One thing the culture is going to do is dominate across the industries of entertainment when it comes to all different styles of material from books to movies to TV shows to fashion to style to simply the voice alone of what we know as entertainment.

We had the opportunity to sit down with legendary screenwriter, author, publisher, and producer, Rodney Barnes, in light of some of his newest projects hitting the scene!

“BLACULA: Return of the King” is published through Barnes’ publishing company, Zombie Love Studios. It is a graphic novel and a modern retelling of the classic Blaxploitation movie. He is very proud of it, as it was just published about 2 weeks ago in comic shops, and is available on Amazon, Target, and Barnes and Noble, right now.

“I look forward to the world getting an opportunity to get a glimpse of that and then there’s Winning Time” on HBO where I write and produce that show, so there’s a good number of things in the works at the moment.” – Rodney Barnes

He says we can expect an “intense plot” created for anyone who enjoys mystery, horror, or anyone who remembers the old story of Blaxploitation. It was written for anyone who likes a good story in the middle of the night, with the lights turned down low.

It’s Blacula vs. Dracula! — We can look forward to the inclusion of touches on racial/societal things; not too heavy-handed there but of course given the setting, readers will be taken through some of those concepts and moments. The book is based in south LA, so you will see culture in it, which is one of the aspects Rodney Barnes is most proud of.

We asked Barnes about a sequel to BLACULA: The Return of the King, and his response was that he is planning 3 volumes and that we shall see if there are more after that.

The experience and career longevity behind the art that Rodney Barnes creates are no small mention for the books. Equipped with years of fieldwork and notable receipts such as The Boondocks, My Wife and Kids, Everybody Hates Chris, Those Who Can’t, Marvel’s Runaways, American Gods, Wu-Tang: An American Saga and more, he still maintains a humble character, and walks in gratitude for many of his career, mentors, and friends.

“For sure Damon Wayans was my first teacher, so I can’t not include him; a mentor for sure. He took a lot of my raw ability, for lack of better words, and whatever he saw in me to help point me in the right direction. I think Chris Rock has been like a brother and source of help with a lot of wisdom, and certainly correction along the way of helping me refine a lot of things on the straight and narrow. — There have been so many people along the way who have taken an interest in me and just helped. Orlando Jones, certainly, recently has been an incredible help on the show American Gods; he’s been like a big brother along the way. There are so many I could name but overall, just a lot of good people. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have a lot of great people in my life.”

He leaves us with assuring affirmation and advice for aspiring writers and creators behind the arts and entertainment:

“Develop your voice! Hollywood buys voices more so than writers. Anyone can go to a seminar and develop the how-to, but developing your voice is something that is unique to you as an individual, and the most valuable part of being a writer. Only you can be you.

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Cover Image by Allan Amato