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Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
     

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

by Octavia E. Butler, John Jennings (Illustrator), Damian Duffy (Adapted by)
 

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Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

Octavia E. Butler’s bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, now in graphic novel format.
 
More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in

Overview

Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

Octavia E. Butler’s bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, now in graphic novel format.
 
More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century. 
 
Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.
 
Held up as an essential work in feminist, science-fiction, and fantasy genres, and a cornerstone of the Afrofuturism movement, there are over 500,000 copies of Kindred in print. The intersectionality of race, history, and the treatment of women addressed within the original work remain critical topics in contemporary dialogue, both in the classroom and in the public sphere.
 
Frightening, compelling, and richly imagined, Kindred offers an unflinching look at our complicated social history, transformed by the graphic novel format into a visually stunning work for a new generation of readers.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - N. K. Jemisin
Adapting any prose novel to the graphic format is an audacious undertaking at the best of times, but translating Octavia E. Butler's fearsomely powerful work in particular must surely have been a herculean task. Yet Damian Duffy and John Jennings have managed it with their version of Kindred…giving her most accessible novel…fresh life…Duffy and Jennings's adaptation retains the spare, almost baroque feel of Butler's narrative, down to its ominous chapter headings…The art here, which is angular and line-heavy and somehow apocalyptic, fits the weight of the material perfectly…The adaptation does not flinch from the ugliest parts of Butler's text. (Parents hoping that the graphical format may work better for teenagers, take warning.) A worthy and powerful supplement to a classic.
Publishers Weekly
11/07/2016
Dana, an African-American woman in the 1970s, is thrust backward in time to a 19th-century Maryland plantation. Over many visits to the past, she realizes that the spoiled son of the plantation owner is her ancestor, destined to father children with a slave, and she must protect his life to ensure her own existence. Butler’s celebrated 1979 novel, here adapted into a graphic novel, starts with a gripping idea and builds skillfully, as both Dana and her white husband in the present are warped by slavery and become complicit in its evil. This graphic novel recaps the classic source material faithfully without adding much to justify the adaptation, although it may find some new readers. The blocky artwork lacks the subtlety to evoke the complexity of the novel or the vividness of its historical settings (in addition to the antebellum South, the adaptation preserves the 1970s setting of the “present-day” sections). It’s an effective recap, clearly produced with great love and respect, but the book remains the gold standard. (Jan.)
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Junot Díaz
"A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary."
Eisner–Award winning and New York Times bestselling graphic novelist of March, The Year - Nate Powell

"Kindred is a perfect candidate for the graphic-novel medium—Damian Duffy’s taut adaptation and John Jennings’s tense, electric renderings vibrate throughout, pacing and containing, then pushing every ounce of discomfort to the forefront. Comics and science fiction exploit their greatest shared strength by illuminating the mundane that surrounds us, allowing any reader to critique and process our world with new vision."
author of Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms, and Sisters Mine - Nalo Hopkinson

"Wonderful. Captures the essence of Octavia Butler’s vision even as it demonstrates the superlative skills of Duffy and Jennings."
Vice's The Creators Project

"This adaptation of the classic science fiction/neo-slave narrative novel by Octavia E. Butler is required reading."
Cleaver Magazine

"Nearly four decades after its original printing, Kindred remains a valuable story and teaching tool. From its pages, we are reminded of the destructive consequences of prejudice."
Gizmodo

"Together, Duffy and Jennings manage to condense Kindred into 240 pages that are respectful of Butler’s original work while also feeling like a distinctly new story at the same time. In exchange for some of Butler’s scene descriptions, the book offers up a richly rendered, raw take on Dana’s experience, heavy with thick lines and blurred movement conveying her existential disorientation."
Slate

"Butler’s original novel is a powerful commentary on how the past informs the present and how we engage with both. But this adaptation makes an even more vivid statement about black Americans’ relationship with history. The kinetic lines feel urgent, messy, and visceral. The colors for scenes set in the present are muted while the colors of the past are vibrant, almost like a bright wake-up call to reality."
Bustle

"This graphic novel adaptation beautifully retells the story…"
Booklist

"The heavily shaded, thick-lined, and rough edged art lends a grimness appropriate to a life of jagged brutality and fearful uncertainty. Both a rewarding way to reexperience the tale and an accessible way to discover it. "
Book Riot

“If you’ve read Kindred this is a great companion. If you haven’t read it yet, this adaptation is strong enough to stand on its own."
The Huffington Post

"The story lends itself well to the medium, which makes it easy for writers to contrast narration with dialogue… According to a 2015 survey of Comic-Con attendees, half of comic fans under 30 are women. In graphic novel format, Kindred provides a voice that can resonate with those readers."
Complex Magazine

“While Kindred was released nearly 40 years ago, its exploration of black womanhood and afrofuturism proves to be as relevant today as it was then. And now, with the added imagery, the graphic novel certainly isn’t short on capturing the same sentiment as the original.“
Flavorwire

"The book stays close to the original, with Duffy reproducing Butler’s matter-of-fact-to-the-point-of-bleakness prose, and Jennings turning in moody, expressive, woodcut-influenced illustrations that look hacked out of, or into, the past.”
Common Sense Media

“This dead-on retelling of Octavia E. Butler's 1979 sci-fi novel is intense, heart-stopping, thought-provoking, and powerful…”
ICv2

"I do not lightly give anything a 5-star rating, but this is the best graphic adaptation of a full novel that I have ever encountered….the book belongs in every library and in the hands of any adult reader interested in serious graphic fiction.”
NPR’s Code Switch Blog

