Celebrating Black Creators Day 2: Taneka Stotts

As much as I can, I always try to make sure that Panel Patter is a site where we cover creators of all kinds, with a special focus on those creators who don't always get the appreciation they deserve. Given all that is happening, both in comics and in the wider nature of our country, I wanted to sit down and talk a bit about a different black creator that I dig each day this month.

This isn't meant as a review or an overview so much as a, "Hey, this creator is really cool!" My goal is to do this as many years as I can without repeating a single person.

I'd love it if I never ran out.

Today let's go with my friend Taneka Stotts. She's an Eisner nominated writer and an Ignatz-winning editor, and all around cool person who doesn't take any crap, either online or in person. I think we first met around the time of the Kickstarter for the first Beyond anthology (more on that later) and it's been my distinct pleasure to see her get well-deserved recognition for her work in making comics a place for everyone, not just the ones who cling to weekly superhero books.

Though she's also an excellent writer (it's great to see Full Circle back in action), Taneka's skills as an editor are particularly strong, whether it's putting together two of the best anthologies I've read in recent years (the first Beyond, and Elements: Fire) or guiding a long-form project from others (such as Afar). It's not easy to make an anthology hold together from start to finish, but Taneka handles it so well. If you haven't gotten Elements: Fire yet (and why not?), you'll be amazed at how the stories change in style, yet never stray from the overall theme and are curated to use the limited color palette so very, very well.

But being a great editor or writer isn't what makes Taneka so special--it's that she's both extremely loyal to her friends and that she always says what she thinks. Some creators will say, "Be careful what you say, because it might cost you a job." That's not Taneka's style. She has no problem letting the comics industry (or other forms of media) know what they are doing wrong, and is one of the strongest voices for creators who are often pushed aside by bigger publishers that I know. We need people like Taneka, or we'll never move past into being better, both as people and as an industry.

As for what she's up to now, Full Circle, the web-comic she's so-created with Christianne Goudreau, is updating again. She also does Love Circuits with Genué Revuelta, which is...a thing. You'll have to try it for yourself. Beyond 2 is out now (I'm just waiting for my physical copy to read), and my understanding is that Taneka is working on her plans for the second Elements anthology. I can't wait. She'll also be at Emerald City Comic Con.

If you aren't familiar with Taneka's work, I strongly encourage you to start. She'll challenge you, and that's a good thing.