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Graphic Adaptation of Octavia Butler's Kindred is a Powerful Tribute

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

by Octavia E. Butler


Abrams ComicArts

Comics & Graphic Novels, Sci Fi & Fantasy

Pub Date 10 Jan 2017


Octavia Butler is a natural storyteller well known for writing science fiction that is poignant and has an important message. Kindred is a sharply drawn graphic adaptation of Octavia Butler's classic novel of time travel and slavery - still considered one of the best novels accurately depicting the horrors of slavery and the degradation involved. It also depicts the continuing struggles of mixed racial couples for acceptance both by family and the public - still an issue today.

The stark but beautiful artistry and the limited color palette fit the seriousness of the story well. The facial expressions are particularly vivid, emphasizing the emotional content. One good thing about a graphic rerelease of Kindred, is that it makes the novel available to a new audience, while reminding readers of the power of Olivia Butler's works. In a time when we are seeing a resurgence of racism and hate, her message is all the more necessary.


I received a copy of Kindred from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Octavia E. Butler’s bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, now in graphic novel format.

More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century.

Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.

Held up as an essential work in feminist, science-fiction, and fantasy genres, and a cornerstone of the Afrofuturism movement, there are over 500,000 copies of Kindred in print. The intersectionality of race, history, and the treatment of women addressed within the original work remain critical topics in contemporary dialogue, both in the classroom and in the public sphere.

Frightening, compelling, and richly imagined, Kindred offers an unflinching look at our complicated social history, transformed by the graphic novel format into a visually stunning work for a new generation of readers.

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