28 Days of Black Girls in Comics: L.L. McKinney
Celebrate #28daysofblackgirlsincomics with Fabulize as we highlight Black women and marginalized people who are creating comics.
Celebrate #28DaysOfBlackGirlsInComics with comic book writer and author L.L. McKinney.
It’s day twenty-three of #28DaysOfBlackGirlsInComics and it’s exciting to see people thrilled to see this type of content. Let’s get right into it!
Support Black Girls in Comics: L.L. McKinney
L.L. McKinney is an author whose works include YA fantasy literature A Blade So Black, A Dream So Dark, and the upcoming A Crown So Cursed. They are all part of her Nightmare-Verse series, a modern take on Alice in Wonderland with a Black girl lead. McKinney is a staunch advocate for equality and inclusion in the publishing industry. She also co-founded the Juneteenth Book Fest and created the hashtags #PublishingPaidMe and #WhatWOCWritersHear. She is an avid reader and writer since childhood and was a greeting card writer at Hallmark. McKinney is also an avid gamer and studied video game design in college. McKinney is a lifelong comics fan and can tell you all about speculative fiction projects like shows and films. Buffy, Star Wars, Wonder Woman, DC Comics, there’s little she doesn’t know. Obviously, McKinney is a true Blerd who knows the culture.
McKinney’s Love for Comics and the Character of Nubia
Much to the delight of fans of DC Comics, Wonder Woman, Nubia, or love seeing Black girls as leads, L. L. McKinney announced in May 2020 that she would publish Nubia: Real One. This would be a young adult graphic novel of the classic, if underutilized, character. Finally, Nubia gets a much-needed comeback! At last, this historically Black character gets the shine she’s long been denied. Best of all, the writer loves the character and will settle for nothing but the best stories for her. Tapping into the YA audience, McKinney introduces a whole world of new young fans eager to see a dynamic and powerful character who looks like them. Robyn Smith’s illustrations expertly set the tone of McKinney’s words.
The story is expertly-paced, crafted, and filled with plenty of believable dialogue (most importantly believable AAVE), friendships, relationships, and family. It also features a diverse cast of supporting characters, size, and gender inclusion. Nubia as a protagonist is fun, brave, vulnerable, emotional, fearful, and brave all at various points. She is human despite being super. She is a teenager many of us have either been or can recall having met in our lives. Also explored are themes such as racism, police brutality, white privilege, not belonging, hiding oneself, and wanting to find oneself. Perhaps the biggest and most difficult question Nubia: Real One poses is when to keep your head down and when to stand up, especially when the world doesn’t see you as a person.
Want to see a layered, imperfect, complex, scared-but-badass protagonist who has to learn and stand up for what’s right? Go ahead and treat yo self to this well-written and lovingly illustrated story.
Be sure to purchase yours where ever books are sold but start with McKinney’s website here!
This Black Girl Knows What’s Best for This Iconic Character
I’ll gladly tell you how despicable DC’s New 52/Rebirth is for simplifying Diana’s power coming from a single male…
The sad fact is that the very same Pre-Flashpoint/Pre-52 comic continuity made a horrible error in judgment. It diminished Nubia (called Nu’Bia in that continuity) as an average amazon who guarded the door to hell.
Gone was the connection to Diana as her Black twin sister, and gone were the matching powers. This is why we need McKinney. She refuses to tell a story in which Nubia is not Diana’s sister and doesn’t share her powers. We need our heroine, our Wonder Woman, to have those incredible powers and have the focus and complexity of a lead!
Nubia Future State is Exactly What Longtime Fans Have Been Waiting For
Speaking from personal experience, I have always been aware of Nubia. I always knew she began as Diana’s twin sister and was the Black Wonder Woman for me and a lot of fans. The promo image for Nubia Future State made me want to cry, she looked so badass and so amazing, finally getting the shine she deserves. And with McKinney at the pen, Nubia would be in the best hands possible.
Learning that the same incredible author of Real One would also be writing the Future State comic stole my heart. In Nubia Future State (the backup issue of Immortal Wonder Woman: Future State), McKinney effectively captures the personality of a woman as strong and tough as Diana but with a little more bite and edge befitting a Black woman in a white-dominated world.
We see her be badass, make mistakes, seek help, have a complex and meaningful relationship with an elder, and have layers. She cracks jokes in battle, but she’s more than comic relief, she’s a person. And that’s just the first issue! I can’t wait to read more!
Nubia: Future State is the backup issue of Immortal Wonder Woman: Future State, issues 1 and 2 are currently available where comics are sold.