21 Must Reads for Black History Month
Published January 25th, 2021
What’s going on Third Eye Faithful?
February is here, and while there is TONS going on this month, we wanted to highlight a few of our graphic novels and single issues featuring black creators for BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Please note, this is in no way a full list, nor is it a rankings list. This is simply a list of books that we LOVE! Check them out below!
Click here to check out our video spotlights of many of the graphic novels below!
1. BLACK PANTHER BOOK 1 – NATION UNDER OUR FEET
For years, T’Challa has protected Wakanda from all invaders. Now, he will discover that his kingdom is much bigger than he ever dreamed. Across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name. Readers caught a glimpse of it in MARVEL LEGACY #1. Now learn the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda! COLLECTING BLACK PANTHER 1-6
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is a Black Panther story unlike any that we’ve ever read before. Ta-Nehisi Coates expertly combines superhero lore with intense Afrofuturism themes that are both refreshing and exciting! Paired with Brian Stelfreeze’s beautiful art, they create a world where you really feel two parts of the same world colliding.
2. IRONHEART VOL 1 TP THOSE WITH COURAGE
Riri Williams steps boldly out of Tony Stark’s shadow to forge her own future! When one of Spider-Man’s old foes holds a group of world leaders hostage, Ironheart must step up her game. But she’s thrown for a loop when an old acquaintance from Chicago re-enters her life! Caught between her need for independence and her obligations at M.I.T., Ironheart needs to make some tough decisions! Luckily, Riri has a will of steel, a heart of iron and a new A.I. on her side! COLLECTING IRONHEART 1-6
WHY WE LOVE IT: Eve Ewing does a wonderful job of expanding on what Bendis had done with the previous Ironheart arc, while creating a brand new authentic voice for Tony Stark’s quirky successor.
3. MILES MORALES VOL 1 – STRAIGHT OUTTA BROOKLYN
Miles Morales swings back into the spotlight! When the rampaging Rhino and a cadre of mysterious criminals start plaguing Brooklyn, things take a dark turn for the young Spider-Man! What mystery lurks under the surface of this newest villainous uprising? Why does the Rhino have minions? And who is the new antagonist who may just become Miles’ most dangerous foe? Maybe Captain America has the answers! Collecting MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #1-6.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s not secret that we LOVED Into The Spider-Verse, and with its success brought a brand new reboot of Miles Morales! We are big fans of Bendis’ extensive work on the character, and the team of Saladin Ahmed, Javi Garron and Brian Stelfreeze bring even more depth to one of Marvel’s future legends.
4. GOLDIE VANCE
16-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and dreams to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery utilizing her smarts, random skills, and connections with the hotel staff and various folks in town. Collects issues #1-4 of the ongoing series.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Goldie Vance is a fun all ages Nancy Drew meets Veronica Mars book that you’re bound to fall in love with. Hope Larson and Brittney Williams work in tandem to create a bright, inclusive world of fun and diverse characters!
As seen on The Colbert Report and CNN, this is the first graphic novel from a sitting member of Congress, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and American icon. John Lewis rose from humble beginnings to become a national leader of the civil rights movement. This is his story, from an Alabama farm to the March on Washington and beyond, co-written by Andrew Aydin and brought to astonishing life by Nate Powell in a graphic novel trilogy. With a back cover blurb by President Bill Clinton!
WHY WE LOVE IT: The late John Lewis is a legend, and tells a powerful story of the trials, tragedy, tribulations and triumph of the Civil Rights movement.
6. BINGO LOVE
When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Bingo Love is one of those feel good books that catches you by surprise as you read. Tee Franklin tells a story that resonates with many, and features a rich colorful world as seen by Jenn St Onge.
Jedidiah Jenkins is a simple farmer. But his cash crop isn’t corn or soy. He grows fast-healing, highly-customizable human organs. For years, Jed’s organic transplants have brought healing to many, but deep in the soil of the Jenkins Family Farm something sinister has taken root. Today this dark seed will begin to sprout, and the Jenkins family will be the first to taste its bitter fruit. Collects FARMHAND #1-5.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We are BIG fans of Rob Guillory, and after his work on Chew we are excited to see him working on his his own book. Farmhand is takes you by surprise, and leaves you wondering “what the heck did I just read?”….in a good way!
