Acclaimed Author L. L. McKinney and Artist Robyn Smith Join Forces to Reimagine Character in an #OwnVoices Story for Young Adult Readers
Original Graphic Novel Hits Stores Everywhere Books Are Sold on February 2, 2021 Available to Preorder Now
Next February, fan-favorite young adult (YA) author L. L. McKinney and artist Robyn Smith will put a fresh, contemporary twist on Nubia, the twin sister of Wonder Woman—bringing their authentic voices to the character in Nubia: Real One. The original YA graphic novel is an endearing tale filled with heart and wit and follows a teenage Nubia as she learns to embrace her true self in a world filled with racial inequality, school violence, and other timely issues affecting young people today. The book hits stores and online retailers on February 2, 2021, and today, DC revealed a first look at the story.
McKinney is the author of several acclaimed works including the A Blade So Black trilogy. She is an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. A self-proclaimed “blerd,” Nubia: Real One marks McKinney’s first work with DC.
“What’s funny is I didn’t initially set out to pitch a Nubia graphic novel,” said McKinney. “I was invited to pitch something else, but I made the decision when writing the pitch itself to add in Nubia. I’ve been a fan since pretty much birth, and I’ve watched her get moved around and appear in various iterations, none of them touching me the same way her original one had. I mean, this was Wonder Woman’s twin sister, just as strong, just as fast, if not stronger and faster. And she was BLACK! So, I added her in to my pitch for the other project. I guess something about her stuck out to the team because they emailed me and essentially asked for a pitch about Nubia.
“Fast-forward and DC loved it. When the hunt for the artist began, I knew I wanted another Black woman on this project. DC was on board from the start and suggested Robyn, whose art I immediately fell in love with. Robyn has breathed life into this story and these characters, and it wouldn’t be half as powerful without her. Everyone loves Nubia, we all want to do right by her, by the readers that have been searching for her the same as I have. I hope fans walk away from this story knowing that first and foremost.”
Smith is a Jamaican cartoonist, currently based in New York City. She is best known for her minicomic The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town and for illustrating Jamila Rowser’s comic Wash Day. Nubia: Real One is also her first project with DC.
“As an Afro-Caribbean artist, I’ve always strived to center the Black community in the comics I make, so being hired to illustrate Nubia was a dream,” said Smith. “When I heard L. L. McKinney was the writer, I was even more excited. Working together has been great, especially since our artistic objectives seem to be the same: all Black everything. In Nubia, I wanted to focus my illustrations on creating something both light and emotionally resonant. Most of my work is heavily influenced by Harry Lucey’s Archie, so finding a way to incorporate that charm and joyful feel into a story centered around more serious issues was important to me. I hope fans reading Nubia feel the same sort of excitement I felt illustrating the characters and their beautifully crafted stories.”
Additional contributors to Nubia: Real One include colorists Brie Henderson (interior colors) and Bex Glendining (cover colors).
The original graphic novel is available to preorder now and debuts everywhere books are sold on February 2, 2021, just in time for Black History Month. See attached for covers and interiors revealed today, and below for the official book description.
Nubia: Real One
- Written by L. L. McKinney
- Illustrated by Robyn Smith
- Colored by Brie Henderson
- Cover Colors by Bex Glendining
- Lettered by Ariana Maher
- On sale February 2, 2021
- MSRP $16.99
Can you be a hero…if society doesn’t see you as a person?
Nubia has always been a little bit…different. As a baby, she showcased Amazonian strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor’s cat. But, despite Nubia’s similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she’s no Wonder Woman. And even if she was, they wouldn’t want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she’s reminded of how people see her: as a threat. Her moms do their best to keep her safe, but Nubia can’t deny the fire within her, even if she’s a little awkward about it sometimes. Even if it means people assume the worst.
When Nubia’s best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all––her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class––to become the hero society tells her she isn’t.
From the witty and powerful voice behind A Blade So Black, L. L. McKinney, and with endearing and expressive art by Robyn Smith, comes a vital story for today about equality, identity, and kicking it with your squad.
About the author
L. L. McKinney is an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. Elle’s also a gamer, Blerd, and adamant Hei Hei stan living in Kansas. Her works include the Nightmare-Verse books, starting with the A Blade So Black trilogy, the upcoming Marvel’s Black Widow: Bad Blood as presented by Serialbox, Broken Wish of the Mirror novels by Disney, and the Jane Eyre reimagining Escaping Mr. Rochester.
About the artist
Robyn Smith is a Jamaican cartoonist currently based in NYC. She has an MFA from the Center for Cartoon Studies and has worked on comics for the Seven Days newspaper, College Humor, and The Nib. She’s best known for her minicomic The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town and for illustrating Jamila Rowser’s comic Wash Day. Besides comics, she spends most of her time watching American sitcoms and holding on to dreams of returning home, to the ocean.
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