Today, The Beat is proud to present Jasmine Walls, writer of BroomsThe Last Session and more, as she shares 10 great fantasy graphic novels by Black comic creators.

By Jasmine Walls

As we enter Black History Month once more, a time of both remembrance and celebration, you might see a lot of lists similar to this one. Black voices heard through comics, prose, film, articles, and more. What I hope you take away from this, aside from some truly excellent additions to your reading list, is encouragement to read stories by Black creators beyond this one month a year.

Brooms by Walls, DuVall, et al.
Brooms by Walls, DuVall, Glendining and Maher.

I’m Jasmine Walls, a writer, sometimes-artist, and editor with a former career in professional baking. My latest graphic novel is BROOMS, co-created with the most incredible team: Teo DuVall as the illustrator, Bex Glendining on colors, and Ariana Maher for lettering. BROOMS is about six young witches in an alternate 1930’s Mississippi where magic exists. All of the girls come from marginalized backgrounds and the law is not kind to them; Black folks are forbidden from using magic, Indigenous peoples are constantly under threat of forced government schooling, and things are even tougher when you’re queer and trans. These six girls are fighting for better lives, but for that, they need money. The quickest way to earn what they need is to race for it in illegal nighttime broom races, where the stakes are as high as the bets.

BROOMS wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t been inspired by fellow Black writers and artists, and I hope that there are some readers out there who become inspired by my work in turn. The world of comics is one where we can only succeed if we each hold each other up, so it is my pleasure to share this list of comics and their creators that I hope you’ll enjoy all throughout the year.

Jasmine Walls shares 10 great fantasy graphic novels by Black comic creators

New Masters by Shobo Coker and Shof Coker

There are so many things I love about New Masters, and the very first is how gorgeous Shof Coker‘s art is, with warm colors and a great sense of action to it. Shobo Coker‘s writing is just as good, and the two combined makes for a perfect comic. I was also incredibly pleased to see multiple queer characters represented and treated as the norm. In this futuristic West Africa, Earth is part of a Galactic alliance, but struggling to do more than provide a single high demand resource. An artifact surfaces that could change their future forever, but who will get to it first, and who has the right to keep it? 

Jasmine Walls shares 10 great fantasy graphic novels by Black comic creators

Artie and the Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens 

If you haven’t heard of Olivia Stephens, now’s the time to fix that. Her stories span the range of ages and genres, and this book is a perfect starting point. Artie and the Wolf Moon is a YA is a coming of age, as Artie discovers she comes from a long line of werewolves. She needs to balance school, her new powers, her growing crush on a new friend, and oh yeah, the looming threat of vampires. This story is fun and heartfelt, with well paced writing and lovely ink-focused art that you can almost feel.

Static: Season One by Vita Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey

The classic and iconic Milestone character returns in Static: Season One, a whole new story from the incredible creative teamwork of Vita Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivy, with layout by Crisscross and lettering by AndWorld Design. The story has been updated to better reflect the current times though that emotional core is as strong as ever. I love a superhero story that doesn’t rely on killing off a mother or a father to get things going, and while Virgil deals with plenty of tragedy, his connections with his friends and family are what keep him grounded. Also, the art is stunning! The character designs all got an upgrade to match the new story and you won’t hear any complaints from me.

Nubia: Real One by L. L. Mckinney and Robyn Smith

Robyn Smith‘s artwork really grabbed my attention on Nubia: Real One, as it often is with comics, and matched with L.L. Mckinney‘s story, I was charmed by it as a whole. Nubia’s origin story reimagined as she grows up in a neighborhood where her remarkable skills are out of place and no matter how heroic she is, people are determined to keep her down. The underlying message of the lengths Black people, and especially Black women have to go through to earn respect rather than scorn is painfully relatable, but the hope and determination shown is just as strong.

Jasmine Walls shares 10 great fantasy graphic novels by Black comic creators

Archival Quality by Steenz and Ivy Noelle Weir

Archival Quality is a bit quieter, but no less impactful for it. Steenz‘s art is pure comfort and Ivy Noelle Weir‘s writing weaves in well with it. The story follows Celeste, working as an archivist in the strange Logan Museum where she begins encountering a ghost haunting the place and asking her for help. The deeper Celeste digs, the more she questions where the divide is between her own struggles with mental issues and her ghostly encounters.


Queen of Bad Dreams by Danny Lore, Jordi Pérez, Dearbhla Kelly, and Kim McLean 

Danny Lore is a name that, if you read comics, probably sounds familiar. Their work as writer and editor can be found across a wide range of prose and comics, and for good reason. Queen of Bad Dreams feels like a psychedelic action movie, and is perfectly matched by Jordi Pérez‘s art and  Dearbhla Kelly‘s colors. A great choice for fans of Sandman, when figments of people’s dreams and nightmares escape into the real world, it’s up to investigators like Daher to track them down and either grant them agency or return them to the dreams they belong to, but they’re not always willing to go quietly.

Darlin’ and Her Other Names by Olivia Stephens

Stephens is on this list twice because she’s just that good. Darlin’ is her award-winning adult horror romance series set in the old west. The first installment is about Marta, a woman with the ability to shift into a wolf and a deeply rooted desire for revenge. Olivia’s art, particularly her deft hand with inks and texture, are on full display here, and not to be missed out on.

The Wilds by Vita Ayala and Emily Pearson, with colors by Marissa Louise and Stelladia, and lettering by Jim Campbell

The zombies in the post-apocalyptic series The Wilds are as beautiful as they are horrifying, blooming with flowers as they are consumed by them. The team on this is a great one, with Vita’s writing, Emily Pearson‘s art, colors by Marissa Louise and Stelladia, and lettering by Jim Campbell. Daisy Walker has adapted to this new world as a Runner, unphased and doing what needs to be done. At least she thought so, until it becomes personal when her lover, Heather, goes missing on a run.

Killadelphia by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander

Killadelphia is a masterful blend of absurd plot devices crafted into a deeply compelling and layered horror story. The art is gorgeous and the writing does what few can manage well, taking something that sounds goofy, like the idea of an undead former-president John Adams determined to take over the world with a rise of vampires, and making you take it seriously. There are plenty of genuinely serious topics touched on a well, from the dynamics of Black lives and the intersection with law enforcement, as well as the social injustices weighing down communities within a city that claims to be built on liberty (though we know who’s hands really built that city.)

The Last Session by Walls and Dozerdraws.
The Last Session by Walls, Dozerdraws and Myers.

The Last Session by Jasmine Walls and Dozerdraws with lettering by Micah Myers

It feels a bit odd to put myself on this list, but I am a Black writer and if you enjoyed BROOMS, then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy The Last Session as well. There aren’t enough kind words to say how much I love Dozerdraws‘ art. It’s perfection. In this story, a group of friends who began playing Dice & Deathtraps in a failed high school LGBT club are finally finishing their first campaign four years later as life pulls them in different directions. The one wrench in this plan is the DM’s girlfriend who will be joining their campaign, but keeps messing things up despite her best efforts. This is a love letter to tabletop RPGs and to the friendships forged around those games.

Learn more about Jasmine Walls at her website.