Concrete Park: apocalyptic, afrofuturistic graphic novel of greatness


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2015/12/08/concrete-park-apocalyptic-af.html

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.


#2

Reminds me of “Blackbelt Jones”, really badasssss!


#3

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


#4

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.


#5

What? Where? I didn’t see that!


#7

#8

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


#9

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


#10

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


#11

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


#12

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: http://www.assatashakur.org/axioms.htm )

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:


#13

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


#14

I’ve met him. He rocked.


#15

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