Writer Robert Morales, who collaborated with Kyler Baker on the 2003 Marvel miniseries Truth: Red, White & Black, passed away this morning in his Brooklyn home. He was 54.
“We spoke on the phone for many years, at least once a week and often more. I am shattered,” author Samuel Delany wrote in a Facebook post announcing Morales’ death. “His many friends will miss him deeply. He had agreed to be my literary executor, and the idea that he would pre-descease me never entered my head. For me and many others he was an indispensable friend. To say he will be deeply missed is an incredible understatement.”
A longtime entertainment journalist and former arts editor at Vibe, Morales had worked with Baker on satirical cartoons for the magazine before the two reunited for Truth, published during a period when Marvel was taking creative risks with such comics as Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix, and Ron Zimmerman and John Severin’s Rawhide Kid, and its short-lived Tsunami imprint.
Controversial almost from the moment it was announced, Truth uses the Tuskegee Experiments as inspiration to re-examine the history of the Super-Soldier serum, depicting a regiment of black soldiers who undergo medical experiments during World War II in an attempt to recreate the lost formula that produced Captain America.
“”I wrote a proposal that was so staggeringly depressing I was certain they’d turn it down,” Morales said in 2002. “But they didn’t.”
Current Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, who oversaw the miniseries, recalled in a 2011 interview with Comic Book Resources, “When we posted our first image of Isaiah Bradley — the silhouette of an African-American man in a Captain America costume — the media latched onto it as a story of interest, but a lot of internet folks lined up against it, assuming, for whatever reason, that it would disparage the legacy of Steve Rogers. By the time the story was done, the dialog around the series had substantially changed. One high-profile reviewer even wrote a column admitting he’d unfairly pre-judged the series, that he now saw it was about building bridges between people, not burning them — which I deeply respected. It’s especially meaningful when you edit a story that functions as a little more than pure entertainment.”
Morales followed Truth with a stint on Captain America with artist Chris Bachalo.
He’s survived by his mother and father.
(via The Beat)