Octavia E. Butler's Kindred / a graphic novel adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings ; introduction by Nnedi Okorafor.
Booklist Reviews 2017 January #1
The grande dame of sci-fi's 1979 novel is still widely, deservedly popular, and this graphic adaptation will lure in even more readers. Dana is a 1970s black woman repeatedly and involuntarily whisked back in time to a nineteenth-century plantation, where she becomes embroiled in the lives of the people enslaved there, risking everything by educating their children, even as she forms an uneasy and dangerous relationship with her own white ancestor. This adoring adaptation is dense enough to fully immerse readers in the perspective of a modern woman plunged into the thick of a culture where people are dehumanized by the act of dehumanizing others. It also preserves the vivid characterizations of the time traveler, her husband, and the enslaved people and the slaveholders, making the fantastical device that sets the story in motion a springboard for deeply humane insights. 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. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 April #1
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.
LJ Reviews 2018 January #1
As adapted from Butler's iconic novel, Dana is unwillingly wrenched from 1976 back to 1815 and must blend into plantation life as the "slave" of her white husband, Kevin. Here, Dana meets the plantation owner's spoiled son, who rapes his slave-concubine Alice to produce Dana's own ancestors. Butler claimed that her novel sanitized life under slavery, but Dana witnesses and experiences miseries aplenty. Indeed, Dana and Kevin are both changed by the forced culture shock. The 1976 episodes appear in sedate two-toned images, the dystopian plantation society in jarring strong colors. (
PW Reviews 2016 November #1
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.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.