I Have a Dream in Shades of Gray

Unless you’re a retailer, you may be just finding out from reading this that chapter one of BLACK will be delayed by a week. Instead of reaching comic store shelves on September 28, the street date has moved to October 5.

An apology doesn’t feel sufficient for this mix-up; I prefer to be transparent — the delay is due to an error in Previews stating that the book is in color. Both the BLACK team and Black Mask agreed that no one wants retailers or readers to feel tricked about their orders, so it’s important that I be clear:

BLACK was never intended to be a full-color comic book.

Since launching the Kickstarter that fueled this journey, quite a few publishers have wanted the book to be in color. There are claims that readers respond better to full color, that retailers order more color copies, that color sells better — so on and so forth.

Even as a long time comics reader, I have no proclivity toward full-color periodicals — I never have. I personally find all the colors on interior pages to be a bit of a distraction. For me, full-color comics challenge the imagination less, since everything is laid out to ingest but with less opportunity to digest.

For a comic in which race is central to the narrative, gray tones hold meaning to the story I’m trying to tell.

In the US, there are both subtle and overt aspects to racial issues and inequalities. Our perception of these matters are colored by individual experiences and biases. It’s why some cowardly people can reduce the plight of fellow humans’ suffering to selecting candies from a bowl of Skittles.

My thinking is that a wide range of colors on the pages of BLACK would further impact individual reception to the story. After all, people have had their own interpretation of BLACK since February 1, 2016 without much to go on.

The point is that issues of race are not that simple as black and white, they are gray — which is actually what this comic is. My hope is that your encounter with BLACK will reflect the colors you impart on the pages.

Despite all the above, I stated that BLACK will arrive in physical form next week and plan to stick to that — we’ll release a limited batch of BLACK, chapter one for sale exclusively in Harlem, NYC on September 28.

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