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#1 Posted by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

So the topic came up today among a group of people while they never really write about black characters, and the admittedly said they don't know how without offending anyone. Even if based of people they know, they have been called out for writing stereotypes.

So I got curious. Aside from making an African American a King who's net-worth would allow him to buy 10 countriesif he wanted, how would you go about it?

What's the difference between a gimmick and just "a black guy" why is Luke cage not a negative stereo type when he is the embodiment of all things black in the medias eyes.

(Luke is one of my favorites to read mind you)


I have also noticed it is hit or miss

"there are no black characters"

leads to

- That's a Stereotype

-That's Racist

-He's not black enough

-You made him white washed

-Why is he talking like that? That's racist

- he needs more style, he seems to white

Are there any real nerdy ones out there? Any peter parkers of the black comic book world?

Like I said earlier the easiest thing to do is write people you know, but even then sometimes you have to say:

"this is based off my friend, if you have an issue with how he talks or act you may want to talk to him about it"

Because it comes off stereotypical

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#2 Edited by kgb725 (19235 posts) - - Show Bio

As a black man I would just think about where I wanted to take them and map out a plan for them inside of the story.

Who cares if people say something is a stereotype or if it's racist ? It's your story at the end of the day. If you want to use the characters race in the story make it a good reason at least

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#3 Posted by deactivated-5b60e98a8eb99 (11593 posts) - - Show Bio

Forget his color, and just make a good character.

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#4 Posted by darkdetective27 (7953 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, there is a formula to it and its quite simple.

1. If you are writing the character to be the black one, stop and start over because its most likely going to be racist.

2. Write this character like you would every other character. People are equal and you shouldnt go out of your way to write a black character differently from a white character. Give them the same flaws and depth you would give a white character.

From there you should be able to have a good black character. It honestly cant be that hard to create good black or any minority character.

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#5 Posted by derf_jenkins (757 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: Would Miles Morales count for the nerdy character? Michael Holt is one of my favorite characters. I think he's a good one to look at for a formula.

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#6 Posted by never give up (24994 posts) - - Show Bio

Give them electrical powers!

Online
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#7 Posted by HighAccuser (9696 posts) - - Show Bio

Make his/her situations organic and don't let their inherent skin color drive the story or every encounter

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#8 Posted by speckoh (128 posts) - - Show Bio

Just because a character is part of my ethnicity doesn't mean I'm going to read it. I appreciate the diversity but I look for good story telling first and foremost. Sinestro is a purple dude but he's the most bada** anti-hero and I loved what Johns did to his characterization from cliche fugly villian to complex anti-hero with an understandable agenda.

As for black dudes, I thought John Stewart was an awesome Green Lantern. And Cyborg's pretty cool in Justice League.

As a straight male, I much rather see the return of more scantily clad or tight spandex leotard wearing super heroines. I'm still saddened by what they did to Angela/Aldrif and Captain Marvel is beginning to look more dyke-ish lately...

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#9 Posted by StormShadow_X (16772 posts) - - Show Bio

Ignore his color unless its important to the character. For example cyborg he could be white and change nothing but someone like Black Panther his skin color is a key part to his character

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#10 Posted by captain_batman_FTW (8905 posts) - - Show Bio
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#11 Posted by TheExile285 (4353 posts) - - Show Bio

Forget his color, and just make a good character.

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#12 Posted by frogdog (5557 posts) - - Show Bio

Does Static not exist?

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#13 Posted by Guardiandevil83 (9348 posts) - - Show Bio

Try not writing them as "Black People" and simply write them as people.

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#14 Edited by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@darkdetective27 said:

Yes, there is a formula to it and its quite simple.

1. If you are writing the character to be the black one, stop and start over because its most likely going to be racist.

2. Write this character like you would every other character. People are equal and you shouldnt go out of your way to write a black character differently from a white character. Give them the same flaws and depth you would give a white character.

From there you should be able to have a good black character. It honestly cant be that hard to create good black or any minority character.

