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Photographs by Duwayno Roberts

[Each Wednesday, Complex columnist Percy Carey a.k.a. MF Grimm dives into the world of comic books with industry interviews, reviews and more.]

It's not every day you get the chance to interview your favorite musical artist; or interview a beautiful woman who love comic books/graphic novels. So when you get the chance, you should jump at it right? I agree. Now what if she was also a real live super hero as well? Would you reveal her to the world or would you keep her identity secret? I'm loyal to you Complex readers, so I must reveal her true identity because of journalistic integrity.

The superhero I'm talking about is named is Malene Younglao, and she's by far the most talented human being I have the pleasure to call a friend. Malene is everything wrapped up into one: my favorite MC (and a true B-boy's dream), and she's my all-time favorite singer (Better than Gwen? Yes, Gwen) all in one. I'm blessed to know her and all of you geeks are about to fall in love. Wait a minute..a beautiful goddess takes the time from her busy schedule to answer questions for you comic book guys?...Once again I showed you that I am your God, you nerds! Enjoy the interview...

Percy Carey: Please tell the Complex readers about yourself. Where are you from?

percy_younglao_1.jpgMalene: Well, I was born in Trinidad and Tobago, the southern most island in the Caribbean. We're off the coast of Venezuela actually. I traveled between there and Brooklyn my whole life, so my childhood was pretty interesting. Even now in my adulthood I go back at least once a year to chill, record at Shoroc Studios, and kick it with my homies there. Brooklyn taught me hustle and gave my imagination a space to develop, along the way I passed through DC and Philly. I say this because I believe we're all a product of our experiences; these places and the shit I went though in them made me into who I am today. I started singing soca as a youth, began an emcee in NYC, studied jazz in DC, and was in a hardcore band in Philly. I make alternative music now. I just finished working on a project called Destroying Beauty with Rick Lucy. It's a dope project involving a handful of talented artists inspired to achieving a masterwork. It's all about evolution man. Taking your art to the next level and mastering the next chamber of your creativity.

Percy Carey: What was the first graphic novel that you read?

Malene: Black Empire by George Schuller

Percy Carey: I know you're a fan of Lone Wolf and Cub. Besides being an amazing tale, what drew you to a story like that?

Malene: I love culture, and the way it's written, it brings you into the dimensions of Japanese culture. I've also been a fan of the classic lone hero character, and what makes this even crazier is the fact that his 3 year old son is rolling with him through the whole thing.

Percy Carey: Do you think today's women find men who are into comics and graphic novels sexy? Or just nerds?

Malene: Dudes into comics are the coolest and the sexiest. Nerds rule the universe. We're the most slept on, yet we're wildly creative with the intelligence and swagger to match. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with an idiot? It's frustrating and/or boring to tears. Gimme a guy who has something relevant to say, a quirky sense of humor, and confidence and I'm so good!

Percy Carey: I think you're a combination of Vixen and Wonder Woman, but I'm curious... Who is your favorite female superhero?

Malene: I would say Storm or Jean Grey. Actually, I wish I could combine the two. They emanate a quiet strength and they're extremely powerful. I like the idea of psionic abilities coupled with control of the elements. Not to mention they're beautiful.

Percy Carey: If you could create the perfect male superhero, what qualities and powers would you give him?

Malene: He would be super agile with the ability to navigate through all the elements water, sky, and fire. He would be a total bad ass with the intelligence of Reed Richards, the understated presence of Bruce Wayne, and the strength of Colossus.

Percy Carey: Are you into Anime? What would you recommend to someone who had never watched the medium?

Malene: I love Anime. I watch it all the time. I'm especially fond of the old stuff. I would totally recommend Fist of the North Star and the Ninja Scroll for a newbie to the genre.

Percy Carey: I'm into Avatar and a dear friend of mine is the Director. Are you into Avatar? What about Afro Samurai?

Malene: I'm an Avatar junkie. My homeboy Agyei put me on and I've been an addict ever since. The writing is amazing and it inspires me to create. I feel like Aang is like my little brother'I'm so emotionally connected to the characters and storyline. Afro Samurai I'm not familiar with but I'll be sure to pick it up. You're not the first person to recommend it.

