|“Super Bad James Dynomite” #1|
Many times when comic book creators seek inspiration for a character, they look to Hollywood celebrities. One of the earliest examples of this dates back to 1940, when Charles Clarence Beck modeled the original Captain Marvel (the one that emerged when Billy Batson said “Shazam”) after actor Fred MacMurray. This same phenomenon can presently be seen with actor Samuel L. Jackson and Marvel’s Nick Fury character, thanks to the publisher’s Ultimate comic book line.
This December, the comic book universe will gain another character whose celebrity ties are readily apparent: Marlon Wayans is “Super Bad James Dynomite.” The character is a joint creation of the Wayans brothers (Marlon, Shawn, and Keenan Ivory) and Dynomite’s look is modeled after Marlon himself. As the creators of such films as “Scary Movie” and “White Chicks,” audiences can expect a humorous take on the blaxploitation genre in this book from IDW Publishing. CBR News contacted Marlon Wayans to find out more about this character and how it feels to open a comic and see a drawing of yourself smiling back.
It should come as no surprise that the creation of a character or story stems from something that inspires passion in its writer. Therefore, in the case of the moviemaking Wayans brothers, it would make sense that their inspiration for Dynomite came from the world of film. “I’ve always been a big fan of black exploitation movies,” Marlon Wayans told CBR News. “I watched everything from ‘Dolomite’ to ‘Three The Hard Way’ to ‘Foxy Brown’– and not just for Pam Grier’s nipples. I noticed there was a lot of humor in these movies and some of the ‘cheese’ value, which my brother parodied in ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,’ and I thought it would be great to carry on the tradition as a comic book.”
|Issue #1, Page 7|
While “Super Bad James Dynomite” is being published by IDW, it should be noted that the book was first created at 5-D Comics– the Wayans brothers’ very own comic company. When it came time to select a publisher though, Marlon indicated the choice was obvious to him and his siblings. “We went to a couple of different distributors, and IDW seemed to have the same passion that 5-D Comics has. And being that they were the #1 distributor of the year for two years in a row, it was a no-brainer.”
In speaking about 5-D Comics, Marlon also pointed out that it was the company’s creative director, Ahyoung Kim, who found artists Darren Huang and Robert Reed for the book. Considering Dynomite’s appearance is based on the actor himself, he sounded very pleased with the resulting art. More specifically, he said his comic book persona looked “Damn sexy. And if you notice how well-endowed Dynomite is, it’s only because he’s truly modeled after myself.”
The solicitation for the book says “Super Bad James Dynomite” is “Shaft, Black Belt Jones and Superfly all rolled into one…minus the cool and the black belt!” When asked for more specifics, Marlon offered, “He’s a guy who thinks he’s smooth, but he’s really nothing but a goof.
|Issue #1, Page 9|
“The story revolves around Dynomite, of course, who was an ex-pimp turned ex-cop turned neighborhood crimefighter. When he hears his archenemy Kane (a lowlife pimp), is destroying the very moral fiber of crime, Dynomite decides to take him down because no drug dealer is going to cheat honest junkies out of their high– and no pimp will hit his bitch with a closed hand! Open is fine, but closed? Dynomite’s got a problem with that, because there are laws in lawlessness!”
As all the English majors out there may notice, the Wayans brothers have taken a little liberty with the spelling of dynamite, spelling it in a way that harkens back to Jimmy “JJ” Walker’s catchphrase from the TV show “Good Times.” Marlon further explained their reasoning by saying, “Dynomite’s just got a better ring to it. Dynamite is just a little red firecracker, but Dynomite is one big negro explosion.”
For some people, working with family members would be a big no-no. However, Marlon and his brothers have been able to make a career from their efforts together. With regards to their process as a writing team, the actor explained, “We basically just have fun– we do a lot of studying, watch a lot of movies. Believe it or not, there are no drugs or alcohol involved, there’s just a lot of green tea and laughs.”
|Issue #1, Page 17|
Considering this is the first comic book they have written, CBR News asked Marlon if he felt it was more or less difficult than writing a feature script. “It’s very similar, actually,” he responded. “This (comic) is based on a feature script, so I basically wrote it in feature form. It’s a little harder to illustrate jokes, but I have a cartoon head.”
Many comic book writers often try to break out of comics and into the film business. Therefore, one might wonder why the Wayans brothers decided to make “Super Bad James Dynomite” a comic book instead of a movie. Marlon said, “My brothers and I have already gotten our feet wet in the film industry and we’ve always appreciated the comic book world. We’re huge fans of the “MAD” magazine and we felt this particular property would be well received as a comic book.
“I’ve always been a fan of comics, but just couldn’t afford them as a kid. I used to steal them from my friend. They’re probably worth a lot of money now. Anybody wanna buy one?”
As for the future of 5-D Comics, Marlon indicated that he and his brothers have plenty of ideas, but are mainly concentrating on Dynomite at present. Between that and their films, it sounds like the Wayans will have their hands full. Marlon also shared some information about the brothers’ next big screen adventure, and it’s a doozy: “We’re about to go film our next feature film called ‘Little Man.’ I play a midget jewel-thief and I have to pose as a baby. I know it sounds crazy, but if I can be a white chick, I can be a midget…excuse me, a ‘little person.'”