+ By Rahsaan “Wordslave” Eldridge 

Imagine your younger self, around nine or ten years old, in Barnes & Noble with your mother. She’s talking to another customer while you wander aimlessly through the aisles. Suddenly, the stranger who’s talking to your mother stops mid-conversation, turns to you, and asks, “Are you a writer?” You reply, “No, sir,” because at this point you’re not—at least that’s what you think. As far as you know, you’re just a wide-eyed, curious kid who enjoys watching Animal Planet and reading his brothers’ comic books. Little do you know that this brief encounter with a stranger is more than a random occurrence; it’s a foreshadowing. It’s part of your superhero origin story.
Such was the case with Malcolm McFadden, native Annapolitan and creator of Six Fifteen Comics, a new independent comic book publishing company. A rapper, producer, audio engineer, and comic writer, McFadden is an all-around, self-proclaimed creative. He may not call himself a superhero, but one could argue that his superpower is nurturing the seed of an idea into a colorful bouquet that brightens up the comic universe.
A lifetime fan of comics, McFadden grew up reading books that his older brothers either shared or passed down to him. Some of his early exposure included classics such as Batman and Spider-Man. Daredevil and Weapon X served as early inspirations that would leave lasting impressions and ultimately fuel his passion as a comic writer. He might not have known that he would become a writer as a child, but he was always ruminating on character ideas and stories.
In 2020, McFadden started Yo A Nerd, a YouTube channel that reviews comics and movies. Also around this time, he started Six Fifteen as a way to present his characters and stories to the world. Four stories are the genesis of the Six Fifteen universe.

Evora Leigh facing off against her arch nemesis Subject 14. Illustration by Ariyibi Toluwalase

The first series title to be released under the imprint, Evora Leigh: A New Breed, is about a girl who struggles with anger issues and controlling her powers. She has the ability to turn energy into pink waves, which is destructive when she’s lashing out, and she’s got a big reason to lash out because she believes her parents have been kidnapped by Well Labs, “a scientific and technological organization that aims to enhance the human race.” She tears through Well Labs, searching for her parents, fighting skeletal bots that seem to be either half-finished or botched experiments. Evora leaves a path of pink destruction but doesn’t find her parents. She’s chased by agents of Well Labs, who send Subject 14 after her, and she’s confronted with the idea that she may have been the first of this new breed of humans but certainly not the last. The Kickstarter campaign for this story began in July 2023, and digital copies were delivered beginning in September.
The series “The King’s Domain” is the story of a former mixed martial arts world champion and billionaire genius who’s fighting for a new cause. Amari King, aka Maahes, decides to use his superior fighting skills and resources to take down the Alpha Organization, a criminal enterprise that profits from animal cruelty. The Kickstarter campaign for this story began in October.

Evora Leigh: A New Breed #1 cover. Illustration by Ariyibi Toluwalase

Although all of McFadden’s works take some aspects of his personal journey into account, The Legacy is the most autobiographical of his collection, and it’s clear that this story is very close to his heart. It draws from the void of not having his father early in his life and ponders the question of what if his father had been there during his formative stages, with the twist of them both having superpowers. Part of the inspiration was also based on a documentary that McFadden once watched that explored the relationship between generations of African Americans and the legacy that gets passed down. Some of the power that the story’s main character possesses is access to his father’s and grandfather’s memories as well as the memories of their fathers before, as a way of learning his family history through the eyes of his blood ancestors. While this was the first story McFadden decided to write, it has taken the longest to materialize. There have been many iterations over the years. He’s watched his original narrative come alive, twisting and turning into what it wanted to be. He attributes its evolution to patience and diligencelega, and he had to be open to the creative process that took him in directions he didn’t initially imagine. The Legacy is currently in production and scheduled to be released in 2024.
One of the most important parts of McFadden’s process is his relationship with visual artists. He writes the stories and creates the character arcs, but collaboration is essential, as visual artists are needed to bring the characters and the stories to life. The artist, the colorist, and the letterist all bring specialized skills to the equation to make the cipher complete.
Ariyibi Toluwalase Samuel, aka Pitch, is a Nigerian comic artist who connected with McFadden through Instagram and collaborated with him on Evora Leigh. They share influence from Wise Acre Comics and a deep passion for bringing characters to life. Omoboriowo Juwon, also a native Nigerian, is the artist for “The King’s Domain.” He gravitated to the script especially as it deals with fighting for animal rights and Africa.
The remarkable marriage of artwork and script writing is indicative of McFadden’s selection process. It’s important to him to depict African Americans in an accurate, positive, and flattering way. In addition to the ability to execute the drawing and coloring to suit the characters, the energy between the artist and McFadden must feel like a good fit, says Pitch. “It showed, through our conversation, that the project is important to him, and he has a passion for creating, and I appreciate that. Also, his writing makes drawing so much more understandable and easy to illustrate.”
Having a conversation with McFadden is speaking to a creative soul who cares deeply about his personal legacy and the craft of comics. Reading his work provides evidence that artistic collaboration and representation of his culture are all-important to him. To the stranger in Barnes & Noble, you were right; McFadden is indeed a writer. Now he knows what his superpower is, and luckily for us, he’s gracious enough to let us into his universe. 

For more information, follow on Instagram @sixfifteencomics.