Concrete Park: apocalyptic, afrofuturistic graphic novel of greatness

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I learned about Concrete Park from Calvin Reid, the pioneering comics critic/reviewer who chaired a panel with Scott McCloud and me at the Miami Book Fair last month; Calvin called it the best new afrofuturistic comic he’d read, and I rushed out to get my own copy.

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Reminds me of “Blackbelt Jones”, really badasssss!


Any chance we can get a woman on a comic book cover without huge, heaving breasts?


Mine isn’t an animated gif so they aren’t heaving, what’s weird though is the size of her waist rather than her breasts. Or maybe just the ratio.

What? Where? I didn’t see that!

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That’s really sad, Cory. Maybe you’ll reconsider promoting material that objectifies women.

That. And the continuing fetishisation of guns, which is not a BoingBoing thing either.

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Cory–please stop with the needless dashes, as in “gang-member.” Come one, man, it’s embarrassing.

This comment section is really sad. Except for the 1st post. That post is awesome! Jim Kelly really made it all worth it.


I note that in addition to the kind of body image issue @neutralgoodlich brings to our attention (thank you for that Asselin ref!), none of the women depicted on the covers have natural hair. They wear what appears to be chemically-straightened, loose long locks. No braids, no dreadlocks, no afro.

I read one of Assata Shakur’s autobiographies last year. She opened my eyes to a lot, and not just politics, but the politics of hair:

“When you go through all your life processing and abusing your hair so it will look like the hair of another race of people then you are making a statement and the statement is clear.”

(source: )

I look at some of these examples, and I see power, texture, individuality and creativity. Isn’t there room for that in any futuristic graphic novel?

Spike Lee touched on the significance of natural vs processed hair in African-American (or if you prefer, black American) culture in his movie School Daze (1988). Director Jeff Stilson made an entire film on the topic with Chris Rock: Good Hair (2009). Malcolm X talked about reclaiming his right to wear natural hair in his own autobiography.

I appreciate what good there there may be in Concrete Park, depicting non-whites in a [potentially] interesting futuristic story, showing [if there is any in the book] people thinking and living using their intelligence and grace and reclaimed personal power in some [I hope] human and maybe even heroic way. We need more laudable action heroes.

But as a graphic novel I am thinkin’ eh uh… nope. Perhaps the artists in Concrete Park are making a clever visual reference to Paul Gauguin’s 1899 paintings? I see a lot of similarity in form and color. Perhaps Concrete Park is set in Tahiti?

Michelle Obama, if you’re reading this, you’ve only got a little bit of time left in the White House. Care to revisit a prior style, perhaps a little more impactful and statement-y? You certainly made a statement in your Princeton graduation portrait:

Tony Puryear’s spouse, Erika Alexander, also works on the book.

I’ve met him. He rocked.

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