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Black Man and Dragon?

AN-blizzardOriginally I was going to introduce this note by talking about weather, because coincidentally (but not surprisingly) my friends and family home in Newfoundland have recently dealt with quite a blizzard. I changed those plans (if not the picture) when I realized one of the partnerships we follow in Snapdragon, the first Champions installment of 1942, might be unique.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it relatively uncommon in fiction for a dragon to partner with a human… who happens to be black? You can’t swing a dead cat without finding a dragon teamed up with a white guy (I will not admit if that’s an exaggeration), but not so many people who look like my great-grandfather get to partner with fire-breathing serpents.

I can see how this would happen; dragons are a common part of various European mythologies, and Asian mythologies, but I’m not aware of them coming up often amongst African cultures. I’m not a great connoisseur of fantasy fiction, but I don’t think black protagonists often show up in relation to dragons there either. So maybe this is some sort of first… but whether it is or isn’t, it’s still a lot of fun (and kind of badass).

We didn't included Cross or Ciaran in the Champions photoshoot (I guess we're racist and xenophobic) so here's Sergeant Turner from The Frontier.
We didn’t include Cross or Ciaran in the Champions photo shoot, so here’s Turner and the 25th United States Infantry, from The Frontier.

The excerpt for Snapdragon is now online, and in it you’ll find two-and-a-half year old alien Saa Ciaran teamed up with former-soldier Vanier Cross. Spoiler alert: Vanier has joined the ‘Hospitality Department’ –– the quaint British name for Jimmystown’s elite spy ring –– and despite the fact that working cheek-by-jowl (if dragons have jowls) with a Saa is the ultimate desire of every influential businessman and powerful politician in the United States, it’s a hardworking kid from Georgia who gets the privilege.

Not bad for a ‘negro’ at the start of (an admittedly alternate version of) 1942.

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my own ancestry, but I’ll probably revisit the subject of race relations again soon, because the black soldiers of the 25th United States Infantry are arriving in Newfoundland. Though two decades of garrison duty in Virginia may have left them rusty, it will be interesting to see how they shape up under the command of a new officer, while training in the homeland of their allies from His Majesty’s New World.

But those are discussions for later. For now: a dragon and a black man walk up to a bar, and find an English guy with no legs. It’s not a joke; here’s the excerpt.

Snapdragon launches in just under two weeks –– stay tuned.