By day, Will Warner is a counselor at Delgado Community College. But at night, this 42-year-old father of two often assumes the secret identity of the Black Ghost, a New Orleans superhero on a mission to revive the values of compromise, compassion and nonviolent conflict resolution.
That secret identity is becoming better known thanks to the series of The Black Ghost programs making the rounds on the Internet. The shows follow the adventures of a local man who gains superhuman powers and the ability to stop crime.
“People my age remember the characters they grew up watching, like the Green Hornet or the Lone Ranger and they still remember what those characters stood for; good guys didn’t hurt people,” says Warner. “In 2008, who do we have embodying those values? We’re trying to go back to basics with family entertainment.”
Warner first came up with the idea for the Black Ghost while he was serving in the Navy. After witnessing the surge of street crime that has followed Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, he decided to introduce his character and see if he could make a difference for young children who might not have positive role models in their lives.
With virtually no budget but plenty of volunteer help from fellow mental health professionals and local actors, Warner has produced eight episodes of The Black Ghost, set and filmed in locations New Orleans children can identify as home turf.
“We talk about rebuilding our city after Katrina and that can come in many different forms,” says Warner. “We want to bring kids and parents into the living room together to watch a show and actually talk about the decisions that were portrayed.”
Warner proudly points out that while his character fights for justice, he doesn’t throw punches or deliver kicks. In one episode, for example, when a pair of drug dealers threatens the Black Ghost with knives our hero responds by pulling out a flute, which he uses to put his would-be assailants under mind control.
“The point for kids is that even if you have access to a weapon, you don’t have to use it. You can use your head and resolve a conflict without violence,” says Warner.
“As a counselor, I know how powerful the archetype of the superhero can be, because it inspires. Kids can look at this character and see that he gets the job done without violence.”
The show’s eighth episode should be online this month. To see episodes of The Black Ghost, visit www.theblackghost.com