The story of your company, your brand, your vision is the story of you. The story of how you turned a dream into something real and tangible. Anyone can have a dream. Bringing your dream to life is the story of changing the world.
Meet Far I shields
I met Far I Shields at AfroComiCon. That’s when I first heard about Green Team Comics
I was lucky enough to sit down for a conversation with Far I to talk about how this all began, where his characters come from, and how an idea became his life’s mission.
The saxophone and Spiritual Freedom
We started with his introduction to music through piano lessons and moved into the spiritual freedom that came with playing the saxophone while listening to the radio. Instead of trying to play the exact notes of each song, Far I focused on playing along with the rhythm and melody of the songs “of his generation.” It was a moment that ignited a passion for music.
Understanding the spiritual freedom that came from playing his music made it easier for Far I to recognize the transformation he experienced in 2009. A chance conversation, two introductions, and a movie with a message later, and he was ready to put aside real estate renovation and perform songs with a message of change.
The next step was a challenge for Far I to put his energy into a movement of change with a direct impact. After witnessing the impression his mentor could create during one visit, Far I was convinced this was part of his mission. He started a green cleaning company and shared the example of cleaning without chemicals.
Comics with a message
One night, in the late hours when the streetlights have come on and the sky, is dark, Far I’s cleaning equipment came to life. Their qualities and attributes became living breathing characters. Green Team Comics was born in the ether of creation.
The first book The Scope of Time was more of an introduction that was more a story with pictures than a graphic novel. But, The Birth of Sun Ray is a full-scale comic book. It’s the next chapter in Far I’s story of rebirth and transformation. The goal? To leave a legacy of change.
Read this excerpt from Far I’s website for more information about the man behind the mission.
Far I Shields is a musician, artist, and author for global transformation.
His latest Book Release is the Birth of Sun Ray Comic Book available now for firstname.lastname@example.org
Far I Shields is a singer who has been providing musical performances since the age of 7. Now it is time for the creative works of Far I to be shared with the world. The journey begins. Raising the consciousness of human beings on the planet is the number one goal of Far I. Each song, painting, and book can be used as a vehicle for the viewer and listener to enter and transport to their higher selves or a higher state of consciousness.
We will change the world by changing ourselves. The key to each individual having a life-changing moment is to activate our dreams. Messages can be received moment by moment when we tune into the divine broadcast. This is the discovery of the beautiful world within. All aboard!
I was raised on the Christian stories from the Bible that were taught in Sunday School. I read them in an illustrated version of that Bible.
It was the illustrations that really struck the deepest note. They were gorgeous. The men had bold jawlines and the muscles of an elite athlete.
The women were noble and graceful. The stories presented virtue, compassion, and love. They portrayed the dangers and the pitfalls of selfishness and pride.
When I started to read my first comic books, I made a connection with every element triggered by the sensory experiences of my childhood. The art was a continuation of those same strong lines I remembered. The goal — to stop evil by advancing the cause of right, it made all the sense in the world. But, aside from a trip down memory that was enhanced with new generations of art and storytelling, there was something that kept me coming back.
It was the moral questions that were always challenged by new villains, new agendas, and new dangers that drew me back again and again.
That made it easy for me to look at the same war stories that my friends and I saw on television and in movies with a graduated understanding. I don’t remember how old I was when I made the connection that my father had served in the military or that the Vietnam War was more than just the name for something I didn’t understand.
When I did, I tried to put a shape around the things I had seen and heard. I had questions about why it had so much meaning. It made people so emotional. But, there was the problem with my level of understanding. When I was 13, my dad handed me the book When Hell was in Session by Senator Jeremiah Denton.
Denton was a pilot who was shot down and held captive as a Prisoner of War in the City of Hanoi. Denton described a gruesome experience at the hands of guards in the North Vietnam Army. He also provided a first-person description of John McCain’s actions as a fellow prisoner. The stories of leadership and faith that they both demonstrated were described with such humility that it was moving to read such simple displays of bravery.
It created a problem for me when I grew older and began to shape viewpoints and opinions that were different from men like McCain and Denton. These were men that I looked up to for their example. Now, I disagreed with our conflicting viewpoints of the world and what it needs to thrive. When I voted against him in 2008, it was less against the man and more the platform.
The announcement from McCain’s family that the senator would no longer receive treatment for the rare brain cancer he had been fighting was disheartening. I knew that it was not about giving up. This decision was about the time and the toll that his fight was taking on the people he loved. John McCain believed in choosing his time and making sure that his decision was ultimately the best for others and not just himself.
His funeral service was a rebuke of the climate that continues to erode the social and political decorum that once defined Washington, D.C. It was a choice to make a decision about how he would face his end. It’s something that I have to remember when I talk to my dad.
My dad has been in a fight with prostate cancer for a few years now. The how and other pertinent details are his to tell and he’ll tell them if and when he wants that information public. What has been a challenge is the need to understand that in the end, this is his fight. It’s his life and he gets to decide what he does about it and what treatments he will use to try and save it.
