An impressive, memorable anthology highlighting writers and artists of color.



A collection delivers comics by artists of color from around the world.

Bringing together short graphic narratives from 32 contributing artists, debut editor Stotts has crafted a group exhibition that showcases the deep and diverse talent available in the realm of comics. The anthology is a response, in part, to the dearth of creators of color represented in mainstream comic publishing. As Shing Yin Khor writes in the foreword: “We are tired of the scraps being offered to us at the traditional publishing table, when we have already proven...that there is both an audience and a market for our voice and our work.” The pieces are united by aesthetic and theme. Each is colored mostly in black and white, with select use of red to highlight elements within the narrative. Each deals in some way with the idea of fire, and many feature storylines that revolve around loneliness, inadequacy, untapped ability, and unexpected friendship. Some pieces miss the mark, providing either too little or too much information to hook the reader in just a few pages. Others use simplicity to their advantage, as in the cinematic “Cactus Flower,” by Sarah DuVall, in which lush panels and a few sparse words document a woman’s mysterious magical rite. The equally laconic but visually busy “Metta Helmet,” by Deshan Tennekoon and Isuri Merenchi Hewage, offers a fable on the contagiousness of kindness. In “Breathe,” Kiku Hughes creates an apocalyptic folk tale from the distant future that is as universal as it is inscrutable. Other standouts include the fantastical “Firefly” by Myisha Haynes, the abbreviated space opera “Pulse” by Der-Shing Helmer, and the heartwarming “Starfall” by Ash G., which ends on the lovely sentiment—shared by two young seekers—that “we’ll find the answers without hurting anybody, won’t we?” The comics are meant for readers of all ages, and while each is accessible enough for youngsters to enjoy, most grapple with larger concerns that are relatable to a much older audience. Both longtime fans of comics and readers new to the medium should find plenty here to entertain and inspire.

An impressive, memorable anthology highlighting writers and artists of color.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9982828-0-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Beyond Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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