This is the most logical thing, it's just the fall back of "he doesn't seem very black" the version of black that media has made "popular" but at the same time is racist.

I've been called out the same way once, until I pointed out that I am not even white, and the argument stopped dead in the tracks, which shouldn't have happened. The same points were still there, if they disagreed with me when they thought I was white, then they should still have when they found out I wasn't.

I do agree that people should just write a good story and go from there, other wise it feels unnatural.

it's not that "hard" it's jsut everyone is worried about offending someone, but you have to go in to it willing to accept you can't please them all I suppose

the thing that stood out the most to me is the reoccurring phrase

"He's too white"

which is just as offensive to me, and I'm not even white.

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#15 Posted by Insertnewname (1606 posts) - - Show Bio

-Make him hate society (for their racism)

-dangerous, active

-make him confident, and as someone who makes his own decision while ignoring others

-rebellious

-dark past, might be his "dark secret"

-fast and strong af

-women love him for his otherness

-either really proud and responsible father who cares but can't show it because of his duties, or someone who used to be tough and now cares for his family and listen to his wife

-has friends he went through sh*t with

-just wants equality, peace, a future with a wife and kids without any trouble, fame, success

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#16 Edited by Spidey_Jackson (6359 posts) - - Show Bio

I get what you mean.

Black people tend to have a very particular vernacular that's a hybrid of broken english and slang. It effects how they annunciate. Most people call it ghetto speak.

And it can be hard to transmit this to media without sounding like a racist stereotyper.

Beata

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#17 Edited by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: Would Miles Morales count for the nerdy character? Michael Holt is one of my favorite characters. I think he's a good one to look at for a formula.

he's cool now, that boy has style. At first I think he was just awkward and young like any 13 year old...now that he is older he has a cool factor about him.

I don't hate him like everyone else, but in his first appearances he was recycling peters lines without knowing it, probably the gag they were going for, but it got to the point where the villains were saying "I knew you weren't dead, you said that last time!" People don't seem to count him and don't see him as an original character just a cop out

i like his stories so i will continue reading them

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#18 Posted by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@frogdog said:

Does Static not exist?

Cancelled his comic, he showed up in teen titans for a couple issues then was dropped again. Is he getting a rebirth treatment like Jaime? 3rd times the charm

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#19 Posted by HighAccuser (9696 posts) - - Show Bio

@speckoh said:

Just because a character is part of my ethnicity doesn't mean I'm going to read it. I appreciate the diversity but I look for good story telling first and foremost. Sinestro is a purple dude but he's the most bada** anti-hero and I loved what Johns did to his characterization from cliche fugly villian to complex anti-hero with an understandable agenda.

As for black dudes, I thought John Stewart was an awesome Green Lantern. And Cyborg's pretty cool in Justice League.

As a straight male, I much rather see the return of more scantily clad or tight spandex leotard wearing super heroines. I'm still saddened by what they did to Angela/Aldrif and Captain Marvel is beginning to look more dyke-ish lately...

This.

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#20 Posted by Nite_Nite (2348 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: Luke cage is hard character to like, he got married to a white woman. Me and my cousins used to love him in the video games growing up(because we're "black" and he's a "black" hero) but getting older and actually digging into comics finding out he married a white woman, it's like "ehhh Luke cage no big deal." He's literally the brother that goes off to marry a white lady. See there's a "black" character out there for every type and mindset of us. The problem is comics (white owned) tend to go with the archetypes that make them (creators/company) more comfortable. Like irl how we're not supposed to make white people feel uncomfortable.

David Walker said it best while interviewed for his cyborg run. There's not enough "black" creators behind these "black" characters. How could you write a character who's ethnicity or background you do not come from w/o it NOT being a shallow character? How would that character connect to that audience(group)? It wouldn't. Of course there's always that "one or two", but said character wouldn't connect.