I have my views and opinions about his treatment. So does my sister. Then there is the first doctor that he talked to, followed by a urologist, then a different one in another state. Then there is my sister’s husband who manages a medical center and consulted experts in oncology and other specialized cancer departments.
My dad listens. He weighs the pros and the cons. He has spoken with homeopathic herbalists. He has tried two courses of treatment using modern medicine. He has been concurrently following three different herbal regimens.
I don’t agree with everything I hear, but I would like to think that I have come to an understanding that I can support no matter what happens next. It’s not my body.
It’s not about me.
When I first heard the news that my dad had cancer I wanted to do something. I made suggestions. So did my sister. We found more things. We found new things. But, he kept trying what sounded best to him. There were conversations and a few arguments. But, he kept choosing the options that he read or heard about and his reasons were anecdotal and factual.
It took some time for that to sink in. Eventually, it did. But, it bears remembering and repeating. Sometimes in a shorter form. It’s his choice. And that’s how I get to Thor: Ragnarok.
The third installment in Marvel’s Thor franchise is a tale of destruction and loss. It is the Norse apocalypse that features the death of Odin, which leads to the fall of Asgard.
Odin, Thor, and Loki
There is a touching scene when Thor and Loki find their father — Odin — in Iceland. Standing on by the shoreline and watching the water, Odin tells them that it is his time. His mother is calling and he wants to go. He departs in a glitter of sparks. His final words are, “Remember this place.”
We don’t always get a choice to decide our time. When that time is chosen for someone, those remembering them will say that they were taken or stolen. Others might add that they are gone too soon.
Having the right to make the choice is a gift. Choosing how to face a threat to your life is an option that not everyone is given. Taking that choice away from my dad would be wrong. For as long as he is able to make that choice, I have a responsibility to support his freedom to make decisions about his quality of life.
The poem Death Be Not Proud by John Donne is a perfect example of this choice. The speaker is challenging death by questioning the power it claims to have over men. By the end of the poem, a final claim is made that death too shall die.
There is no power greater than choice. Even death is humbled by such might.
The present is always recovering from the past. When times are good it takes energy to sustain them. When times are bad it takes energy to change them. The best way to know how to sustain or how to change is asking questions.
Questions reveal the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we reach our conclusions. Telling a story, cultivating a discussion, or building a world, involves asking and answering the hard questions. I was lucky enough to record my conversation with Dr. Sarah L. Webb, Fenyang Smith, and Jabari Alii. These three creators provided answers that not only informed the discussion, they also expanded it.
Why the Same Questions?
There’s this thing called the Proust Questionnaire. It’s a list of 35 questions that were created as a parlor room game. The game is designed to establish a series of baseline answers people and then offer deeper insights. These can reveal the inner desires and surprising details that show the little differences in why and how we think what we think. It is named after novelist Marcel Proust who made it famous with his claim that when answering the questions a person reveals their true nature.
The host of the show Inside The Actors Studio uses these questions at the end of interviews with renowned actors. Vanity Fair has made a practice of including the questions on the last page of its magazine. The answers are supplied by public figures and always interesting and nuanced.
The questions are a valuable way to understand a person’s motivations, thinking, and more. It is also a popular way to create compelling characters and understand how their values can shape the direction of a story.
Why these Questions are different?
The Planet Rise team attended a panel on Black Representation in Gaming at the 2018 Game Developers Convention in San Francisco, Ca. We listened to a series of questions discussed at a panel called Black Representation in Gaming at the 2018 GDC in SF.
What I wanted to know is how does what we do change the way we answer and interpret the questions and how does that impact the creative process?
Why is this important?
I work on a video game that features a heroine who is a strong black woman and a commanding young leader. Two of the other prominent characters are also black. The success and failure of projects that feature persons of color have had mixed degrees of success and the questions in his panel were addressing the elements that led to success or failure. And the limits that this has placed on recent opportunities.
The questions were helpful because they offered the chance for speakers who work in the video game industry and represent the small percentage of people of color that are employed by these companies.
If our game is going to be successful then we must be aware of the way that our answers compare with the answers that we heard at the panel and how that will influence the game we are creating.
These are some of the questions that were raised at the panel.
Why are there so few games/movies with diverse main characters?
One Myth is that they are hard to sell or market, what do you say to this?
What is the value of a story that crosses all borders, and more?
Is it important to create a spectrum of diverse characters?
My first conversation was with Fen Smith, a musician and story writer for the game Planet Rise. Fen provided insight on the viewpoint of writing the environment and the characters that make it real.
You can listen to his answers here.
Sarah Webb Photo – Courtesy of Hodges Media Team
The second conversation was with my friend Dr. Sarah L. Webb. Dr. Webb runs a website and writing contest called Colorism Healing. She has written numerous essays and published collections that feature emerging voices who are shaping a reflective discussion about colorism.