Thursday, February 17, 2011

Positive Black People: Eric Cooper creator of the super hero Knight Seeker

I love to interview black people who do things outside of the so called "norm".  Eric Cooper is a comic book writer and creator of the super hero Knight Seeker. In this interview we discuss being a black writer in a predominantly white culture and how his super hero has been recieved. We also discuss his deals with self publishing and how this comic book thing all got started. George Cook

George Cook:  Hi Eric please let the reader know a little bit about yourself.

Eric: My name is Eric Cooper and I was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. I am a child of a one parent home, and my mother did a fine job in raising me. I went to the Trenton public schools for of my education. During my teenage years I attended a Catholic high school, and finally went to a community college. I presently work in retail, and I write novels during my time off from work. I enjoy working out at the gym, I’m a big movie buff, and I love attending comic book conventions in costumes, and selling my books at these events.

George: Before we get into your comics and your character Knight Seeker tell us how you came to be involved in the world of comic books.

Eric: The love of comics really started when I got involved in the movie world of The Terminator, The Predator, and Aliens. These three movie franchises I could never get enough of. When I wanted to escape back into those worlds the only other outlet were the comic books, and I read as many of them as I could. I love Dark Horse Comics for producing all three realms.

George:  Do you feel in any way that your color ( or that of your character ) hinders you when it comes to getting your work and character out there?

Eric: When first looked at yes, because it’s unusual to see a black person create in the science fiction realm, even my own people looked at me kind of strange for some time. But when you are a creator and you believe in what you have no one can shake your tree. So if you stand on characters that have a great story line no matter what color they are you will find the audience that is very accepting of your work.

George:  On to your books and the character Knight Seeker. Who is Knight Seeker and what was your inspiration for him?

Eric: Wow that is a fully loaded question because there are 7 years of work that has gone into this character’s world. Knight Seeker in the most basic of ways to describe him is a Superhero: Hunter Class character. He is a Black American college student named Nygel Spinner and one fateful night his whole life was forcefully changed. He has become a bio-mechanical superhero with enhanced human abilities along with advanced extraterrestrial technology to protect the innocent from mutants, aliens, and demons that are bent on destroying all of man kind.

My inspirations for the character were two factors. The first factor was that I wanted to see a superhero that was more like The Predator, and he would take a life if he had to, which made it a more believable character. I also wanted to see a superhero that was of my color and not a hand me down power like most of the Black Superheroes in the comic book industry today.

The second factor that inspired Knight Seeker is the fact that I was accused of violating a trademark character from one of the big comic book giants when I appeared at comic book conventions is a certain superhero suit that I will not name here. But thank God for that day because it pushed me to develop this awesome character that we know as Knight Seeker today. What makes Nygel Spinner’s story great is that I used some of the past events in my life and gave them to the main character. In doing this the reader can feel a personal connection with Knight Seeker, which makes him highly unique. No superhero character or creator has Nygel’s story in the industry.

George: How has the character of Knight Seeker been received?

Eric: In the beginning very odd, --“A new superhero in comics, and he’s Black American? I’m not sure I would want to read this Knight Seeker guy. I’m more into Spiderman, Batman, Superman and such.”-- Keep in mind that was the beginning when I first started, it was the perception of Knight Seeker. But for some people it sparked and interest a band of new readers. I have to admit myself that its very unusual to see a superhero start off in novel form first. As time went on the responses had been great and continue to get better. People are astounded that the character is so well developed and that he would rival any superhero in today’s market. Once I was aware of my feed back I told any new reader if you like the big named superheroes of today take a look into Knight Seeker. Once readers got a hold of the books and could not put it down they agreed that Knight Seeker can stand his own ground to any of the superheroes that exist in the market today.

George:  Are there any more developments as far as books, TV, or comics for Knight Seeker?

Eric: When it comes to the novels of Knight Seeker they are classified as ‘Caption Novel’. The reason why I call these books Caption Novels is because there is an illustration at the beginning of each chapter which give the reader a more visual effect as they read. Shawn Alleyne is my chief art director of these books when I decided to produce novels in this fashion. I am on my third book in the series called Knight Seeker vol. 3 Blades of Justice.

As far as filming goes, I will be joining a director in New Jersey by the name of Tim Stuckey CEO of Studio 66 to produce a 8 minute trailer of Knight Seeker to submit to film festivals and to Hollywood for a possible full length movie production. The comic book of Knight Seeker is presently in the hands of Blair Smith the artist and Keith Thomas the writer. The first comic book is completed with more to follow in the coming months.

George: With your books did you go the self publishing route? If so what was that experience like?

Eric: Yes I am a self published author. It’s hard now a days to become a part of a publishing house. There are so many hoops to jump through and simple fact it sometimes just all depends on who you know scenarios. As with me and other writers we don’t have that type of clout, we had to do the self publishing route. Self publishing does teach you a great deal about business when you own your own self and have to be creative to have people buy your books. I will never say that it was easy; no one ever gave me anything. I always had to put my butt on the line to get things done. But everything I have up to this point I have earned, and no one can take that away from me.

George: Do you have any new comic book characters in development?

Eric: I have a great deal of characters I am creating in my world of novels, and to be assured they will be developed in the comic books when the time comes. Also they are characters of diverse ethnic backgrounds which the comic book industry is lacking.

George:  Do you have a web site where people can learn more about you and your work?

Eric: Yes my website is here.

George:  Any parting words for the readers out there?

Eric: The biggest thing that I will leave with you is this; I will do all that I can to bring forth change in the comic book realm by introducing many characters of ethnic diversity. In 2010 I started doing comic book panels at convention to share this idea to the masses. People of color need to see heroes of themselves, characters that have merit and purpose. We need to give people a dream, a reason to enjoy life and to appreciate the opportunities that they have. Superheroes can do that and I wish for Knight Seeker to be an icon of this crusade.

Thank you so much for spending time out of your day to read about Knight Seeker: “Whatever you start you must finish.”

Eric Cooper


deedyfresh said...

This is what it means to be free. Free to imagine, create and share your gifts. Free to step outside the box.

Anonymous said...

He should see if there is a market for his books overseas as well. You never know. Hell I've heard that Disney comics are still big in Europe. His book could be big anywhere around the world!