We can act like "forget color(change and expansion) I read comics for comics." But this is America a country built on color and experiencing change. It should be represented in every medium. Properly as possible. If the people don't feel included then you're not including them simple as that. Especially in a business where you want to have as many consumers as possible; exceedingly so if you want as many consumers as possible from all walks of life. Which I'm sure most comic businesses have attested to wanting. Therefore by default it's now their prerogative. Dwayne Mcduffie was great in creating and fine tuning already created yet terrible "black" characters. Walker's run on cyborg made him one of my favorites and it's sad DC will ignore his work.

There IS a problem with "might-as-well-be-white" (black) characters, especially when that's the majority being created and pushed out...of the very few that actually are created and pushed out. It teaches submission and subservience.

I always wondered why there's yet to be a "black" hero, remembering a "hero" is objective and based on the perspective of the people, who uses his abilities and capabilities to protect blacks from police. One who, just like batman hunts down the "injustice", hunts down the zimmermans of the country and delivers justice. Heck you can go farther and make one that kills and one that just sends a message and gets the point across. Make a few. Make some not get along and some team up. It don't gotta be one big koombayah. Hell make a dedicated team with a deep story that brings them into conflict with say the justice league and how they don't do enough. Really deep topic and deeper than I've gotten to, just the tip of the iceberg.

Point is you create a character that's not from your background then you do it right. Characters are being created nowadays to push into the diversity frontier. I'm not talking about the aforementioned news reporter being "black" or a firefighter or cia agent. Nobody cares about those backup characters in general, regardless of background. Im talking about the heroes, the big names and high faces with a lot of power. If they really wanted to do it right they'd go to the nearest "black" community and find teenagers to advise them. Not just America's "how blacks should speak and dress and behave" type teens either.

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#21 Posted by warrior100 (2163 posts) - - Show Bio

Try not writing them as "Black People" and simply write them as people.

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#22 Posted by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@nite_nite: You should try out the old Nighthawk from supreme power.

He is basically what you described. He is basically white batman who's parents were killed in front of him by white power members

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#23 Posted by nickzambuto (29288 posts) - - Show Bio

Don't start with race. Create multiple characters first, then just randomly make a few of them black afterwards for diversity. A character shouldn't be defined by his skin color, it should be an irrelevant fact.

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#24 Posted by warrior100 (2163 posts) - - Show Bio

John Stewart is cool, but he lacks imagination. that's why he's not the best Green Lantern

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#25 Posted by Nite_Nite (2348 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: a white batman? I'm confused.

"Parents killed in front of him by white power members"<<what I described.

Case in point my initial post.

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#26 Posted by thatguywithheadphones (19859 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate the whole color blind approach people have to this. I mean, sure, you should focus on writing a good character and blah blah blah, but for a more relatable,organic character and environment, things like race, along with culture for that matter, should have at least SOME effect on the character's attitude, rhetoric, cast, and even style. To just igore it just seems dumb.

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#27 Posted by TDK_1997 (18744 posts) - - Show Bio

A black character should not be written as a black character, his skin color shouldn't make a difference at all. If a writer wants to create a good character they should write him consistently, they should make him relatable and then you add the skin color. He can be asian, he can be arab or even black, but every single good character should be written as an ordinary person only.

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#28 Posted by Petey_is_Spidey (11675 posts) - - Show Bio

Give him the power of invisibility so it would be easier for him to steal.

Oh, and also Superspeed so he can run out on his son faster.

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#29 Edited by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@nite_nite said:

@herewegoagain: a white batman? I'm confused.

"Parents killed in front of him by white power members"<<what I described.

Case in point my initial post.

Sorry I meant black batman. I clearly shouldn't be doing this while at work.

and I thought you were asking for a black hero with these qualities

"I always wondered why there's yet to be a "black" hero, remembering a "hero" is objective and based on the perspective of the people, who uses his abilities and capabilities to protect blacks from police. One who, just like batman hunts down the "injustice", hunts down the zimmermans of the country and delivers justice."

Which nighthawk pretty much was originally, he's a little less racist towards white characters now, since he's gotten to know them and doesn't assume the worst of them right off the bat.

