Continuing the 5 Questions series of interviews, Radio Free Amerika creator B. Robert Bell takes some time to discuss the book a bit and delve into some other subjects. Hope you enjoy!
1) For people who may not be familiar with you, could you please give us a quick introduction?
My name is B. Robert Bell and I am a comic book writer and penciller residing in Alpharetta, Ga. with my wife, Jennifer and my dog, Penny. I also teach Media Arts and Animation at the Art Institute of Atlanta.
2) Without giving too much away, what are some things readers can expect in Radio Free Amerika?
I would call Radio Free Amerika in a nutshell, Red Dawn meets The Wire. It is World War 3 from an urban perspective. The story takes place in 2020 where 5 years earlier, America was attacked by a coalition of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. The main character, DJ Mose B, lives in Philadelphia when America is invaded and takes a convoy of refugees to Canada. He subsequently sets up a pirate radio station called Radio Free Amerika, that he uses to broadcast code through music to American resistance and remaining U.S. military who are fighting to take our country back.
3) The scenario in Radio Free Amerika is a foreign invasion on American soil. It is one that seemed almost impossible after the crumbling of the Soviet bloc, but America's current state has probably made the scenario at least plausible again. Do the economic events of the past few years and other current events play a role in the genesis of this book and if so, in what ways?
I would say it’s more geo-political. The Economy is impacted by politics, but I was more interested in how America is viewed negatively on the world stage. You're right about the Soviet bloc being impudent in the last few decades, but with the rise of communist countries like China and North Korea, Russia has been gaining significance. Communism has also trumped Capitalism in Russia under Vladimir Putin. I think the stage could be set for a showdown, one day. American intervention in other sovereign nations' affairs could very possibly produce a backlash, if we're not careful.
4) Terminus Media has made a major effort to give Radio Free Amerika a big push as one of their top projects. Can you tell us what it means for you as a creator to have a publisher support you to such a great degree and does this place any additional pressure on yourself to deliver a project that lives up the hype?
When I approached Terminus with the project, it wasn't on anyone's map except for my own. It was awesome for someone to see the vision and get as excited as I was! I like Terminus because it is a publisher that is big enough to push a project, but small enough to ensure creator control. As far as pressure, yes I feel it, but more so from myself, not from Terminus. They are encouraging enough to make me feel like I can move this at a natural pace, while letting the chips fall where they may. That kind of support is an incubator for success.
5) In your position at the Art Institute of Atlanta, you come in direct contact with young artists on a regular basis. What role do you think art can play in the lives of young people and how important is it to encourage young people in their artistic development?
Art enables an outlet for young people's angst and creativity. It is important to encourage the youth to tap into that creativity. This gives them something to do that can one day make them some money, but currently keep them off the streets.
Thank you for your time Robert, it's been a pleasure. Do you have any final thoughts you would like to leave our readers?
The main theme behind the story is to be thankful for what you have because at any moment, it can be taken away and you may have to fight to get it back. I just want to thank Blacksuperhero.com for the opportunity to get the word out about Radio Free Amerika. If anyone has any questions or would like to learn more about the story or current events, please visit www.radiofreeamerika.com or www.terminusmedia.com.
William Satterwhite is the creator of the superhero webcomic Stealth and a freelance designer, internet consultant and illustrator living in Douglasville, Ga. His professional website can be found at www.williamsatterwhite.info. You can follow William on Facebook at http://facebook.com/williamsatterwhite or Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/w_satterwhite.