One of the biggest takeaways from any comic book convention is that comics are a great tool for entertainment, but also education. They provide commentary on social conditions, zeitgeist and straight up drop facts in a way that is easy to digest, especially when it comes to culture and folklore. AURN recently visited the Schomburg’s Black Comic Book Festival and BAM’s Black Comix Festival where comic creators showcased their creations, and there was a lot of good stuff to sort through. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five comic books that weave important lessons about life and the African Diaspora into compelling stories.
Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer
Written By: David Crownson
Illustration: Courtland L. Ellis
Plot: Once slave owners realize they can’t stop the fearless Harriet Tubman from freeing slaves, they call on assistance from the darkside. They summon vampires, werewolves, witches and demons to try to stop her. Tubman, well aware of the wicked threats against her, resolves to push forward and lead a family of slaves to freedom while battling a fearsome army of darkness.
Crescent City Monsters
Written By: Newton Lilavois
Illustration: Gian Carlo Bernal
Plot: Crescent City Monsters revolves around Jonas, the lead singer in a New Orleans-based blues band who has a bounty on his head that only supernatural entities known as “The Grunch” know about. The reasons for this bounty aren’t revealed, but Jonas has some creole magic of his own, and he’s not afraid to use them when necessary. Jonas’ journey takes him on a ride that includes zombies and mayhem, but even more frightening, racial prejudice of the 1960’s Deep South.
Comic creator Lilavois’ was inspired to create this storyline after visiting New Orleans and finding the supernatural mythology of the city to be similar to that of his native Haiti.
Is’Nana The Were Spider
Written By: Greg Anderson-Elysee
Illustration: David Brame
Plot: Who else read the Anansi the Spider tales in elementary school? The series oft-featured Anansi in various dilemmas and learning moral lessons that could apply in real life while working through his situations. Well, Is’Nana the Were Spider is the grown up version. This comic series centers around Is’Nana, the son of Anansi, and he accepts responsibility for releasing horrible creatures into the world. These monsters want to wreak havoc and and create confusion in the universe. Is’Nana, with guidance from his father, must learn to navigate the world these creatures live in as he finds his own place.
Sorghum & Spear
Written By: Dedren Snead
Art Director: Timothy Geathers
Plot: This fantasy tale of mighty women is described as “A landscape of a decadent historical acumen and inclusive storytelling.” The story revolves around the Eternal Realm, a paradise that grew from the will of the gods. The All-Mother Eshe bestowed power, harmony and peace upon the An’Fre people and they experienced a golden age of prosperity. But darkness lurks amid the shadows and eventually the shadows descended upon the capital city and the war between good and evil begins.
Ricanstruction: Reminiscing and Rebuilding Puerto Rico
Plot: This is an anthology series featuring contributors from the comic book industry like Frank Miller, Gail Simone, Greg Pak, Will Rosado and several more, along with celebrities like Rosario Dawson, Rubén Blades and more. The series features Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s beloved hero La Borinqueña working alongside some DC Comics favs like Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Aquaman and The Flash to help rebuild Puerto Rico in the wake of hurricane Maria. Original stories explore the history of Puerto Rico and take us through modern times that envision a stronger and rebuilt island. All proceeds from sales go toward Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico.