Writer:David Crownson/Artist:Courtland Ellis/Victory Comics
Where Was This When I Was Twelve?
I know what you’re thinking, just what we needed Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed with historical narratives. If that is what you’re saying, yes that is exactly what we needed. This is exactly what I imagined Harriet Tubman to be as a kid. Underground Railroad, that’s one thing. Underground Railroad with Katanas? That would have made my childhood so much more empowering. What I loved about this comic, is that it sets the scene really well. I enjoyed the artist’s play with colors. The monochromatic play with purple, really complimented the skin tones and scene movement. It added extra structure to the characters’ faces and overall unsettling mood of the scene. Monochromatic playfulness reflected into intensity, and fear. The mixing of the lights and darks allowed me to differentiate moods and character auras, and it helped me appreciate the panels as its own separate world.
In this issue we begin with a father and his daughter trying to escape the plantation, in the middle of the night. Of course, this is a perfect moment for person less melanated to appear and mess up their progress. On cue, these individuals do show up, and flail their N words, per usual. But wait, our escaping family is not defenseless! They defend themselves well as a unit but just, when you think that the family might be in trouble, Harriet Tubman swoops in. In my hearts of hearts, I imagine this is how history really went, and they are just covering it up. It wasn’t only the Underground Railroad, it was Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad and Demon slicing katanas. This imaginative twist on the legendary woman with artistic liberties really hit home for me and I don’t doubt it will for you too.
This is the comic I wish I had when I was younger. Too many times history books reflect Black Women as strong entities but only when they fit a certain “look”. Harriet in textbooks is often depicted in one picture, older and nonthreatening sitting in a chair. Here we see Harriet as how we should see her. Strong and not bound by a chair or by a history that keeps trying to forget her. Defending herself as protecting other black folk without breaking a sweat. We also see Harriet with the fly clap-backs, and this is the embodiment of a black woman. For those who love the medium of a comic book: This is the Harriet we have been waiting for.
9.3 “Clap-Backs” out of 10