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Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 11 a.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Listen to full episodes at kalw.org/crosscurrents

How Malcolm Spellman’s Writing Dreams In Berkeley Led Him To Marvel’s ‘Falcon And The Winter Soldier’

Malcolm Spellman
Malcolm Spellman
Malcolm Spellman

Malcolm Spellman was a Berkeley kid who hung out in comic book shops with his friends. Now he’s telling complex stories about superheroes and villains on screen in the Marvel series “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”

When I showed up to do the project, Marvel knew there was no way to escape race being at the forefront of this project, because you’re handing the stars and stripes to a Black man.
Malcolm Spellman

The series is part of a lineup of Marvel live-action superhero shows for Disney+ launched this year. The shows are big hits, and some Bay Area artists are behind the success. Malcolm is the creator and executiveproducerand head writer for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” It’s about Sam Wilson or Falcon. He’s a military airman who is hesitant in taking on the mantle of Captain America. The previous Captain America is white, but Sam is unsure about carrying on the legacy of this patriotic, superhero as a Black man in the United States. The show delivers a lot of action-packed scenes, while addressing serious issues such as race and class.

In this interview Malcolm talks about his writing journey, social issues that come up in the story and Sam’s sidekick Bucky. He is white and embraced by the show’s Black character.

Just to warn you, there are show spoilers in this interview.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.