[Image Text: Panel 1: two female cats snuggling. “They’d say that it’s not natural, but animals engage in homosexual acts all of the time.” Left cat: “You know, the humans have a word for this.” Panel 2: Right cat: “Really? What is it?” Right cat: “Homosexuality!” Panel 3: laughter and “HOMO-WHAT?” Panel 4: Laughter and “It’s so funny how humans need to label everything.” Panel 5: Left cat: “So you ready to go again?” Right cat: “YA-HUNH!”]
We do exist. I am a black woman who at one time wished to write comics. I know of other black women who are currently writing comics: Marguerite Abouet, Carol Burrell, Spike (C. Spike Trotman), Alitha Martinez, Ashley A. Woods, Regine Sawyer, Jennifer Crute, Starline Hodge, etc. You’ve likely not seen them at many conventions due to the minuscule budget that self-publishing provides, but they exist. Perhaps they are not in great numbers, but they exist and are doing everything financially possible to increase their visibility (websites, interviews, etc.). When established male creators at well-known publishers go on popular, high-traffic websites and state that black women who write or wish to write comics don’t exist it makes it harder for the black women writers that do exist to gain visibility. People will make no effort to seek them out. An offhand comment, even one that is well meaning, can have a negative impact and be demoralizing.
Writer/ Artist: Jennifer Crutè/ Rosarium Publishing
I really enjoyed this biographical offering in comic form from artist
Jennifer Crutè. The art style turned away a few friends of mine who
read comics, but I loved what I saw and wanted to read more. Also, I’m
always fascinated with auto-bio works by black women artists because we
function in a world that constantly seeks to tear us down from the
moment we get out of bed and reach for the door to leave home. Reading Jennifer’s Journal
was a nice reminder that I can hide away from the world for a bit,
stick my head in book, and have great laughs. Here’s five reasons why
you should read:
1.) Black Children Being Able To BE Children.
Y’all I hate to remind you how bleak the world is at times if you’re
Black. We are constantly reminded that Black children don’t always have
the luxury of an actual childhood when the prison to the pipeline system
seems to target black youth with a sniper’s scope, black child poverty is at a new high and the disturbing trend/ fact that black children are less likely to receive mental health care
and instead are being labeled as having behavior problems. Don’t forget
that they may not have always access to the best quality of water as
children who are still living through the Flint crisis can tell you.
Then there’s names like Tamir Rice and Aiyanna Jones, reminders that
playing in a park while Black or simply sleeping in your bed while Black
can get you killed and those responsible for your death won’t be
brought to justice. (That’s why #CarefreeBlackKids2k16
was self care for me (and I’m hoping for a lot of you) I love, love,
love how the author was allowed to be a child in this work based off her
life. Sure there were some less than stellar memories like her parents’
divorce and such, but Crutè was able to actively play and mostly enjoy
being a kid.
How can fans of color become successful creators? Experienced PoC in TV, publishing, comic books, gaming, and pop culture journalism offer their advice. With LeSean Thomas (producer, BLACK DYNAMITE: THE ANIMATED SERIES; animator, THE LEGEND OF KORRA; Director/Lead Character Designer, THE BOONDOCKS), Tracey J. John (Games Journalist, MTV.com; Narrative Designer, Gameloft), Alice Meichi Li (illustrator, Dark Horse), Daniel José Older (author, HALF-RESSURECTION BLUES); Jennifer Cruté (illustrator/writer, JENNIFER’S JOURNAL), & I.W. Gregorio (author, #WeNeedDiverseBooks). Moderated by Diana Pho (editor, Tor Books).