Black Man White Man

By on October 26, 2017
Nigel Carrington and Joe Janowicz.

Nigel Carrington and Joe Janowicz.

As an only child Joe Janowicz found friendship in comic books, he loved them and collected them. During high school at Greece Arcadia he created his own comic book, telling his stories and drawing the characters. Joe then went to college, married, raised children, and retired from a career at Eastman Kodak Company as a Writer and Producer.

After retirement Joe was looking for a second chapter to his life in addition to helping to raise his grandchildren. “Fifty percent of the time I worked at Kodak I was traveling all around this country and the world. I really loved my job. I wanted by retirement years to be about family and pursuing my interests,” Joe said.

Joe noticed the recent resurgence of his childhood comic book heroes at the movies and on television. He started thinking about writing comic books, and then he started writing. Through a mutual friend Joe was introduced to comic book artist/illustrator Nigel Carrington, a self taught artist who moved to Rochester from Trinidad with his family  in 2001. Nigel moved here with a desire to become a comic book artist.

Joe invited Nigel to his home to see his comic book collection. As they became acquainted Joe showed Nigel the script he had written for his comic book and asked Nigel if he was interested in illustrating it. “When I first read it I thought this is cool, the concept really stood out to me. Joe wrote the comic book story like a film script. I come from a comic book background so after I started drawing it I gave Joe little tips on changes that work better in comic book style. Tips like putting more action in there and creating more drama, and having the killer in the darkness. In comic books there is no motion or music to help carry ideas through, just the opposite of film which is where Joe comes from. He was open to all my suggestions. There was a lot of collaboration, we worked well together,” Nigel said.

Their comic book is titled Black Man White Man printed by Rochester based printing company Printing Plus owned by “comic book fan” Tony Burris. The comic book is 30 pages, in full color, and intended for mature readers.

The first issue was introduced at this year’s RocCon!, Rochester’s version of the popular pop culture event which includes the worlds of Comic Books, Sci-Fi, Anime and Gaming, held at the Kodak Event Center on September 15-17th. Both men participated in the event, Nigel was an artist “Guest of Honor” and displayed his artwork on Black Man White Man and other books he has illustrated. Joe participated in a panel discussion on “How to Produce Comic Books.”

Black Man White Man is a comic book mystery with murder, conflict and intrigue designed to keep the reader involved and guessing who the real killer is. It features a diverse cast of characters, and many Rochester locales and landmarks. A murder mystery, the story revolves around a black police detective who, at night, transforms into a white man who is a serial killer. Both Joe and Nigel feel the story is a captivating idea that has never been done before. “We did this together. It is a crossing of cultures, a story we sculpted together. Nigel felt this is something he had to draw and I felt this is something I had to write,” Joe says.

A portion of the money from every comic sold in Rochester will be donated to Rochester City Schools and Greece Schools arts programs to further the development of aspiring middle and high school art students. Joe and Nigel are also developing a workshop for students to help foster the growth of art students across all the local communities.

Currently Black Man White Man is available exclusively at Rhino’s Comics and Collectibles, 22 Sutorius Drive (off Dewey Avenue), in Greece.

Photos by Karen Fien