ORLANDO, Fla. – When Jaylen Christie walks into a room, he is all smiles, handshakes and even hugs.
He’s not afraid of going all in—Christie describes himself as a full-time extrovert and hardcore nerd.
Growing up, being called a nerd was hardly a badge of honor. Nowadays, Christie has embraced the moniker in all its glory.
On Real Talk, Real Solutions, he opened up about how as a young boy, he decided to just be himself.
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“When I was a kid, being a nerd was not cool even though I fully embraced it,” Christie said. “Being a nerd now is also a part of my brand. I am on Instagram as thesuperflynerd. That’s my handle. Fast forward to 2023 and Black nerds are affectionately referred to as ‘blerds.’ I am a card-carrying blerd through and through. I make no apologies.”
Christie also makes no apologies for creating comic book characters who look like him.
For 10 years, he has been working to make “Stink Bomb Man and The Brain Kids: Vol. 1,” a reality. It’s the first in a planned six volume series set to be released as Black History Month comes to a close.
Now, this public relations expert-actor-motivational speaker hyphenate can add the title of author to his extensive resume.
Christie, who grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, has always loved comic book superheroes, what they stood for and everything they represented.
He said the one downside was that so few of those superheroes represented him.
In elementary school, he took pen to paper and created a world where he could see himself, his family and friends represented.
“Stink Bomb Man was invented when I was in the third grade. The Brain Kids were invented when I was in the first grade,” he told News 6.
It’s pretty heady stuff for a kid in elementary school, especially when you consider “The Brain Kids”—Jesse and Brittany McBrilliant, who are siblings—don’t use their hands to fight crime.
“They fight crime using their aptitude—science, technology, engineering mathematics. STEM,” Christie said.
Even Stink Bomb Man who is an intergalactic peacekeeper has a unique way of diffusing tense situations.
“Whereas other superheroes from Marvel and DC, they fight using their hands, their fists, Stink Bomb Man uses his stink bombs to diffuse situations because he’s a peacekeeper,” Christie said.
But Christie wants to make clear his goal wasn’t to just shine a spotlight on African American characters. He wanted everyone to see a piece of themselves with every turn of the page.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are important. I think that representation is important so even though my leading characters are Black, I was sure to include characters across the dimension of diversity,” Christie said. “For example, the Brain Kids, their grandfather, Dr. Beaumont McBrilliant is a proud and openly gay man.”
Jesse McBrilliant has a friend, Elle Yamamoto, who is a young Japanese-American girl who attends James Baldwin High School with the Brain Kids. Her best friend, Trish, is disabled.
Jesse’s best fiend Riley has two dads and Brittany’s best friend, Fatima, is Muslim.
“I try to include as much diversity as possible,” Christie said. “There are also characters of different body types as well.”
“Stink Bomb Man and The Brain Kids: Vol. 1″ will debut Feb. 28.
It is the first in a series of six volumes available on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com and at jaylenchristie.com.
To hear more from Jaylen Christie and why he wanted his comic book characters to be more than sidekicks, click on the link and listen to the entire episode of Real Talk, Real Solutions.
Check out the Real Talk, Real Solutions podcast in the media player below: