Myson Way recognized the persistent lack of positive image promotion and its debilitating effect on perceptions of Black people. In true superhero fashion he acted and began crafting his answer to this injustice and enlisted the aid of allies to create his graphic novel Heroes of the New School to inspire generations young and old to think differently.
By LaMar Anderson | March 18, 2021 | 6:00am
Please tell us your name and the name of your business.
My name is Myson Xavier Way. My business is called Heroes of the New School.
Can you tell us about your artistry and the products and/or services you offer?
Altogether, it’s been a pretty real story, as far as the experience. I started creating superheroes back in 2008. I’ve officially been in business in 2016. But the journey began way back when Obama [Barack] first got elected. I saw a need to promote certain images that weren’t promoted as much. Now I grew up in a time as a kid during the ’90s when the original Black age of comics had occurred. And a lot of folks today don’t necessarily know the story. It was like Afrofuturism before “Afrofuturism”. Where is was Milestone [Media] but also Ania, so on and so on. My goal is to find ways to rejuvenate the imagination of youth. The true purpose of animation is to give the seeds of the future more concepts, positive concepts that they can digest and feel empowered by.
As far as myself, I work with homeless youth as an occupation while I build up Heroes of the New School. It’s a way that allows me to still get my activism on even as I’m creating seeds for the future. So, the inspiration for the Heroes of the New School was about giving youth new fuel. Something I call “dream fuel”, which would allow a variety of youth, starting with our own, to see a higher level of themselves. I saw this as a way to contribute to some of the scenarios that a lot of us find ourselves dealing with, and I call it “dream fuel”.
[Visual artist] Timothy Davis does the artwork, and I create the characters and write the stories. As far as the logistics, that’s why I tell you the story of 2008, for many years, I didn’t have one. I would create the characters and write the names and the bios and stories. I would envision them, and it would almost force my imagination to work harder. The first person who actually showed love on the artwork was a brother name Uncle Darryl who’s a marine veteran in Norfolk, Virginia. I went to Norfolk State. While I was at Norfolk State, it was around the time when a lot of this was starting to manifest in my mind.
So, Uncle Darryl was a portrait artist and never had any experience drawing superheroes, but he could draw you and I sitting here talking. He initially helped me to envision these twenty-six characters. I would give him the description, and he would draw them and bring them to life. Sometimes I would print out something from the internet, and we would come together and build them up brick by brick. I am grateful for that; that allowed me to get everything protected and copyrighted and then move back to LA. I had the stories copyrighted before as far as the characters breakdown, but with Uncle Darryl’s help, I was able to have the visual copyright.
From there, I met Tim Davis, and we were working together for five years in the Crenshaw mall. I worked a variety of jobs in the mall. I worked at the Walmart, Mexicanos -the Spanish restaurant, I also worked at Cafe Creole, and we always sat right there in the food court for the first few years, putting these concepts down. When everything shut down, we were able to dive in and lo’ and behold our first book. A graphic novel-style book, not a comic book but a graphic novel made for newer generations along with old. Definitely age-appropriate because we are ages nine and up.
And it’s just about finding a new way to inspire new dreams. There’s a lot of new-age comic books that are out there, so I went with a different style because our concentrations would be graphic novels but also games.
Heroes of the New School is about heroes of high moral character and people who take initiative in their families, communities, nations so on and so on. Because that’s what being a hero is truly about.
What is the ecosystem or universe that you are building built upon?
I created a few worlds, but the world that these characters debuted in is a planet known as “Earth Alpha”. Earth Alpha is a story about an earth of the future, just before that future occurs. On Earth Alpha, they are going to have different experiences that will cause them to exist in different galaxies and cause them to immediately have contact, basically, with space and people in space. And you’ll have different variations of humans and other species that may not have their best interest at heart.
From there is the founding of our superheroes known as the “Hero Alliance”. The Hero Alliance has a variety of branches that focus on not only protecting the planet but education and development. This is a way to tell the story about how our planet has to evolve in order for our planet to come together. But when there is a scenario and a situation that affects people worldwide, this is a way for us to bridge a gap.
