February 25, 2021

Panel Patter Celebrates Black History Month - 2021


We at Panel Patter are always out looking for the next big up-and-coming creator, and with this month being Black History Month I thought it’d be in good faith to highlight a few Black creators. Some in this list are on the rise, some are writing mainstream titles (and making waves doing it), while others are so new that you may not have even heard of them yet.

By no means is this list meant to be all-inclusive for it is instead meant to be a reminder that white men in their 30s are not the only ones out there making phenomenal comics. Gender and race often unfairly determine legitimacy, and this is an attempt to speak directly to that injustice by naming a few Black creators who we love.

Use these names as a springboard into your own journey and discover someone new in your search for the creator today that everyone will be talking about tomorrow.

In no particular order, in honor of Black History Month, here are some of Panel Patters go-to content creators:

Christopher Priest


You could arguably make the case that we never see the version of Black Panther within the MCU that we have come to take for granted if it were not for Priest and his iconic run with the character. Spanning from late 1998 to 2003 Christopher Priest was quietly refurbishing a character in real time and no one was noticing. Today people look back on it as the run that defines the character. As impressive as this is in itself, Priest elevates himself into legendary status when you realize that his writing Black Panther as the main writer marked the first time a Black writer did such a thing for Marvel (or DC); in turn breaking the color barrier in comics. He spent time writing comics for characters such as Spider-Man, Batman, Deadpool, and Powerman & Iron Fist, but none of these compare to his classic run with the King himself, T'Challa.

Shopping Links: Barnes & Noblebookshop.orgAmazon

Kwanza Osajyefo


There have been a handful of attempts at writing stories where superpowers are defined and distributed based on race, but none have had the lasting success that Kwanza Osajyefo’s Black has experienced. Largely considered as his biggest accomplishment to comics thus far with momentum only solidifying that as true. What started as a Kickstarter campaign blew up to eventually be a Black Mask Studios staple as more stories began pouring out adding to the already expansive universe. The second installment of a planned trilogy of stories, entitled White, is planned for an April 2021 release date and is expected to be a quick sell. Physical copy enthusiasts should set their alarms and get over to the Black Mask website as near to its release as you can. Or just do as I did and place a pre-order. 

Follow his Twitter @kwanzer and check him out at the Humanoids website.

Whit Taylor


Whit Taylor, a friend and past contributor to the site, is an award winning cartoonist and currently a contributing editor for The Nib. She has self published several of her own comics as well as having had her work published by Radiator Comics, Ninth Art Press, and Sparkplug Books among others. Most recently, her series Fizzle was nominated in the 2020 Ignatz Awards for best series and won. (Hooray!!) Radiator Comics currently has the series available for purchase on their website. She is a self-proclaimed enthusiast for public health and social science and enjoys pairing it with her love for making comics.

Visit Taylor's website at www.whittaylorcomics.com
Follow her on the web @WhitTaylorComix and @whitltaylor
Check out the Ignatz award winning series Fizzle by shopping at Radiator Comics.
Read her stuff at The Nib.

Christina “Steenz” Stewart


Steenz has been a very active member in comics behind the scenes and in front of them since 2017. In just 4 short years she has managed to succeed in being the cartoonist, writer, as well as an award winner, instructor, and editor; an ever expansive resumé that is destined to continue growing. Currently editing titles for Mad Cave Studios, after having spent time as editor with Lion Forge she works earnestly to get diversity on the pages of comic books. Hard at work she doesn’t forget to also create stories of her own with Archival Quality, the winner of the 5th Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award For Diversity in Comics in 2019. In May of last year she took over writing and illustrating the syndicated strip Heart of the City, an ongoing story of a middle-school student and his experiences in everyday life. Currently, we can look forward to the upcoming release of a graphic novel depicting the history of tabletop role player gaming as co-creator and illustrator. Lots of stuff upcoming from this powerhouse editor and content creator.

Follow Steenz on the web @oheysteenz(twitter) and @oheysteenz(instagram).
For all things Steenz visit oheysteenz.com
Read all the latest strips from Heart of the City at gocomics.com/heartofthecity.
Go check out Mad Cave Studios at madcavestudios.com
Purchase the award winning story Archival Quality at Bookshop.org.

Daniel Barnes


A recent Panel Patter favorite, The Black Mage, was co-created by Barnes with fellow Black comic creator and illustrator D.J. Kirkland. Solicited as Harry Potter meets Final Fantasy, this story of breaking the color barrier in wizardry is a story every kid should read. We look forward to what these creators have in store for us, collectively and on their own, and we see nothing but a bright future for both.

Follow Barnes on the web at @Danny8bit.
Visit his website at www.dannybarnes.net
Purchase The Black Mage at Bookshop.org or at Amazon and comiXology

Vita Ayala


Hailing from the flagship Marvel title of Morbius, and now currently on the team writing Future State: the Next Batman, Ayala is positioning themself as one of the fiercest writers in comics. Not only are they breaking down glass ceilings of gender, but barriers of race is also being broken down. With a whole onslaught of titles to chose from, I pick the Vault miniseries from a couple years ago titled Submerged to share as something not to miss by Ayala. It’s a story of complicated family dynamics while it delves deep into the underworld within the subway tunnels of New York City. Backdrop to the story is a catastrophic storm that traps characters in the maze underground and the only way out is to tackle the inner demons that plague the past that she was unaware of before. Rising superstar and a name that everyone should be aware of is Vita Ayala. There will be many more quality stories coming from them in the future. 

Follow Vita on the web at @definitelyvita.
Check out Vita's work at www.comixology.com
Buy Submerged at Barnes & NobleAmazonBookshop.org

Joel Christian Gill


Another friend of the site, Joel Christian Gill, has been creating comics that positively impact his readership for years. As a cartoonist and historian he uses his stories to capture the audience and not let them go until they have fully realized the reason for the story. His award winning graphic novel series Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History is one we would recommend as a first dive into his work. Another would be his 2020 graphic memoir, Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence from Oni Press. The former would be choice for those seeking graphic history, whereas the latter is a fictional memoir about how children are faced with the pressures and unavoidable truths of abuse, trauma and violence. Gill’s TED talk of the subject matter is also worth a look and so are any of his other titles from his body of work.

Check out Joel's website at www.joelchristiangill.com.
Follow him on the web at @jcg007(twitter) and @joelchristiangill(instagram).
Support by shopping at Barnes & NobleAmazon or Bookshop.org.
Watch his TED talk here: TEDtalk

Rodney Barnes


Some guys get all of the things, and Rodney Barnes is one such guy. As a veteran award-winning producer and screen writer, he also lends his knack for dialogue to comics. With books such as Killadelphia, Lando: Double or Nothing, and Falcon we could definitely benefit from some more stories in comics from the long-standing Hollywood pillar for content that centers on Black voices.

Visit Rodney's website at rodneybarnes.com.
Follow him on twitter at @TheRodneyBarnes.
Support by shopping at Amazon or Bookshop.org.

Bianca Xunise


A 2018 Ignatz Award winner in the “Promising New Talent” category for her self-published book Say Her Name was what turned the cartoons onto a profession. Now, as the second Black woman to be nationally syndicated in a daily strip, she has become a member of the Six Chix. With still a lot to be said in the thread of racial and gender inequality look for more comics to be coming out by following her twitter page and frequenting her store. I anticipate many more great things from them.

Visit Bianca's website at www.biancaxunise.com.
Follow her on the web at @biancaxunise(twitter) and @biancaxunise(instagram).
Check out her work at The Nib and Six Chix.
Support her work by shopping at Gumroad.

Danny Lore


Danny Lore is a comic writer and editor with a handfuls of works to mention. They have contributed works for several publishers, including Vault, comiXology and Black Mask Studios. Mostly written in worlds of contemporary fiction, fantasy and science fiction, they also have the title of editor to be proud of as they are esteemed as the acquiring editor for FIYAH Literary Magazine. Additionally, Lore has also helped co-write some issues of Ironheart 2020 with Vita Ayala for Marvel. The Vault title, Queen of Bad Dreams was heard talked about in the halls of Panel Patter and was what initially brought our attention to their work. Expect lots of engaging stories from them in the coming years.

