Known by many as the Comic Con Don, Hannibal Tabu keeps representing Black creatives | The Light Series

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Award-winning journalist and comic book writer, published poet and comic reviewer will never sleep until comics properly represent its readers and the world.

Where are you located?

Los Angeles

What do you create?

I write comic books, science fiction prose, comic book reviews and much more marketing related copy than I’d like to be writing. 

How do you define your work?

I view myself as a prism, a stone forged under a specific set of pressures. My work is the light of the world shining through my specific prismatic perspective, offering a new configuration and new combinations of ideas that are specific and distinctive.

When did you recognize your talent?

I’d say I did less to recognize it, and, more to accept it. Since I was very small, endless ideas for stories, songs, poems, movies and so on. Like the story of Athena’s birth, bursting full grown from the head of Zeus, I felt like all these things were desperate to escape the confines of my skull and get out into the world. Very quickly, I realized, “who am I to stop them?” I’m less of a talent and more a conduit for … something from somewhere else. When I’m writing or singing or creating, I just put in the last connection of the circuit and let it flow. 

What is your business?

The Operative Network is a creative studio of artists and writers making superhero fiction, science fiction, artwork and merchandise. 

How long have you been in business?

Since October 8, 2013. 

What made you start it?

There is a strong lack of representation for people of color and marginalized groups in content, in production and in business. We aim to change that.

Project Wildfire: The Once & Future King, is a weekly web comic produced through the Operative Network.

How does your business solve a problem?

Many Black fans in particular clamor for characters who speak like them, who act like them, who dream like them. We provide that. 

Which of your accomplishments give you joy?

I was at a Black History Month event at the mall and noticed a little girl staring at me. She had a head full of those multicolored plastic barrettes that littered my own elementary experience and skin the shade of fresh coffee. After a minute, she finally walked up to me and said, clearly, “Yeah, I’ve got heart. It pumps ice water through veins of corrugated disappointment.”

I dropped the book I was looking at to regard her, quoting a line from a poem I’d written before she was even born. Her mother rushed over and apologized for the child bothering me, to which the kid said, “He said that at that poetry night.” 

Apparently, this woman brought her daughter to the World Stage Anansi Writers Workshop years before when I read that line in a poem, and it stuck with this kid so much that she could quote the line back to me, years later. 

That made me see how I could make an impact with language.

What keeps you going?

Ambition never sleeps. If I was the Black George Lucas, it still wouldn’t be enough. Plus, I have two kids who I’d like to have a body of work they could be proud of and inherit, even if it’s still only a collection of dreams.

How to reach Hannibal.

Instagram: Hannibal Tabu — Facebook: Hannibal Tabu —  Twitter: Hannibal Tabu — Tumblr: Hannibal Tabu

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