11 Black comics writers to read, from DC to Marvel and beyond

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Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer (Cover image via Victory Comics)

David Crownson

Controversy is no stranger to the world of comics, but it seems more and more likely that superhero and fantasy tales aren’t quite enough to engender huge debate. In this current cultural and political moment, few people can muster the energy to get upset over the goings-on at Marvel, DC, or other comics groups. Plus, the growing diversity of characters and stories in comic books and graphic novels has gone a long way to helping that (though, of course, there’s still much ground to be gained).

But if your comic is about a beloved and very real historical figure who fights demons and rescues slaves? That’s going to raise a few hackles, at the very least.

Such is the case with David Crownson’s Harriet Tubman: Demon Hunter. Crownson, who is also a filmmaker and actor, started his fascination with comics after the DC graphic novel The Death of Superman debuted in 1992.

What makes Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer so contentious? For one, it uses the story of Harriet Tubman, the famed abolitionist and former slave who helped other Civil War-era African-Americans escape bondage. She undertook thirteen missions to escort people through the slaveholding South, via the Underground Railroad network, to freedom in the North.

For her bravery and activism, Tubman remains a beloved figure in American and especially African-American history. Messing with her story is, therefore, a dicey proposition.

In Crownson’s work, Tubman isn’t just ferrying people through hostile territory. She also must deal with supernatural creatures working for slave owners, including werewolves, vampires, and demons.

So, is this substantial tweaking of history worth the read? Some people say no. Others, like Cree B. McClellan at AfroPunk, are fully on board. Check it out and decide for yourself.