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About John Jennings
JOHN JENNINGS is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside (UCR). Professor Jennings received his MA in Art Education in 1995 and the MFA in Studio with a focus on Graphic Design in 1997 from UIUC. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who examines the visual culture of race in various media forms including film, illustrated fiction, and comics and graphic novels. Jennings is also a curator, graphic novelist, editor, and design theorist whose research interests include the visual culture of Hip Hop, Afrofuturism and politics, Visual Literacy, Horror and the EthnoGothic, and Speculative Design and its applications to visual rhetoric. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art (Rutgers) and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center's Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal's Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University. Jennings' current projects include the graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler's Kindred (with Damian Duffy), Tony Medina's police brutality themed ghost story I Am Alphonso Jones (with Stacey Robinson), and his Hoodoo Noir graphic novella Blue Hand Mojo (Rosarium Publishing). Jennings is also a Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University.
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More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century.
Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.
Held up as an essential work in feminist, science-fiction, and fantasy genres, and a cornerstone of the Afrofuturism movement, there are over 500,000 copies of Kindred in print. The intersectionality of race, history, and the treatment of women addressed within the original work remain critical topics in contemporary dialogue, both in the classroom and in the public sphere.
Frightening, compelling, and richly imagined, Kindred offers an unflinching look at our complicated social history, transformed by the graphic novel format into a visually stunning work for a new generation of readers.
2021 Hugo Award Winner for Best Graphic Story or Comic
The follow-up to #1 New York Times Bestseller Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, comes Octavia E. Butler’s groundbreaking dystopian novel
In this graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, the award-winning team behind Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, the author portrays a searing vision of America’s future. In the year 2024, the country is marred by unattended environmental and economic crises that lead to social chaos. Lauren Olamina, a preacher’s daughter living in Los Angeles, is protected from danger by the walls of her gated community. However, in a night of fire and death, what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny . . . and the birth of a new faith.
From the introduction of Black Panther in the 1960s and publisher Stan Lee’s early efforts at addressing systemic racism, to the groundbreaking work of creators like Billy Graham, Christopher Priest, Reggie Hudlin, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, My Super Hero Is Black offers a rich examination, celebration, and historical overview of Marvel’s Black characters and creators. It also includes accounts from prominent Black creators and luminaries about their personal relationships with Marvel super heroes.
Presented by John Jennings—the notable comics scholar, illustrator, editor, writer, teacher, publisher, and #1 New York Times bestselling author—and Angélique Roché—the acclaimed content creator, producer, and the popular host of Marvel Entertainment’s Marvel’s Voices podcast—this milestone work is destined to become a classic and will speak to generations of comics fans and storytellers.
John Jennings is a professor, author, graphic novelist, curator, Harvard Fellow, New York Times Bestseller, 2018 Eisner Winner, and all-around champion of Black culture.
As Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside (UCR), Jennings examines the visual culture of race in various media forms including film, illustrated fiction, and comics and graphic novels. He is also the director of Abrams ComicArts imprint Megascope, which publishes graphic novels focused on the experiences of people of color. His research interests include the visual culture of Hip Hop, Afrofuturism and politics, Visual Literacy, Horror, and the EthnoGothic, and Speculative Design and its applications to visual rhetoric.
Jennings is co-editor of the 2016 Eisner Award-winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art (Rutgers) and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University.
After the Rain is a graphic novel adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s short story “On the Road.” The drama takes place in a small Nigerian town during a violent and unexpected storm. A Nigerian-American woman named Chioma answers a knock at her door and is horrified to see a boy with a severe head wound standing at her doorstep. He reaches for her, and his touch burns like fire. Something is very wrong. Haunted and hunted, Chioma must embrace her heritage in order to survive. John Jennings and David Brame’s graphic novel collaboration uses bold art and colors to powerfully tell this tale of identity and destiny.
As a collective these interviews explore folklore, systemic racism, his Mississippi roots, and the phrase Jennings cocreated, the Ethnogothic. Jennings discusses the necessity for black heroes, not just for the sake of diversity, but for inclusiveness, touching on the conventions he has cofounded, such as the Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He addresses the struggle to be financially compensated for work, and he speaks at length about how being a professor informs his craft where he continues to examine black stereotypes in popular culture with courses of his own design.
As a group the interviews in John Jennings: Conversations give a picture of a black man forging a way where comic books have afforded him a means to carve out an important space for people of color.
When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.
In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak—and the living yield even more surprises.
We’ve all seen the pictures: a six-year-old Ruby Bridges being escorted by U.S. marshals on her first day at an all-white, New Orleans school in 1960; a police dog attacking a demonstrator in Birmingham; fire hoses turned on protesters; Martin Luther King Jr. addressing a crowd on the National Mall. These pictures were printed in papers, flashed across television screens, and helped to change the laws of this nation, but not necessarily all of the attitudes. Similarly, we’ve seen the pictures of Michael Brown lying face down in a pool of his own blood for hours; protesters with their hands up, facing down militarized policemen. There are videos of Eric Garner choked to death, John Crawford III shot down in Walmart for carrying a toy gun, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice gunned down in broad daylight for the same reason. APB: Artists Against Police Brutality is a benefit comic book anthology that focuses on hot-button issues including police brutality, the justice system, and civil rights, with one primary goal: show pictures and tell stories that get people talking. The proceeds will go to the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people.
Bill Campbell is the founder of Rosarium Publishing and the author the novels Koontown Killing Kaper, My Booty Novel, and Sunshine Patriots as well as the essay collection, Pop Culture: Politics, Puns, and “Poohbutt” from a Liberal Stay-at-Home Dad. He is the coeditor of the anthologies Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond and Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany. He lives in Washington, DC.
Jason Rodriguez is an Eisner and Harvey Award–nominated writer and editor. He is the author of Postcards: True Stories That Never Happened and Try Looking Ahead, and his work has been published by Dark Horse Comics, Random House, and several small publishers. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.
John Jennings is an associate professor of visual studies at the State University of New York–Buffalo. He is an award-winning graphic novelist and the author of Pitch Black Rainbow: The Art of John Jennings.