Dog Days – Free Webcomic

Dog Days is an interlude in The POLICE STATE Saga.  This is where we meet young Shawnna Corceaga, and see a crisis of conscience develop in Detective Crawley.  It’s a trip to the TRAP HOUSE of Jordan Jones senior, and the back door meetings of Senator Koehlor.  It’s just another Dog Day in New Pennsburgh….



Lost Ones

Man, I think about what would happen if my best friend was murdered, or even a really good friend; how would I react?

How would I be affected at work the next day, or in my night class?

…Wait a second, there’s not a chance in hell that I’d be either of those places.  I wouldn’t be able to focus.  I would be constantly distracted, and probably completely disinterested. 

Now what if I was a kid?  Everyday I see kids that are angry in school, or are distracted, or just absolutely don’t want to be there.  Every night on the news we see their friends, their family members being found dead……then we go on with our lives, and our kids return to school without their friend, and a shared trauma that only produces more strife.

And we judge them. 


MY Origin story

My name is Nathaniel Broadus.  I am a writer, community activist, youth advocate and mentor born in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 28th, 1986.  I am a Marine, who has served as an 0311 with First Battalion/First Marine Regiment, travelled the world on the 13th MEU, and have been drawn back to my wonderful hometown, in search of the next mission.  

I grew up idolizing superheroes: Batman, Superman, and the X-men were my favorites.  As I grew, and aged, I finally accepted that I probably would never be able to fly, or lift a house with my pinky.  I spent a period of years recklessly running the streets, and straying as far away from hero like behavior as possible.  I ended up at rock bottom, with nothing.  Self-alienated from family and friends, homeless and destitute, I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  

But that is not my origin story.

When I returned home from my enlistment, I was still nearly as lost as when I had left.  Transitioning back to the civilian world was much harder than I had expected, I felt a bit like Steve Rogers, man out of time.  THIS my friends, is where my story begins, in the halls of the Homewood YMCA.  After about 20 minutes of lazing around the weight room, I saw a jar calling for YMCA members to drop their name and number, in order to volunteer for…..anything.  I was awfully bored, and beyond stressed out, I could certainly volunteer for…anything.

The next day I received a mysterious phone call…

“Hello, is Nathaniel there?”

“Yes this is he.”

“We received your number in our jar.  You indicated that you would volunteer for ‘anything’…”

“Well, I’m a bit unsure on what the ‘anything…’ part means.”

“We’re going to need you to come in and referee a basketball game tomorrow”

“Ok…interesting.  When you said anything, I didnt think you meant something that took actual skill.  I’ll hoop, but I’m not a basketball player” (doesnt every TRASH hooper say this?)

“Don’t worry about it, everything will be taken care of.  Just be there.”

So I showed up, at the YMCA on that Wednesday evening.  I was privileged to meet one of the most important people that I’ve had the privilege to cross paths with, Coach Wan Wesley.  I had never seen someone that selflessly, THANKLESSLY dedicated, and effective at saving lives.  He did it on a basketball court.  He patiently taught me some nuances of coaching and refereeing basketball games, and eventually let me coach my own team for the rest of the season.

I had the privilege of “coaching” a seven year old named Tim, who I can credit as being one of the great leaders that I have ever met.  From his first time in practice, he could tell that I was a bit unnerved, and he went into coach mode himself.  He put all of his teammates in the right position on defense, he set up plays, and called them seamlessly in the middle of game action.  When a teammate missed a shot, or fell down he was right there to pick them up, and encourage them.  He stressed the importance of encouragement to his teammates, and they rallied with him.  Once again, I’m talking about a seven year old.  Our children are SUPER.

So maybe I could never turn invisible, but if Coach Wan, and Tim are in the line of fire everyday, actively saving lives, actively making people better. If Shanon Williams can grind her fingers to the bone tirelessly. for gun reform, police reform, community reform.  If I can watch a child’s mind expand before my eyes as I watch Darrell Kinsel teach them that art IS a viable career field, and art IS important.  If after being paralyzed in a traffic stop shooting by Pittsburgh Police Officers acting in a criminal manner, Leon Ford can rise up and become one of the most POWERFUL voices in the country…

If these people can do their part on the frontlines of the war to improve this world for every single person; if they can fight and put themselves in harms way for the soul of our society, our city…how can I sit on the sidelines?  

How can you?  

POLICE STATE: The Story I Never Wanted to Write!

So over the past couple of years I’ve been working on this project called POLICE STATE.  As I wrap up it’s final chapter, WAR, I begin to reminisce upon the beginning of this project.  How did I get here, to this multifaceted tale of corruption, police brutality, prison, and murder?  Where the hell did I start?

To be honest, when I initially sat down to write, my story wasn’t at all about social justice in any real sense.  I wanted to write about hip hop, and I wanted to write about super heroes.  I crafted a story in my head about a young rapper with gobs of desire, but not much ability, who is unwillingly corralled into an intergalactic battle of the bands.  As I sat down to craft the universe of my fun loving, aloof hero, Ferguson burned.

I’ve seen Pittsburgh burn before, although in 2005, it seems people were excused for their savagery, as they reveled in the Steeler’s Super Bowl victory.  Those people werent called thugs and niggers and animals. Those people were allowed to return to work after breaking, and burning and brawling in victory. Watching Ferguson burn was different, I was watching 2014 Missouri turn into 1992 Los Angeles before my eyes, I watched my people demonized for their mourning, and their insolence in standing up to men armed to the teeth with military gear.  I was watching brave heroes and intrepid heroines fight back against an oppressive government, that when opposed with rocks, and bottles, responded with advanced military technology.  It was the stuff of a tragic lore.  My story changed.

See, I understood the people of Ferguson.  I understand what it means to feel angry, and marginalized, and backed into a wall.  Furthermore, I have three friends who have been shot by the police.  One is dead, one is paralyzed from the waist down, and one sat in prison for six months with a bullet in him, without receiving any form of medical attention.  To this day, he carries the bullet in him.  I never wanted to write about my friends dying, or failing to receive medical attention.  I never wanted to experience poverty and homelessness in my early 20′s, or to be marginalized by teachers and administrators.  I never wanted to be the kid who never applied to college after high school, because I felt like my learning disability held me back.  I never wanted my summer camp counselors to tell me that they were going to “Rodney King” me, when I was just 13 years old.

I never wanted any of that, and I never wanted to write this story.

I have to thank artists JC Grande, and John Becaro for helping me bring my story to life.  True gentlemen and masters of their respective crafts.