A reader asked what influenced my fictional world of Kammbia by email a few days ago. I thought about this question since that email and I had always believed my direct influences were Charles de Lint’s novels about Newford, Canada and Jorge Amado’s novels about Bahia, Brazil. I’ve had read both authors throughout my adult life and it inspired me to create a fictional world as colorful as Amado’s Bahia and contemporary and magical as De Lint’s Newford. However, I had to add another influence that was unexpected. Green Lantern Mosaic comic book series written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Cully Hamner was a direct influence on Kammbia as the aforementioned authors.
Green Lantern Mosaic was an eighteen issue series began in June 1992 until November 1993. The first issue began as John Stewart, a Green Lantern, was the guardian for Planet Oa. Oa was designed as an experiment to see if various human and alien communities can live together in harmony. Stewart was to maintain the peace amongst these communities and construct a society for all.
It introduced us to various races and John Stewart shares his philosophy on what he envisions Oa is to become. Jones creates a thoughtful superhero in Stewart and Hamner’s artwork gives it an edgy quality that undergirds the utopian planet.
Re-reading the first issue after twenty-five years has brought back my original thoughts on how ground-breaking this series about how people of different ethnicities, beliefs, and systems can live together. Jones shows the success and pitfalls of what true multiculturalism can produce. It has made me examine what diversity can truly be in the real world.
I will admit to my reluctance in deciding to go back and re-read Green Lantern Mosaic. However, the first issue proves my gut instinct was right all along and I’m indebted to these comic books. Artistic inspiration can come from many places and I believe to grow as an artist, one must fully embrace where your truest influences come from. I plan to re-read and review the entire eighteen issues over time. They will not be in sequential order, but in order of importance to me as a writer and artist.