Kickstarter Campaign for ‘Black’ Graphic Novel Breaks Down Racial Barriers in the Comics World

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Courtesy of the Creators
Courtesy of the Creators

Comic book creators Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith III, Jamal Igle and Khary Randolph have teamed up to create a new graphic novel that will focus entirely on Black super heroes.

“Black” takes place in a world where only Black people can get super powers. The main character, Kareem Jenkins, was racially profiled and gunned down by the cops ,which leads into the high-concept premise of the story. But unbeknownst to them, he survives and is taken in by the character Juncture, who tells Jenkins about the super-powered Black people around the world. For centuries, the government has kept this a secret to avoid global war, as some in the world would seek to exploit these abilities.

Comic book fans who read Image Comics properties are well aware of the appeal of high-concept storytelling. “Black” could very well be revolutionary in its timeliness and relevance. Since the shooting of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown  in 2014, the subject of police brutality has gripped the nation. From that horrific tragedy, the Black Lives Matter movement sprung up to force police accountability and create a more fair and just system for Black people.

However, the authors’ intent was to address Marvel’s and DC’s pseudo-racial progress. In regards to Marvel, writer Osajyefo tells The Washington Post:

” ‘Black’ is important because aside from age and abilities, I can’t distinguish between Sam Wilson (Captain America) and Miles Morales (Spider-Man). I mean, I enjoy both characters, but they are very ‘Cosby Show’: cookie-cutter, inoffensive blacks who don’t reflect contrasts within black culture itself. Most publishers lack the internal insight to create content that expresses black culture in a way that really reflects us.”

With just a few days left to go in the Kickstarter campaign, the team of creators have reached — and exceeded — their $30,000 goal. According to the campaign profile page, there are some very cool stretch goals:

$45,000: UPGRADE U
All pledges $25 and up will now include a 8.5” x 11” mini-poster of Jamal’s illustration of Juncture and Kareem. Pledges $50 and above will receive an additional 11” x 17” large-format poster of Khary’s cover.

Additionally, all $25 rewards will include a custom BLACK branded bookmark, and $50 rewards and up will receive three bookmarks, representing each faction within the story.

$55,000: THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE

Fight scenes in comics can be brief and have a lot of dialogue that wouldn’t be possible in a real fight. It’s been part of Kwanza’s dream to do an epic, cinematic fight scene with minimal dialogue and loads of action.

This goal would add 20 extra pages to the climactic battle at the end of BLACK. Expect all-out action that will give the characters more room to show off their skills and abilities.

PLUS we’ll include a hint at what’s to come after the conclusion of BLACK.

$65,000: BIRTH OF A NATION

How long have Blacks had superpowers and how has it been kept secret from the world at large? Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 will reveal insights from the lost pages of the Mann family diary dating back as far as the 15th century to present day.

“Black” will tackle issues of race in the real world and in the comic industry in 120 pages of epic storytelling. For more info on this amazing project visit “Black’s” Kickstarter campaign.

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