Not Yo' Pop's Eco Comic!
“Diverse Comics Highlight Racial Justice in the Climate Crisis”
How Millennials, GenX and Z’ers are leveraging Creativity to engage communities of color in the Climate Conversation”
“Two children stand back-to-back, but they are facing two very different Chicago's. One child blows bubbles in a park under blue skies. The other wears a gas mask against a backdrop of scrap metal and billowing smokestacks.
“The goal was to represent a divide between the community, or between the communities that exist within the upper and lower class,” says artist Sergio Maciel, who grew up in Chicago. “The whole breakdown of the image is to have each child kind of look out into their respective environments and show the differences and the segregation that’s been created within this city.”
This is an example of environmental Justice Art that has been making waves recently on the Global Art scene,and it makes sense since mankind by many accounts is facing an existential threat when it comes to issues surrounding man made climate change and its effect on ALL life on the planet!
Music, film, photography and even comedy are inspiring visual artists to represent loudly and with clarity the importance of educating oneself about climate which one way or another is impacting our daily lives and forcing communities to take a stand. In a recent report by the United Nations it was revealed that only 100 companies globally are responsible for 90 percent of the [pollution that affects our climate and that the United Nations has withheld this information from the general public for over a decade. It makes you wonder if anyone is on the side of the planet Earth!
In recent news a combined team of engaged researchers, comedians, activists, organizers, music producers and filmmakers, Hip Hop Caucus and the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) began working together in the summer of 2019 to co-create a climate justice entertainment project that centers comedians of color. The ultimate goal was to bring to life a portrait of Norfolk, Virginia, which resembles New Orleans, the site of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, in its below-sea-level location and urban landscape.
This project was driven by youth much in the same way teachers in a classroom of Middle School students in Astoria Queens inspired Mayah, a character in Charlie La Greca and Rebecca Bratspies’ environmental justice comic, Mayah’s Lot “The central character intends to plant an aspen seed in a garden she secretly tends on a vacant lot, just before finding out a corporation’s plan to transform the lot into an industrial toxic storage waste facility. The seed growth imagery symbolizes how the work of environmental justice can be achieved: Mayah’s voice is joined by others in her community as they feel increasingly empowered to influence decision-making conversations affecting their collective health.”(Center For Urban Environmental Reform 2022)
Comics and graphic novels open our minds to new possibilities. They help us see our friends and neighbors in a different light. We can become a superhero or magician facing fantastic beasts from the deep, or detectives and teen scientists on the trail of aliens, monsters, and ancient artifacts of mystic power. Through comics and graphic novels we become heroes confronting issues of justice, morality, and bravery in the face of adversity, we can save the world! Which is exactly the mission of Black Coral Inc. The following are some of the more recent titles we recommend:
1. The comic series Border Town is, as its creators put it, like “Scooby Doo, but Mexican.” The series is set in Devil’s Fork, Arizona, a small desert city fraught with deep racial divisions, violent anti-immigrant sentiments, and a steady flow of demons, gods, and monsters from Mictlan, the Aztec underworld. These creatures out of Mexican folklore appear as whatever each Devil’s Fork resident fears most: an armed ICE officer, a neo-Nazi carrying a tiki torch, an “urban teenager” wearing a hoody!
2. Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story (Vertigo Comics, 2011)
Dark Rain tells a story that is a compelling mix of crime, disaster, and environmental injustice. Set in New Orleans, the comic follows two men who plan to rob a bank by taking advantage of the city-wide disarray after Hurricane Katrina. Writer Mat Johnson uses their attempted heist to address the failure of public institutions to care for those left devastated by the storm, financial corruption in the banking industry, and the cruelty of private security firms tasked with protecting businesses at the expense of human lives. Standing in knee-deep water, one of the would-be bank robbers pleads with private security guards to allow him to look for bandages in a pharmacy to help an injured woman he’s met. The guards refuse and beat him, telling him: “This isn’t the place to come for handouts.” Dark Rain incriminates the larger social and economic institutions that perpetuate racial violence and environmental injustice. ( Laura Perry 2022)
3.The Seeds (Dark Horse, 2018)
Writer Ann Nocenti and award-winning artist David Aja join forces in the dark four-part science fiction series The Seeds. The series follows what’s left of the dying planet after climate change and devastating pollution forces humans to survive in two environmentally condemned zones, separated by a militarized wall: Zone A, where wealthy urbanites rely on advanced technology and social media to ease growing melancholia; and Zone B, a lawless district where inhabitants shun tech altogether. When Astra, a young journalist, encounters an alien sent to collect the last “seeds” of human biological material, she must venture into the hostile Zone B to investigate the alien’s mission. Nocenti’s writing is deliberately dissonant, disorienting readers by layering many voices and alternating between the superficial chatter of social media and philosophical ramblings. Visually, The Seeds captures a bleak, apocalyptic landscape. The hexagonal motif David Aja includes throughout the series, for example, evokes beehives and the anxiety surrounding declining pollinator populations. Despite the dark comic’s portrayal of apathy, it is also a love story. Nocenti’s heroine, Aja’s artwork, and the bees refuse to dwell in total indifference. (Molly Barnewitz 2018)
4.On Earth Day, April 22,2022 Amplifier released the comic art series #MyClimateHero, portraying leaders of the modern climate justice movement. Amplifier is a Seattle-based art design lab that facilitates art aimed at “amplifying the voices of social change,” according to its website.
“#MyClimateHero tells the story of modern climate leaders building unprecedented cooperation, driving action, and creating space for those most impacted to share their knowledge and perspectives,” said Amplifier chief of staff Tamara Power-Drutis in a statement. Comic artists designed the series, which also features interviews.