You mentioned Afrofuturism before “Afrofuturism” is that an appropriate or offensive characterization of your work “Heroes of the New School”?
So, when I said a variety of worlds, that was one. The first planet that I ever created was a world about Black people who encountered a species known as the “Alkev” from the planet Alkebulan, and they were like alien-noid Africans, and they were dealing with a situation where they required twelve different warriors from twelve different times upon earth. So they grabbed different brothers and sisters that were involved in WWII, Carthaginian, Punic Wars, so on and so on to repel this invasion, but our character Aru who was an Egyptian Military strategist, he saw earth modern-day and saw where are people once were compared to where we are today. So when he appealed to the council of Alkebulan, they gave him the “emergent device” that would awaken Black people based on scenarios and backgrounds. That’s the concentration.
You know, these are separate earths, to be honest with you, and I don’t necessarily do the – multiverse- type of feel, but I did create different earths, just those two. Afrofuturism is the bigger part, but when it comes to transcending the imagination in general, that something I include all children in, hence why I created two worlds.
Are you from Los Angeles or grow up in Los Angeles?
Born and raised. I played violin right here in Leimert Park, you know. My high school band director
runs the Pullum Center, Mr. Pullum. I went to Washington High School, went to Mid City on Adams, not far from where I currently work now. I work for Sanctuary of Hope that’s a Black-owned organization that services homeless youth. So, it’s really about being entrenched, and that’s how you know when your life comes full circle. Somewhere I spent most of my life as a child, and when I came back as an adult with this new concept to continue to give to the community.
What are you most excited about in this 2021 year for yourself or projects?
Honestly, we got the first book out, brotha, and I remember when I had to create these characters on a sheet of paper because either I couldn’t afford people or didn’t have the resources, or the chops or abilities, so on and so on. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into this, you know. With this being our first book out, we’re working on a second one; we have others that are coming. Bottom line, I am blessed to be where I am at, so the immediate goal right now is establishing a strong rotation of selling while I am at work. Selling more books. I am still open to an investor, but that’s just not my focus, ya know; I believe in my concept, I have a book that’s not like others, and it’s a superhero format that’s not like other -I really believe in it because I am getting good reviews; children are attracted to it, but to answer your question; lock in a stable rotation. Selling fifty books a week just to grow. I would be beyond satisfied with that and to continue on from there, so I am blessed and humble.
Any advice for artists and writers doing work such as yourself to put out their own visions of worlds written and/or visual?
Honestly, it’s all about presentation; think about the delivery. A lot of new creators are making comic books, you know, and it’s a beautiful thing, but we have to be considerate of the method of the delivery. I love Halo because even though Halo was a great video game, the storyboard was so good, and I am not a gamer. I watch them on youtube. The storyboard is so good that they were able to make books and stories and toys and other smaller animations.
So my advice to creators and artist is -one- have an open mind -two- be considerate of your delivery, and -three- be patient in your process, work hard, and it’s something that you love. Push even if you’re not making it now, get a stable gig, and build on your magic. When you have to eat your creative seeds because you’re hungry, this is the number one dream killer, stress. From stress comes complacency. Its chaos pointed inward. Get a stable gig and make peace with the fact it may take time. Some faster than others but get something stable so that you’re not staring.
How can we connect with Myson and support Heroes of the New School?
I have an Instagram right now. As far as on Facebook, my name is Xavier Way, and the page is called Heroes of the New School. Like the old rap album [group] “Leaders of the New School”, I dubbed the name “Heroes of the New School”. On Instagram, you can find me @heroes_new_school, so Facebook and Instagram, website coming soon. Check me out anytime. It’s call Heroes of the New School. And if you ever want to rap sometimes, I make videos just talking about issues of life. I work as a life coach when it comes to servicing homeless youth, and I am patient because I have something I don’t mind doing even as the business and books grow. Shoot me a DM. I know what it’s like to be down, you know, but understand that for Black people, to be discouraged is your kryptonite, understand that enthusiasm is the Black extreme, is the Black strength, because it’s the passion and every emotion. Be enthused. As Black people, the worst thing that we could ever do is be discouraged.
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