“Black Kirby is funky brilliance, the kind that makes you scrunch up your nose, screw your face, and involuntarily mutter: Aha!”
– Regina Bradley,
African American Literature, Armstrong State Univeristy
In Search of the Motherboxx Connection
John Jennings and Stacey Robinson
The Search continues….
Black Kirby is a collaborative “entity” that is the creative doppelganger of artists/designers John Jennings and Stacey “Blackstar” Robinson. The manifestation of this avatar is an exhibition and catalog of primarily visual artworks-on-paper that celebrate the groundbreaking work of legendary comic creator Jack Kirby regarding his contributions to the pop culture landscape and his development of some of the conventions of the comics medium.
Black Kirby appropriates the gallery as a conceptual “crossroads” to examine identity as a socialized concept and to show he commonalities between Black comics creators and Jewish comics creator and how they both utilize the medium of comics as space of resistance. The duo attempts to re-medicate “blackness” and other identity contexts as “sublime technologies” that produce experiences that sometime limit human progress and possibility.
About the Authors
John Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside (UCR). Professor Jennings received his MA in Art Education in 1995 and the MFA in Studio with a focus on Graphic Design in 1997 from UIUC. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who examines the visual culture of race in various media forms including film, illustrated fiction, and comics and graphic novels.
Jennings is also a curator, graphic novelist, editor, and design theorist whose research interests include the visual culture of Hip Hop, Afrofuturism and politics, Visual Literacy, Horror and the EthnoGothic, and Speculative Design and its applications to visual rhetoric. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art (Rutgers) and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University.
Jennings’ current projects include the graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred (with Damian Duffy), Tony Medina’s police brutality themed ghost story I Am Alphonso Jones (with Stacey Robinson), and his Hoodoo Noir graphic novella Blue Hand Mojo (Rosarium Publishing). Jennings is also a Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University.
Stacey Robinson is completing his Masters of Fine Art at University at Buffalo. He is originally from Albany NY and he graduated from Fayetteville State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts.
He is part of the collaborative team Black Kirby with artist John Jennings that creates comic books, gallery exhibitions and lectures that deconstruct the work of artist Jack Kirby and re-imagine Black resistance spaces inspired by Hip Hop, religion, the arts and sciences. His thesis (2015) Binary ConScience explores ideas of W.E. B. Du Bois s double consciousness as a Black cultural adaptation and a means of colonial survival.
In 2010, he was a part of the exhibition Invisible Ink: Black Independent Comix, at University of Tennessee at Knoxville and in 2009 he exhibited as part of Body in Motion at the Fayetteville State University Rosenthal Gallery, and Beyond the Frame: African American Comic Book Artists, Presentation at the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI.