I was writing a review today about a superhero comic book today and frankly it felt like a pointless thing to be doing this week. Instead, inspired by my friend at Words for Worms, I’m just going to list some of my favorite fiction books and comics written by Black creators in my favorite genres. There’s a ton of material going around about anti-racist material written by Black people. These books, poems, films, TV shows, etc are essential, but it seems vitally important to support Black creators in their endeavors that aren’t just about explicitly tackling racism. I’ve put together a short and not-at-all comprehensive of some of my favorite recent fiction from Black creators. Black Lives Matter. Black Art Matters.
Coates is best known for his books on being Black in America, like Between the World and Me and and We Were Eight Years in Power. Those books are must-reads, but he also put out his debut novel last Fall and it was one of my very favorite books of the year. The Water Dancer is about a man named Hiram, seeking to escape the bonds of slavery in Virginia. Somewhere between historical fiction and magical realism, Hiram finds himself in possesion of some strange powers.
Children of Blood and Bone is some of the most creative fantasy work I’ve read in the previous few years. The Legacy of Orisha series from Tomi Adeyemi finds the protagonist Zélie in a battle to return magic to her homeland. It’s epic and inventive and both of the books in the series released so far are absolute top-shelf works of fantasy.
The first comics entry on the list. Farmhand is an incredibly original series written and drawn by Rob Guillory. Farmhand finds a son returning home with his family to help on his family farm. Said family farm happens to be a massive corporation formed by his father when he discovered a way to grow replacement human body parts from plants. It’s as creepy as it sounds, but incredibly funny too. This is one of my favorite comics series running right now. You can read my full review of the second volume and then catch up in time for volume three at the end of this month.
For the superhero crowd, Eve L. Ewing recently wrapped up a 12-issue arc on Ironheart. Riri Williams is a fairly new character, but Ewing’s work with the successor to Iron Man was one of my favorite short runs at Marvel in the last couple of years. After you finish, check out Ewing’s recent book of poems on the Chicago Race of 1919, titled 1919.
Roxane Gay is well-known for her non-fiction, but this powerful collection of short stories finds women working their ways through love, loss, trauma, and abuse. “North Country” is one of the best short stories I’ve read in the last few years.
After you’re done buying and reading these books, please consider contributing to the following: