BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table: Fantasy and Horror

Last updated June 10, 2021

This list takes an extraordinary look at worlds that are uncanny, magical, and grotesque. There are stories where magic is a part of life, while in others, magic exists in a different realm – a separate identity. Then there are tales where the supernatural is less wondrous, and more terrifying. Fantasy and horror can provide a catharsis for readers seeking a means to escape – or a way to contextualize – the trauma they experienced, particularly intergenerational trauma.

Members of the GNCRT may have contributed to the items listed here, and may have done so on a voluntary or paid basis.

Criteria for Inclusion in BCALA x GNCRT #BLM Comics Reading Lists

Title must be published sequential art, with one or more of the following elements:

  • Created by a Black storyteller
  • Displays empathy and respect for Black bodies
  • Introduces readers to Black art, people, history, organizations, and communities
  • Represents Black experiences both domestically and throughout the world
  • Showcases a diversity of artistic mediums
  • Includes the lived experiences of Black people from all demographics
  • Reinforces Black stories of success, resistance, endurance, and love
  • Demonstrates an understanding of cultural nuance
  • Represents independent and non-traditional publishing
  • Includes stories of ancient Black civilizations, as well as Black people’s continued existence in the future
  • Improves access to authentic Black stories for all patrons
  • Exposes Black creators to wider audiences
  • Enables ease of access without paywalls

After the Rain (A)
Nnedi Okorafor, writer; John Jennings, adapter; David Brame, artist
2021, Abrams ComicArts – Megascope
During a dark and stormy Nigerian night, Chioma opens up the door to a supernatural entity who leaves an indelible mark on her. In order to survive the reckoning, she must confront her identity and resolve the tumultuous feelings swirling within.
Publisher site: https://www.abramsbooks.com/product/after-the-rain_9781419743559
WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1222804714

Artie and the Wolf Moon (J)
Olivia Stephens, writer and artist
2021, Graphic Universe
Not all tweens can say growing pains include learning about their werewolf heritage, but Artie can. Community and family may look a little different now but the celebration of Black joy and Black love stays evergreen.
Publisher site: https://lernerbooks.com/shop/show/21102
WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1246350489

Bitter Root, Vol. 1: Family Business (A)
David Walker, writer; Chuck Brown, writer; Sanford Greene, artist
2019, Image Comics
The Sangerye family is racing the clock to save 1920s New York from supernatural forces threatening to infect the community with hate.
Publisher site: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/bitter-root-vol-1-family-business-tp
WorldCat: https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1240161268

Black Sands: The Seven Kingdoms (J)
Manuel Godoy, writer; David Lenormand, artist
2018, Black Sands Entertainment
In the ancient Kingdom of Kush, a group of friends with supernatural powers try to find their standing while war breaks out in the Seven Kingdoms. This book melds mythological worldbuilding with North African history, ensuring readers will have fun and learn something new.
Publisher site: https://blacksandsentertainment.com/products/black-sands-ultimate-edition-hardcover-limited-edition
WorldCat: https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1098179805

Box of Bones (A)
Ayize Jama-Everett, writer; John Jennings, artist
2021, Rosarium Publishing
Lindsay is a graduate student in Folklore/African American studies whose dissertation draws inspiration from her grandfather’s own experience with the mysterious Box of Bones. The Box has popped up throughout African diasporic history, always leaving a trail of violence and chaos in its wake.
Publisher site: http://rosariumpublishing.com/graphicnovels/box-of-bones.html
WorldCat: https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1228007333

Ezra Claytan Daniels, writer; Ben Passmore, artist
2019, Fantagraphics
In this unsettling and funny work of gentrification horror, an aspiring fashion designer’s new apartment in a down-and-out Chicago neighborhood is cheap, but the cost benefit can be deadly.
Publisher site: https://www.fantagraphics.com/bttm-fdrs
WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1202531336

Excellence, Vol. 1: Kill the Past (A)
Brandon Thomas, writer; Khary Randolph, artist; Emilio Lopez, artist
2019, Image Comics
Spencer Dales is part of a secret society of black magicians who change the fates of potentials for the better, but are never allowed to use their power on themselves. He comes of age in a time where oppression is manifested in this magical society in insidious ways and sometimes, the only avenue for change is to fight against the status quo, even if it means fighting back against family.
Publisher site: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/excellence-vol-1-kill-the-past-tp
WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1135318751

Farmhand Volume 1: Reap What Was Sown (A)
Rob Guillory, writer and artist; Taylor Wells, artist
2019, Image Comics
At Jenkins Farm, the crops are fresh, plentiful, and one of a kind! Only the best human organs are grown, and while it brought healing to many, there is something sinister brewing below.
Publisher site: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/farmhand-vol-1-tp
WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1084270421

Killadelphia (A)
Rodney Barnes, writer; Jason Shawn Alexander, artist
2020, Image Comics
Jimmy Sangster returns home to Philadelphia to bury his father, a cop who died in the line of duty. However, the definition of ‘dead’ has taken on new meanings in the City of Brotherly Love. The underground has never been more sinister.
Publisher site: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/killadelphia-vol-1-sins-of-the-father-tp
WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1201215460

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaption (A)
Octavia Butler, writer; Damian Duffy, adapter; John Jennings, artist
2017, Abrams ComicArts
Octavia Butler’s Kindred comes to life in this graphic retelling of an African American woman transported back to her family’s antebellum beginnings, and the ties that bond them together.
Publisher site: https://www.abramsbooks.com/product/kindred-a-graphic-novel-adaptation_9781419709470
WorldCat: https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/995307263

Urban Legendz (J)
Paul Downs, author; Nick Bruno, author; Michael Yates, artist
2019, Humanoids
Losing a parent then moving to another city is stressful enough – add the threat of bodily harm from supernatural forces and it turns deadly! When Dwayne’s reports of monsters in his Brooklyn neighborhood go unheeded, he links up with a group of vigilante tweens intent on protecting Brooklyn against nefarious foes.
Publisher site: https://www.humanoids.com/y_catalog/book/id/887
WorldCat: https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1157016681

Victor LaValle’s Destroyer (YA)
Victor LaValle, writer; Dietrich Smith, artist
2018, BOOM! Studios
A retelling of the classic Frankenstein, LaValle’s Destroyer is the story of Dr. Jo Baker’s fight to save her double creation, Akai. In this layered work, Akai is the reconfiguration of the son she lost in a police shooting.
Publisher site: https://shop.boom-studios.com/graphicnovels/detail/8196/victor-lavalle-destroyer-tp
WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1230245110

Supplementary Works

“Who Wants to Watch Black Pain?” in The Atlantic
Hannah Giorgis
2021, The Atlantic
This article discusses the recent trend of Black horror in the film industry and its ramifications for the future.

“Yes, lots of comics were racist. A new generation of Black artists is reinventing them” in The LA Times
Dorany Pineda
2021, The LA Times
Pineda touches upon Black creators who are challenging racist sterotypes in comics across genres.

Black-Owned Publisher

Iron Circus Comics
2007 –
“Iron Circus Comics is Chicago’s largest alternative comics publisher. Owned and operated by cartoonist C. Spike Trotman, it is dedicated to publishing strange and amazing comics, amplifying unheard and unique voices, and giving creators a fair deal. ICC pioneered the widely-used Kickstarter anthology bonus model that’s since reshaped the compensation system of the small press, jump-starting the current renaissance of alt-comics anthologies. ICC is the first comics publisher of note to fully incorporate crowdfunding into its business model, netting over $1,800,000 on Kickstarter to date for its slate of new work from emerging talent in the comics field.”

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