Continuing our look at the people who knew me back when I was more focused on creating comics than I was on my studies in business and social sciences, allow me to introduce some gents who accompanied me through many a trench as we sought to legitimize our art and educate the world on what we brought to the table.
Joe Bonsu, Mark Williams and Shawn Cuffie are the team behind Heroes of the World, a comic following the adventures of Oren as he encounters heroes representing every country of the world! Without stealing their thunder too much, I can say that it’s offered them the chance to examine cultural practices across the globe, weaving it all into a continuous narrative that’s uniquely their own.
They’ve been at it for over a decade — you should really check it out!
Their submission for Tales from the 2.9 reflects much of what they’ve poured into their comic, seeking positivity and harmony with everything they put out! You can check out their views below!
Heroes of the World is a project created by two Canadian artists, Mark Williams and Joe Bonsu assisted by business manager, Shawn Cuffie. It involves the creation of superheroes from around the world, placing each superhero in a different country and emphasizing the importance of unity through diversity in their artwork. “This work appeals to everyone and it instills a strong sense of pride for your heritage, but also touches strongly on the idea that diversity enriches our experiences and ultimately unites us,” explained the creators of the project.
Since 2005, Heroes of the World has evolved into a brand that represents different countries through the concept of the superhero. Whether it is on a t-shirt, a poster, or a hat, we make sure that the customer represents their country with the pride of a hero. Our sole purpose is to create a brand that will unify people from all walks of life.
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
When it comes to Black History Month, we think about the stories of those who laid a path for us to do our thing. Stories of people like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to name a few. As comic book creators, the images that come to mind are array of Black superheroes that are present in comics and TV, such as Black Panther, Falcon, Storm and Static Shock. These images are the partial inspiration of our brand, Heroes Of The World.
2) The Black Experience we’re largely exposed to in the media is that of our southern neighbours and the struggles they’ve faced. What’s your experience been as a Black person in Canada, and what have you learned from it?
Well we haven’t experienced anything too negative as Black men in Canada. For every comic book convention or trade show we’ve been to, Heroes Of The World has always been embraces with love and admiration. However, we found that being Black artists, we have to work extra harder than other artists out there.
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
The impression we want to live is one that evokes unity and togetherness amongst all races. With Heroes Of The World, we want to change and unite the world with our art and ideas.
4) We all benefit from good mentors who guide us along the way to make sure we reach our potential in life. Who was your mentor to teach you from a cultural standpoint, and what’s the greatest lesson you learned from them?
Over the years we’ve had too many mentors to name. The majority of our mentors and role models are within our friends and family circle (as well as the people we’ve met along our journey). We believe that one can learn from many people along the way.
5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?
No matter what creed, colour or kind that you are, never stop chasing your dreams. Keep working towards your goals, no matter how long it takes you, or how hard it might be.
Tales from the 2.9 is an ongoing series on CaseyPalmer.com showcasing Black Canadian content creators and the experiences they’ve had growing up Black in Canada!