Sword and Soul Artist: Mshindo Kuumba I

The Meji brothers by Mshindo

Anyone familiar with Sword and Soul over the past three years will say that this blog is overdue. They would be right. Not long after I began putting Meji Book One together in 2008 I was introduced to Mshindo Kuumba I. I was suddenly blown away by his work. Not only is his art incredible, but he was the first artist I encountered that had full grasp of the cultural and physical details required to illustrate sword and soul images.  Mshindo is passionate about this perspective and his work, and his passion extends to his appearance. His wardrobe and attitude reflect his seriousness about his craft and his determination to bring a certain consciousness to those around him.

Cover Art to Imaro IV by Mshindo

It was only natural that Uraeus, current publisher of Charles R. Saunders Imaro and Dossouye series would choose Mshindo as the cover artist. Mshindo has great respect for the Sword and Soul founder’s work and the feeling is mutual. Mshindo’s art clearly displays the power that is Imaro, and his Dossouye images are the first time Charles female warrior has been illustrated. Future volumes about both characters will surely be graced by Mshindo’s excellent creations.

Like most artists I choose to honor with the title ‘Sword and Soul Artist,’ Mshindo’s skills extend far beyond this genre. He’s well known among serious comic book artists for his style and skill and he is a frequent guest at comic book conventions around the country, such as ECBACC, The Black Age, and Onyx Con. Mshindo also takes time to share his talents with up and coming artists, showing them the techniques that allow him to produce such stellar work.

Jaycen Wise by Mshindo

Mshindo’s work has added to the repertoire of sword and soul images, something I feel is essential in defining this genre. I’m sure he’ll be adding more such images to his portfolio; the genre will be much better for it. To see more of  Mshindo’s work check out him out just google his distinctive name or visit here: http://mshindo9.deviantart.com/

Book Review: Damballa by Charles R. Saunders

Damballa Cover Art

Those who have followed my blogs know that Charles R. Saunders and I are close friends. So any review I post on his books will be influenced by our relationship. That being said, I’m happy to say that Damballa is a great read. Charles has taken his exciting prose and love of African culture and displayed it in this new novel published by Airship 27 Productions. Here’s their description of Charles’ latest work:

“From the heart of Africa to the streets of Harlem, a new hero is born sworn to support and protect Americans of all races and creeds; he is Damballa and he strikes from the shadows. When the reigning black heavy weight boxing champion of the world agrees to defend his crown against a German fighter representing Hitler’s Nazis regime, the ring becomes the stage for a greater political contest. The Nazis’ agenda is to humble the American champion and prove the superiority of their pure-blood Aryan heritage. To achieve this end, they employ an unscrupulous scientist capable of transforming their warrior into a superhuman killing machine. Can the mysterious Damballa unravel their insidious plot before it is too late to save a brave and noble man?”

I thorough enjoyed Damballa. Charles crafts a compelling story rich in details and infuses his passion for all things African. I’m particularly taken with the relationship between Damballa and his grandmother, Mamadou. Charles takes the time to show the the science behind Mamadou’s skills; instead of portraying her as the mysterious ‘voodoo’ priestess, Mamdou is revealed as a self taught chemist using the natural substances of the African forest as her source.

The climatic scene of Damballa is as exciting as any in Imaro with a twist that caught me completely by surprise. Just when I thought Charles was going to take things in a predictable direction he does what he does best. So if you’re a Charles R. Saunders fan, you’ll love Damballa. If you’re a pulp fiction fan, you’ll love Damballa. If you love to read, period, you’ll love Damballa.