Bitter Root, a new comic series announced by Image Comics at Rose City Comic Con, promises an innovative approach to storytelling and social commentary. The story takes place in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance. It combines a monster hunting family with history and historical figures. Creators David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene collaborated before on Iron Fist for Marvel Comics and come together to produce this dream project.
To Cure or Kill?
The story follows the Sangerye Family of “purifiers” who have an ancient magic able to cure monsters of their infection. The family falls into a civil war with lines drawn between those who want to follow the family tradition of curing monsters and those who would rather destroy them. Cullen Sangerye is the next in line to head the family and must balance the volatile historical period with his family’s legacy. He conflicts with his sister, Blink and the story will contain elements of their sibling rivalry. The matriarch, Miss Etta, helps connect the family to the history of the Underground Railroad, as well as other African folklore and history.
The series will have appearances from some of the writers, musicians, and historical figures as well as refer to many of the historical events of the era. Walker and Greene didn’t name drop figures that might show up in the story but were willing to say that the Red Summer of 1919 would play a key role in the story.
As a professor, I am beyond excited about this series and its potential use in an academic setting. The ex potential here is how a story like this, carefully researched and lovingly wrought, could bring so many issues to discussion without preaching on a soapbox. I asked the creators if there will be a compendium to assist in educational use. They assured me they would provide materials to help instructors teach from this series. It’s an easy sell for me to see these books used in classes like Women’s or Ethnic Studies. But more significantly, I can see how easily a series like this could be adopted for use in any critical thinking or rhetoric class.
Was there a moment where you found yourself completely drawn to a new medium or geeky interest? Bitter Root could mark the beginning of my time as a devoted comics fan.