Pinkwing & the Prime Controller are the Black Kids We Always Wanted to Be

For someone who’s yet to have children, I admittedly spend an irrational amount of time considering what type of media I would buy for them if I were a parent. The list is pleasantly long – from the bullheaded heroics of Korra teaching them to handle insecurity and self-doubt, to the playground shenanigans of Recess showing the value of great friends. Added to the list is this most recent comic series, Pinkwing and the Prime Controller, because yo, if I have kids, their nerdery will go this hard.

Duncan is the Prime Controller, meaning he can use the Nexus Gauntlet that creates his power suit, thus making him badass. He’s a physics whiz kid, which is always great to see, especially among kids of color who aren’t as often shown in that part. Shout out to Smart Guy Tahj Mawry (remember him?) or whoever paved the way for this to happen. His kid sister Ruby is Pinkwing – a history and martial arts genius with a weapon called the Unbroken Staff, which sounds like a cross between the Unsullied of Yunkai and Donatello’s bo. Together they fight an organic alien technology that is powerful, adaptable, and, of course, evil.

[quote_right]”My motivation came from my love of comics and cartoons, and a desire to tell meaningful stories with well-rounded diverse characters.”[/quote_right]There are few stories I love more than sibling stories. Keep your star-crossed lovers and odd-couple crime partners, there’s no group I’d rather see face adversity than family. And that’s not limited to blood family either – if I got Nas’ “Family” playing in my heart when they tool up for the climax, it counts. Enter Pinkwing and the Prime Controller, an action-adventure about a brother and sister, Duncan and Ruby, who gain super powers from alien technology and face off against creatures like a six-eyed Tyrannosaurus Rex. I repeat: these two scrawny kids with melanin on fleek go toe-to-toe with a six-eyed dinosaur!

Comic creator Ramel Hill shared his own emphasis on the relationship he wanted to display in his book: “There are so many great comics out there but few have a positive reflection of Black sister and brotherhood.”

Art Credit: Tovio Rogers

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On his motivation behind writing Pinkwing and the Prime Controller, Hill notes his own children. “When I set out to create this book it was because of them,” he remembers. “The two characters are based on them. There needs to be a better representation in the world of comics for children of color… the actual origin of the book is based on a simple question every father should ask his kids: if you had super powers what would they be? My motivation behind writing Pinkwing and the Prime-Controller came from my love of comics and cartoons, and a desire to tell meaningful stories with well-rounded diverse characters.”

He also sees the trend of diversifying comics, but with all-ages comics falling behind the positive trend. “What I find today is that many of the great comics presently are not kid friendly. I have children and there are many titles that, while great, are not suited for them. I really wanted to create a clean, fun story that was original and that anyone could latch onto.”

When asked how he defines success for his book, Hill responded, “Getting the book in the hands of interested readers. I want to be able to add something new and diverse to the world of comics. Growing up I remember my brothers and I would watch cartoons, and at the beginning of the opening scenes we would call off who we were: ‘I’m Leo,’ ‘I’m Mikey,’ ‘I’m Raph.’ Hopefully one day my kids will be able to do the same with my characters. I want to share good stories and positive characters with the world, and I want it to motivate others to get their stories out as well.”

Pinkwing and the Prime Controller looks to be a fun all-ages story that helps fill the void of all-ages comics featuring children of color. The book tackles themes of family, support, understanding strengths, and developing weaknesses – topics that apply to the larger comics landscapes as much as any comic book story. “You can’t succeed without having each others back, whether you are powered up to be guardian of the planet, or just going to school. Times are a changing. The lines behind ‘Black’ comics and ‘normal’ comics should come to an end. Comics are comics. I believe you can have a great comic with two African-American kids as the main cast.”

Pinkwing and the Prime Controller is being crowd funded through the month of October; support the series by sharing the story with friends, signal boosting on social media, and, most importantly, buying your copy here.

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  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer in New York City. His forthcoming debut book "Piccolo Is Black" is a celebration of the common adaptations we made while non-diverse pop culture helped us form identities. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @JordanMCalhoun

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