The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) announces its 2017 ICA Reads selection: Damian Duffy and John Jennings’s Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation. The book is an interpretation of Octavia Butler’s bestselling classic that has quickly become a bestseller itself. An artful take on the book club, ICA Reads presents a book of critical and societal importance and an opportunity to gather for discussion and meet the author(s).

More than 35 years after Kindred’s release, the powerful story continues to draw in new readers with its unforgettable strong female protagonist, Dana, and her 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. A unique introduction for those unfamiliar with Butler’s masterful work, adapted by academics and comics artists Duffy and Jennings, the graphic novel powerfully renders her mysterious and moving story, spanning racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz describes Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation as, “A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary.” For more information visit.

Held up as an essential work in feminist, science-fiction, and fantasy genres, and a cornerstone of the Afrofuturism movement, Kindred has sold more than 500,000 copies. 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.

The Artist’s Voice: Damian Duffy and John Jennings, Thursday, May 4, 7 PM
ICA visitors can meet Duffy and Jennings and join a timely and thought-provoking conversation about Kindred and its lasting impact. Book signing to follow (copies available for purchase at the ICA store). Free admission, first come, first served; tickets available at the box office two hours prior to start of program.

About the Authors

  • John Jennings is Associate Professor of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo and has written several works on African-American comics creators. His research is concerned with the topics of representation and authenticity, visual culture, visual literacy, social justice, and design pedagogy. He is an accomplished designer, curator, illustrator, cartoonist, and award-winning graphic novelist, who most recently organized an exhibition/program on Afrofuturism and the Black Comic Book Festival, both at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.
  • Damian Duffy, cartoonist, writer, and comics letterer, is a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and a founder of Eye Trauma Studios ( His first published graphic novel, The Hole: Consumer Culture, created with artist John Jennings, was released by Front 40 Press in 2008. Along with Jennings, Duffy has curated several comics art shows, including Other Heroes: African American Comic Book Creators, Characters and Archetypes and Out of Sequence: Underrepresented Voices in American Comics, and published the art book Black Comix: African American Independent Comics Art and Culture. He has also published scholarly essays in comics form on curation, new media, diversity, and critical pedagogy.
  • Octavia Estelle Butler (1947–2006), often referred to as the “grand dame of science fiction,” was born in Pasadena, California, on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena City College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. Butler was the first science-fiction writer to win a MacArthur Fellowship (“genius” grant). She won the PEN Lifetime Achievement Award and the Nebula and Hugo Awards, among others.