A fascinating new Kickstarter was announced today for Black, a project from Tim Smith III, Kwanza Osajyefo, Jamal Igle, and Khary Randolph. Black is the story of Kareem Jenkins, a young black man gunned down by police officers only to discover that he has superpowers that allowed him to survive, and it’s set in a world where the only ones with powers are black people.
The project will be written by Osajyefo, a former digital editor for DC and Marvel who said of the premise, “We are trying to confront the issue of race head-on by creating a world in which only Black people are superheroes — and the BLACK superhero trope isn’t subtly cast under a label of mutant, inhuman, or meta-whatever.”
Smith, who has worked on a number of projects for Marvel, DC, and pretty much everyone else in the industry, designed the characters and the world of Black. Interior art will be handled by Igle, who is the creator of Molly Danger and editor in chief of Action Lab Entertainment, the studio behind a number of critically acclaimed books like Princeless and Nutmeg that better not get thrown off by the boss doing this project. Randolph, who most recently has been working on We Are Robin and Robin War will provide covers and additional artwork.
The reward tiers look like they’re very good values: the team anticipates publishing the first issue in mid-2016 with subsequent issues following monthly, and $10 gets you DRM-free digital copies of all six issues. If you want a print copy, you can pledge $25 for the digital issues and an overstuffed collection featuring behind-the-scenes material like script pages and design sketches. More than that and you start getting Black swag, including sketches, original pages and covers.
Speaking as a comics nerd and someone who once excitedly asked Tom King if Omega Men was going to talk about the economics of the Citadel (spoilers IT DID), I think the most interesting hook Black has is that it sounds like it’s going to examine how only black people having super powers fundamentally alters the power dynamic of the world. It’s almost trite to say things like “at its best, sci-fi holds up a mirror to society,” but it’s true: a very helpful way of understanding our world is by imagining it as what it’s not, and Black certainly seems poised to do this.
As of this writing, the Kickstarter is more than ⅓ funded less than 12 hours after it launched.