"In its illustrated form, Kindred receives a new identity of sorts, while retaining all of the complexities, politics, and moral questions that propelled its author to literary icon status.”
The New York Times

"Adapting any prose novel to the graphic format is an audacious undertaking at the best of times, but translating Octavia E. Butler’s fearsomely powerful work in particular must surely have been a herculean task. Yet Damian Duffy and John Jennings have managed it…A worthy and powerful supplement to a classic.”
Paste Magazine

"Kindred is a deeply intimate book filled with emotion, and portraying it visually only adds to that weight. Butler’s voice is much needed in the social and political climate right now, and Kindred’s mix of time travel and a historically accurate portrayal of racism is an incredible way to introduce her work to comics readers.”
Boing Boing

"This is an outstanding adaptation of a brilliant novel, and there's nothing more you could possibly ask for.”
Nerds of Color

"Duffy’s words, coupled with Jennings’ brutally jagged, disorientating, gothic, and impactful art allows their adaptation to be two things: A graphic adaptation of a beloved novel, and an amplification of said novel. Reading them together illuminates Butler’s work from angles I never thought possible.”
Entertainment Weekly

"… Duffy and Jennings have risen to the challenge; their book highlights all of the medium's strengths while still respecting Butler's original words… It's a good introduction not only to Butler's body of work but also to the potential of the graphic-novel form.”
Pulitzer Prize–winning author - Junot Díaz

"A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary."
Library Journal
04/01/2017
In Duffy (Black Comix) and Jennings's (Blue Hand Mojo) adaptation of MacArthur Fellow Butler's iconic 1979 novel, time-traveler Dana discovers affinity and ugliness among her ancestors. Unwillingly wrenched from 1976 to 1815, she attempts to blend into plantation life as the "slave" of her white husband, Kevin, also drawn into the past. There Dana meets the slaveholder's spoiled son who rapes his servant-concubine to produce the line leading to Dana herself. Butler has claimed that she sanitized life under slavery for the novel, but Dana witnesses and experiences miseries aplenty, including whippings and mutilation. Indeed, Dana and Kevin are both greatly changed by the forced culture shock. Duffy covers the fullness of Butler's plot, while picking up much of the character complexity. The blocky, impressionistic, awkward art from Jennings lacks subtlety but effectively conveys the dystopian nature of plantation society via jarring color, contrasted with more sedate two-toned images for modern life. VERDICT This slave narrative through the eyes of a modern woman will continue to grip readers as they come to understand that "kindred" means all Americans, who together share the ancestry of slavery personally and collectively. Adults and teens.—MC
School Library Journal
★ 06/01/2017
Gr 9 Up—A searing, painful, but necessary graphic novel adaptation of Butler's classic sci-fi work. It begins with a short glimpse at African American protagonist Dana's beaten physical state in the late 1970s and jumps briefly backward in time as she unpacks in her new home with her white husband Kevin. She is abruptly ripped from her present day to a plantation in antebellum Maryland, called there by the pained cries of her white ancestor Rufus. While Dana is in the past, time passes quickly, and she has to learn how to survive in horrendous conditions in order to protect her own future existence. She inexplicably returns to the present, where only a short time has passed, and eventually transports her husband to the past, where the white and black characters can't understand their interracial marriage. The couple continues to be torn apart by the sporadic time travel, and each time Dana hopes to reform Rufus as he grows older, but to no avail. The graphic scenes of violence, including intimations of rape, might shock readers, but they also serve to put history in stark and realistic light. Jennings's muted palette for the scenes in the 1970s and more vibrant hues in the mid-1800s serve as visual reminders of setting. The variation of the panels will catapult readers forward as the heroine slowly begins to understand how to manipulate the time travel. Inner monologues present Dana's own battles with complacency in a heartbreaking way. Strong language is appropriate for the horrific situations the characters find themselves in, and important themes of oppression, systemic racism and sexism, and survival are explored. VERDICT A compelling, masterly graphic novel for all libraries serving teens.—Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419709470
Publisher:
ABRAMS
Publication date:
01/10/2017
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
37,612
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
GN430L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author


Octavia Estelle Butler (1947–2006), often referred to as the “grand dame of science fiction,” was born in Pasadena, California, on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena City College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. Butler was the first science-fiction writer to win a MacArthur Fellowship (“genius” grant). She won the PEN Lifetime Achievement Award and the Nebula and Hugo Awards, among others.
 
John Jennings is Associate Professor of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo and has written several works on African-American comics creators. His research is concerned with the topics of representation and authenticity, visual culture, visual literacy, social justice, and design pedagogy. He is an accomplished designer, curator, illustrator, cartoonist, and award-winning graphic novelist, who most recently organized an exhibition/program on Afrofuturism and the Black Comic Book Festival, both at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.
 
Damian Duffy, cartoonist, writer, and comics letterer, is a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and a founder of Eye Trauma Studios (eyetrauma.net). His first published graphic novel, The Hole: Consumer Culture, created with artist John Jennings, was released by Front 40 Press in 2008. Along with Jennings, Duffy has curated several comics art shows, including Other Heroes: African American Comic Book Creators, Characters and Archetypes and Out of Sequence: Underrepresented Voices in American Comics, and published the art book Black Comix: African American Independent Comics Art and Culture. He has also published scholarly essays in comics form on curation, new media, diversity, and critical pedagogy.

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