“Cosmic Underground is a stunning collection of work, filled with work that resonates deep within the soul. It not only speaks of where we’ve been and what we’ve endured, but of where we can go and what we can do. And it does this in a visual language that sparks the imagination, giving us permission to break free of life’s confines, as we search explore our own evolution as human beings.”
– David F. Walker, author, Power Man and Iron Fist
A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent
Edited by Reynaldo Anderson and John Jennings. Introduction by Greg Tate.
Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent and its inspiration, the groundbreaking exhibition Unveiling Visions, applies a global lens and planetary vision to the black imagination, and brings this context to a wide survey of contemporary works.
This book showcases illustrations, graphic design, literature, posters, and mixed-media digital and analog artworks along with insightful analysis by brilliant scholars and amazingly talented creatives.
Cosmic Underground serves as a creative, experimental and educational motive force to analyze the growing corpus of work surrounding the nexus between politics and contemporary artistic production.
This project includes the areas of black cultural production situated within Afrofuturism, AstroBlackness, the EthnoGothic, Magical Realism, Sword and Soul and the AfroSurreal.
“Cosmic Underground is a brilliant book that captures the Afrofuturist visual aesthetic as visual artists in the first quarter of the 21st Century embrace their platforms for transformation. This book underscores the desire for a radiant future/now that values humanity. Rich in color and heritage, this book highlights the vitality of artists stretching through time, both forward and backward, to affirm an eternal position in the greater universe.”
– Ytasha Womack, filmmaker
Author, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture
About the Editors
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.
Dr. Reynaldo Anderson serves as an Associate Professor of Communication at Harris-Stowe State University in Saint Louis Missouri and is currently the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) a network of artists, curators, intellectuals and activists.
Dr. Anderson is the Co-Editor of several publications which include:
—Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness (published by Lexington books)
—Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent (published by Cedar Grove Publishing)
—The Black Speculative Art Movement: Black Futurity, Art+Design (published by Lexington books)
—Black Lives, Black Politics, Black Futures, special issue of TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies
—When is Wakanda: Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity Journal of Futures Studies