When I first started sharing my ideas about this series to some select few, I was often met with
“What do you mean by ‘maroon’?”
Here is the best answer, as displayed by a Google search:
noun: Maroon; plural noun: Maroons
a member of any of various communities in parts of the Caribbean who were originally descended from escaped slaves. In the 18th century Jamaican Maroons fought two wars against the British settlers, both of which ended with treaties affirming the independence of the Maroons.
mid 17th century: from French marron ‘feral,’ from Spanish cimarrón ‘wild,’ (as a noun) ‘escaped slave’; compare with Seminole.
Before we delve a bit more into that word, lets go back roughly 8-10 years ago, during a time where I was showing interest in my family background. From both of my parents sides of the family, I had come to hear from various relatives that claimed that we had various native tribes in our lineage. Yes, I know...we ALL SAY THAT WE HAVE IT IN US, and I have since learned (from a DNA test) that I am 7% (My Great-Great Grandfather, for example was a full-blooded Narragansett), among many other ethnic backgrounds, (being a human cocktail as most "African Americans" are), nonetheless. Still, I wondered how many African American/Native American integrated descendants exist, and I came across a book titled simply “Black Indians – A Hidden Heritage” by William Loren Katz (). It is a fascinating read, in particular the history of the Seminole people and their relationships with escaped slaves in south east US. These two groups found solace with one another and built independent communities separated from and eventually became threatening to the government. Born from these communities came the Black Seminole people, who shared lineage of both peoples, and soon they came into conflict with those who feared their union. Wars were fought eventually, in an effort to exterminate the growing possibility that these two races could rise up and become a legitimate threat to the United States establishment. Pushed across the country, they formed safe refuge as far as across the Mexican border.
Being a fan of comic books, cinema and mythology, I began to entertain the idea of a figure from a little-known facet of American history. Historical Black Seminole figures like John Horse stand out as larger than life characters whose DNA can be found in the title character of my book. I often revisited the idea of creating a modern take on American Folklore, but infusing supernatural fantasy elements and using historical markings for a loose reference, hence my tagline of "American Folklore Remixed". I borrowed elements from all forms of pop-culture, like “The Man with No Name” character from Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly . The crazy mix of folklore fantasy with horror from Le Pacte de Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf), is a particular favorite of mine. The adult limitations of Heavy Metal and Epic Magazines, and the varied crazy villainy derived from anime like Ninja Scroll and Golgo 13. These were all slight ingredients that had conscious effects on my series, while trying to maintain it’s own flavor.
While The Maroon is a blending of history with the fantastic, what I really hope comes from this experience, is the further exposure of a pocket an American-created people often blindsided by “grander events that pushed American History forward”.
- Derek W. Lipscomb
May 19, 2017