College Media Network - Search the largest news resource for college students by college students

Coming soon to The Carolinian: The Revolutionary Times

By Ashley Johnson


Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brandon Howard, a Guilford Technical Community College student and life-long best friend Sean Mack grew up in the same hometown, same neighborhood and were “even babysat by the same lady.” One thing remained constant: Mack could draw and Howard was a thinker. “We grew up together,” says Howard, “So [we said] ‘let’s make a comic about us’ and thats where the characters came from.”

“Sean came up with the idea of alternative newspaper: it was us basically trying to figure out how to get the story out to people, to get into the conspiracy and political aspects that people don’t really know about and get it out there as a newspaper,” says Mack. With their new strip duly called “The Revolutionary Times”, they settled on what they call the “alternative newspaper” approach, with the title being a play on popular publication “The New York Times.” The duo believed strongly in journalistic integrity and honesty and found a way to utilize both Mack’s skills in illustration and Howard clever thinking and satire, which, by the way, claims to make up 70-80 percent of The Revolutionary Time’s content. Howard believes firmly in truth saying, “We post what people need to hear. Newspapers are taken over by corporations and they put the news that they want to hear out there. We [Sean and I] create our own paper and our own stories,”

“The Revolutionary Times” has come a long way since it’s birth in 2007. They reference “The Boondocks” as a point of comparison, but try not to align themselves with that particular strip or television show for that matter. Mack has evolved the illustration style from the more common grayscale comic strip approaches to a more colorful palate, “As it progressed, it sort of came into its own, i gave it its own design…for example the dog and deer [strip], it’s a different look for the other comics because i wanted to give their strip a little more separation.” They appreciate their more evolved look calling the results “a lot more eddy and raw.” Howard compliments his partner calling him a genius. Mack simply laughs it off saying, “i wouldn’t say all that.” In one strip they comically approach the Michael Vick controversy. Howard draws the parallel of dog fighting and deer hunting, “it’s kind of contradicting in a way and i want people to see the truth."

When asked how they picked the subject matter, Howard simply says, “just life.” He recalls a recent documentary on the progress of African American comedians from the early 20’s to the present. It’s one of the many devices that Howard uses to pick up his subject matter. Politics, social issues, life- all of it is up for grabs. As serious as it may seem, Sean and Mack haven’t forgotten the basis of comic strips: humor and humanity.

Both Mack and Howard not only gear their creative instincts toward their strip, but they have focused their energies on something a lot larger than them. On the outset of America’s economic plummet, Howard was deeply disturbed upon hearing that a man had killed not only his family, but himself to keep his family from going hungry. The fact that Americans would rather be dead than hungry did not sit well with Howard. He called his buddy Sean and said, “let’s do something crazy, inspirational, out of the box.” Together they created the fairy god brother. A team-created character printed on specialized postcards with inspirational quotes and mailed to random addresses as a sort of unexpected pick-me-up. Unfortunately the project was discontinued due to expenses, but they haven’t forgotten their efforts and hope to continue them soon.
They also address the failing print journalism debate, but they remain optimistic about journalism with their only concern being, of course, to maintain truth and integrity in the printed word, “Things will never be as classic as a paper…but its difficult to say, the thing about comics is- it’s good to have it in the paper. Even if it evolved to a digital tab that you get on your doorstep everyday, its still a comic…I think its going to go through a downward phase and then come back up,” says Howard.

With “The Carolinian” being The Revolutionary Times’ first home, both Mack and Howard have high hopes for their clever strip. “We want the strip to be in a major publication- some major newspapers around the U.S.- cartoons, some toys- I want it to go really far,” says Howard. Even Mack hopes to cash in on the hopefully bright future of “The Revolutionary Tmes”, “If we ever make a movie, it’ll be our version of Enemy of the State,” laughs Mack, “with Taye Diggs actually starring in it.”

Mack, a fresh graduate from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, is doing mostly freelance illustration work, designing fliers, album covers and the like. Mack isn’t sure where he would like to take his B.F.A. in illustration just yet, but he’s not too enthused about trying to gear his art towards children’s entertainment- if it ever came down to it,that is. “I don’t know if I could clean up my mind,” laughs Mack, I was raised on a lot of Chris Rock and Richard Pryor. That’s going to take some time.” In their parting words Howard reminds the future audience to take away “the originality the humor and the truth” of “The Revolutionary Times.” While Mack goes on playfully, “I am the mysterious one…I don’t know what to say, keep hope alive. “Look out for The Revolutionary Times’ first run in The Carolinianian next week.

Recommended: Articles that may interest you

Be the first to comment on this article! Log in to Comment

You must be logged in to comment on an article. Not already a member? Register now

Log In