My Story 7


Profile_1Although the blog’s been up since March, I just realized today (Dec. 14th) that I did not have an “about me” page where I lay out how I came up with this crazy idea in the first place. Ok, so here we go…

Since the latter years of elementary school, I was a huge comic and superhero fan. Unfortunately, I think I did a lot more tracing of the characters than I did actual reading of the comics.

 

 

 

Most of my knowledge of the superhero world back then came from watching cartoons and collecting the comic cards (I’m still “geeked-out” over my card collection which is sitting in my closet, by the way).

Beginning in middle school, however, my interest in comics waned, probably due to things like sports, girls, and that whole “adolescent” thing. High school and college (undergrad) was the same in that comics were clearly no longer on the radar. Although comics were no longer of interest to me, superhero cartoons and movies still were. When I started graduate school out of state in the fall of 2005, something very interesting happened…

Within the first month of me being there, I heard about this major Wizard comic convention taking place. I decided to go, and my life has never been the same sense, lol. Both financially and personally. No really. To put it briefly, let’s just say my interest in comics was back on. Moreover, I immediately learned that there were 2–not 1, but 2– comic book stores within walking distance to my campus, both 5 minutes away.

As I dove back into comics, I realized that my reasons for liking comics now were very different than my reasons for liking them as a child. Back then superpowers were the coolest thing, so it was fun watching them in action on TV, and comparing powers and abilities using the collectible cards. Now it was about much more than that. I was interested in what I thought to be moral, social, and political parallels between the stories in the comics, and what was “going on” in real life. From T’Challa being the 7th most intelligent person in the world and ruling an African nation that’s never been colonized, to the X-Men devoting their lives to caring and protecting those who would have nothing to do with them, comics began to resonate with me on another level. Currently, X-Men’s God Loves, Man Kills is my favorite comic book story.

So much so, that I decided to incorporate this interest into my academic studies. One way was through a class I took, and for the final paper, I wrote about the possibility of using X-Men cartoons as a pedagogical tool for teaching critical thinking, conflict resolution, and tolerance. Similarly, for a stats class I took, I did my research project on children’s attitudes towards superheroes. I was able to visit a couple of elementary school classrooms, and have them complete a questionnaire about some popular superheroes and teams. What started out as a class paper ended up becoming a journal publication.

 

 

After completing the 1-year program out of state, I returned to California, with a clear passion to do something with my growing interest in superheroes and comics. In January 2007, I went to the Holy Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, and met a comic book artist and writer (he did the pic at the bottom of this page). I really liked the idea behind his comic, because it was the first time (as I can recall) that I saw a Christian comic, especially one with an African American youth as the main character. I was so excited, that I told the creator I would be willing to help come up with stories for the comic. At that moment, I thought I had found that something. Although I was not able to connect with the creator once I returned to California (I don’t think the comic’s around anymore), creating my own Christian-themed comic book(s) had entered into the realm of possibilities…

For the next couple of years, I got more involved in comics, expanding the types of comics I read, as well as downloading podcasts from writers to learn more about how they put stories together. During this period, I tried contacting the comic creator I met in the ATL about every 9 months to a year, but to no avail. I eventually got to a point where I felt like I was using circumstances as excuses for why things were not happening (with regards to creating my own comics), instead of making things happen. The three common excuses I used were (1) I had no experience writing stories, (2) I did not draw, and (3) I was not business-savvy.

For a while these excuses were sufficient, but God kept nudging me until eventually I fell over and off my “excuse-mountain,” and decided to give it a shot. When within a week or two I had two people encourage me about starting my own comic in a way where I felt God was speaking to me through them, I knew it was time to trust God, and begin working on my own comic. So on May 27th, 2009, I started jotting down my first ideas for Lightweightz, and the rest was history…

 

 

R-Squared Comicz is my attempt to demonstrate the love of Christ through comics, to both Christians and non-Christians. My hope is that you get as much out of reading the comics, as I will get out of creating them.

– Justin

© Justin Martin and www.rsquaredcomicz.com, 2010-2013. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

  • Flying by the Tower

    Hey Justin,

    Reading through your bio I noticed several references to God. Since several religions believe in a god, it wasn’t unusual that you mentioned Him. But I also saw that you made reference to Jesus Christ, which narrows it down to Catholic or Protestant, and their sub-denominations. My question might seem simple, but are you a Christian?

    • RsquaredComicz

      Thanks for checking out the bio, and yes I am.

  • This is Kalev from the BOCA Crew ! just here to say this is beast !I hope God continues to open doors for you and your crew! God bless!

  • God bless you! A truly being a good Christian and displaying your faith through your actions.

  • I love your “about” page. I totally relate to you. It feels like my comic has been a lifetime in the making sometimes. I use to tell myself, I can’t write. It took some studying on the subject. Now with 22 pages of my comic under my belt, my confidence is better.

    • I hear you! Are you releasing the comic in print, or will it be online?