Black Women in Sequence

Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley

  • Published: November 2015
  • Subject Listing: African American Studies; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Visual Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 288 pp., 44 illus., 22 in color, 7 x 10 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

Black Women in Sequence takes readers on a search for women of African descent in comics subculture. From the 1971 appearance of the Skywald Publications character "the Butterfly" - the first Black female superheroine in a comic book - to contemporary comic books, graphic novels, film, manga, and video gaming, a growing number of Black women are becoming producers, viewers, and subjects of sequential art.

As the first detailed investigation of Black women's participation in comic art, Black Women in Sequence examines the representation, production, and transnational circulation of women of African descent in the sequential art world. In this groundbreaking study, which includes interviews with artists and writers, Deborah Whaley suggests that the treatment of the Black female subject in sequential art says much about the place of people of African descent in national ideology in the United States and abroad.

For more information visit the author's website:!black-women-in-sequence/c65q
Deborah Elizabeth Whaley is associate professor of American studies and African American studies at the University of Iowa. She is the author of Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities.

"Black Women in Sequence considers how Black women function as 'referents' for a larger discussion about social relations. What sets the book apart is its sophisticated approach to the subject."
-Cassandra Jackson, author of Violence, Visual Culture, and the Black Male Body

"This book has a great deal to contribute to the field. There's never been a publication that focuses on the diversity of representations by Black female comics creators to this magnitude."
-John Jennings, coeditor of The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art

"For every little Black girl and Black woman, who imagine themselves coloring both inside and outside the lines, Black Women in Sequence literally fills in the blank spaces, highlighting the contributions of Black Women in the genres of comics, graphic novels, and anime."
-Mark Anthony Neal, author of Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities

"In this accomplished and beautifully designed work, Whaley reminds us that imaginary realms are full-fledged social worlds. Graphic novels, comics, and anime are halls of mirrors-kaleidoscopes spinning truth, speculation, and distortion all at once. But they are also portals of possibility; and, Whaley's perceptive exploration of these genres reveals how black women create and perform their worlds when they can dream without limits."
-Alondra Nelson, Columbia University

1. Re-inking the Nation: Jackie Ormes's Black Cultural Front Comics
2. Black Cat Got Your Tongue?: Catwoman, Blackness, and Postracialism
3. African Goddesses, Mixed-Race Wonders, and Baadasssss Women: Black Women as "Signs" of African in US Comics
4. Anime Dreams for African Girls: Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
5. Where I'm Coming From: Black Female Artists and Postmodern Comix
Conclusion: Comic Book Divas and the Making of Sequential Subjects

"A must read."
-Laura Sneddon, Women Write about Comics

"Whaley presents a compelling study of women of African descent in American comics. . . . The kaleidoscopic nature of her study allows readers to form a comprehensive idea about the politics of race and gender in American comics from the late 1930s until today. . . . With its far ranging thematic scope and range, Black Women in Sequence is destined to become a cornerstone in the study of gender and race in American comics."
-Kirsten Mollegaard, Journal of Popular Culture

"One of the first book-length works to deal specifically with the construction and experience of black women in sequential art. . . . Whaley considers the creation and consumption of sequential media by black women, often erased from conversations about fan culture. . . . An extraordinarily ambitious work."
-Joshua Abraham Kopin, American Literature