Percy Carey: With Common entering the comic world through the Wanted film, and with bands like Coheed and Cambria throwing their hat in and creating comic books, who would you like to see enter the comic book world, as a creator?

Malene: I would love to see Bjork create a comic. If she has, someone has got to tell me where to pick it up. I love her imagination. She's real life animation.

Percy Carey: If you were creating a comic book with full creative control, what would it be about?

percy_younglao_2.jpgMalene: A bad ass super heroine witch leading a gang of super witches and warlocks through an anarchist pre apocalyptic era. She would have psionic powers and also the ability to communicate with the dead. The time it's just a hair away from the apocalypse and the world has erupted into a war two factions for the control of earth. She is an enemy to both. Her goal is to rescue other super beings called specials...the rest I gotta figure out.

Percy Carey: In what ways do you think comics and music are similar?

Malene: Among other things, both require the confidence to put what's on your mind out there for the scrutiny of the world. That, in and of it self, requires bravery because most human beings are assholes with insecurities who find their confidence from cutting others down. In both the most creative wins in the long run as far I'm concerned.

Percy Carey: With the success of DC Comics limited edition The Dark Knight sneakers, The Joker Sneakers and The Superman sneakers, I'm on a personal quest (with the support of DC Comics and Warner Brothers) to market and promote a limited edition "Wonder Woman" sneaker. I know that Beyonce Knowles, Megan Fox, and Christina Milian are all fans of Wonder Woman and all have interest in playing the role of Wonder Woman in film. To me, Malene, you're in that category with them (and I'm a professional award-winning multiple Eisner nominated CNN, TIME magazine top ten, CAA repped in the top 1% blah blah blah comic book writer, so I know what I'm talking about, readers). Do you have any desire to act as well?

Malene: Hell yeah! I would love to act. It's a passion of mine. You know P, I want to express every aspect of my creativity through any outlet that allows me to do so honestly. It's always been a goal of mine to portray heroines that are super complex characters with inner conflict and humanity. You know like, strong passionate sexual women with dirt on their shoulder and the will, intelligence and strength to overcome.

Percy Carey: I went to retail outlets and they all told me in their professional opinions that the Wonder Woman sneaker would fly off of the shelves (Yes, even faster than The Dark Knight sneaker to all you people reading this) and my goal is to get you and the other lovely ladies mentioned together to promote the Wonder Woman sneaker. Would you wear a Wonder Woman sneaker, and why?

Malene: With my skinny jeans and logo tees all day. You may have to pry them off my feet at night [Laughs]. Wonder Woman is the classic icon of female strength. Every little girl wanted to be Wonder Woman for Halloween.

Percy Carey: I do know that you're a model (like Vixen) so my question to you is, can comic book clothing be sexy? Can you ever see it on the fashion runways?

Malene: I think so. It just has to translate from being costume-y to wearable art.

Percy Carey: I know I speak for your loyal fans and musical supporters and the Complex comic book readers that are now in love with you... San Diego Comic Con 2009'may we have the honor of getting you out there to perform for all of us? (Ladies and gentlemen reading this: if she says yes, I will work out the details and boy, are you guys going to love me when you see her rock on stage)

Malene: I'm in the building!

Percy Carey: What would your advice be to publishers in order to bring female readers to the comic book medium?

Malene: Just market to us through celebrity testimony and product placements. Put the medium where we are, especially for my generation and beyond. We love comics, and we grew up on video games. The new Pin up Poster Girl is intelligent, swaggerdocious, quirky as well as sexy and independent.

Percy Carey: How can the readers learn more about you and get in contact with you? I'm on both Face Book and MySpace; are you on these sites, and if so, are you accessible or do people answer it for you? The geeks want to know.

Malene: Well you can hit me at younglao.ning.com and join my community or www.myspace.com/younglao. I check my sites. It's a way to keep in contact with my all of my homies out there who love what I do. Also, hit this link to download the Destroying Beauty EP for free.