Was a fun read

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#30 Posted by HighAccuser (9696 posts) - - Show Bio

@thatguywithheadphones: That's true but it's how you execute it, and not every character is gonna adhere to the culture that people group them in.

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#31 Posted by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate the whole color blind approach people have to this. I mean, sure, you should focus on writing a good character and blah blah blah, but for a more relatable,organic character and environment, things like race, along with culture for that matter, should have at least SOME effect on the character's attitude, rhetoric, cast, and even style. To just igore it just seems dumb.

agreed

A black character from Detroit, probably wouldn't act like a Black character from Vancouver Canada. To write them the same would just be weird and clearly noticeable.

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#32 Posted by Heatblaze (10399 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain:

How to write good black characters? Is there a formula?

It's not that complicated. Shit man......

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#33 Posted by Nite_Nite (2348 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: no problem. I wasn't asking for it but I see you did your best to find a hero along what I wrote. That's cool.

You say he's racist to whites??? Did he lead a transatlantic slave trade of Europeans or something?

Or set up a government with many systems and laws to directly instill "black" supremacy over the slaves? Use said governed to poison and inject disease into the communities of those slaves? Or does he generally just not trust too many white people?

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#34 Posted by KrleAvenger (26081 posts) - - Show Bio

Just make any character and give him black color of his skin. I mean it's not like I need to make something special but something normal, I man with Black skin. I mean really I can do anything wihtout making enything different than making characters with white skin. I mean really man.

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#35 Posted by Nite_Nite (2348 posts) - - Show Bio

@thatguywithheadphones said:

I hate the whole color blind approach people have to this. I mean, sure, you should focus on writing a good character and blah blah blah, but for a more relatable,organic character and environment, things like race, along with culture for that matter, should have at least SOME effect on the character's attitude, rhetoric, cast, and even style. To just igore it just seems dumb.

agreed

A black character from Detroit, probably wouldn't act like a Black character from Vancouver Canada. To write them the same would just be weird and clearly noticeable.

this. Why I use "black" in quotation marks. Only people in any country in the western world (european established world order) that aren't covered by said countries nationality.

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#36 Posted by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@nite_nite: He was flat out rude to any white person who he came in contact with.

If he accidentally saved a white person from a mugger he didn't actually "care" he just didn't realize they were white. He really only went out of his way to help to help black victims

It was based off his traumatizing childhood so it was interesting, and didn't offend me in anyway. Added to his character


this was his encounter with Hyperion. From his point of view all he saw was a white person talking a load of garbage to him

No Caption Provided

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#37 Edited by Nite_Nite (2348 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain said:

@nite_nite: He was flat out rude to any white person who he came in contact with.

Doesn't make him racist. Prejudice maybe, but not racist. That doesn't oppress them in any way.

If he accidentally saved a white person from a mugger he didn't actually "care" he just didn't realize they were white.

Still not racist.

He really only went out of his way to help to help black victims

Not done enough in comics, I recall Batman #44 being my favorite issue of all time in comics, until the writers gave an interview to appease the DC50s fans.

It was based off his traumatizing childhood so it was interesting, and didn't offend me in anyway. Added to his character

That sounds like a good start and likely better than most "black" characters in the big two

this was his encounter with Hyperion. From his point of view all he saw was a white person talking a load of garbage to him

No Caption Provided

Don't know the context behind the scan and how you worded it. But taking it at face value it looks like Hyperion's just talking to him from a seemingly superior standpoint. "I think the world is a better place if you try to look at it with color blind eyes." Isn't a fair statement at all and comes from a place of ignorance. It's literally what white guys tell "black" guys when things are shaky because of another white guys actions. But I'm sure it's builded some good writing in that series. But regardless if he does indeed see it as another white guy talking "down" on him there's nothing racist about that.

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#38 Posted by HandOfPrometheus (882 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it depends on the location you write them in and how they grew up. A black character in Africa would act vastly different than a black character in New York.

