Have you heard the tale of the most successful lawman of the wild west? Born a slave, Bass Reeves became the first African-American Deputy U.S. Marshal in the old west. A legendary marksman, Bass used disguises to fool wanted criminals, lived in Indian Territory, and apprehended thousands of outlaws during his long career. The lore of Bass Reeves is believed to have inspired the tale of the Lone Ranger and is the subject of a recent addition of commemorative statues in downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas. Bass Reeves: Tales of the Talented Tenth chronicles his life from enslavement to famed peace officer. Come along for the adventure as Bass wins shooting matches, escapes enslavement, lives amongst a Native American tribe, and finally becomes a Deputy U.S. Marshal.
Tales of the Talented Tenth is a graphic novel series that focuses on the adventures of amazing African Americans in action. With vivid and whimsical art, these graphic novels are accessible to adults, teens, and young readers. They bring to life not merely an adventure tale, but the history of previously disenfranchised peoples. Bass Reeves: Tales of the Talented Tenth is a tool with which to discuss African Americans, social justice, and our shared history. Stay tuned for more of these heroes, including Bessie Springfield: The Motorcycle Queen of Miami!
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Praise for Joel Christian Gill:
"Gill’s book fills a definite void in America’s painfully white history books, but on top of that, it’s just a really good read. Gill doesn’t sugarcoat—not everyone gets a happy ending—but the book is visually witty, engaging, and well researched. History truly comes to life under Gill’s skillful hand"
— Foreword Reviews
"Let the comic-book sellers have their mythic superheroes; through Joel Gill, we can have our own. But, instead of flying around in capes or spinning webs, the superheroes in Strange Fruit are extraordinary-ordinary black folks making 'a way out of no way.' The difference: they really lived."
— Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
“Strange Fruit is black history as you’ve never seen it before. Working with a striking palette of ruby reds, rich browns, bleached-out blues and deep piney greens, author/artist Joel Christian Gill conjures up forgotten firsts and impassioned everymen in a cartoon style that’s at once cheeky and epic, naive and majestic.”
— Chicago Tribune
Meet the Author:
Joel Christian Gill is the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. He wrote the words and drew the pictures in Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History and Bass Reeves: Tales of the Talented Tenth. The allegations that he ghost wrote Hamlet, The Voynich manuscript, and started The Great Chicago Fire are completely unfounded. He also believes that #28daysarenotenough when it comes to black history. Joel received his MFA from Boston University and a BA from Roanoke College. His secret lair is behind a secret panel in the kitchen of his house (sold separately) in New Boston, New Hampshire where he lives with his wife, four children, talking dog, and two psychic cats. To learn more about Joel Christian Gill see the beginning of this paragraph. Visit his website at joelchristiangill.wordpress.com or on Twitter.