Comic Book Creators of Color
Three graphic novelists to watch
The comic book industry used to be a nearly all-white-dude club back in the not-too-distant past. But these days, more and more artists and writers of color are stepping into the spotlight, serving consumers and critics a steady stream of must-read graphic novels. Here’s a look at three creators who need to be on your radar and on your bookshelf:
Del Hewitt Jr: Kings of the Wasteland
Hewitt has become known in indie comic circles not just for being the artist and writer behind a number of divergent titles—but also for using crowdfunding to finance his endeavors. Case in point: Hewitt has taken to Kickstarter on multiple occasions to successfully raise money to publish his series “Kings of the Wasteland,” which follows the life-and-death struggles of talking animals in a post-apocalyptic world. He recently finished KOTW issue No. 4, which you can get your eyes and hands on at kingsofthewastelands.com.
Juliana “Jewels” Smith: (H)Afrocentric
For something less sci-fi and more slice-of-life, check out Smith’s series (H)Afrocentric. The comic chronicles the adventures of a group of college students — led by Naima Pepper, who Smith calls a “radical Black feminist … who has a White mama” — as they navigate life at Ronald Reagan University. The award-winning title regularly tackles real-world issues like identity and gentrification (among others), and with a trade paperback of the first four issues currently on sale, it’s easy to jump in and get caught up. Snag a copy, and learn more about Smith at hafrocentric.com.
Shawn Martinbrough: Thief of Thieves
Now, artist Shawn Martinbrough isn’t new to the game. He’s been drawing comic stories for some of the biggest companies and characters in the business for more than a decade. But fast-forward to 2017, and you’ll see he’s busy guiding the visual direction for the ongoing heist tale “Thief of Thieves.” With an artistic approach that’s clean and slightly angular, Martinbrough is a master at creating pages that are stylized yet ultra-realistic. Catch up with his work, past and present, at shawnmartinbrough.com.