
NM: When did you first become interested in Science Fiction?
Aseer: I don’t even think I had a choice; I grew up knowing there was another world out there. My grand ma was into the dark and monsters and such. I knew who Steven king was at 6 and part of that was based on the programming and up brining that she had but it is what it is.
NM: When did you first notice the lack of diversity in the field of Scifi?
Aseer: I’ve always seen the lack of diversity. I never seen a projection of us (Original People) in a positive way either we’re some majestic looking alien or a sell out like Lando, there’s no balance in that because they want us to stay in the past. Were in an age where they look at a book or movie with a black character as a black book, or a black movie ect.
NM: What is your favorite medium to create in if you have one at all.
Aseer: Instead of looking at the market and trying to create something that is comparable to it we try to create our own market. Since our people have existed forever and are the least represented in these markets we have to create our own.
NM: Who or What inspires you?
Aseer: The truth as its represented visually as well as spiritually. When it comes to individual inspirations it comes from different places. Octavia butler, Dwayne Mcduffie, basically ancestors inspire me. It really depends on where your at when you find out where people get their stories from, you have to look within and notice that they come from old stories in our culture like reading about Anansi and seeing it play out in Spider-Man and knowing who we are in the story instead of who they (Caucasian people) are.
NM: What are some of the challenges you faced in the industry?
Aseer: Sometimes things that have happened like meeting with Jennet Khan or Paul Levitz these people have a notion of what original people are supposed to be in comics or sci-fi but its always coming from an ethnic background.
NM: Do you listen to music when you’re working on project?
Aseer: Yes I listen to music for different scenes, or when I’m writing I’ll think about things. I’ll think about it like a movie and if it was playing out what would go with it. I realize that scoring while writing helps let you know how things should to feel, it allows my melanin to expand to the point where I let the imagery get to the high point of the song. Like the book I got coming out I try to find different music that can go with it.
NM: Are you working on anything currently?
Aseer: The current project we got coming out is The Dark Skull 418 the world’s most dangerous novel. It’s a comic book novel and I wrote it that way so that the imagery that we create allows you to see panels in your head. It’s about what we as original people can do to change the world, its like what if every conspiracy theory you ever heard was true and the people who didn’t believe it were thrust into this situation and as original people had to deal with it. I created a new genre for it super-scifi-fanta-reality, we also have a mixtape that will come out with it, that will feature songs from different artists that represent the perspective of the characters.
NM: What books, movies and comics really do it for you?
Aseer: I always went or go for comics that have a certain degree to reality but some fantastic element to them. Some people don’t like super hero comics but I like the medium, but the superhero medium is what the superheroes are. So the watchmen, Red son, Shield, Planetary, and also things that don’t have superheroes Starman, sleeper, Hellblazer. Things that make you think and that you could almost make it a movie in your head.
NM: What advice do you have for people following in your footsteps?
Asser: I would say don’t let anyone shape your vision. Anybody shape your ultimate vision when you go to these labels. Instead work to get your idea and craft as clear as possible because the more you compromise your vision to get paid the more you’ll lose the vision. As original people we need to be in control of the images of our own people’s and archetypes just because Dwayne Mcdufffie and Reginald Hudlin were doing works doesn’t mean we have that. Why can’t Luke Cage be with Misty Knight, how is it that we cant have two black people together? Why when Black Panther and Storm get together the next thing is about breaking them up. They never allow us to use our archetypes to empower us on the world stage. We always have to be lampooned. But everything about Superman is about the Moors and when I said that to Jennet Khan and told her about our characters they said it’s too eccentric. You know how many comics I see about Kemet and there are white people in it. That’s then disenfranchise us, comics are like soap operas for straight men so how come my soap opera can’t have a version of me I can relate to or when I am there I’m the alternate version like alternate Superman? That isn’t right.
NM: Any other projects you have in the works
Aseer: My Queen(The Empress of 10,000 years) and I did the B.I.R.T.H record, We also do Superhero radio show Monday and Friday on blog talk radio. The website for the book will be up soon and were working on the After B.I.R.T.H so check it out.
NM: Do you have any parting words you would like to leave us with?
Aseer: Do your thing, don’t let anyone tell you that your characters are whack, but don’t be a hack and see what works for someone else and do it. Do stuff to shake up comics, push the envelope but do something that’s culturally significant to you and your people. The more you do that the easier it’ll be for you to write your own ticket. You can use archetypes like Batman who is Anubis (Anpu) and Superman who is Heru, but because they’re an original man or woman its in different context.
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