The last time I read Damian Duffy and John Ira Jennings’ graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred (1979), I zeroed in on the ways that Jennings represents faces and emotion in the text, specifically through Dana, Sarah, and Rufus. In this read through, I noticed the multiple panels with hands, either embracing, playing, or in confrontation. Today, I want to take a moment and look at some of these panels.
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A couple of years ago, I picked up Jim Demanokas, Mark Long, and Nate Powell’s The Silence of Our Friends from the local library. Immediately, Powell’s black and white illustrations caught my attention, and I moved on to the March trilogy (John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Powell). Again, Powell’s artwork brought emotion to the page with his moving images. I have written about some of these images before, specifically the panels depicting the Freedom Riders’ arrival in Montgomery, AL. There, I write, “In these panels, Nate Powell’s black and white artwork . . . juxtaposes and plays with our general connotations of white and black.” This juxtaposition is what initially drew me to Powell’s work.
Recently, someone suggested I take a look at Chris Claremont and Brent Eric Anderson’s X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (1982). After reading, I came away noting the number of similarities between the 36 year old graphic novel and the present moment. In an interview on the 35th anniversary of its publication, Claremont and Anderson, along with interviewer Alex Abad-Santos, talk about the correlations between God Loves, Man Kills and the present moment. Today, I want to look at the book and pull out some specific scenes that, sadly, still feel very much relevant to our current cultural moment.