There is so much about Bingo Love, an 80-page graphic novella about two older black women in love, that feels unprecedented, including its subject matter, its intersectionality, and the speed with which it was funded. This is a comic unlike anything on the market right now, and deserves attention. I first learned of Bingo Love through my Twitter feed, and was immediately intrigued. I always want to know about any queer-themed comics that are being produced, and support them as best I can, and the image of two black women with gray hair cuddling over bingo cards was stunning. Launched on March 15, the Kickstarter campaign organized by publisher Inclusive Press reached its goal in only five days.
The story written by Tee Franklin (who will be tabling at FlameCon 2017) concerns Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray, two black women who meet in 1963 and become friends. Their relationship develops into love, but suffers because of the time period. It proves indomitable, though, as they reconnect several years later, and learn they are just as in love as older women as they were as teenagers. Jenn St-Onge is the artist who will bring these characters to life, accompanied by the colors of Joy San and the letters of Cardinal Rae. Erica Schultz is the editor.
As quoted by Bleeding Cool, Franklin wanted “Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ meets Moonlight. We want to tell the story of women who are gay, Black, and in love — and who learn to live without apology. We also want to show that love and passion are present at every age — and just as intense for women in their sixties as for teenagers.” Franklin is the innovator of the #BlackComicsMonth campaign and started the publishing company behind Bingo Love to increase representation. In a recent interview with Comicosity, she explained why she chose Kickstarter as the method of producing this book: “There are so many strikes against this comic that doesn’t fit in this straight white male comics dominated world.” Hopefully, this comic’s tremendous success will change the industry and what it perceives as bankable properties.
As of this writing, Bingo Love has earned more than $31,000 of its initial $19,999 goal, and that number continues to climb. With more than one thousand backers, it has garnered media attention on Huffington Post and Book Riot.
The Kickstarter campaign for Bingo Love ends Monday, April 17 at 11:00 CDT. Among the rewards are digital and print editions, enamel pins, postcards, and variant covers by other artists, including Genevieve Eft and Nilah Magruder. There are also script and portfolio reviews available from comics professionals such as Shawn Pryor (Cash and Carrie) and Bryan Edward Hill from Top Cow, and Skype sessions with comics legends such as Gail Simone and Steve Orlando. Let’s see what stretch goals we can unlock!