Profile: Afua Richardson (1980-)

Afua Richardson is an African-Native American artist. She did covers for five issues of Marvel’s World of Wakanda and art for a short story backup in the first issue. Her comic, Genius, with writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman won Top Cow’s 2008 Pilot Season. She illustrated a Langston Hughes poem in 2014 for NPR’s Black History Month,  and did variant covers for several comic book titles including All Star Batman for DC comics, Attack on Titan for Kodansha, Mad Max for Vertigo, as well as covers/variant covers for X-Men ’92Totally Awesome HulkShuri, and Captain America and the Mighty Avengers at Marvel Comics. She was one of a small group of African American women artists who were employed by the “big two” comic publishers at the time she entered the industry.

Biography

Richardson was raised in New York City. From a family of scientists, she studied classical flute from age nine. As a flautist, she performed with ensembles at Carnegie Hall and on Soul Train. She also performed with Sheila E. and Parliament-Funkadelic.

Richardson is a self-trained artist. She is a member of the Ormes Society, which promotes African-American women in the comics industry.

For the comic book series, Genius (2007), she worked with two writers to tell the story through the voice of a black woman, Destiny Ajaye. Richardson’s experience of being a minority in the United States influenced her work. In Genius, she draws violent acts in a way that is both “matter-of-fact and highly stylized,” according to ComicsAlliance. She portrays Ajaye’s thought processes and David Brothers called it “instantly understandable and worthy of poring over.”

In 2018, it was announced that Richardson was chosen by U.S. Representative and Civil Rights figure John Lewis to illustrate the graphic novel Run, which would chronicle Lewis’ life after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 the year he first contemplated running for office.  The book was pulled from the schedule, and set for a 2019 date, but did not appear. As of 2020, no further information was available.

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