8. SHURI VOL 1 – SEARCH FOR BLACK PANTHER
T’Challa has disappeared, and everyone is looking at the next in line for the throne. Wakanda expects Shuri to take on the mantle of Black Panther once more and lead their great nation – but she’s happiest in a lab, surrounded by her own inventions. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them down! So it’s time for Shuri to go rescue her brother yet again – with a little help from Storm, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, of course! But when her outer-space adventure puts the entire cultural history of her continent at risk from an energy-sapping alien threat, can Shuri and Iron Man save Africa? Collecting SHURI #1-5.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We have loved Shuri since we saw her kicking butt in the Marvel cinematic universe, that’s why we were so hype when she got her own book. What’s more, it’s written by yet another Afrofuturist aficionado Nnendi Okorafor, and ties into the Coates Black Panther run!
When a small-town beat cop comes home to bury his murdered father-the revered Philadelphia detective James Sangster Sr.-he begins to unravel a mystery that leads him down a path of horrors that will shake his beliefs to their core. The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality… and vampires. Welcome to KILLADELPHIA.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Now this isn’t a graphic novel YET, but we are big fans of all things supernatural, and Rodney Barnes weaves a world of macabre magic that sends you on a wild, satisfying ride of twists and turns.
10. NAOMI SEASON ONE
DC’s biggest, newest mystery starts here! When a fight between Superman and Mongul crashes into a small Northwestern town, Naomi begins to uncover the last time a super-powered person visited her home-and how that might tie into her own origins and adoption. Follow Naomi’s journey on a quest that will take her to the heart of the DC Universe and unfold a universe of ideas and stories that have never been seen before. Collects NAOMI issues #1-6.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Naomi set the DCU ablaze over summer 2019, and ushered in one of DC’s newest black female protagonists in a major way. Bendis is a master at building new characters, and with Jamal Campbell’s gorgeous realism, we definitely can’t wait to see what else they have in store for Naomi.
11. FAR SECTOR
For the past six months, newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people. The city has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent.
But that’s all about to change in this new maxiseries that gives a DC Young Animal spin to the legacy of the Green Lanterns!
WHY WE LOVE IT: Far Sector also isn’t a graphic novel yet, BUT we already want more of Jo Mullein in the Green Lantern universe. This is NK Jemisin’s first foray into comic books, but she has already proven that she has what it takes to change the Lantern Corps in a major way. Jamal Campbell is an absolute gem to the comic world, and anytime his art is featured we are onboard.
12. BITTER ROOT
Once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, the Sangerye family specialized in curing the souls of those infected by hate. But those days are fading. A terrible tragedy has claimed most of the family, leaving the surviving cousins divided between by the desire to cure monsters or to kill them. Now, though, there’s a new breed of monster loose on the streets of Harlem, and the Sangerye family must either come together or watch the human race fall to untold evil. Collects BITTER ROOT #1-5.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Bitter Root is a brilliant homage to the Harlem Renaissance era with big Lovecraft Country meets Mad Max vibes. The creative team of Walker, Brown and Greene does a wonderful job of integrating the complexities of racial trauma with supernatural fantasy that is both exciting and thought provoking.
Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran -a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister! Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there’s nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?
WHY WE LOVE IT: Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright work harmoniously to create a bright, beautiful world based on a wholesome coming of age story about identity, family and friendship.
In a world that already hates and fears them – what if only Black people had superpowers. After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free. Collects issues 1-6.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Black is one of those books that hits you like a ton of bricks long after you’ve read it. This thought provoking story explores a world where Black people possess immense superpowers, and what occurs due to that. Osajyefo does not shy away from digging into the multifaceted issues of race, class and power.
