STAY FOR THE MOVIE AT THE END! SERIOUSLY!!!!
Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Jean-Paul Deshong. Creator, writer, and artist if the independent comic book Sons of Fate: The Western Samurai Epic. I know, your like '" What the HELL is a WESTERN SAMURAI EPIC?"
Well, it is, in a nutshell, it genre created to describe the essence of the graphic novel Sons of Fate. In this article, I would like to introduce you to my independent graphic novel, my labor of love, my contribution to the comic medium, but FIRST let me explain to you Sons of Fate came about.
Lets start with a para-phrased quote form the Matrix. " I was 100% homegrown human born free in the real world. A genuine child of the 80's"
That's right, for those who can empathize, I was a child living during the time where the WORLD had ( in my opinion) the GREATEST pop-cultural boom IN HISTORY..Starting with, OF COURSE, Star Wars.
Everything I watched, Every thing I absorbed helped make Sons of Fate, and with that, comics were my religion.
We're talking about The FIRST Secret Wars, John Byrne X-Men, and Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight (I had to back issue the X-men however), Legends, Moebius' Silver Surfer, Art Adams' X- Men annuals, GI JOE , TRANSFORMERS THE MOVE ( I could write a WHOLE blog about that.), the list goes on... not to mention again the Star Wars ORIGINAL TRILOGY phenomenon ( BTW,.. that's about to happen again.. FINGERS CROSSED!) That decade was capped off FOR ME in 2 very special ways. It was 1988, I was 13 , and I got to read the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, AND THE WATCHMEN in the same summer. That was the birth of Sons of Fate, as well as my other creations that follow...although I didn't know it yet.
The importance those two books had on my creative influence as well as the impact of not only what I wanted to do with my adult life, but how I wanted to live it was MONUMENTAL. Form that moment on, I was only interested in comic books that were at that level. fortunately ,most books where on that level. The stories had real continuity, sacrifice, and consequence to their efforts.
Wait, I'm NOT saying that comics today don't still do that.... wait , YES I AM.
Don't get me wrong, There are still a lot of comics creator out there today that keep those ideals alive and well, BUT with the MASSIVE NUMBER of books out there today, They're harder to find. The comic ideals ( by both creator and fan alike) seem to follow shorter story arcs, watered down stories made to appeal to the masses ( child and adult alike), and with that have lost a lot of their edge not to mention continuity. In short, there are books out there that still do it, but on a whole most comics aren't what they were in the 80's.
Here's my thing: When I read TDKR and Watchmen I' was on the cusp of what would be acceptable reading me thinks for a pre- teenager. Those books were written for adults... Therefore they were written seriously. My thing always was and STILL IS was I was going to be an adult far longer that I would be a child. That meant that If the story was good, it would transition into my adulthood.
AS RELEVANT TO ME THEN AS IT IS NOW!!!
That's something that is timeless: that is something that is RELEVANT! Even childhood examples of great story like Where the Wild Things are, and practically EVERY Pixar movie made, are examples of that. Adult stories with a cartoon dressing and not the other way around.
After some time dabbling successfully and unsuccessfully, in the comic field, ( go read 'TIS FAILURE THAT CREATED SONS OF FATE http://www.blackberryjuice.net/independent-thoughts-blog.html.. then scroll waaaayy down!), I decided that The mark I wanted to make was more important than just being able to say I got a run on X-men for 10 issues or, I got penciled pages in a Batman annual. ( Do they even still do annuals anymore?) I wanted to create something that expressed who I was, and more importantly, WHAT I WANTED TO SAY.
My first thought was I wanted to create stories that were to be taken seriously, I wanted to create ART that was to be taken seriously, I wanted to make MY THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, AND THE WATCHMEN. Now, whether I did this or not is up for interpretation, but a recent review of Sons of Fate compared it to Game of Thrones and The Empire Strikes Back ( very proud of those statements, and NO, I DIDN'T SAY THEM!). But ok, lets stop patting myself on the back and get to the Western Samurai Epic.
If Sons of Fate were to have a catch phrase.. wait, IT DOES! That phrase is FORGE THE WORLD, and that title encompasses the idea of Sons of Fate. The ideology of Sons of Fate is simple: Would you forge THE WORLD, just to keep a promise?
Well,... would you? If so, what would it take? What would you sacrifice. WHO would you sacrifice? How far would and COULD you go? Sons of Fate ( SOF from now now on) delves into the ideals of love, sacrifice, revenge, and retribution via ( here it comes).... a Western Samurai Epic.
The story itself is historical fiction that happens around the Tokugawa Shogunate Era in feudal Japan. It serves as the lost chapter in feudal Japanese history as the REAL reason why Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu closed Japan's door to all outside influence until 200 years later with the arrival of Matthew Perry. Although a story of fiction, There are actual events, and characters in the story that used to give it the gravitas I though it needed to give the story weight, as well as fictional characters as well. The one in particular and being the primal force of these events: A little black samurai boy from the shores of Africa.
Trained in the ways of Bushido, by his master a samurai general, who was marooned on the African shoes after his expeditionary trade fleet was destroyed on their way back to their homeland, Sons of fate serves as more than just a "Mentor, mentee, carry my master's ways" story, but a multi- layered story that delves into the human condition. It not only has consequences but ripple effects that permeate events and alter what might have happened with a different situation. That situation being the history about the end of the Tokugawa Era that actual history remembers.
Remember, SOF is the lost and REAL ANSWER that event really happened.
I wanted to create a story that had not only REAL consequence, but I wanted the reader to know why that consequence was realized driven by the this that most humans live their lives by: their devotion and feelings. It had to be a story of consequence, in which those consequences pushed events forward.
So, how long was Sons of Fate gonna Be? Well, my mother said, when you write, you don't stop until your done telling your story (yeah, she actually said that). So, with that Sons of Fate is a trilogy. The first, Sons of Fate ORIGINS, the Second, Sons of Fate LEGACY, and the third, Sons of Fate REVOLUTION.
But it didn't stop there.
I don't like stories that go on and on, especially comic stories. Why? Easy! Your gonna run out of stories to tell, and that most likely results in a reboot, and/ or your story gets boring cause.... YOU RAN OUT OF STORY TO TELL, and... then you reboot! Look, were humans. We're born, we live , we die: So should the story you tell. But I digress......
In writing my trilogy, I decided that it would be a once a year graphic novel, and I wanted those who enjoyed the book to have stories that continued the stories of Sons of Fate in- between the lunch of the graphic novels. So, with that, I created a web series. These stories are for not only those who want to read more stories in the Sons of Fate universe and who have already read the graphic novels, but for those CURIOUS about what Sons of Fate is about. The web series are side stories that branch out characters already introduced in the graphic novels. The web series give the readers better insight of the characters by telling stories from their past and with that give the reader a better understanding for their motives in the graphic novels.
But I didn't stop there.
I went ahead and created other pieces of artwork, prints, shirts original merchandise for those who want even more than just reading about Sons of Fate. I call the whole thing THE SONS OF FATE EXPERIENCE. By doing this , I wanted the reader to feel they had invested in something tangible and long lasting, a feeling I myself want when I shell out my HARD EARNED DOLLARS.
I did all of this on my website and studio www.blackberyuice.net.
So, in essence I went ahead and created an experience that I thought those who want engaging entertainment could appreciate. Comic lovers, literature lovers, movie lovers alike: doing this in a fashion I myself would appreciate. I ask you to Take a look at Sons of Fate at www.blackberyjuice.net. If it tickles your fancy, then by all means, JUMP IN. If it doesn't , I'm humbled you took time to give gander. With that I'll leave you to the newest SOF trailer: FORGE THE WORLD. Please visit the Sons of Fate channel on YouTube, to see and learn more about the SOF lore.
Thanks for reading. Rant over!
SO, HERE'S THAT MOVIE I PROMISED. ENJOY!