Graphic Novels Written by Black Authors from Perpich Library
February 22, 2023
In honor of Black History Month, the library is featuring a selection of graphic novels written by Black authors. Black authors have had a historically difficult time breaking into the comic world as writers. For more information on Black comic book writers breaking through those barriers, see this video.
All items on this list are available at the Perpich library. Click on titles for more information.
1. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, et al.
When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.
2. Black AF: America’s Sweetheart by Kwanza Osajyefo, Jennifer Johnson, et al.
Can a Black woman be America’s first superhero? Eli Franklin is a 15-year-old girl living in rural Montana-and she just happens to be the most powerful person on the planet. In the aftermath of the world learning that only Black people have superpowers, Eli makes her debut as the superhero Good Girl, on a mission to help people and quell the fear of empowered Blacks. When a super-terrorist threatens to take away everything Eli has worked toward, will donning a patriotic costume be enough for her to find acceptance?
3. Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell
For the past six months, newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people. The city has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent. But that’s all about to change…
4. Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers
Offers a poignant glimpse into Black women’s lives and coming-of-age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories and ads, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.
5. I am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, et al.
Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.
When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.
6. Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece
In the early 20th Century, when lynchings were commonplace throughout the American South, a few courageous reporters from the North risked their lives to expose these atrocities. They were African-American men who, due to their light skin color, could “pass” among the white folks. They called this dangerous assignment going “incognegro.”
Zane Pinchback, a reporter for the New York-based New Holland Herald, is sent to investigate the arrest of his own brother, charged with the brutal murder of a white woman in Mississippi. With a lynch mob already swarming, Zane must stay “incognegro” long enough to uncover the truth behind the murder in order to save his brother — and himself.
7. Ironheart, Volume 1: Those With Courage by Eve Ewing, Kevin Libranda, et al.
Riri Williams, the armored hero called Ironheart who took the comics world by storm, takes center stage! When a group of world leaders is held hostage by one of Spider-Man’s old foes, Riri must step up her game. But she’s thrown for a loop when an old acquaintance from back in Chicago re-enters her life. Now, Ironheart is caught between her need for independence and her obligations at M.I.T. – and when an old friend is kidnapped, she needs to make some tough decisions. Luckily, Riri has a will of steel, a heart of iron… and a brand-new A.I. system on her side.
8. Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds and Danica Novgorodoff
As fifteen-year-old Will sets out to avenge his brother Shawn’s fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.
9. Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, et al.
From the graphic novel series March comes the continuation of the life story of John Lewis and the struggles seen across the United States after the Civil Rights Movement. For John Lewis, the Civil Rights Movement as he knew it ended with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, but his struggle in the following years echo many of the same questions of civil rights and equality that are being asked today.
10. Your Black Friend and Other Strangers by Ben Passmore
Ben Passmore’s necessary contribution to the dialogue around race in the United States, Your Black Friend is a letter from your black friend to you about race, racism, friendship and alienation.
All items on this list are available at the Perpich Library.