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Zulu Mech

Zulu Mech

This is a project that has been in the works for a little while.  It’s actually something I had forgotten about until one of the people that worked on it posted a few updates on Facebook.

Zulu Mech is an animation from the author of Shades of Memnon, written by Gregory “Brother G” Walker.

I actually met Gregory many years ago.  I was at a book store and he just walked up to me and asked me if wanted to check out this book he wrote.  I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but I was doing graphics at the time and he asked me if I would show him some of my work and potentially work with him on some animation.  This must have been about ten years ago, but I believe he had already managed to get Wesley Snipes involved.  The day we were supposed to meet he called me and said he would have to reschedule.  We never settled on a date and time so nothing ever came of our encounter.

When I first saw the trailer for it I wasn’t sure what to make of it.  It features an introduction by Wesley Snipes that lasts almost five minutes, it leaves the last two minutes or so for footage from the first episode.  Here is the trailer:

I went through the sign up process and paid $1.99 to watch the full episode.  I can tell you right now some people are going to be offended by the humor in Zulu Mech.  Anyone that is sensitive about things like religion and homosexuality will likely be stunned by some of the statements that are made.  The humor isn’t for everyone, but I think the biggest problem for many people will be the lack of audible dialogue.  It’s like a comic book with music and sound effects.  All of the dialogue is shown in dialogue bubbles just like a comic book, a “cinema graphic novel” as they call it.  There are some very dynamic scenes that are just screaming to be voiced in this thing and I do think that many casual observers who aren’t into the genre will be put off by that, but at $1.99 I’d say watch it and decide for yourself.

At this point I encourage everyone to check out the full episode and leave comments as to what you think.  Without looking at the specific content that is contained within Zulu Mech, I think this project embodies many of the elements that have been discussed on this blog.  Someone who originally wrote a book decided to take his project from beginning to end.

I don’t exactly agree with everything in Zulu Mech, but I respect the fact that this is someone who had Wesley Snipes attached to his project, back before Wesley was going through all of the recent drama, and the foreword to his book is written by Bill Duke.  He could have easily sold out and lost creative control, but he stuck with it and did things his way.

Click the image below to get the full episode: Zulu Mech

Get the books at Amazon.

3 comments to Zulu Mech

  • Just watched it. A valiant effort, but it could have been much better with a few tweaks here and there, notably the addition of audible language, as you noted.

    I actually didn’t find any of it that offensive, if at all, but I suppose others could be. I’ll watch it again just to be sure I was paying full attention.

    Also, I’d recommend that they place it somewhere that’s more accessible, and that people are familiar with. Frankly, I was a little hesitant to enter all my personal info, credit card, etc, since I’d never been to this site before and thus didn’t know who owned it, or ran it. And I’d guess that if I’m ambivalent, many others will be as well, which could be to the site’s detriment. If you hadn’t already purchased it, I probably wouldn’t have either.

    Or rather, maybe they should just allow for free viewing – at least, the first episode, or two or three, and give viewers the opportunity to not only decide whether they would be willing to pay for the rest of the series, but to also become comfortable doing so. Maybe place them on a video sharing site, so others can embed on their sites, giving the work more coverage than it’s probably getting, sitting on WinSonic H20 right now – something that I think could pay off in the long run.

    Lastly, if feels more like it’s marketing for something else, as opposed to a standalone series; like if there was a graphic novel they were selling, and these short episodes were meant to entice the viewer to buy the novel.

    So, if anything, it’s gotten me interested in checking out “Shades of Mennon,” even though Zulu Mech 1 isn’t based on it.

    Have you read “Mennon?” If so, thoughts?

  • One more thing… I didn’t realize you were ever in the graphic arts. I’ve had plans to feature more illustrators and animators of African descent on this site, and previous, but just never made the time and effort to do so.

    If that’s a world that you’re plugged into, certainly more than I am, I think a regular series highlighting those worth noting is a good idea. We all know about works like “Watchmen,” and “Sin City,” among others (which have been made into films), and we tune in to watch “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy;” I’m sure there are comparable (and maybe not necessarily so) works by artists of African descent featuring characters of African descent that I’m just not aware of, and would like to be.

  • Qadree

    Your concerns about the site that’s selling the video are understandable. I had never heard of it until I got the link to Zulu Mech. That’s one of the reasons why I explicitly stated that I had gone through the with the process and paid for it like anyone else would. If it was my project I would use a site like tubemogul.com and blast the first episode out to as many video sites as possible so that people could see it without paying.

    As far as the politically incorrect jokes go, I know some people will be offended by that reference to battling gay devils in Atlanta and the devil having so much power because of Christianity.

    I read a little of Shades of Memnon many years ago. It wasn’t in stores back then and the copy I was reading didn’t belong to me so I didn’t have the chance to finish it, but I must say that I’ve never heard anyone speak ill of that book and the little bit that I read was interesting. Everyone I know that’s had a chance to read it says that it could easily be a hit movie. I had forgotten about it until now so I’m going to get a copy and finish it up.

    I used to stay on top of things with animation, but I’ve been slacking as of late. I’ll see if I can find anything new and interesting.