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Afrofuturism: The Graphics of Octavia Butler

Julie Mellby, Graphic Arts Curator; Damian Duffy, Cartoonist; John Jennings, Megascope

Fri, 7/31 · 2:00 pm-3:00 pm · via Zoom

Princeton University Library

January 2020 brought the release of the much anticipated Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy and illustrator John Jennings, the follow-up to the no.1 New York Times bestseller Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by the same award-winning team. Butler’s groundbreaking dystopian novel offers a searing vision of America’s future. Set in the year 2024, Parable presents a country marred by unattended environmental and economic crises that lead to social chaos. Residents shelter indoors, warned against venturing outside into a world eerily similar to our contemporary COVID-19 existence.

Adapting “Parable” and “Kindred” to a graphic novel format is an astounding achievement, and we are fortunate to have both Damian Duffy and John Jennings with us to discuss how they accomplished it. Their adaptations capture the energy and raw emotion of Butler’s prose with visual acrobatics and succinct verbal interchanges. Join this lively discussion with Graphic Arts Curator Julie Mellby, focusing on the development of a graphic adaptation of classic literature, along with a look at their future projects.

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