Feb. 16th, 2016

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 One of my best friends and both a mentor and an influence for the better in my life is one Dennis R. Upkins, also known as Neo_Prodigy. 

He's a writer with two novels to his credit and an excellent example of a human being. Of his works, I've selected ten things he's written that are his best.

10) https://dennisupkins.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/i-believe-in-the-dark-knight/

This article raises a compelling point that the stories writers may think they tell and what they actually tell are two very different things. It shows that Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight was certainly more multi-faceted than the story intended, as is the line between hero and villain. 

9) https://dennisupkins.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/the-cost-of-being-a-champion/

This article points out that representing the best of humanity doesn't come without a cost. That it is a choice people make each and every day. Whenever he writes about human nature, his insights are very good, not least because he has a habit of penetrating fog and smokescreens to reach the real issue. 

8) https://dennisupkins.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/xena-was-black/ 

One of his first pieces on black history pointing out that Xena, Warrior Princess has a real life analogue who happened to be in what's now Nigeria. He points out in other pieces like this that many classic archetypes not only have real origins, but that people of color are not incidental to this but inseparable from them. 

7) https://dennisupkins.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/psa-x-men-is-still-our-story/ 

Whenever Denny writes about the X-Men, you're always in for a treat. Here he points out that the X-Men are decidedly a black story given that Magneto was Malcolm X (with shades of Nat Turner) and Xavier was based on MLK (with shades of Frederick Douglass). 

6) https://dennisupkins.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/character-study-cyclops/ 

This is one of the best articles about Scott Summers I've ever read and the one that made me a fan of Cyclops, who beforehand I either didn't know much about or simply dismissed as one among many X-Men. 

5) https://latinegro.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-unlikey-muse-bigotry-in-comic-books/ 

This is one of the best articles I've written on how people who are marginalized can not only find inspiration in the strangest places but use that inspiration all to the good. 

4) http://www.amazon.com/Hollowstone-Dennis-R-Upkins-Jr/dp/1463504373 

Hollowstone is a very unconventional urban fantasy about a gay black man who proceeds to be very awesome and does awesome things. Ignore the reviews, it's a case of Amazon at its worst. 

3) http://www.amazon.com/West-Sunset-Dennis-R-Upkins/dp/1600431798

In the same vein is West of Sunset. These are urban fantasy as it should be written. 

2) http://www.ankhesen-mie.net/2013/03/the-myth-of-black-homophobia-why-im-not.html 

This is one of the best pieces he's written. It's gone viral before, and it points out that 1) blaming black people as scapegoats for American homophobia in general is wrong, and 2) white people stepping in as saviors of black people is a  bad idea waiting to happen if it hasn't already. 

1) https://dennisupkins.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/black-is-the-new-black/ 

Written in the wake of the Travyon Martin shooting, this is a powerful indictment of American society as it is and the racism that infuses it from top to bottom. Of his works, I recommend this one and the piece on Macklemore as good starting points for white readers. 

Denny is definitely unconventional, but in the best way. 

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