Black, the comic series about a world where only Black people have superpowers, has been picked up by Warner Bros., Deadline reports.
The comic, created by Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3, with art by Jamal Igle and others, was Kickstarted in 2016 to great acclaim, later published by Black Mask, and revisited many times since, as the national conversation about race continues. The story centers on Kareem Jenkins, a young man who becomes embroiled in a behind-the-scenes battle between covert organizations.
The film is looking for a director but has a script by Titans producer and comics writer Bryan Edward Hill. The lineup of producers includes Jeff Robinov, Guy Danella, and John Graham from Studio 8; Matteo Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz from Black Mask as producer and executive producer; and Osajyefo and Smith onboard as co-producers.
Osajyefo came up with the concept for the comic over a decade ago and it gained widespread recognition after its Kickstarter campaign raised over $90,000. Black has launched an entire universe of comics and books. Original artists and writers of the comic and its spinoffs include Jamal Igle, Khary Randolph, Jennifer Johnson, Vita Ayala and Liana Kangas.
“Part of the inspiration for Black came from my experiencing the lack of representation in comics publishing and how that directly relates to the scarceness of black characters,” said Osajyefo. “For most of comics’ history, white outcasts have been used as allegories for marginalized groups while claiming to reflect the world outside our window. BLACK strips away this veneer to juxtapose superpowers with race while allowing black people to see ourselves authentically in media and inviting wider audiences into parts of our experience. We’re excited to bring this story to everyone through film, and thankful to Studio 8 for believing in it.”
“We became involved in the development of this story over a year ago,” said Studio 8 CEO Jeff Robinov. “Black represents a new generation of storytellers and creators who can accurately tell black stories with the type of care the industry has lacked for decades. The thought-provoking concept caught our attention early on, and we’re proud to play a role in bringing this story to the screen.”
It’s certainly a timely pickup for WB, but also a smart one, as comics-based media continue to do well in streaming, and superhero stories continue to be a mirror for society.