KnightOwl is a graphic novel/animated series character created in 2001. After the summer of 2000, my mother suddenly passed from a stroke, marking a heavy loss for my family. Still grieving, I needed an outlet for my anger. KnightWatchers was far too colorful and kid-friendly to channel my frustration. During that time, I utilized my writing toward the Autumn Episodes of KnightWatchers and while the plots were a little darker, the dialog and storytelling was too soon to get that heavy for readers. So I created a superhero that could better illustrate my deep thoughts that could act as a better conduit for my depression and angst.
The character was put on hold after KnightWatchers gained an audience and readership began to prosper. It wasn’t until 2014 when the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown that I decided to resurrect the character and take on real world issues that the black community faces.
KnightOwl is the alter ego of a Detroit middle school teacher Daniel Dwayne Bright (a combined tribute to comic book artists Dwayne McDuffie and M. D. Bright). After witnessing the hate crimes of youth and an explosion of his church, Bright vows to avenge the deaths of his neighbors. It is here where he is approached by a homeless beggar. When the man asks for help, instead of money, Bright treats him to a meal where they discuss the issues of the neighborhood. In exchange for his generosity, the mysterious vagrant gives Bright a domino mask and reveals himself to be a traveling angel. Bright is actually a descendant in a line of knights and African Warriors passed down throughout history who serve the good of mankind. The mask (that can only be used by the descendant of the line) grants the user superpowers, but only one gift at a time when called on, but the angel warns him, do not put on the mask in unsanitary intentions – only to serve and help selflessly.
During his first “unintended” initiation, Bright witnesses a robbery at nighttime, and finds the mask in his jacket pocket. Given that Bright accepts the power while in angst and vengeance however, the mask grants him access to the power but channels his rage and projects fear into his enemies, terrifying the criminals of both the underworld and political oppression.
The public then names the new nighttime vigilante KnightOwl.
Bright is extremely intelligent. In time, Bright utilizes his skills in science and engineering to create gadgets that help when he cannot use more than one superpower. Retractable claws (nicknamed "talons") built into his gloves, a trench coat that can transform into a pneumatic wing-glider and a bolo-snare.
Before teaching at the North Quay Junior High, (a nod to the film, To Sir with Love), Bright worked as an high-level engineer until the company was bought out by mob assailants using the company as a front for drugs trafficking.
Among many of his gifts is his ability to create illusions in others minds. KnightOwl has a vast intellect, and great respect for his Faith and the theologians in the neighborhood.
KnightOwl walks the line between gritty crime novel and superhero fantasy. In an answer to Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, I created KnightOwl to fight for all civil rights – not just the black community, but all communities subjugated and attacked in modern times. The only part I consider light-hearted is the comedic truth in teachers leading a double-life, but the real hard truth in all things teachers witness their children/students going through, and the fact that teachers, in essence, are superheroes. In short, it is a dedication.