Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for WHITE, the sequel to your acclaimed graphic novel, BLACK. Given that the series of graphic novels will eventually form a trilogy, what can you share with us about the premise of this second installment?
Kwanza Osajyefo: Where BLACK simply asked, “What if only black people had superpowers?” in WHITE the question is “How does America react when only black people have superpowers?” so I think it is a shift from content to context in the BLACKSUPERPOWER universe.
WHITE is set three years later and explores the larger world around the characters and how the public has responded to a game-changing secret about their reality. The tension empowered blacks would cause the US would be palpable.
BD: Your creative team, including Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, and Khary Randolph, has returned for WHITE. Did you find that there was a creative shorthand in returning to this world with the same team in place, and what can you share with us regarding your creative process?
KO: I think our creative shorthand is our editor, Sarah Litt. She’s made getting back in sync pretty seamless, so we can dial it up on WHITE. From designs to scripts to covers to pencils – we’re upping our game on this book, because the stakes are higher.
We’ll be nearly done with issue one before the Kickstarter is over, because everyone is really passionate about the BLACKSUPERPOWER universe, and we’re looking to really blow fans and new readers away.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from this latest installment?
KO: Much like with BLACK, people will take away what they bring to reading WHITE. As an artist, I have a vision for the story, but people will interpret it how they choose and that’s just the nature of art.
However, the themes of destructiveness and self-destructiveness in white supremacy, not simply the taboo racism boogeyman aspect, but the daily institutional aspects of it, are something I hope readers consider while reading WHITE.
BD: This will be your second Kickstarter campaign for the series, following the incredible success of the first campaign for BLACK. What makes this crowdfunding platform such a valuable tool for creators?
KO: BLACK would not exist without our backers. As an independent project, it is vital for us to have a direct connection with readers. We’re not making comics just for the sake of it. One of our principle goals remains to continue telling stories that come from black perspectives and increase the authentic representation of the culture.
We were truly humbled by the response, not just because it validated the idea, but because it showed us there is an audience for black narratives. We tapped into an unexplored and under-served area of comics which, when you think about all the different comics in existence, was more than we could have hoped for.
So, this time, we’re honing in on our backers and readers to offer something really unique with WHITE.
BD: Are there any specific backer rewards in the campaign that you would like to highlight for readers?
KO: We took a thorough look at what backers said they wanted and what comics fans’ reading habits are. So, rewards for WHITE are focused on that. We have something exclusive for digital readers, collectors, binge readers, and periodical fans.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about WHITE and to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign?
KO: People can find WHITE on Kickstarter here. Rewards are limited and the campaign ends on March 31, so get your copy before they are gone.