Nerdcore rapper Juice Lee will discuss his comic book Skrap during our Queen City Black Comix Day virtual comics creators panel at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 31, on the Midwest BSFA YouTube channel!

Midwest BSFA: How did you come up with this concept and why?
Lee:
I have been a fight fan for the last 15 years. I’ve had an extremely deep love for martial arts nearly all my life. This book started out as more of a side story to another story that I was writing. The main character in this story is the sister of the main character and the other story I was writing. Initially I had no intentions of writing this story off the bat. I ended up getting writer’s block with my initial story and just started spit balling ideas. Those ideas snowballed into this I wrote the story mainly because I wanted to tell the story of a black female UFC champion since there hasn’t been one. But then it started to evolve and change into so many things beyond the cage and it started to really take on a life of its own.

Midwest BSFA: Give me a short synopsis of the comic.
Lee:
Skrap is the journey of 19-year-old Shannon Noble. After getting her black belt in traditional martial arts she finds out that there’s a much bigger world outside of her dojo. This revelation leads her to being thrown into the deep end of the world of MMA. She will forge friendships and chase after titles and find out that certain myths and legends are as real as it gets.

Midwest BSFA: How did you get into Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
Lee:
Being a fight fan, I was always curious about Brazilian jiu-jitsu. A friend of mine from high school knew a guy who studied for a little bit. He brought that guy to my mom’s house many years ago and introduced me to the world of jiu-jitsu and wrestling. That was some time in 2010; I was hooked after that. Unfortunately, the schools in my area were a bit out of my price range so I had to wait a while before I could really train again. That time was about 6 years [laughs]. I resumed training in 2017.

Midwest BSFA: Have you always wanted to write a comic book?
Lee:
Other than making music and wanting to write movies, this was the only other thing I really wanted to do with my life. The pandemic actually jump started me diving into working on this.

Midwest BSFA: Who were your favorite comic book characters as a kid?
Lee:
Without a doubt it was always Spider-Man. The main reason I always liked him—aside from the “every man” story—was the fact that his villains constantly underestimated him. He was always this real type of underdog character, but what people don’t realize is that Peter’s mind got him out of more situations than his powers did.

Midwest BSFA: Who were your favorite comic book writers?
Lee:
Without a doubt, the late, great Dwayne McDuffie was a huge inspiration to me. Such a phenomenal writer and storyteller. I also really liked Paul Dini. (For those who don’t know, both of those guys were very instrumental in creating a lot of the stories from Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Animated Series.)

Midwest BSFA: Were you influenced by those writers?
Lee:
I was definitely influenced by those guys just because of how they crafted stories and how they could create good narratives that never talked down to the viewer.

Midwest BSFA: What inspires your writing?
Lee:
One of the big things that inspires my writing is trying to tell stories with people enrolled that Hollywood would never give them. But sometimes I find myself loving characters more than the plot. If you notice with this story there is a colorful cast of people most of which would never be in these roles and a big budget Hollywood project. Or if they were in these roles they would be massively stereotyped or tokenized.

Queen City Black Comix Day virtual comics creators panel take place at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 31, on the Midwest BSFA YouTube channel.

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