Visit Danny's website at dannylore.com.
Follow them on the web at @weredawgz(twitter) and @weredawgz(instagram).
Support their work by shopping at comiXologyBookshop.org or at Amazon.com.
Check out the work at FIYAH at www.fiyahlitmag.com.

Jamal Campbell


Campbell is probably most known for drawing Far Sector with writer N.K. Jemisin for DC. He has also done other incredible work for DC in the Naomi series with David F. Walker as well as a number of Marvel titles including The Prowler. Jamal’s fresh and clean illustrating style will definitely keep him high on the list of sought after artists by major publishers looking for something that packs a comic book punch.

Visit Jamal's website at www.jamalcampbell.com.
Follow him on the web at @_pryce14(twitter) and @pryce14(instagram) and pryce14.tumblr.com.
Support his work by shopping at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and comiXology.

Charlie “Spike” Trotman


Being the voice for the voiceless; that is what Spike does for the underrepresented in comics with the publishing company she founded and owns: Iron Circus Comics. As a cartoonist notably known for the webcomic Templar, Arizona, she uses her passion to promote the unprompted to assist others and fills the world with highly acclaimed and award-winning comics. As a similar mantra to those of us here at Panel Patter, we find solidarity in this mission. 

Follow Spike on the web on twitter at @Iron_Spike.
Support her work by checking out and shopping at ironcircus.com or Amazon.
Read Templar, Arizona at www.templaraz.com.

Jamal Igle


Another Panel Patter friend that we are pleased to introduce is Jamal Igle. Who are we kidding? You all know this guy. He’s the illustrator for such things as The Wrong Earth from Ahoy Comics, and Black Mask StudiosBlack. He is also the writer, artist, and creator for the Action Lab series Molly Danger and co-creator of VENTURE. In 2011 he won the Inkpot Award for outstanding achievement in comic art and his nearly 3 decades of experience in the industry have no signs of slowing down. Look for more of his work with Ahoy, as The Wrong Earth continues being a hit for the publisher. Also, he has the follow up to Black later this year when the second piece to the planned trilogy hits stores called White.

Visit Jamal's website at jamaligle.com.
Follow him on the web at @JAMALIGLE(twitter) and @jamal_igle_artist(instagram).
Support his work by shopping at Bookshop.org or Amazon
Treat yourself to some original art drawn by Jamal over at Cadence Comic Art.

David F. Walker


Critically acclaimed and award-winning comic book writer, author, journalist filmmaker and educator, Walker spends most of his time in comic creation these days alongside Sanford Greene and Chuck Brown making the hit Image book Bitter Root. Also an educator at Portland State University, Walker uses his vast knowledge of African-American cinema to infuse today’s youth with gems in black culture from the past. With handfuls of titles to his name, the aforementioned Bitter Root, Marvel’s Power Man and Iron Fist, and Naomi with Jamal Campbell & Bendis are ones to seek out.. just to name a few.

Visit David's website at davidfwalker.com.
Follow him on the web at @DavidWalker1201(twitter) and @davidf.walker(instagram).
Support his work by shopping at Bookshop.org and comiXology and Amazon.

Ebony Flowers


Eisner, Ignatz and YALSA award winning Ebony Flowers is a well-versed and educated PhD of the arts. Her short story, Hot Combs, garnered notable attention and won her the 2020 Eisner award for Best Short Story. This achievement made her the first Black woman the Eisner for that particular category! The list of nominations Flowers holds is seemingly endless, and with her recent acknowledgement through subsequent awards it seems safe to assume that the best is yet to come from a rising black voice. She is setting down feet for a journey all her own. Educating readers and listeners everywhere the importance of self-worth and esteem while creating stories impactful for those that look like her as well as administering a learning curve of which we should live by for those of us who do not.

Visit Ebony's website at www.ebonydrawsflowers.com.
Follow her on twitter at @ebonydraws.
Support her work by purchasing Hot Combs at Bookshop.orgAmazon or direct from D&Q here.