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#39 Edited by juiceboks (24884 posts) - - Show Bio

Speaking about Luke, you have to analyze his character evolution with the context surrounding his origin story in mind. He was made in the era where positive black role models were few and far between in mainstream media(kinda like how it is now) and blaxploitation was Hollywood's way of showcasing younger black men as main protagonists. Now that obviously accounts for his jive, but it also shaped him as a convict(wrongfully convicted of course) turned street -wise superhero fighting against crime and prejudice in all facets of his life. Now of course that rhetoric lost a lot of it's power over the years as blaxploitation died out, but his exploits as a black man fighting against institutional racism from the ground up were still rather prevalent. Hell his origin story brings to light the issues of mass black incarceration, a corrupt justice system and black disenfranchisement in a very epic way. Luke's character is far from transparent, and has stood for much more than just a simple caricature for aggressive black men.

Now as for how to write a black character, it depends entirely on what exactly you want this person to exemplify. Is he a younger black male struggling to find his balance in identity as a superhero and a black youth like Vergil Hawkins through profound internal monologue, or is he a stalwart advocate of black power who's views and ideals are juxtapositioned alongside other characters in thought provoking conversation like Sam Wilson? Is he supposed to convey a deeper rhetoric at all?

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#40 Edited by juiceboks (24884 posts) - - Show Bio

Also not surprised that most of the comments here say to ignore ethnicity altogether, when that's the whole reason why most black characters were created in the first place. As if writers can't use characters to highlight real life problems, or even express an avenue for specific brands of cultural aesthetics you just don't see very often in mainstream media like Afrofuturism and Steel.

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#41 Posted by deactivated-57c3cf21b495e (2448 posts) - - Show Bio
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#42 Edited by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@nite_nite: He views him as a white supremacist in one instance, and then a redneck in the other, it switches between what he really looks like, and how his mind sees him.

Hyperion does think he is high and mighty though so that pissed him off as well, but that's how he sees all white people. There are instances where it shows what the white person really looks like, and then how "he" sees them. They are usually dressed up in KKK attire or something in his mind, even if in reality they are just standing their minding their own business.

I don't know the correct term then on how to describe someone who doesn't like a specific race, and only hunts down people of that same race.

He is also disrespectful to that one race and hostile towards them.

What would he be categorized as. I am not being sarcastic but if he's not racist I am not sure what he technically is.

If someone was about to help you, until they found out what color you were, would that be classified as racist?

he also dislikes black people who are on good terms with white people.

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#43 Posted by amazingfantasy (2497 posts) - - Show Bio

Forget his color, and just make a good character.

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#44 Posted by deactivated-5b60e98a8eb99 (11593 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: Disliking white people just because they're white, and even disliking some blacks, just because they like whites, is just racism.

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#45 Edited by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: Disliking white people just because they're white, and even disliking some blacks, just because they like whites, is just racism.

It got to the point where the other black member couldn't stand his outlook and told him to eff off.

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#46 Posted by deactivated-5b60e98a8eb99 (11593 posts) - - Show Bio
@jucaslucasa said:

@herewegoagain: Disliking white people just because they're white, and even disliking some blacks, just because they like whites, is just racism.

It got to the point where the other black member couldn't stand his outlook and told him to eff off.

Lol. Did he change his behavior after that?

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#47 Posted by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@jucaslucasa: In return he told him he was an uncle tom house "____" and then called his super power stupid, and commented how the black super heroes have sh*t powers.

he had the whole batman superman "untrusting" bromance, but instead of it being because he was an alien, it was mostly because he was a white alien. he learned to work with them but was still clearly upset about it

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#48 Posted by warrior100 (2163 posts) - - Show Bio

@herewegoagain: does he just hate white people or all races too besides his own ?

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#49 Posted by herewegoagain (65 posts) - - Show Bio

@warrior100: Just white.

And that's because white people killed his parents.

I am not against his character in anyway. I know why he is the way he is and it makes him interesting and sometimes downright funny, I just can't deny he is racist. or what ever the definition of it is since nite_nite says otherwise

superman had a similar run in with muhammad X

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#50 Posted by warrior100 (2163 posts) - - Show Bio