POWER of 3: How Three Black Authors are Creating a Diverse, MultiCultural Superhero Universe
The next few months are going to be critical for writers Keshawn Dodds, Chayil Champion, and Braxton Cosby. These three authors/novelists have written their own individual superhero stories under the new Dark Spores Novel series and will be bringing their heroic characters together in an upcoming collaboration titled “Infinity 7” to be released early in 2017.
Keshawn Dodds, author of Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince (available on Amazon) and the upcoming Menzuo: Legend of The Blue Diamond has already written several editions of the Menzuo series dating back to 2004. He constructed a newly edited edition of The Calling of ‘The Sun Prince’ in 2015 after being signed to Cosby Media Productions as an author. The Menzuo series centers around a young African-American teen named Jammal Hall, who finds out he’s from another planet and his presence on Earth has a destiny attached to it beyond what he can imagine. Menzuo: The Legend of the Blue Diamond is scheduled to drop Tuesday, May 24th. Though it is Dodds’ 2nd Menzuo book, itwill be Book 1 of the Dark Spores Novel series, followed by Chayil Champion’s “Majesties of Canaan: The Goliath Project” due to drop on Friday, May 27th 2016. Braxton Cosby’s “The Cape” will be released during 4th of July weekend in 2016.
“We’re all excited about this,” said Dodds. “We began planning this collaboration about two years ago but we wanted to establish the story lines in each book first, so people would become familiar with our characters.”
All three stories take place roughly around the year 2035, but in different locations. Champion’s Majesties of Canaan series begins in Israel and the story revolves around seven soldiers of different backgrounds and ethnicity who find themselves fighting on behalf of a future day Israel who is under attack by an evil dictatorship movement with plenty of unique and powerful enemies.
“I wanted to do something unique in terms of location and plot,” stated Champion. “So, to create a superhero story that takes place in Israel with seven soldiers of different ethnicities called to protect Israel, I thought ‘what could be more unique than that?’”
Book Three of the series will continue with Cosby’s “The Cape” before the three begin to merge their heroes and bridge storylines in the upcoming “Infinity 7” novel which the three authors will write in collaboration. The Cape opens up in a future Chicago, which has become a haven for some of the world’s most evil criminals. After an experiment goes wrong releasing a contagion in the atmosphere, several people begin taking on powerful abilities classifying them as Supernormals. Some use their powers for good, while others use their powers for bad.
There are many deep, underlying themes behind each of the novels, which readers will enjoy uncovering but Cosby, Dodds, and Champion are hoping that these novels will get people to meditate on several important premises.
Cosby is the founder and CEO of Cosby Media Productions (CMP). The company is the publisher of The Dark Spores book series among hundreds of other books. Cosby feels that great writers know how to get the reader to embrace certain emotions while turning the pages of a good book.
“Good writers get people to think, feel, and sometimes even act on particular issues,” Cosby shared. “Our hero stories have plots that highlight justice, hope, perseverance, love, and faith. Yes, there are fight scenes and action scenes that will captivate the audience throughout the book, but there is also dialogue that will make you stop and ponder life for a moment too.”
“As an author you want your books to relate to everyone and that’s very hard to do,” admitted Dodds. “Nonetheless, people want authenticity; even in a fiction book. So I try to put those attributes into my characters so people can relate to them.”
Champion’s seven super soldiers in Majesties of Canaan, all boast different ethnic backgrounds and Champion says that creating the characters that way was intentional and reflects our need for unity.
“When the idea for Majesties entered my head back in 2011, I immediately envisioned four men and three women of different ethnic origins,” exclaimed Champion. “Gender equality and racial equality are major issues in our world today and I wanted to show the readers how people of different backgrounds and opposite sex could accomplish major feats if they work together and are focused on a common purpose; a common purpose that, in fact, blots out the color lines. That’s what Majesties does from the opening page.”
Even the storylines in each book draw on different elements that we deal with as people. Dodds’ Menzuo series has a cosmic, interstellar appeal to it as Jammal, himself, and many of the villains he battles, are all from different planets. Champion’s Majesties of Canaan has a lot of spiritual undertones to it. The lead character of the hero bunch, Peter Carmoni (a.k.a. Blessed) is a bit of a bible scholar who tries to lead his team with faith inspired actions and words; though he and his team pack a very powerful punch to say the least. Cosby’s The Cape builds its story foundation on a very scientific approach, which then turns into a battle of social will in choosing right or wrong. The three believe tying these very different plots into one story will be fun, exciting, and beneficial for all people.
“Our goal is to capture an audience of different people, of different ages, of different backgrounds, and both genders. We want everyone to be entertained and we want everyone to be empowered at the same time,” explained Cosby.
The three authors are also hoping that these novels will help increase literacy across the world. All three play a major role in education today. Champion, a former English teacher and vice principal, knows the importance of getting students to read something they enjoy and can relate to.
“As for our students, we have a culture that is changing drastically and quickly. That’s not necessarily bad,” said Champion. “However, we have to be able to keep up with the times and shifts in culture. As an author, that means writing and influencing pop culture with material they can associate with in a positive manner, but you also want to challenge their psyche and make sure they’re learning something in the process. It’s no secret. The more your read, the better reader you become. We’re looking to create books that our teens and young adults can’t put down. If this is the case, it will lead to better literacy gains all around.”
Dodds often dresses up as the Menzuo character himself when he visits schools, boys and girls’ clubs, and YMCA’s. While visiting the students he encourages them to read more often and to make morally sound decisions as they journey through life.
Cosby, who also doubles as a licensed physical therapist and an author, visits his daughters’ schools regularly as a partner to their reading programs. During visits, Cosby meets with classes in the media center and reads to students from books he has written as well as books written by other authors.
Though the three are collaborating for the Infinity 7 launch, each one will continue to keep us entertained with ongoing story lines from each of their own individual book series. Dodds is hoping that upcoming books in the Dark Spores Novel series become a major staple in the literary world.
“I’m most excited about working with two great authors who I consider brothers. Plus, I think this will be historic having three authors coming together to make a vision come to life. This will be epic and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Ultimately, these three authors recognize their roles…and just as most superheroes, Cosby, Dodds, and Champion are looking to change the world for the better.