I’ve been a fan of Aaron McGruder’s work since Boondooks was a comic strip in the newspaper. Recently, while on a date that lead to Comix Revolution in Evanston, I came across a comic novel McGruder created with infamous director Reginald Hudlin (House Party) and Illustrator Kyle Baker. I finished it in less than two days.
Birth of a Nation (2004), the brilliant comic novel created by these three phenomenally creative black men, tells a story of a city in extreme poverty and its rise to independence through secession from the U.S.A. It’s funny; I found myself literally laughing out loud in public as a flew through this book. It’s also a story that I would recommend anyone as young as the age of 12 pick up and read. Sure there’s some adult language in it, but I argue that if kids can watch the nightly news, this comic book will help balance out the reality of their existence in America.
This work has been co-signed by the likes of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ice Cube, the Washington Post and former NAACP chairman, Julian Bond prior to his departure in 2015. As Black History Month approaches, this would be a great addition to any community reading event as we imagine a society free from poverty, rooted in unity with an economy supported by the most successful among us.
If nothing more than a distraction from the daily madness in the world around you, I encourage you to read this comic novel. I may have bought the last one from Comix Revolution, but try visiting your local comic book store. You may even find some other gems you can fall in love with like the Black Panther series by Ta-Nehisi Coates. If you’re short on date night ideas, here’s one for free. L