Graphic Novel Of ‘Kindred’ Is A Great Way To Introduce Octavia Butler

This comic book adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred is the best way to introduce her to black youth.

Octavia Butler, MacArthur Genius, multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner, wrote a lot. Considered one of the greatest American authors, her books are read and re-read. One of her most famous, Kindred, has received a modern makeover as a graphic novel published by Harry N. Abrams.

Adapted by writer Damian Duffy and artist John Jennings, the graphic novel, like the book, follows the story of Dana, a black writer living in California in 1976 with her husband, who finds herself spontaneously sent back in time to a Maryland plantation during slavery. There she saves the life of her ancestor, the white heir to the plantation, and becomes part of its slave community.


Butler’s novel was lauded for its nuanced take on antebellum life and for what we would today call intersectionality. The graphic novel ‘Kindred‘ fully addresses these same issues, and sadly, they feel as timely now as they did when Butler wrote the original novel in 1979.

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Featuring Jennings’ signature loose line work and emphasis on dynamic value, the graphic novel makes Dana’s struggles and sacrifices hauntingly real with a lyrical grotesque quality that matches Butler’s prose style perfectly. The graphic novel is the perfect way to or experience for the first time Butler’s rich and engaging story ‘Kindred‘, and maybe even re-experience it with different approach. However, original ‘Kindred‘ is still the true experience, so make sure to read it too if you didn’t have already.

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