Comic books with black characters must really be a thing this year because we have another one and this time it is staring Actress and musician Amandla Stenberg. She has been tapped on the shoulder to be in the comic Titled “Niobe: She Is Life.”
Niobe Ayutami is an orphaned wild elf teenager and would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of Hell!
Stenberg collaborated with Chicago artist Ashley A. Woods and author and publisher Sebastian A. Jones on the project. In an interview she was asked how they even came to work with Sebastian and she said she met him at a festival:
I met Sebastian at the Mixed-Remixed Festival where he was reading his children’s book I Am Mixed that focuses on multi-culture. I was really intrigued by what he was doing—representation in books and media is so important for kids!
Being mixed myself, it was really refreshing and exciting to see. We began talking, and he told me about the world of Asunda. I’ve always loved fantasy, and I was immediately drawn to the way The Untamed captures magic and realism and grit simultaneously. And of course, Sebastian is the coolest person ever and I couldn’t wait to work with him and exchange ideas and stories.
Amandla says she connects with the character, “I can see parallels [to Niobe], as well as attributes that I continually strive to bring forth in myself.
I think Niobe is a wonderful, nuanced role model. I strive to stay grounded in my roots and spirituality like her, as well as defy gender roles and assert my own power and independence.”
Sebastian supports that idea as well making it clear that Amandla was the best person for the job:
I had met with a number of younger folk over the years to help me write Niobe’s journey, but no one had the empathy, wisdom, and ability to bring the vision to life the way we needed.
I want folks to fall in love with Niobe. After a couple of sit-down meetings I knew she was more than I could have hoped for. Amandla is a renaissance lady, and the perfect partner to share Niobe’s extraordinary tale. I am deeply honored.
The book is set to debut in November just in time to make the perfect Christmas gift for that magical black girl in your life.