‘Black’ Takes On Police Violence, Black People With Superpowers, and Surviving While Black Today

Today in unapologetically Black art, Black creators Kwanza Osajyefo, Jamal Igle (Molly Danger), Tim Smith 3, and Khary Randolph take on police violence against Blacks in their new comic book “Black.”

Telling the story of Kareem Jenkins, a young Black man who is gunned down by the police, but miraculously survives, “Black” isn’t shying away from the tough topics. The world Osajyefo et al. have created looks a lot like our own — a world where young Black people are feared and dehumanized, where wearing a hoodie can be a death sentence, where cops are more likely to shoot you than protect you — only in the world of “Black,” Black people have superpowers.

Osajyefo explains his motivations for this story in his Kickstarter video: “A lot of people are drawn to comics as a form of escapism or power fulfillment. They identify with characters who are outsiders in society, because they reflect things that are going on in the real world. The metaphors about race are obvious, but in the world of the fantastic, mutants, metahumans, evoos… are not plausible reflections of a demonized minority. Most of these characters that are presented as outcasts, they can take off their masks, not use their powers, and live among normal society. Black folk don’t have that luxury. And that’s when I had a thought: what if only Black people had superpowers?”

Osajyefo launched a Kickstarter for the project on February 1st, with hopes of raising $29,999 fund a 120-page comic to be released in six chapters by mid-2016. The campaign has already reached its initial goal with just over 1,000 backers. Now, the creators are pushing for stretch goals that would  allow for more pages and more backstory. 

In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Jamal Igle (of Molly Danger fame) described the comic as a story “of [African American] survival in America”: “The one common thread is a deep, penetrating need within African American society to be recognized as human beings and carve out a place for ourselves within American culture. We also have a need to be recognized for our individuality amongst our own people. So when Kwanza and Tim first approached me about drawing the series, I immediately saw the potential of telling a different story that touched on the theme of survival in America.”

The Kickstarter campaign ends on February 29th.