New York, NY – Hey Sports fans! A few weeks ago, I covered the 2014 New York Comic Con. As a result, I will be interviewing several of the creative minds who I had the privilege of meeting during that weekend.
Following Comic Con, I followed up with dynamic artist Abdul Rashid for an interview. Not only is he a creative wizard, Abdul is also the Founder and CEO of AHR Visions. Taking some time out of his busy schedule, Abdul and I talked about the company’s latest comic book, Black Rose.
From the creation to the process and the athleticism behind creating Black Rose, we discussed it all. With that said, here’s my interview with Abdul.
What is AHR Visions?
AHR Visions, LLC (AHRV) is a northeast Ohio based multi-platform/trans-media studio, specializing in creation, development and production of pop-culture projects, specifically in the action, sci-fi and horror genres.
The projects will feature an array of varied characters from all genders, demographics, and cultures in order to properly represent the diverse audience the studio will reach and entertain at AHRVisions.com.
Aside from out creator-owned and studio alliance titles we will be putting out, we have celebrity backed projects in development and in affiliation, including respective titles from actor/producer Terry Crews and actor/producer Kevin Grevioux.
How long has it been in existence?
The studio was officially established in late-2012. We’ve just initiated the first previews of the flag-ship titles this year and will have first issues available soon and going into the New Year. To answer your question… Not that long.
What was your motivation behind Black Rose?
I have always been a little dismayed by the appeal that “gangster” movie titles seem to have with youth and adults, particularly within the communities of color, as how the protagonists in the films generate an allure to criminal activity.
If you look in the Hip-Hop community, the draw certain properties, such as Scarface, Goodfellas, The Godfather and New Jack City, seem to have on capturing an audience from within this certain sector, is immense. Most times an image from any, or all of those titles, seem to be plastered somewhere in the domicile of individuals from that said community.
This has always been confusing to me, as the “heroes” of these properties are indeed villains themselves. But the properties position these characters in a manner that have you wanting to see them succeed…and “win in the end”. This also has confused me as all of them seem to have a level of tragedy happen through their deeds…which are range in varying stages of terrible.
When the creator of Black Rose, AHRV partner Zacharia Ali, presented his creation to me for development, I was drawn to it immediately. This character is the embodiment of two genres that have major appeal…while presenting a LEGITIMATE hero within the content of the story.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good crime drama as much as the next person, but I am not a fan of glorifying the criminal lifestyle…particularly with youth. So I naturally loved the opportunity that brings a hybrid character like Black Rose to life for the public. I know audiences will really find him surprisingly enjoyable.
We at AHRV also want to develop a platform for multi-media franchises to be developed around diverse characters from all ethnic backgrounds that reflect the diverse society of today. I believe that people will have a better appreciation for characters/images that have a relatable quality.
Who is Black Rose and what is his purpose?
Solomon Moor, who is the alter-ego of Black Rose, is a billionaire businessman raised in the atmosphere of both the civilian and criminal underworld. Upon witnessing the impact the criminal element has on the innocent, he chooses to utilize his vast network and resources in both realms to wage a campaign against the evil entities…under the guise of a “spectral” crime-lord. Think of him as a mixture of Batman/James Bond/Scarface. A combination like that is going to be deadly…but incredibly entertaining to follow.
Black Rose is developed to as a figure/symbol that inspires hope and empowerment with everyone, but particularly with the traditionally under-represented communities that also are large fans of popular-culture.
There are very few strong, upright and NON-stereotypical figures of diversity in popular-culture today. And those that are present tend to take 2nd fiddle to their Eurocentric-counterparts. This does not have to always be the case…and Black Rose will be an example of that.
How long did it take to complete your book?
Most books take a couple (2-3) months to fully generate…give or take a few days…as time is allotted. I tend to be a perfectionist, which can influence production time if I’m not careful. That’s the hard part…
What was more challenging, the writing or the illustrating?
That’s an interesting question. The challenge isn’t so much in the either…but rather what I’m writing/drawing about at that time. When working on a title like Black Rose, or SKORN or The 8, there has to be a level of “down time” included to insure there is good filler dialogue/establishing to address strong story content.
As much as I would like to have a whole series of titles that is nothing but action-sequences…that’s not necessarily the best way to have a multi-layered story. Although, I’m sure it can work on other properties. I just feel there has to be depth to a title and it has to sincerely respect the intelligence of the audience.
How difficult is it to juggle your personal and professional lives when writing a book?
These are good questions! Anyone dealing and working with me know that I am an artistic-businessman. So I have to have a level of balance for me to function. That is not always the easiest thing to have. So, it’s not so much a “juggling” of the personal/professional as it’s more so a “get it done” mindset.
I get asked on a regular, “How do you do it?” in regards to the production of the titles, studio mandates, and artistic/creative mandates…while having some level of personal life. I just do. My relationships, rather they are my Family or my business are parts of what makes me function. That’s balance. So I have to make sure it’s all addressed as needed.
What were some the high & low points behind the creation of Black Rose?
To be honest, I’ve had no low points with the development of this or any of the titles. I just wish I had more time to just work on the titles during a week so I can get more done. That would probably be a “low point”. Not enough time to get everything I want done when I want it.
But I tend to still find a way to accomplish things. Fortunately, the creation of the character fell on Mr. Ali, I get the fun part of developing him further.
Where can readers read your work?
Readers will be able to download all the AHRV titles soon on various digital online platforms from Comixology, Amazon, and other online platforms. We will post announcements updates of availability on the AHRVisions.com.
As we expand, we will be sure to keep the public informed of all the other media platforms AHRV titles will be on in the time to come. We have a lot of exciting properties coming out of the studio in the very near future!