#BeReal – TJ LUBRANO @TJLubrano

I met this young lady a while back and for you Haiku Challenge members she is the reason you get a few extra views at times. She puts some of your Haiku links in her The Lubrano Daily that goes out on Twitter.One day last week, our Challenge appeared with 5 links in the form of the challenge and 4 Haiku. Visit to find out more and then onward to her own site. It’s worth it. Follower her on Twitter as well. @TJLubrano


My #BeReal guest today is TJ Lubrano.

Besides being super talented (and Oh My Gosh is she talented) she has the ability to make the sun shine at midnight.

If I had to pick one person to be a role model for my daughter it would be TJ. I often think if she had an inspirational television series aimed at teenagers the world would instantly improve.  This girl has the ability to make huge changes in this world just with her attitude alone.

See for yourself.

I love you TJ.

Artist TJ Lubrano

Greetings lovely readers!

You know, this could be one of the most honest pieces I’ve written about myself. I got tagged by my wonderful Sparkle aka Lizzi on Facebook. Usually when she tags me it’s about an interesting project or movement (#1000speak anyone?). I’m so happy that she did though as I’ve been living under a rock lately. Not…

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Apartheid and Publishers: The bane of South African Comic Creators.

Researching South African Graphic Literature history has been an interesting adventure. A big think I discovered is a great deal of the comics were photo comics early on. Actors would be in the positions of what Americans and Europeans would normally see as drawn panels. Text balloons would then be inserted.

There are rare examples of illustrated comics, and I’ll mention those as I discover them. Yes, I write as I discover as opposed to research then writing. You get to ride along with me as I get excited or disappointed, depending on what I find.

For instance, here is the first illustrated book I found.

mm1Mighty Man. This was Soweto’s version of Superman. Sounds like a good idea, right? The book was about a black policeman who is shot, then healed by some beings from beneath the earth and given powers. All good so far. But the point of the book was to have the blacks during apartheid basically subliminally, from an early age, given the thoughts that going against the rules of the white government was wrong, they should stay in their place, there should be no guns owned by blacks, and it just keeps going.

Back up stories were about local folklore and sports figures. Any efforts by the Americans involved in the creation were slapped down. They worked for the company and did the book. Even when not agreeing with what the books overall message was.1In truth the book was more a propaganda and advertising scheme.

fairest-tb-2I also found a great writer in Lauren Beukes.2 A writer of novels and and TV scripts. Her selection to write Fairest3 for Vertigo4, and imprint of DC Comics says a lot. Fairest is a spinoff of Fables, a highly acclaimed series. Fairest is about the women of fairy tales set in different situations and with actual lives. These aren’t fairy tales.

Beukes arc in the series, The Hidden Kingdom, deals with Rapunzel traveling to Tokyo to take care of a mystery from her past.

Next I stumbled upon a piece by Nobhongo Gxolo who speaks with a couple of South African creators.5 First there was Moray Rhoda, illustrator, designer, and writer. One piece comic fans may have heard of is Velocity, a Graphic Novel anthology with contributing creators. He shares a frustration with another up and coming creator, Loyiso Mkize, illustrator and writer of Kwezi, about a 19 year old cocky guy who suddenly has powers and how he handles it.


The frustration they have is distribution. Local publishers don’t want to invest, not seeing the potential local home grown comics have. Most books are Indie Books in South Africa with any mass published being from the US or Europe. Local creators have more interest from places like US who get what is being done and see the talent of the artists.

“The artwork is definitely international level, but the storytelling is not there”~Rhoda

The artwork gains attention across the ocean, much like many other countries, but the writing is the problem.

“There’s also the fact that as I got older I learned to appreciate the role of superheroes in young people’s minds: positive, encouraging and inspiring.”~Mkize

Comic strips, humorous and adventure were ongoing from the early 20th Century onward. I don’t mention the names here because I honestly am not certain how appropriate some might be considering the way the government segregated society so harshly.

When I begin a more comprehensive series I will include all that I find, but for now enjoy what we have here today. Talent. A lot of it, but with no local publisher support.

Let’s connect.









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Return To Mighty Man
1 http://southafricancomicbooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/sowetos-super-man-mighty-man-and-mid.html

Return To Lauren Beukes
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauren_Beukes
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairest_%28comics%29
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertigo_%28DC_Comics%29

Return To Rhoda and Mkize
5 http://mg.co.za/article/2015-02-27-return-of-the-african-superhero
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Helene Rother: Simply put…Designer

I doubt Helene Rother knew as she and her young daughter escaped to a refugee camp in northern Africa from Nazi occupied France that before long she would be illustrating for Marvel Comics, apparently Jupiter Jimmy, and designing automobile interiors in the United States.

This is a gem I found as I was researching for a car that might have been used in the American Zone of Berlin by an American officer in the late 1940s. I don’t traditionally like to utilize the cliché vehicles we read about in every other book. Instead I want something interesting that I can learn from. When I found the 1948 Nash 600 and Helene Rother I knew I had found my car.


(Interior shot courtesy of autoweek.com)

Helene is credited as being the first woman to work as an automotive designer back in 1943. It’s really no wonder that she was so successful. She knew what women liked and thus what men would like. She brought class to the middle class. And she changed the way the auto industry treated not only the less wealthy auto buyer but the creative woman as well.

Helene went on to design interiors for ambulances and hearses and have her own design company. She even designed the Skylark silverware pattern for Samuel Kirk & Son.


Later in life she began designing stained glass for churches. (Stained glass images courtesy of michiganstainedglass.org)