Black Mask Studios’ BLACK imagines a world in which black people and only black people begin to suddenly manifest super abilities, setting off a series of events that forces its characters and readers to reflect on the real-world anti-black racism that’s alive and well in our country.
BLACK engages in some very heavy subject matter somewhat more catered to a mature audience, but Black Mask’s new graphic novel America’s Sweetheart is purposefully oriented more toward younger readers. Set in the same universe as BLACK, America’s Sweetheart (written by BLACK co-creator Kwanza Osajyefo and illustrated by Jennifer Johnson) tells the story of Eli Franklin, a 15-year-old girl living in Montana who, soon after the events of BLACK, is revealed to be one of the most powerful people on the planet.
When a new, super-powered terrorist comes onto the scene, Eli decides to don an American-themed costume and adopt the superhero identity Good Girl in hopes of letting people know that just because a black person is powerful doesn’t mean that others should be afraid of them.
In a statement, Black Mask co-founder Matt Pizzolo emphasized the necessity of creating characters like Eli who embody the ideas of “heroism, resistance, and self-sacrifice that look and feel like members of the world we live in today.”
“As superheroes continue to dominate pop culture the world over, so many of them reflect a bygone era. The creative teams behind America’s Sweetheart and BLACK are crafting new additions to the pantheon of comic heroes that uniquely reflect the integrity and courage we’ll all need in order to make our modern world a better, safer place for everyone.”
America’s Sweetheart will be produced by Black Mask’s new Black AF studio, which is focused on building out BLACK’s universe to tell a broader variety of stories. Get your first look at America’s Sweetheart below and look for the book when it hits stores this November.