Josephine Baker, a fascinating historical figure, will be the subject of an upcoming graphic novel written and drawn by C. Spike Trotman, best known as the publisher of the Smut Peddler anthologies. Black Pearl: The Graphic Life of Josephine Baker will be published in 2017 from First Second Books.

Baker was a black woman from St. Louis who rose to fame as a dancer in Paris about a century ago. She became a fashion icon, a spy for the resistance during World War II, and later a prominent figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. Trotman is a longtime admirer of Baker, and brings both excitement and skill to telling her story, as we can see from these dynamic drawings below and above:




From the press release:


Black Pearl is Spike's first book from First Second, documenting the life, loves, fame and infamy of Josephine Baker, the first black international superstar. Born into a Jim Crow America and cutting her teeth as a chorus girl, Baker's move across the Atlantic would define an era for a jazz-obsessed Paris. But while most stories about Josephine end with a banana skirt, this biography will go deeper. Josephine's loves, politics and controversies will take center stage, painting a full picture of this mythologized figure as a pioneering, imperfect woman who challenged the limitations of her time and gender, and didn't always win.

"I've admired Josephine Baker since college, she's symbolic of so much, to me. Triumph over adversity, for starters. Going your own way. And I'm eager to  have a chance to paint a down-to-earth picture of her, one with a lot of truth to it. She was bigger than life, but she was still human. She has relatable limits and failures. We don't do out heroes any favors by forgetting that." – C. Spike Trotman


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