Percy Carey: Malene, I want to thank you for taking the time out to answer these questions and I would love it if you would from time to time maybe review new graphic novels or manga...maybe even cover live events? What do you think about that?

Malene: Are you kidding me!! It would be my pleasure!

CLICK NEXT TO SEE PERCY'S NEW RELEASE PICKS OF THE WEEK!

 

DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT...
Percy Carey picks the hottest releases from the week of 1/21/09
[Assisted by comicbookpage.com]

percy_alienaf.jpgALIENS ALIEN WARRIOR 7-IN AF

H.R. Giger's iconic biomechanical creature comes to life in this new 7' Alien Warrior action figure, based on it's appearance in James Cameron's blockbuster 1986 film, Aliens! Standing 9' tall and with multiple points of articulation - included a ball-jointed neck, shoulders, torso, and bendable tail - the xenomorphic killing machine is ready to invade your collection!
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BATMAN: THE STRANGE DEATHS OF BATMAN

Written by Gardner Fox, Gerry Conway and others
Art by John Calnan, Carmine Infantino, Jim Aparo, Curt Swan, Rich Buckler and others
Cover by Jim Aparo

Collecting classic tales featuring the seeming death of The Dark Knight, as originally published in DETECTIVE COMICS #347, WORLD'S FINEST #184 and 269, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #115, BATMAN #291-294, BATMAN CHRONICLES #8 and NIGHTWING #52.

160 pg, FC, $19.99
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FACES OF EVIL: DEATHSTROKE #1

Written by David Hine
Art by Georges Jeanty
Cover by Ladrönn

Deathstroke nearly died fighting Geo-Force in DCU: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, and now he needs to rebuild himself. He's not about to let a near death experience make him lose his place as one of the most dangerous villains in the DCU. Where will he start? What's next for the Terminator? And how high will the body count be when he's finished?

32 pg, one shot, FC, $2.99
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JEAN GREY MARVEL GIRL STATUE

A Bowen Designs SCulpt! Since her debut in 1963's X-Men #1, the powerful telepathic mutant Jean Grey has been one of Marvel Comics' most popular and most enduring characters. This 12' tall statue depicts Jean as she appeared as Marvel Girl in the early issues of X-Men with her green costume, yellow face mask, and yellow go-go boots. Sculpted by Mark Newman, this statue comes painted and ready to display.
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WATCHMEN MOVIE OZYMANDIAS BUST

Based on the upcoming March 6, 2009, Warner Bros. movie WATCHMEN, DC DIRECT brings both long-time and new fans of WATCHMEN what they crave: collectible action figures, intricately clothed 1:6 SCale deluxe collector figures, exquisitely sculpted busts, and straight-from-the-set prop replicas! All products feature movie accurate ikenesses and costume detailing! Get ready for a three-month WATCHMEN movie product extravaganza from DC Direct, beginning in January 2009 and continuing through the release of the WATCHMEN movie in March 2009. WATCHMEN MOVIE: OZYMANDIAS BUST This hand-painted, cold-cast porcelain bust measures approximately 5.5' tall x 3' wide x 3' deep and is packaged in a 4-color box. Advance-solicited; On-sale January 21, 2009 * Bust * $69.99
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WATCHMEN MOVIE RORSCHACH BUST

Based on the upcoming March 6, 2009, Warner Bros. movie WATCHMEN, DC DIRECT brings both long-time and new fans of WATCHMEN what they crave: collectible action figures, intricately clothed 1:6 SCale deluxe collector figures, exquisitely sculpted busts, and straight-from-the-set prop replicas! All products feature movie accurate ikenesses and costume detailing! Get ready for a three-month WATCHMEN movie product extravaganza from DC Direct, beginning in January 2009 and continuing through the release of the WATCHMEN movie in March 2009. WATCHMEN MOVIE: RORSCHACH BUST This hand-painted, cold-cast porcelain bust measures approximately 5.5' tall x 3' wide x 3' deep and is packaged in a 4-color box. Advance-solicited; On-sale January 21, 2009 * Bust * $69.99