Brandon Thomas


Although I have not personally read Excellence from Image Comics, I know plenty of folk who have and they always have the same reaction. And it is something similar to: "What?! You need to get on this series, like now!". In it, Thomas and series artist, Khary Randolph, are mapping a story about secret societies and Black magicians that is proving to be one of the must reads from Image these days. Aside from this seies, Thomas has also written another Image series titled Horizon, and is also currently writing Future State: Aquaman for DC.

Visit Brandon's website at www.brandonthomaswrites.com.
Follow him on twitter at @bwrites247.
Support him by shopping at Bookshop.orgAmazon or comiXology.

Ben Passmore


With titles such as Your Black Friend, Bttm Fdrs, and last years one shot, Sports is Hell, Ben Passmore finds his place comfortably as a cartoonist and a social and political activist. The latter finds itself represented often within the former and readers have become to expect the blunt and honest renditions of truth in his work. If just learning about Passmore then Your Black Friend is where I would call “a good place to start” would be. It’s an anthology of brief moments all pieced together by Passmore with a single mission to illustrate what it means to be a Black man in a White world.

Follow Ben on the web at @daygloayhole(twitter) and @daygloayhole(instagram).
Support his work by becoming a member to his Patreon and by shopping for his books at Bookshop.org, directly from the publishers, or all in one place at Silver Sprocket.

Johnnie Christmas


The New York Times best-selling graphic novelist, Johnnie Christmas, is on quite the upward trend currently with his ongoing Image title Tartarus, and the ComiXology Original from last year, Crema. Also known for his adaptation of William Gibson’s lost Alien 3 screenplay into graphic novel of the same name all on the heels of his critically acclaimed co-created series Angel-Catbird. With such a long list of acclaimed titles to his name we are excited to learn that he has three middle-grade graphic novels currently in the works for for the HarperAlley imprint of HarperCollins. Look for those in the coming years.

Visit Johnnie's website at johnniechristmas.com.
Follow him on the web at @j_xmas(twitter) and @johnniexmas(instagram) and jchristmas.tumblr.
Support him by purchasing his work at Bookshop.orgcomiXology and Amazon.
Treat yourself to some of his original art by checking out what is for sale at Comiconart.

Melody Cooper


As no stranger to creating stories, Melody Cooper is a playwright, and tv and film writer/director with many projects to list. Currently she is developing an HBO tv pilot and is a story editor for NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. Cooper adds to an already impressive resume by being added to the Humanoid series to write the second volume of Omni, because when you need to further impress a fan base—- then, comics. As a genre writer raised by activists and educators who excels at bringing social issues and female protagonists to the forefront, Cooper pens a voice in comics that is fresh, dense, and exciting.

Visit Melody's website at www.melodymcooper.com.
Follow her on the web at @melodyMcooper(twitter) and @melodycooperfilm(instagram).
Read about her addition to Omni at www.humanoids.com.

Dwayne McDuffie


Last, but most definitely not least, we have the man that paved the way for those to follow, Dwayne McDuffie. McDuffie is a legend. He was the iconic voice for the voiceless. Beginning his career as an assistant to an editor, he worked himself toward cofounding Milestone Media as a place for multicultural sensibility. McDuffie went on to to create and co-create several characters with this DC imprint. His first major work was a comic series about a fictitious company who appeared after the hustle and bustle that seemingly follows every caped and cowled persona in comics and thus proceeded to clean up after them. Do some homework of your own if you haven’t already and find out why there is a highly sought after award named after him. There’s a lot to be said about what’s worth reading and what’s worth passing by, let this name in comics history be one you sit with for awhile. His impact for all the creators mentioned prior (and those not mentioned, but still successfully creating content) is massive and not something to take for granted. 

Read about the McDuffie Award here.
Check out his personal twitter page @Dwayne_McDuffie and the memorial one @dmcduffiepage.
Educate yourself about the life of McDuffie on the AALBC website at aalbc.com or at the African American Registry website at aaregistry.org.
Browse around and maybe make a purchase or two over at milestone.media.