Spencer Dales was born into a world of magic. His father belongs to the Aegis, a secret society of black magicians tasked with bettering the lives of others-with higher potential-but never themselves.
Now it’s time for Spencer to follow in his father’s footsteps, but all he sees is a broken system in need of someone with the wand and the will to change it. But who will stand beside him in this fight for a better future?
KHARY RANDOLPH and BRANDON THOMAS ignite a generational war in this action-fantasy series, made entirely by creators of color, and committed to one truth above all others-Excellence is Real. Collects EXCELLENCE #1-6.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Like Black and Bitter Root, Excellence explores the realms of race and class in a supernatural world. We are a big fan of Thomas’ world building, and. how her and Randolph work simultaneously to create a rich environment filled with complex characters that invoke genuine feeling.
16. HOT COMB
Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into Black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn. The titular story is about a young girl’s first perm-a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through Flowers’ stories, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Hot Comb is a love letter to many Black women and girls who struggled to see themselves in popular media growing up. Featuring various stories about the struggles of growing up Black and femme, Flowers tells stories in such a poignant way that champions triumph, and radical Black self love.
17. AKISSI TALES OF MISCHIEF
Poor Akissi! The neighborhood cats are trying to steal her fish, her little monkey Boubou almost ends up in a frying pan and she’s nothing but a pest to her older brother Fofana. But Akissi is a true adventurer, full of silliness and mischief and nothing will scare her for long! Akissi: Tales of Mischief brings together all the hilarious and heartfelt Akissi comics by Marguerite Abouet, the award winning author of Aya of Yop City.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The Akissi tales are collected in one book, and we are super stoked! This book is a perfect addition to any YA collection and features several hilarious and heartfelt adventures centering Akissi and her endless curiosity.
In an alternate world where aliens have integrated with society, pregnant Nigerian- American doctor Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka, has just smuggled an illegal alien plant named Letme Live through LaGuardia International and Interstellar Airport . . . and that’s not the only thing she’s hiding.
Written by Nnedi Okorafor, Hugo and Nebula award- winning author and the writer of Marvel’s Shuri, this deluxe trade paperback collects issues #1-#4 of the miniseries and includes artist sketches and afterword from the author.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We are HUGE fans of Nnedi Okorafor, and were blown away by Laguardia’s commitment to telling such a bizarre supernatural story while being a love letter to NYC. Okorafor is one of the best Sci-Fi writers of this generation, and continues to prove that with everything she puts out.
19. BTTM FDRS
When a pair of bohemians descend upon a neglected working-class neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. BTTM FDRS (pronounced “bottomfeeders”) offers a vision of horror that is gross and gory in all the right ways. Funny, scary, and thought provoking, it confronts the monstrous forces that are displacing cultures in urban neighborhoods today.
WHY WE LOVE IT: BTTM FDRS is an amazing addition to the horror fiction market, and shines a light on forced cultural assimilation and gentrification in a thought provoking, sometimes hilarious way.
For the first time, Livewire takes center stage!
Accomplice. Mentor. Savior. And now, Enemy of the State. Seeking to protect other vulnerable superpowered psiots like herself, Livewire plunged the United States into a nationwide blackout, causing untold devastation. With the whole world hunting her, what kind of hero will Livewire be… or will she beon one at all? Collecting Livewire #1-4.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Livewire is an action packed book spotlighting Livewire in her very own book. Seen in both Secret Weapons and Harbinger Wars, we finally get a solo story that is action packed and beautifully illustrated.
21. YOUR BLACK FRIEND AND OTHER STRANGERS
Passmore masterfully constructs comics about race, gentrification, the prison system, online dating, gross punks, bad street art, kung fu movie references, beating up God, and lots of other grown-up stuff with refreshing doses of humor and lived relatability, earning an Eisner nomination, Ignatz Award for “Outstanding Comic,” and praise from NPR.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Ben Passamore does a wonderful job of highlighting the struggles of being a Black man in America dealing with both microaggressions and overt prejudice in his signature intimate yet funny style.