While the comic industry in the United States is dominated primarily by super-heroes, you don't see many African American super-heroines starring in their own comics. Creator Robert Walker plans to change all that this August with "Delete."
Walker's a graphic designer living in New York City who's been involved in comics off and on the past 10 years. He's worked for Marvel on their "Meteor Man" comics adaptation as well as a number of issues of "Marvel Comics Presents." Walked also worked with Milestone on a handful of issues of "Hardware" as well as "Barb Wire" for Dark Horse. Before that he worked in graphic design for the fashion industry for companies like Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. With that background in mind, he's decided to tackle comics on his own.
This August Walker is self-publishing the new monthly comic "Delete" through his Digital Noixe publishing company. Walker will be handling the writing and penciling chores and is joined by inkers Rodney Ramos, Pondscum and Chris Ivey, colorist Lee Stacy and letterer Janice Change. But who or what is "Delete?"
"Delete is a beautiful young African American female who's a U.S. Marine," Walker told CBR News. "She has the innate ability to create and put together all types of mechanical gadgets and anything that's technology based. She's had this ability since she was a young girl. She grew up in Harlem, on the wrong side of the street, hanging out with gang members, living the hard-edge side of the ghetto-life. Where we're introduced to her, she's trying to better herself by trying to bring herself up to another level of living, thus why she joined the Marines. She thought it would help her out, which it has, but she still has a lot of 'demons' to fight on her own. She's very intelligent, yet very street wise. I want to show how a girl in her situation, growing up in Harlem, growing up in the projects and how she's changed.
"I wanted Delete to be a good character, not a black character, but a good character who happens to be African American. As I started to create this female super-heroine, I realized that there aren't any lead title characters that are African American females in the industry. Why? Even certain comics which were minority based haven't done it either, they were mostly male driven. That realization came after the fact, though."
Delete is an anointed cyber witch, charged with the mission to protect the Universe. But from what? Well, a demonic invasion, naturally.
"That demon invasion is led by Devon E, the villain of the title," said Walker. "He's sort of like a Bill Gates type character who develops technology, superior technology, and gives it out to the public. His underhanded plan for the technology is he's inputted keys to unlock demonic dimensions so that they can pass through to our dimension and possess humans in order to step in to our universe. He's doing this so as to create an army of demons in our reality to conquer the reality from which he was banished from, the Omni-dimension. He's building soldiers here, building up his army, to over take another universe.
"This is all a metaphor of how we see our society today in how we want to conquer lands to take over, rebuild and make our own, how we look to technology for all the answers like with the Internet. This is a metaphor I explore throughout the series.
"The book is going to sort of educate people about New York City in the way that 'Sex and the City' did, but I'm going to travel outside of Manhattan. What I plan to do with these characters is to explore the territories of New York, almost advertise what New York is about."
"I sort of modeled her after the more mainstream, beautiful women like Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, a touch of Beyonce'. She definitely has more afro-centric features than these women. Throughout the book you'll see me molding and blending the character."
The inspiration for the character comes from Walker's own experience growing up near the ghetto as a young kid in Florida and the strong women which surrounded him growing up.
"I have strong females in my life, as well as males, but mostly females that held ground. My Sister and my Mother, both very strong individuals in their own right. My mother was married twice, already had a kid, and through a lot of horrific situations she sort of held the family together even though she had a number of tough problems. My sister is another strong woman herself and I wanted to expose that side in Delete.
For any comic, and especially an independently produced, self-published comic, promotion is the key to make-or-break in this industry and Walker's will be working over time on getting the word out to the mainstream press.
"I'll be in a couple of magazines. 'King' is going to give me a five page spread of my comic. 'King' is the African American equivalent of 'Stuff' or 'Maxim.' I also have an HIV positive team who's introduced in "Delete" and they may be featured in a magazine called "POZ." That's sort of like my second baby. MTv is looking at my pitch and Spike TV is interested, too. I'm doing some other projects, some potential celebrity projects, but I don't want to say anything about that quite yet. Rolling Stone and Vibe are both interested in talking with me. My experience working in the fashion industry taught me a lot about promotion, so I'm focusing as much on the PR as I am on working on my book."
Look for "Delete" in comic shops this August.