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Strange Fruit, Volume II
Strange Fruit, Volume II

Strange Fruit, Volume II

More Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History



112 Pages, 8 x 10

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF

Trade Paper, $19.95 (US $19.95) (CA $26.95)

Publication Date: February 2018

ISBN 9781938486579

Rights: WOR

Fulcrum Publishing (Feb 2018)

Price: $19.95


Like all legends, people fade away, but not before leaving an incredible legacy. Strange Fruit, Volume II: More Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History is a collection of stories from early African American history that represent the oddity of success in the face of great adversity. Each of the eight illustrated chapters chronicles an uncelebrated African American hero or event. Joel Christian Gill offers historical and cultural commentary on heroes whose stories are not often found in history books, such as Cathay Williams, the only known female Buffalo Soldier, and Eugene Bullard, a fighter pilot who flew for France during World War I. These beautifully illustrated stories offer a refreshing look at remarkable African Americans.  The stories included in Volume II are: Jourdan Anderson who requested payment from his former slave owner; Stagecoach Mary Fields, the first African-American female star route mail carrier; Willie Kennard, the Sheriff of the Colorado gold mining town of Yankee Hill; Cathay Williams, the only known female Buffalo Soldier; Blind Tom Wiggins, an autistic musical prodigy; Millie and Christine McCoy, conjoined twins known as "The Two-Headed Nightingale"; Victor Green, the creator and publisher of "The Green Book for the Negro Motorist"; and Eugene Bullard, a fighter pilot who flew for France during WWI.


Praise for Strange Fruit, Volume I: Still more thoughtful reflections come from Joel Christian Gill's graphic novel Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, which unpacks its power through drawings and pointed text that chronicle the trials and triumphs of black Americans who struggled against prejudice more than a century ago. At a moment when racial inequities have ignited this nation, Mr. Gill offers direction for the road ahead from the road behind. The New York Times: These offbeat stories of heretofore-obscure African-American pioneers are filled with heartbreak and triumph. Without whitewashing the realities of slavery and racism, Strange Fruit has a wry, welcoming tone—much aided by Gill's dynamic, inventive storytelling. After reading about such real American heroes as chess master Theophilus Thompson, bicycling champion Marshall "Major" Taylor, and lawman Bass Reeves, I'm eager to learn more!  Josh Neufeld, writer/illustrator of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge By the time I finished reading Strange Fruit, I thought, 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 an evocative and richly illustrated tour through the shadowed corners of Black History. Gill shares these nine stories simply and with deep thoughtfulness and reverence to voices that—the reader will quickly be convinced—need to be heard. Andrew Aydin, author (with Rep. John Lewis) of March: Book One: 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. The Chicago Tribune If you think comics and graphic novels are the domain of "superheroes and stuff" and "for kids," then brace yourself for an epiphany. Yes, you'll find some superheroes and kids' comics within these pages, but you'll also find ordinary people striving for the extraordinary. Foreword Reviews The short narratives are conversational in tone and the accompanying detailed images convey tragic beauty. Gill doesn't shy away from portraying brutal scenes, but does so without sensationalism. School Library Journal Are you always on your child to READ SOMETHING, anything, except a comic book? Well, Strange Fruit is a graphic historic novel, and you'll want him to read it.  Terri "The Bookworm Sez" Schlichenmeyer What Gill has done in this first volume of his collected Strange Fruit mini-comics is pretty remarkable. He's infused each of these stories with a huge amount of information, humor for kid readers ("Slavery stinks"), humor for adults (when a child is born it appears to be launched out of the mother by jet propulsion, making the umbilical cord not unlike a bungee cord), and a full spectrum of comics storytelling devices. The A.V. Club Readers of the short stories in Strange Fruit quickly learn to appreciate the playful succinctness of Gill's iconographic language. He knows when to use humor and sight gags to advance the story. (On the experience of enslavement, Henry 'Box' Brown remarks: 'This stinks.') But Gill knows when more serious cultural cues are needed too, as in the two-page spread where Brown's body, shown curled inside a wooden box, silently tumbles from slavery to freedom. The Hooded Utilitarian: One of the most interesting heroes in the book is Marshall "Major" Taylor (1878–1932), America's first black champion in any sport—and in cycling, no less, which remains one of the least diverse athletic ende

"These fascinating stories are all presented in such an easily accessible and engaging way that I sat down to read one and finished the whole book. I can't imagine what sort of impact having learned these stories growing up would have had on me, but I believe I would have had more faith in myself, what I was capable of, and of my resiliency had I knows of these remarkable individuals." —Karyn Parsons, actress, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

"With Strange Fruit, Volume II, Gill continues to skillfully and thoughtfully tell the stories of the forgotten visionaries, revolutionaries, and everyday folks of black history. This book is a shining example of the need to share the lesser-known narratives that add to the richness and complexity of the black experience." —Whitney Taylor, author and illustrator, Wallpaper and Ghost Stories

STARRED REVIEW: "Immersive and magnetic from the very first page." —Russell Miller, Library Journal

Author Biography

Joel Christian Gill is the Chair of Foundations at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and recipient of the 2016 Boston University College of Fine Arts Alumni Award. He wrote the words and drew the pictures in Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, Bass Reeves: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 1, and Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 2. 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. For more information about Joel Christian Gill, reread this paragraph and enjoy. Joel Christian Gill believes that 28 days are not enough when it comes to Black History. Join the discussion on social media by following Joel's #28DaysAreNotEnough, his call-to-action about Black History. Visit his website at or connect with him on Twitter (@jcg007).