A Couple Gives Us A Superhero that Doesn’t Leave His Bed Physically, Graphic Novel: RECALL & GIVEN
Krip-Hop Nation: Thank you for agreeing to be interview. This comic book, RECALL AND GIIVEN, is really about your relationship tell us how did you all meet and the turning points in this book.
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: We met decades ago at National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters in David's hometown of Washington, D.C. David had been a news producer there for years already. I (Roz) was a grad student at Howard University hired to help out administratively on a show called, Let's Hear It! The show's primary audience was visually impaired and disabled people. At the time, just a handful of Black people worked at network headquarters, and NPR had far fewer staff than it does now. So we all knew each other and had each other's backs. David and I became lifelong friends. He was and is the kind of guy you trust instinctively, as a matter of course. He wears integrity in his smile, how he carries himself, and how he helps people. There isn't a person who knows him who does not respect David. David says there's not a person who truly knows me who doesn't love me. That's the consist of our relationship: We love each other.
Krip-Hop Nation: Your preview edition is online in its entirety at www.RECALLandGIVEN.com. What are the turning points in your latest book?
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: We draw upon our lives just after David fell ill, when we found ourselves living in hospital intensive care units. As everyone who has ever survived a debilitating illness or watched a hospital TV drama knows, hospitals are rarely a place strictly for healing and recovery. After David's brain injury, we huddled together there fending off the poor prognoses of doctors and health care professionals, as well as the traumas imposed by neighboring patients' lives. One particular morning at 3:00 a.m., due to hospital overcrowding, David was moved to an overflow intensive care ward. We were joined there by a dozen or so jailed inmates and their armed guards. The patient in the next bed loudly declared his allegiance to the Aryan Nation and his disdain for Black people. As we fought to ignore racist threats and get David moved out of the ward that was ankle-deep in shackles, I tried to distract David from the bedlam around us by reminding him how much we needed one of the superheroes he loved to get us out of this morass. Now more than ever in this age of emboldened racists, that nightmare of ours—of being disabled innocents in a ward of hate—is the perfect opening scenario for RECALL AND GIVEN, especially since RECALL's superpower is memory in all of its facets.
Krip-Hop Nation: Tell us what this comic book meant to your relationship.
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: RECALL AND GIVEN saved us both. David fell ill eight years ago this month. His recovery has been miraculous—given his prognosis—but glacially slow by most metrics. He is still unable to move purposefully or speak—though he remains more vitally present and alive than ever. His therapists routinely give up on him because he has not regained physical functionality quickly enough for them to continue billing insurers. David has grown discouraged with his therapies at times as well. The comic, RECALL AND GIVEN, was born as a way to reinvigorate us. David has loved and grown with his comic superheroes since he was three years old. His knowledge of all things comic is and was encyclopedic. I had no choice but to become more curious about the genre because it brings David such joy. Our proximity to Comic-Con here in San Diego and our friends in the comic industry gave him comfort as he left his lifelong home in D.C. and moved West. In David's case, you can take the man out of D.C. (District of Columbia), but you can never take DC Comics out of the fan. He'd always wanted to create a comic book, so David re-found a reason to keep trying to live purposefully in RECALL AND GIVEN, and I found a way to a goal to our effort. Almost immediately after starting to craft the comic, we were no longer simply struggling to survive. We were enjoying our survival. We were having real fun for a change.
Krip-Hop Nation: Has this comic became a way to speak on issues that you two see and witness in society today?
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: Heck yaaaaas! It's a hard, scary time for anybody who loves and cares about their fellow human beings here at home and out in the world. Overnight, the public face of our country fell from inclusive to exclusive. Disabled people went from being a platform priority with one candidate, to being demonstrative political pawns to the minority winner. Our comic RECALL AND GIVEN deals with the collective and very personal fallout. Of course, our story is ready-roll for the march, given David's successful personal fight to regain his voting rights in time for the 2016 general election. (You can checkout that well publicized story on www.RECALLandGIVEN.com.) In fact, restoring voting rights, we read, are a coming battleground for President Obama and Attorney General Holder. RECALL AND GIVEN stands ready to fight voter suppression in all its forms—as our comic also illuminates healthcare and disability rights, racism, sexism, homelessness, political activism, and the power of heart in the arts.
Krip-Hop Nation: Tell us about issue one and the future of the story.
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: Without giving too much of the non-linear storyline away, our current book starts with the inmates at the hospital being confronted by RECALL's memory superpower. It then progresses to RECALL's early, intermittent mastery of his ability suit via the five kinds of people one meets in an ICU. Finally, we tease for the next episode by way of GIVEN's good cookin' in blue-light politics. That scene is seasoned with the quiet kind of love you have to witness to appreciate. There's plenty of background jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and self-deprecating humor providing a proverbial soundtrack throughout.
As for future issues, we've got RECALL's superpower memory—the scientific strides already made in understanding its biological, psychological and philosophical function—and so much that has yet to be fathomed. We're working with a few cognitive scientists on that front. With GIVEN, we have love as a superpower more ancient and elemental than anything else to explore.
Krip-Hop Nation: What is your message for disabled and non-disabled comic lovers like my nephews?
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: Just three things:
1) Comics are for disabled people too!—no matter how many comic developers try to tell you disability is the thing everybody wants to be rid of and nobody cares about.
2) Try not to be mercenary with your passion. It'll likely cheapen your soul now and your legacy down the road.
3) Love always shows us the way home.
Krip-Hop Nation: Give us some scenes especially in homeless shelter and nursing homes.
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: You'll have to read the book for scenes ; -). But the preview edition on our Website www.RECALLandGIVEN.com will get you started.
Krip-Hop Nation: How are women charechters play out in RECALL and GIVEN
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: Just as they do in life. The threat of "inspiration porn" is very real to any marginalized sector of our society. Gender differences—just like differences in ability—are an integral part of RECALL AND GIVEN's universe of cares. GIVEN is part of a love duo, like so many sistahs. Life intervenes and helps her to define herself, just as it does for RECALL, and for every other character on the page.
Krip-Hop Nation: Give us the meaning of the title, RECALL and GIVEN
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: Memory is the origin of everything we do. Memory is RECALL's realm. Love encompasses everything we hold dear. Love is Given's realm.
Krip-Hop Nation: Are you thinking a movie or televison series?
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: We penned a TV script that's been well received. We'll let you know when it finds its way home.
Krip-Hop Nation: How can people support the book and stay in contact with you and any last words?
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: Go to our Website, www.RECALLandGIVEN.com and leave us your info through our "Contact Us" nav link. We'll keep you apprised of our next book's digital and print availability this Spring. We'll also share free comic book day offerings, comic con forays, and film news. You can also contact us at RECALL AND GIVEN via social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Pic:From Recall & Given: David is in a hospital Bed and Roz is at his side her hand ontop of his hand. David is saying: I'm glad you are here Roz saying: I'm a given your GIVEN.