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DC’s next YA GN, NUBIA: REAL ONE, brings Wonder Woman’s sister to a new audience

The book is the latest in DC's successful line of young adult graphic novels.


DC Comics has revealed details, as well as cover and some interior art, on the latest addition to their successful young adult graphic novel line. Nubia: Real One will feature a re-imagining of Wonder Woman’s twin sister. The graphic novel is written by L. L. McKinney, illustrated by Robyn Smith, colored by Brie Henderson (interiors) and Bex Glendining (cover), and lettered by Ariana Maher.

Here’s how DC describes the forthcoming graphic novel:

Can you be a hero…if society doesn’t see you as a person?

Nubia has always been a little bit…different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor’s cat. But, despite Nubia’s similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she’s no Wonder Woman. And even if she was, they wouldn’t want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she’s reminded of how people see her: as a threat. Her moms do their best to keep her safe, but Nubia can’t deny the fire within her, even if she’s a little awkward about it sometimes. Even if it means people assume the worst.

When Nubia’s best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all––her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class––to become the hero society tells her she isn’t.

From the witty and powerful voice behind A Blade So Black, L. L. McKinney, and with endearing and expressive art by Robyn Smith, comes a vital story for today about equality, identity, and kicking it with your squad.

Nubia: Real One will be the highest-profile appearance of the character, the long-lost twin sister of Diana of Themyscira, in decades. In an interview with The Root, writer McKinney, a black woman living in Kansas, recalled how rare it was (and still is) to see characters who looked like her playing major roles in comics stories, and elaborated on what makes Nubia different from those we’ve seen before:

“I’m almost in my thirties and I can count, maybe, on two hands how many times I’ve seen a black woman be the center of a storyline in big-name comics. I grew up being almost obsessed with Storm because she was cool and she looked like me and she showed me what it meant to be graceful and powerful all in one go,” Henderson noted. “But Nubia isn’t like that at all; she isn’t entirely graceful, but boy is she powerful! She reminds me of myself when I was in high school, full of mistakes, always doing what I wasn’t supposed to be doing, hurting the people who were important to me. But, there’s a beauty in Nubia that shows when she comes into herself and is given that opportunity to shine. Nubia isn’t your token black girl. She isn’t that one black character in the comic that you can point out because she’s the only black character. Young black girls need to understand that they can be depicted as important too, not just as the side or background character.”

The full interview with The Root is illuminating both in terms of what the graphic novel will be like and the ways in which McKinney and the book’s other creators, all of whom are female and a majority of whom are black, approach the work and the responsibility they see as coming with it. I’d definitely recommend checking that out.

Before you do that, check out some interior images by Smith and Henderson, as well as more from the creators in DC’s full release, below. Nubia: Real One is scheduled to go on sale on February 2nd, 2021.


Acclaimed Author L. L. McKinney and Artist Robyn Smith Join Forces

to Reimagine Character in an #OwnVoices Story for Young Adult Readers

Original Graphic Novel Hits Stores Everywhere Books Are Sold on February 2, 2021

Available to Preorder Now

Next February, fan-favorite young adult (YA) author L. L. McKinney and artist Robyn Smith will put a fresh, contemporary twist on Nubia—the twin sister of Wonder Woman—bringing their authentic voices to the character in Nubia: Real One. The original YA graphic novel is an endearing tale filled with heart and wit and follows a teenage Nubia as she learns to embrace her true self in a world filled with racial inequality, school violence, and other timely issues affecting young people today. The book hits stores and online retailers on February 2, 2021, and today, DC revealed a first look at the story.

McKinney is the author of several acclaimed works including the A Blade So Black trilogy. She is an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. A self-proclaimed “blerd,” Nubia: Real One marks McKinney’s first work with DC.

“What’s funny is I didn’t initially set out to pitch a Nubia graphic novel,” said McKinney. “I was invited to pitch something else, but I made the decision when writing the pitch itself to add in Nubia. I’ve been a fan since pretty much birth, and I’ve watched her get moved around and appear in various iterations, none of them touching me the same way her original one had. I mean, this was Wonder Woman’s twin sister, just as strong, just as fast, if not stronger and faster. And she was BLACK! So, I added her in to my pitch for the other project. I guess something about her stuck out to the team because they emailed me and essentially asked for a pitch about Nubia.

“Fast-forward and DC loved it. When the hunt for the artist began, I knew I wanted another Black woman on this project. DC was on board from the start and suggested Robyn, whose art I immediately fell in love with. Robyn has breathed life into this story and these characters, and it wouldn’t be half as powerful without her. Everyone loves Nubia, we all want to do right by her, by the readers that have been searching for her the same as I have. I hope fans walk away from this story knowing that first and foremost.”

Smith is a Jamaican cartoonist, currently based in New York City. She is best known for her minicomic The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town and for illustrating Jamila Rowser’s comic Wash DayNubia: Real One is also her first project with DC.

“As an Afro-Caribbean artist, I’ve always strived to center the Black community in the comics I make, so being hired to illustrate Nubia was a dream,” said Smith. “When I heard L. L. McKinney was the writer, I was even more excited. Working together has been great, especially since our artistic objectives seem to be the same: all Black everything. In Nubia, I wanted to focus my illustrations on creating something both light and emotionally resonant. Most of my work is heavily influenced by Harry Lucey’s Archie, so finding a way to incorporate that charm and joyful feel into a story centered around more serious issues was important to me. I hope fans reading Nubia feel the same sort of excitement I felt illustrating the characters and their beautifully crafted stories.”

Additional contributors to Nubia: Real One include colorists Brie Henderson (interior colors) and Bex Glendining (cover colors).

The original graphic novel is available to preorder now and debuts everywhere books are sold on February 2, 2021, just in time for Black History Month. See attached for covers and interiors revealed today, and below for the official book description.


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