Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1.

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1 is in stores now and features work by me and an amazing assembly of creators—Maria Frölich, Conley Lyons, Craig Yeung, Marco D’Alfonso, Andrew Aydin, and Joanna Estep. I’m humbled to have been a part of that crew, to have worked within the world that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro have created, and to have learned so much from editor Lauren Sankovitch. (One of the things I learned is that lettering is very hard, so kudos to Clayton Cowles for an amazing lettering job—a task that is often overlooked.) I’d also like to thank Christopher Calloway of Creator Talks for chatting with us about the book. The same goes for Rachael Krishna of Buzzfeed and David Brothers at Image+.

“Living racism is a horrifying experience. And then, having to normalize it and internalize it. Sexism or homophobia, all that shit is the same shit. It’s an everyday thing, and it’s so common, and that’s hard to really put your head around. And you having to stomach it in order to keep your job, or to get further in life. You’re having to compromise, and if you don’t, you’re a nuisance. And there’s a paranoia, ’cause you’re like, This is fuckin’ …am I going crazy? Is that person…Daniel Kaluuya

Here’s where it gets sappy. Because a handful of the people who I’ve listed above believed in me more than I believed in myself. Probably still do. Sat patiently with me and quietly and firmly countered the voice in my head that emphatically exclaimed that my lack of opportunity was because I wasn’t good enough. Not the twice as good that we’re often told we must be, not the baseline of adequacy needed for that first rung.

“I’m certainly not going to lie and say it’s not difficult—because it is difficult. Because as much as you want to be inspiring and delve deep into those power fantasies, the reality of discrimination is there tugging away at that thread to unravel any tapestry you weave. What does discrimination do? It curtails your actions. It robs you of your agency. It makes you second-guess your ability.”Cheryl Lynn Eaton

“You can do this.”Kelly Sue DeConnick

My brain translated that last quote to “You’re not crazy.” And, dear God, did I need to hear that more than anything. I needed someone willing to acknowledge that those obstacles exist, but also confirm that I could surmount them—that my words were of value. And I found those someones in the team at Milkfed. And I thank them for taking a chance on me. (And letting me cross a major item off that bucket list!)


Fear of a Bitch Planet.

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1I usually hate to double dip in regards to posts, but this news is too good not to share on the blog! First and foremost, solicitations for Image’s June slate of books have dropped and yours truly will have a short featured in Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1! Massive shout out to my partner-in-crime and collaborator Maria Frölich as well as the entire Bitch Planet team from creative to editorial. I’m honored to be in same league as y’all, as fleeting as the moment for that might be!

Want to know more? Of course you do! So I advise you mosey on down to Image’s website and preorder a copy of Image+ #12 to find out more about it. The magazine not only contains interviews with the Bitch Planet: Triple Feature gang, but also a Walking Dead short for you zombie lovers, and an expose on Marc Silvestri (my favorite ol’ school Image artist). The homie David Brothers brings you the best in independent comics month after month. Don’t sleep.


Wisdom and earth.

A lot can happen in a month!

First and foremost is that I and artist Maria Frölich will have a short story appearing in an upcoming issue of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s and Val De Landro’s Bitch Planet. I’m honored to have been allowed to contribute to the amazing world that Kelly Sue and Val have created, to work with an artist of Maria’s caliber, and to learn from an editor as skilled as Lauren Sankovitch. All opportunities are a gift, but this one came at an exceptionally trying time in my life and gave me a bit of hope in a year where happy moments have been few and far between.

2016 has made the world of Bitch Planet more ominous than satirical—a world that could easily enter into our reality via the randomness of an election or a major catastrophe (or perhaps one in the same). I am a massive fan of fictional dystopian futures and equally a fan of making sure they never come to fruition!

With the publication of this story I find myself in a small, but powerful and growing league of black women writers in comics. And I could not be more pleased about it. Black women have always been here and have always been creating. What is new is the recognition—the realization that to have an organization where images of black female bodies are a source of income but black women are not invited to speak is parasitic and harmful. That realization, and the reaching back of a small handful of white women and black men who have secured a foothold in the industry, has finally resulted in a space for black women to write in the mainstream. However, it is important to note that black women created their own lucrative space outside of the mainstream long before we had become a consideration to those we championed as they pushed through glass ceilings. As I’ve said, we’ve been here.

And now we’re there. With the addition of powerful writers such as Roxane Gay, Vita Ayala, and Yona Harvey at DC and Marvel, black women are no longer voiceless in the mainstream. Flesh-and-blood black women are receiving compensation for their creativity. There is now reciprocity at these companies—black women are consumers, black female characters are profitable commodities, and black women are highly sought (and fairly paid) artistic laborers. I cannot support companies that take from black communities—black women—and give nothing in return. Thankfully, I no longer have to count Marvel and DC among said companies. And while it’s frustrating that we had to wait until 2009 and 2016 for that to come about, the fact that it has come about should be positively noted. And I hope we do not once again see a regression for nearly a decade should these women decide to return to their original creative mediums.

We are together, but unequal. While I am absolutely elated to have women such as Roxane Gay in this industry and in the mainstream it is very important to note that their presence is a clear example of “twice as good for half as much.” For only black writers must reach the pinnacle of fame in other creative industries in order to be deemed acceptable to pen a mid-list mainstream comic book. A white man or woman? Well, he or she would merely need to have written an independent comic that an editor took a liking to in order to receive an invitation to pitch. The doors are now open to everyone, but only black people have a very long and winding staircase they must climb in order to reach them. It’s okay though, we’re used to having to be twice as good to get in, only now we’re going to be damn sure to remind you of it once we get there.

As for me? I’m going to work on stepping my game up to reach that elusive 200 percent! Sadly, I can’t talk about my next step now—God, I’ve become one of those people—but poke me about it in a few months!


This bitch right here.

I’m losing my softness.

Unfortunately, not physically! Anyone who I’ve roped into a hug can attest to that. But the inner core of who I am—quiet, demure—has been changing. The world isn’t a safe one for soft black women.

America prefers its black women angry, aggressive, and entertaining. And if a woman is not all three, mainstream American culture will do its level best to provoke and ridicule her until the desired result manifests. And then sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

For hardness and aggression in black women is beloved, so long as no ire is pointed in the particular audience’s direction. Black men look on in amusement as black women clap back at white feminists who dismiss their contributions and curtail their advancement. And those same white women will dry their eyes days later and clap for joy as those same black women hold black men accountable for sexist behavior that denies black women agency. Watching Mammy read someone for filth is fun as long as one is safely tucked within her enveloping skirt—blameless, cherished, protected, and deferred to.

The world of DeConnick’s and De Landro’s Bitch Planet is an exaggeration of our own, where women are told that they must fit within extremely rigid boundaries or face severe punishment. But in our world, and I suspect in DeConnick’s and De Landro’s as well, race impacts those boundaries. And what is demanded of one group of women is often frowned upon in another. Bitch Planet examines the need to be compliant—to be docile, to be demure. But what of those for whom being demure is deemed noncompliant? For black women, softness and stereotypical femininity is unexpected—and seems to elicit vicious anger and displeasure in others. When we are labeled as that which is desirable, that which is to be cherished, that which is to be protected, a pushback—cloaked in the lie that black women are inherently unacceptable, brusque, masculine, animalistic—is immediately enacted.

A black woman who is soft, carefree, hyperfeminine, reserved, and demure is radically noncompliant.

It is interesting to note how acceptability plays out according to the two most notable members of Bitch Planet’s ensemble—Kamau Kogo and Penny Rolle.

Kamau is a fighter. She is tough, smart, athletic and more than willing to put herself on the line to protect weaker individuals around her. She adheres to the importance of the truth even in the face of punishment. One would think that feistiness, the refusal to back down, is what results in her incarceration and engenders mistreatment. No. The powers that be see her—those traits—as potential entertainment. And yet in a white woman in that same world an inkling of those traits results in expulsion and death. But Kamau? Well, we are not even certain Kamau is a prisoner and not the lone volunteer mentioned by guards in issue one.

Though the last of Penny Rolle’s crimes is “wanton obesity,” her weight only seems to be an issue when she refuses to accept ridicule or hate herself for it, when she refuses to “prioritize how others see” her. The mockery of women of size has been a longstanding source of amusement in the States. It seems to bring joy to the men of Bitch Planet as well. We see from the jovial (and bigoted) conversations of men Penny has served in the past. Her weight draws derision and laughter from white men, but her presence as a caretaker is accepted and her body considered a joke or a delight reserved for a group of men referred to as skins.

“Skins. They like ’em big like that. It’s in their animal nature—big asses, big lips.”

It is when Penny finally lashes out, refuses to accept her role as a state-sponsored servant and source of amusement, that the law comes down upon her. As a black woman it is not her weight, but her rejection of her weight as wrong that is inexcusable.

The Fathers will love you as long as you hate yourself.