Black Creators Unite: Kevin Grevioux Speaks On Partnership With Charlamagne tha God & Ken Lashley
By Brandon Bush
Rarely do giants come together to create magic, but we finally get the chance to witness it in real-time. Entertainment mogul, Charlamagne tha God, is teaming up with comic book legends Kevin Grevioux and Ken Lashley to create a new line of independent comic books with Black Privilege Publishing and AWA Studios.
Created by Grevioux, these powerhouses will be working together to bring back the long-awaited stories of Darkstorm the Conqueror and The Vindicators. We don’t usually see Black men in comics and entertainment come together for such a project. Still, Geeks of Color had the opportunity to sit down with Grevioux to talk about the experience of creating alongside a group of talented, well-known pioneers like himself.
Describing it as “amazing” and “never a dull moment, always fun,” the Blue Marvel creator is having an absolute blast.
“It’s been really great. You know, Charlamagne is an amazing cultural visionary, so that made it easier to hook up with him, and he was familiar with my work,” said Grevioux. “So, he kind of saw what I was trying to do and was like, ‘Hey, how can we work together?’ and then I suggested we have the perfect creator for the job, which was Ken Lashley.”
Award-winning visual artist and illustrator Ken Lashley is well-known for his work. Having worked on the Justice League of America, X-Men, Batman, Spider-Man, Superman comic books, and so many more, it is an understatement to say that he is larger than life in the world of comic books.
“When you get a chance to work with some great characters, you jump at the chance. I have been a fan of Darkstorm for years. I am drawn to strong characters of color and Darkstorm is just that. It’s also created by Kevin Grevioux, who is a very talented creator, so it’s a win-win…It’s very exciting, and we have other things we are cooking up,” Lashley explained.
Of course, Grevioux’s excitement to work with Lashley is only preceded by their extensive comics careers Both creators, who have not had many chances to work together besides the Blooshot: Rising Spirit series, have reputations that speak for themselves As trailblazers for other up-and-coming Black creators, writers, and illustrators, it seems only natural they finally collaborate With this all-star team, the possibilities are endless, but that isn’t always the case.
The demand for Black-owned, Black-drawn, and Black-written comics is high—and something that isn’t always afforded to comics fans because of high volumes of content and many talented writers fighting for their spot in the limelight at companies such as Marvel or DC. Many Black creators and their ideas can get lost in the mix, and rarely do Black creators have the opportunity to collaborate within the industry to work on stories intentionally. It’s even more challenging for Black creators to craft lanes of their own and work on projects they’re passionate about. Watching Charlamagne, Grevioux, and Lashley come together for this shows the benefits of taking your art into your own hands.
“This is a time for us to do things like that when the industry is so wide open with independent product,” Grevioux told us. “Which is why, as a creator, I don’t care who you are, you just go out there and you create your own stuff and make your own deals.”
Perhaps one of the best parts about this project for Grevioux is seeing the manifestation of his life’s work finally come to fruition. He created Blue Marvel at the age of 12 and went on to graduate from Howard University. Afterward, he pursued a lengthy, influential career creating characters, writing stories, and acting for projects we love— which led to this moment. To now see another of his creations getting told his way is a form of more-than-deserved vindication.
“I think what it really is is being validated enough so that people want to be able to do the actual properties that bring them to the public,” Grevioux explained. “It’s one thing for you to create and have him live inside your head, but it’s another thing for people outside of yourself to recognize it, and they want to buy and do it. That’s validation.”
Despite the hardships of being a Black creator, doors are beginning to open for us to tell the stories that matter to our communities and us. From Blue Marvel to Darkstorm and everywhere in between, those stories can cross galaxies or stay in our neighborhoods. Grevioux, Lashley, and Charlemagne’s team-up signify the importance of autonomy and entrepreneurship for those trying to write their own stories. Indeed, this dream-team trio has more to show us, and we cannot wait to see what it is. Be sure to keep an eye out for more on Darkstorm and The Vindicators.