Monday, July 4, 2011

CLIP ART: Incognegro by Mat Johnson

Panels clipped from the graphic novel Incognegro by Mat Johnson. Art by Warren Pleece. Published in 2008 by Vertigo.

From Booklist

As a light-skinned African American growing up in a predominantly dark-skinned neighborhood, Johnson was electrified when he learned about the early exploits of Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, 1931–55. In 1919, White used his own pale skin to pass for a white and investigate lynchings in the deep South. Inspired by White’s experiences, Johnson tells the similar story of Harlem journalist Zane Pinchback, whose own eyewitness reports of lynchings are regularly written up in a New York periodical under the byline Incognegro. Pinchback is on the verge of abandoning his undercover work for an editor’s job when he discovers his own brother is in jail and days away from lynching for apparently murdering a white woman. How Pinchback tracks down the real killer, saves his brother’s life, and narrowly escapes an angry mob form the plot of a riveting meditation on racism and self-reliance. The beautiful chiaroscuro pen-and-ink illustrations provided by veteran artist Pleece bring to vivid life one of the darkest chapters in America’s racial history. --Carl Hays

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