The way people are reacting (and/or responding) to our current political moment is all over the map. Some are taking the ostrich head in the sand approach: If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Some are happy that the end of the American experiment is closer than we ever thought possible. Some are going full-force with resisting, making sure that what is happening does not become the new default. Some are embracing the newly- burnished hate and division, their fantasies of a fourth and fifth Reich are invading our shared reality. Remember when these people used to be on the fringe? Some say this is the last gasp of a dying ideology. I’m of the mind that it is the first deep breath of a newborn. But what do I know? I’m a born pessimist.
When I heard Abrams was developing a graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred I was of two minds. I wasn’t sure if one of the most important books in the history of literature could be accurately represented in the graphic form. Even though I’m a rabid comic book fan, I felt a comic version of the novel would somehow cheapen it. But it was John Jennings and Dr. Damian Duffy, and I trust them implicitly. They have a decade plus relationship and have put out some of the most interesting and innovative comics work during this time.
They’re geniuses, and this isn’t hyperbole. This book here illustrates the genius of their partnership.
Last week, Abrams Books finally released the highly anticipated graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic novel, Kindred. Created by our friends John Jennings and Damian Duffy — collectively known as J2D2, the book has already shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover graphic novels! To celebrate this momentous occasion, revisit my conversation with them recorded last summer during San Diego Comic-Con. The conversation is also available via podcast from Soundcloud (embedded below). Please remember to subscribe to Hard NOC Life on YouTube or iTunes and leave us a rating and review so folks can find us there! And don’t forget to get your own copy of Kindred.
This is an excerpt from a book I started in 2008. I wanted to take a more academic approach to afrogeek and afrofuturist culture and cultural artifacts. I felt this section was important in the present, in light of our new political reality. The books is done, but I’m not sure how I feel about publishing an academic text in a time when we need information to be as clear as possible. Continue reading “Butler, Dystopia, Propaganda, and a Way Through?”
This January, Abrams Books will be publishing a graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic novel, Kindred. At San Diego Comic-Con, we had the opportunity to talk with the creators behind the graphic novel, John Jennings and Damian Duffy — collectively known as J2D2, as they were signing galley copies of the book!
I am in no way presenting that being adapted for the screen is a measure of success. I am exploring why someone as beloved, talented, and influential as Octavia Estelle Butler hasn’t been presented on television, or projected 50 feet tall in a movie theater. Here is an excerpt of my explorations:
When I tell people I am a prison abolitionist and that I believe in ending all prisons, they often look at me like I rode in on a unicorn sliding down a rainbow. Even people engaged in social movements, people who concede that the current prison system is flawed, voice their critiques but always seem to add, “But it’s all we have.”
For all of our ability to analyze and critique, the left has become rooted in what is. We often forget to envision what could be. We forget to mine the past for solutions that show us how we can exist in other forms in the future.
That is why I believe our justice movements desperately need science fiction. Stay with me on this one. I am the co-editor, along with visionary movement strategist adrienne maree brown, of the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, which comes out this spring from AK Press. Octavia’s Brood, named in honor of Black feminist sci-fi writer and MacArthur “Genius” grant winner Octavia Butler, is a collection of radical science fiction written by organizers, change makers, and visionaries.
Despite the high levels of ridiculously violent and sexual content in manga/anime, the folks who participate are some of the nicest, most polite folks that I have ever met. Instead of battling constantly to hone their skills, many choose cooperate. No cliques/clans/squads on seek and destroy missions — just groups of people connecting because of their love of this wild and crazy stuff.
We know it has been a while since you have received an update about the visionary sci-fi anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction From Social Justice Movements.
That is because we have been involved in a transition and re-evaluation phase. It’s the end of that phase, and we are so happy to be able to officially announce two incredible things: 1) the final list of contributors to the project, and 2) that AK Press (in conjunction with the Institute for Anarchist Studies) will publish Octavia’s Brood!
The above image is from the cover of my upcoming book: Diary of an AfroGeek.
Being an AfroGeek is all about being comfortable, and expecting, to hold immense contradictions. It is loving Firefly, Serenity, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but having a strong feeling that Joss Whedon doesn’t love you back. It is about getting into passionate discussions about why and how Storm’s original mohawk incarnation was one of the more powerful political statements in comics, but being appalled at how uninteresting she became when she married Black Panther.