Krip-Hop Nation: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. This comic book, RECALL AND GIVEN, is really about your relationship. Tell us how did you meet, and what are the turning points in this book.’
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: We met decades ago at National Public Radio (NPR) headquarters in David’s hometown of Washington, D.C. David had been a news producer there for years already. I (Roz) was a grad student at Howard University hired to help out administratively on a show called, Let’s Hear It! The show’s primary audience was visually impaired and disabled people. At the time, just a handful of Black people worked at network headquarters, and NPR had far fewer staff than it does now. So we all knew each other and had each other’s backs. David and I became lifelong friends. He was and is the kind of guy you trust instinctively, as a matter of course. He wears integrity in his smile, how he carries himself, and how he helps people. There isn’t a person who knows him who does not respect David. David says there’s not a person who truly knows me who doesn’t love me. That’s the consist of our relationship: We love each other.
Krip-Hop Nation: Your preview edition is online in its entirety at www.RECALLandGIVEN.com. What are the turning points in your latest book?
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: We draw upon our lives just after David fell ill, when we found ourselves living in hospital intensive care units. As everyone who has ever survived a debilitating illness or watched a hospital TV drama knows, hospitals are rarely a place strictly for healing and recovery. After David’s brain injury, we huddled together there fending off the poor prognoses of doctors and health care professionals, as well as the traumas imposed by neighboring patients’ lives. One particular morning at 3:00 a.m., due to hospital overcrowding, David was moved to an overflow intensive care ward. We were joined there by a dozen or so jailed inmates and their armed guards. The patient in the next bed loudly declared his allegiance to the Aryan Nation and his disdain for Black people. As we fought to ignore racist threats and get David moved out of the ward that was ankle-deep in shackles, I tried to distract David from the bedlam around us by reminding him how much we needed one of the superheroes he loved to get us out of this morass. Now more than ever in this age of emboldened racists, that nightmare of ours—of being disabled innocents in a ward of hate—is the perfect opening scenario for RECALL AND GIVEN, especially since RECALL’s superpower is memory in all of its facets.
Krip-Hop Nation: Tell us what this comic book meant to your relationship.
David Rector & Roz Alexander-Kasparik: RECALL AND GIVEN saved us both. David fell ill eight years ago this month. His recovery has been miraculous—given his prognosis—but glacially slow by most metrics. He is still unable to move purposefully or speak—though he remains more vitally present and alive than ever. His therapists routinely give up on him because he has not regained physical functionality quickly enough for them to continue billing insurers. David has grown discouraged with his therapies at times as well. The comic, RECALL AND GIVEN, was born as a way to reinvigorate us. David has loved and grown with his comic superheroes since he was three years old. His knowledge of all things comic is and was encyclopedic. I had no choice but to become more curious about the genre because it brings David such joy. Our proximity to Comic-Con here in San Diego and our friends in the comic industry gave him comfort as he left his lifelong home in D.C. and moved West. In David’s case, you can take the man out of D.C. (District of Columbia), but you can never take DC Comics out of the fan. He’d always wanted to create a comic book, so David re-found a reason to keep trying to live purposefully in RECALL AND GIVEN, and I found a way to a goal to our effort. Almost immediately after starting to craft the comic, we were no longer simply struggling to survive. We were enjoying our survival. We were having real fun for a change.
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Michael Davis writes Jack Kirby created the Black Racer, and his bedridden alter ego Sgt. Willie Walker in 1971....
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In March of 2009, David Rector suffered a series of horrific medical crises. The former NPR producer, with a...