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Graphic Agency: The Powers of Heroines

Nina Mickwitz

Pages 145 - 162



This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0.

Creative Commons License

This article considers a selection of contemporary U.S. comics featuring young female Black protagonists, written and drawn by Black female creators, and the particular resources for fandom extended by this combination. Taken as a loose grouping, these comics demand attention to issues of textual representation and the creative industries contexts alike, and highlight questions pertaining to both race and gender. Framed by the #BlackGirlMagic online phenomenon and located in a broader popular cultural context, including the 2018 blockbuster movie release of "Black Panther", the discussion adopts a tri-part approach. First, it will involve attention to the central characters, bringing into view transpacific popular culture influences, certain aspects of the superhero genre, and affinities with Black feminist speculative fiction. Following these textual concerns, attention turns to creators and, after that, to considerations related to readerships and reception. The article posits that these comics perform a re-visioning that challenges dominant representational repertoires. Moreover, they contest entrenched racialized and gendered assumptions regarding comics creators and readerships.

Key Words:comics heroines; Black girl magic; creators; fandoms; cultural imaginaries

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