The comic book industry, as with all areas of publishing, has a diversity issue, both in terms of having diverse characters and hiring diverse creatives. Looking through my comics shelves, my reading is even more dominated by white writers and artists than my regular shelves, which is definitely something I need to take note of and rectify. But here are four of my favourites, and two bonus comics I’m looking forward to in the future. If you have any favourite creators (artists or writers) of colour to recommend let me know in the comments.
There is no way I couldn’t include de Landro on this list as he is the artist for Bitch Planet, my favourite comic book. He manages to use the art style of an exploitation genre in a way that is not exploitative in itself, which is incredibly difficult to do. I also like the details he adds to the backgrounds of panels which gives the book an extra richness (like Penny fighting in the background in the panels on the left).
Shaun Tan writes picture books. ‘Picture books’ makes it sound like they’re just for children but they really are enjoyable at any age. The Arrival was one of my favourite books of last year. His artwork is absolutely stunning and he is able to evoke incredible depth without using any words. Check out my full review of The Arrival here to see more pictures of the artwork.
Satrapi is best known for Persepolis, a graphic novel about her early life in Iran and Europe. It’s a book full of humour, politics, horror, and a lack of sentimentality, and is fascinating and enjoyable to read. The art style is very simple, and I like the way she changes how she draws herself as she ages. It’s also a really good place to start if you’re new to graphic novels. I can’t believe I haven’t read her later two novels yet.
Emi Lenox has visual diary called EmiTown (which has also been released in printed volumes) and has a new comic with Jeff Lemire called Plutona which started coming out in September this year. I really like visual diaries and I love her art style. I haven’t checked out Plutona yet (I prefer to wait for trades), but I’ve been hearing great things about it so I’m looking forward to the first volume.
Picks for the future:
You probably know Amandla Stenberg as the actress that played Rue in the first Hunger Games film. She is also extremely smart and articulate and frequently speaks out on issues affecting women and people of colour. I love her, and she’s now co-written a comic called Niobe that is out at the beginning of November. This is going to be great.
Next year, Ta-Nehisi Coates will be writing a Black Panther series for Marvel. Aside from the fact that he’s an incredible writer and journalist, it’s always interesting to see what a writer does with something they have been a huge fan of since childhood. I don’t read much Marvel, but I will definitely be picking this up.
October is Writers of Colour month on this blog.