Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Cocoa Fly Lands at the
Image Expo Part 1

(L-R) Enrique Carrion, Cocoa Fly, Rafael Diaz, Evilio Tamayo

 Superheroes, villains, mutants and folks that have no business in spandex are invading Anaheim, Calif. this weekend. Yep, Wondercon is in full effect. Usually it's held in San Francisco but rumor has it that it Wondercon temporarily moved to Anaheim this year because of construction at the the Moscone Center. I hope that's true since SoCal already has Comicon.  I didn't think I would get my comic fix this year until I heard about the first Image Expo in Oakland. Image Comics hosted the convention last month. Image Comics is a more forward-thinking publisher promoting independence.  It's  "a place where writers and artists [can] bring new ideas—and own them. Not just a piece of those ideas but the whole things, " Founding Partner Erik Larsen wrote. Sounds like Image Comics doesn't want other artists and writers to end up like such people as the Superman creators. 

Anatomically, ahem, correct
 Batman mannequin
Image Comics is not like "The Big Two" aka DC and Marvel comics. I definitely got more on an indi, hip vibe at the convention. I went on Saturday and didn't see people dressed up in costume like at Wondercon. I  saw one dude with a Batman t-shirt.  I love the flamboyance at Wonder/Comicon, but I really enjoyed the Image Expo. The Womanthology workshop about women in comics was awesome. I'll write up a post about that soon. And I found more of the artists to be out of the box and edgier than those working for "The Big Two." And on a shallow note, I met a lot of cute guys (*wink, wink*).

Speaking of cute comic geeks, the picture to the upper left are  the brains behind the comic Vescell.  It's only 7-issues old. The storyline is enticing and for adults only. Vescell is a major corporation that performs "Vtrans," the transferring of people's minds and spirits to other bodies. Crazy right? The story takes place in the fictional, grimy Icarus City and follows Vescell Agent Mauricio "Moo" Barrino.  I read one issue and couldn't put it down. I can see this becoming an HBO drama or movie.  You heard it here first folks! Enrique Carrion (writer and creator),  Rafael Diaz and  Evelio Tamayo (artists)  all grew up in Spanish Harlem. Isn't that cool?!  Image publishes Vescell.  They told me they're the only all-black creative staff of a major comic publisher. I wanted to get a picture with them because I know they're going to blow up.

Artist Terry Huddleston and Cocoa Fly
photo by Michael Pleasent

I searched high. I searched low. I searched online. All I wanted was artwork of  X-Men's Storm. What I found was either whack or overpriced. I couldn't find any at Wondercon last year, which I found to be a damn shame. She's one of the highest –rank officers of the X-Men and no one sold prints of her. Swooping in with super artistic vision and hustle powers of steel, Terry Huddleston. This artist came to my rescue. Aren't the prints beautiful?! I bought a flying Storm and mohawk Storm.  I event bought a black Wonder Woman!  What's great about Terry is that he has pieces of just about every DC and Marvel hero and villain you can think of. His work is awesome. Check us out working the fros. J

Artist Sterling Clark and Cocoa Fly
photo by Michael Pleasent

If I were an X-Men mutant I would probably kick it with Storm and Rogue. I'm talking about 1990s Storm and Rogue. Not the new stuff.  Storm would be my mentor, preparing me for leadership in the X-Men. Rogue and I would probably hit the bar and take some shots after a long day of ass-kicking, time travel. One Sunday a month she would cook a big ol' Southern dinner for us. Basically, Rogue is one of my favorite X-Men characters and artist Sterling Clark made a picture of her I couldn't walk away from (How can you not buy something from a dude named Sterling Clark?). It's the old school, grown woman Rogue I love. And she looks black. I would have bought it if she weren't black, but I've never seen a black Rogue and thought it was cool. This one made my office walls.  Clark lives in Cleveland. He's the creator of the syndicated comic strip Ntimbinde, about an African female warrior.

Robert Love

Someone asked me what's up with Jeremy Love's online DC Comics Bayou. I ran into his brother Robert Love and he said fans should hear something in the near future. Robert Love (what's up with these cartoon artists and their cool names?) is doing big things too. He's the artist for new hit series called Alpha Girl.  A brand of cosmetics turns women into man-eating zombies. Judith is the last living woman on Earth and is trying to protect her little brother from zombie women. I wonder if some of those zombie women ate their deadbeat ex-boyfriends. Pun intended.  Robert also has as an animation of his super hero in the hood, Chocolate Thunder.  Some of you ladies (and gents) may have heard of the name Chocolate Thunder outside of the comic industry. Know what I mean (wink, wink)?  The video I watched of the community superhero was really cool. has much love for the Love Brothers.  

Part 2   I didn't forget about the ladies. I'll introduce you to some of the Sheroes I met at the Image Expo. 


  1. OMG, Jenee...I have to come hang out with you some time. You meet the coolest people and do the awesomest things!! I LOVE THE STORM ARTWORK!!!

  2. Thanks Amaya! I like to have fun and meet interesting people. Life is to be lived!


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