In a time where the popularity of comics and genre TV and movies is greater than ever before, there is still a tremendous lack of representation for women and people of color. Even more rare is the combination of the two, where women of color are the face of a franchise or the creators behind it. Actress and activist Amandla Stenberg seeks to change all that.
Best known for her role of Rue in the hit film “The Hunger Games,” Amandla is a multi-faceted creator who can now add comic book author to her resume. Debuting Nov. 4, she is co-writing the comic book series “NIOBE: She is Life” for Stranger Comics. “NIOBE: She is Life” is a coming of age tale of love, loss, and redemption. Niobe Ayutami is a young, black, half elf, half human warrior woman who is destined to be the savior of an entire world.
Stenberg, who has amassed a significant online following, has become a hero for a generation in desperate need of truth and cultural awareness. For Stenberg, Niobe offers an opportunity to combine her beliefs with an entertaining story and create a character that couldn’t be more needed in this current climate, where there are few role models unaffected by negative stereotypes. She had this to say about Niobe:
“I was drawn to give voice to Niobe and co-write her story because her journey is my journey. I connect to her mixed racial background and quest to discover her innate powers and strengths, to learn who she truly is. She is on a path to a destiny that will test her faith and her will, something we can all relate to. But there’s never been a character quite like her – one who shatters the traditional ideal of what a hero is. We need more badass girls!”
When asked about the general lack of creators of color in comics, Stranger Comics CEO and “NIOBE” co-author Sebastian Jones said, “There is no lack. We are everywhere. But there are few companies willing to let us tell our tales. That is one of the reasons I started Stranger Comics and why I actively pursue a diverse range of creators.”
The first issue of “NIOBE: She is Life” will be available at Hi De Ho Comics starting Nov. 4, with the following issues being released and on sale monthly. Following the debut of the first issue will be a Nov. 7 launch party hosted by Hi De Ho Comics and attended by Amandla Stenberg. The launch party is free for all who wish to attend and meet Amandla and show support for diversity in comics and those who create them.
For more information, visit Hi De Ho Comics at 1431 Lincoln Blvd., in Santa Monica.