Continuing his comic book quest to capture the realities of urban life, Juaquan Herron returns to drop the Scarlet Knight’s second volume — this time featuring some recognizable Kansas City faces, he said.
“It’s just one of those things where you definitely have to figure out other avenues to make the brand bigger — bigger than just books,” said Herron, the KC-based entrepreneur and comic book creator. “What I’ve been trying to do is collaborate with other creators in different spaces to bring light to the literary arena.”
“I’m putting Mark [Launiu] from MADE Urban Apparel in my comic book — I was able to have a meeting with Wesley Hamilton from Disabled But Not Really and also put his likeness in my comic book,” he said, noting the comic book also depicts the brand of Brooks Proctor from Square Bear Clothing.
Click here to read more about Juaquan Herron’s origin story, as well as his 2923 Comics venture.
Connecting with and getting the chance to immortalize the KC entrepreneurs fit the theme of the Scarlet Knight, Herron said, noting the comic books are expected to be sold at MADE MOBB locations in coming months.
“The one thing about this book is that it’s basically in an urban setting and it’s about two cousins who go back to their underserved community to give back,” he said. “It was like a match made in heaven to have a clothing line and people [put in] to represent urban clothing in my books.”
“Everything starts with just asking. … I tell people this all the time,” Herron added. “You’d be surprised how many champions you got out there rooting for you, who will be open to really working with you. You just got to put the ask out there and if that doesn’t happen — keep it moving.”
The 2020 graphic novel contains some Herron family secrets — all completely true — give or take the supernatural element, he said, with hopes that the story adds to the comic book’s relatability and gives inspiration to any struggling with similar events or issues.
“I talk about my mom and I — the relationship we have with our grandparents, and our siblings. I talk about the trauma that my nephew’s experiencing with his mother passing and his dad being away…” he said. “Also — my mom finding out who her real father was when she was in her forties and that the man that we knew our whole lives was not my biological grandfather…”
“Books are already written for us — we live them every day,” Herron added. “The stories are already there, and you never know who you can motivate. You never know who would love to hear your story. They can actually go, ‘Wow, this is real life.’”
One of Herron’s next stories is expected to translate urban life into horror fiction as well, he said.
“One thing I’ve always wondered my whole life when it came to films and books is, ‘Why does this stuff always happen in the country?’” he laughed. “I’ve always wondered what would happen in my neighborhood if there was a zombie apocalypse or if we had a vampire live next door to us.”
Exploring different and new pathways to express his message is a priority throughout 2020 as Herron works to prove that same message is also viable in comic book form, he said.
“The first thing people think [about comic books] is childish,” he added. “They think of children. I want to show that it’s no different than any other book out there — it just has pictures. But, I also want to build it up so big that people have no choice but to say, ‘Hey, I’m not into comic books but I am into clothing,’ or ‘I am into animation or rap,’ you know, — just getting into those different areas.”
After utilizing resources at the UMKC Innovation Center, plans are being drafted to create an app to help anyone looking to jumpstart a creative career as well, Herron said.
“I was able to go to Digital Sandbox for the first time and I will be going back a second time — I have to change a couple of things — but I’m going back a second time to pitch and then hopefully we can get it up,” he said.
“I just can’t stay stagnant and I’m hoping that the comics will just be a piece of what 2923 Entertainment will be all about,” Herron added.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.