John Jennings (b. 1970) is perhaps best known for his collaboration with Damian Duffy on the New York Times bestseller and Eisner Award–winning graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. However, Jennings is also a graphic designer and comic book scholar who, throughout his career, has conducted several interviews that shed light on the importance of Black Speculative narratives. The most enlightening of his interviews are brought together in John Jennings: Conversations.
As a collective these interviews explore folklore, systemic racism, his Mississippi roots, and the phrase Jennings cocreated, the Ethnogothic. Jennings discusses the necessity for black heroes, not just for the sake of diversity, but for inclusiveness, touching on the conventions he has cofounded, such as the Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He addresses the struggle to be financially compensated for work, and he speaks at length about how being a professor informs his craft where he continues to examine black stereotypes in popular culture with courses of his own design.
As a group the interviews in John Jennings: Conversations give a picture of a black man forging a way where comic books have afforded him a means to carve out an important space for people of color.
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