Dorphise Jean’s Caribbean Haitian background played a huge part in creating Spirit’s Destiny, a coming of age story about Destiny, a young Haitian woman who is coming to terms with her new found abilities and the pressure of deciding how to use them. A personal trauma nearly put a halt to her comics dreams but Dorphise bounced back with her debut comic, hailed as an original new voice in comics.
Back in 2014, while reading a Teen Titans comic, Dorphise Jean pondered about writing her own. The avid comics lover tried to came up with a great plot but she drew a blank. So she asked herself: What would be like if I was a superhero? What can I bring to the table? Drawing upon her Caribbean Haitian’s heritage, the idea for Spirit’s Destiny was born.
The first time comic book author created a Kickstarter to fund her project. She managed to raise the money, finish her writing, got her book illustrated and everything was going smoothly until tragedy struck. Her son accidentally shot himself in the head while staying at his father’s house. It was a traumatic and challenging period for Dorphise as she went through depression while staying at the hospital with her son for 3 and half months.
Her loved ones and family members rallied together to help Dorphise get back on her feet and encouraged her to finish her labour of love. Her comic book “Spirit’s Destiny” debuted earlier this earlier year and is available through its website.
In Sprit’s Destiny, the protagonist Destiny Jean was a typical teenager. Who knew a day sneaking out the house with her best friends would lead to her demise after an accident at her mother’s laboratory? Unable to come to terms with Destiny’s death, her grandmother, Danielle Jean, performed a resurrection spell to reincarnate her granddaughter. Faced with a second lease of live and newly-found abilities, Destiny discovered what it meant to be a superhero while navigating her teenage years.
We recently speak to Dorphise to find out more about her comic and what it is like to create a comic book for the first time.
TT: How did you come up with the name for your Spirit’s Destiny comic?
DJ: My friend, Dennis Knight, was reviewing the book while I was developing it and came up with the name. It was catchy, I liked it, and it fit the character, so I went with it.
TT: Tell us more about your background
DJ: I was born and raised in the city of Miami and am of Haitian descent. I received my Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Management-Law Enforcement at Miami Dade College and am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. I began writing short stories when I was seven after being inspired by favorite superheroes. I always had a strong passion for writing and illustration. I have written everything from short stories to songs as a hobby and in eventually decided to make it a career. Growing up, I was a big fan of DC and Marvel comics, which really sparked my infatuation with graphic storytelling. I also wrote songs for several artists. My favorite childhood superheroes were Raven, Rogue, Storm, Spiderman, Batman, Jon Stewart, Silk, among others. I am the mother of the greatest four-year-old son ever, named Darnal Mundy II.
Ever since I started watching the cartoon series like Superman or Batman, I was inspired to get involved. I am currently a novice when it comes to creating animation and I plan to excel my skills. You will see an animated series soon for Spirit’s Destiny.
TT: Why did you decide to write a comic book based on a superhero of Haitian descent?
DJ: Well that is an interesting question. To be honest I always wondered what it would be like to have a Haitian superhero. After some research, I realized Marvel had made an attempt creating Haitian superheroes. Characters such as Doctor Voodoo, Papa Jambo, Daniel Drumm, Jericho Drumm, and Papa Legba were all highly skilled sorceress. But there is more to Haitian culture than just voodoo. Voodoo certainly plays a major role in the Haitian culture. It is used for revenge or even to cleanse someone’s soul. The rituals are performed differently around the world. I decided to create a superhero of Haitian descent to give the children of Haiti someone who can create positive energy and hope for them. I always wanted to create a superhero who represented me, and my culture, in every aspect. Haiti is one of the poorest countries but their motivation and positivity are rich at heart. That is the main reason why I created a Haitian superhero; for the love of my culture.
TT: How would you describe your hero Destiny Jean?
DJ: Destiny is, somewhat, an animated version of me. My last name is Jean and I wanted the character to be authentic. From her appearance to her personality, Destiny is a rebellious, sarcastic, funny, compassionate, and ambitious. She has gone through a lot growing up and still remains optimistic. She is a problem solver who refuses to fail. Destiny is a strong person because, throughout her childhood, she has been rejected or ignored by the one person she looks up to; her mother. Despite that, she remains positive and continues to push herself to exceed her limitations. She is very athletic and can be quite competitive. She is a martial arts expert, having the skills of four different martial arts techniques. She was taught martial arts at the age of three by her mother and grandfather.
TT: Can you talk about some of the villains in the series that Destiny will be facing?
DJ: Destiny will come across a plethora of villains throughout the series. My favorite villains in the series are Brian, Darco, Detective Hoang, Adisa and the underworld demons. Brian is a former Navy Seal operative who was dishonorably discharged. He’s held a grudge ever since and promises revenge. Darco works alongside Brian and is a former Marine operative and wasn’t allowed to reenlist due to his mental disabilities. He has no regard for human life and was labeled as a psychopath. Detective Hoang is a corrupt officer from the Miami Police Department who has been abusing power for years. Adisa who is Hoang’s ally is a new generation voodoo witch who cast spells for greed and to torment others. He is selfish and vindictive. Last but not least, these demonic spirits who are the reason for Destiny’s abnormal abilities seek to end humanity. They are the most dangerous villains in the series so everyone should keep an eye out for them
TT: What inspired you to write this book?
DJ: My biggest inspiration is my son because he is so infatuated with comic book heroes just like I am. His favorites are Batman and Teen Titans. Writing has always been my forte, and being able to create a story, and bringing it to life, is one of my greatest achievements. But all of that pales next to my son, of course. I always love reading or watching superheroes fighting and risking their lives for society. They remind me much of the military, police officers, doctors, and firefighters who are essential are to saving lives. Also, Haiti made a big impact on me because, after the earthquake, many remained positive, and all they had was hope. So lots of credit goes out to the people of Haiti.