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99
A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

JENNINGS
DUFFY /
O C TAV I A E . B U T L E R ’ S

Octavia E. Butler was the MacArthur “Genius,” Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor I LOST AN ARM ON MY LAST TRIP HOME.
Nebula Award, and Hugo Award–winning author
of numerous books. She is considered one of Home is a new house with a loving husband
America’s most prominent science fiction writers. “Kindred is a perfect candidate for the graphic-novel medium—Damian Duffy’s
taut adaptation and John Jennings’s tense, electric renderings vibrate in 1970s California that is suddenly
Damian Duffy is a cartoonist, writer, and letterer, throughout, pacing and containing, then pushing every ounce of discomfort transformed into the frightening world of
and the co-editor of Black Comix: African American to the forefront. Comics and science fiction exploit their greatest the antebellum South.

ADAPTATION
shared strength by illuminating the mundane that surrounds us, allowing

A GRAPHIC NOVEL
Independent Comics Art & Culture. He holds a PhD Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain
in Library and Information Science from the any reader to critique and process our world with new vision.” how she is transported across time and
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. —Nate Powell, Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling space to a plantation in Maryland. But she
John Jennings co-edited the Eisner Award–winning graphic novelist of March, The Year of the Beasts, and Swallow Me Whole does quickly understand why: to deal with
anthology The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black   the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white
Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. He is professor slaveholder—and her progenitor.
“Wonderful. Captures the essence of Octavia Butler’s vision even as it
of media and cultural studies at the University of demonstrates the superlative skills of Damian Duffy and John Jennings.” Her survival, her very existence, depends
California at Riverside and was awarded the Nasir on it.
—Nalo Hopkinson, author of Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms,
Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard’s Hutchins
and Sister Mine; winner of the World Fantasy and Sunburst Awards
Center for African & African American Research. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of
and the Prix Aurora Prize
Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a
Nnedi Okorafor is an acclaimed Nigerian-American powerfully moving, unflinching look at the
author of science fiction, fantasy, and magic violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the
realism whose work has won the World Fantasy people it chained together, both black and
Award for Best Novel and the Wole Soyinka Prize white—and made kindred in the deepest sense
for African Literature, among others. She teaches of the word.
creative writing and literature at the University
of Buffalo. 

COVER ILLUSTRATION © 2017 JOHN JENNINGS

COVER DESIGN BY PAMELA NOTARANTONIO

www.abramscomicarts.com
@abramsbooks

U.S. $24.95 Can. $29.95 U.K. £15.99


ISBN 978-1-4197-0947-0

AN IMPRINT OF ABRAMS
“A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary.” 
PRINTED IN CHINA —Junot Díaz , Pulitzer Prize–winning author
U.S. $24.95 | Canada $29.95 | U.K. £15.99
A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

JENNINGS
DUFFY /
O C TAV I A E . B U T L E R ’ S

Octavia E. Butler was the MacArthur “Genius,” Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor I LOST AN ARM ON MY LAST TRIP HOME.
Nebula Award, and Hugo Award–winning author
of numerous books. She is considered one of Home is a new house with a loving husband
America’s most prominent science fiction writers. “Kindred is a perfect candidate for the graphic-novel medium—Damian Duffy’s
taut adaptation and John Jennings’s tense, electric renderings vibrate in 1970s California that is suddenly
Damian Duffy is a cartoonist, writer, and letterer, throughout, pacing and containing, then pushing every ounce of discomfort transformed into the frightening world of
and the co-editor of Black Comix: African American to the forefront. Comics and science fiction exploit their greatest the antebellum South.

ADAPTATION
shared strength by illuminating the mundane that surrounds us, allowing

A GRAPHIC NOVEL
Independent Comics Art & Culture. He holds a PhD Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain
in Library and Information Science from the any reader to critique and process our world with new vision.” how she is transported across time and
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. —Nate Powell, Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling space to a plantation in Maryland. But she
John Jennings co-edited the Eisner Award–winning graphic novelist of March, The Year of the Beasts, and Swallow Me Whole does quickly understand why: to deal with
anthology The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black   the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white
Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. He is professor slaveholder—and her progenitor.
“Wonderful. Captures the essence of Octavia Butler’s vision even as it
of media and cultural studies at the University of demonstrates the superlative skills of Damian Duffy and John Jennings.” Her survival, her very existence, depends
California at Riverside and was awarded the Nasir on it.
—Nalo Hopkinson, author of Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms,
Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard’s Hutchins
and Sister Mine; winner of the World Fantasy and Sunburst Awards
Center for African & African American Research. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of
and the Prix Aurora Prize
Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a
Nnedi Okorafor is an acclaimed Nigerian-American powerfully moving, unflinching look at the
author of science fiction, fantasy, and magic violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the
realism whose work has won the World Fantasy people it chained together, both black and
Award for Best Novel and the Wole Soyinka Prize white—and made kindred in the deepest sense
for African Literature, among others. She teaches of the word.
creative writing and literature at the University
of Buffalo. 

COVER ILLUSTRATION © 2017 JOHN JENNINGS

COVER DESIGN BY PAMELA NOTARANTONIO

www.abramscomicarts.com
@abramsbooks

U.S. $24.95 Can. $29.95 U.K. £15.99


ISBN 978-1-4197-0947-0

AN IMPRINT OF ABRAMS
“A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary.” 
PRINTED IN CHINA —Junot Díaz , Pulitzer Prize–winning author
A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

O C TAV I A E . B U T L E R ’ S

Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor


ABRAMS COMICARTS • NEW YORK
Editor: Sheila Keenan
Project Manager: Charles Kochman
Designer: Pamela Notarantonio
Managing Editor: Michael Clark
Production Manager: Kathy Lovisolo
Library of Congress Control Number: 2016940630
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0947-0
Kindred copyright © The Estate of Octavia E. Butler. Used with permission.
Adaptation copyright © 2017 Damian Duffy and John Jennings
Introduction copyright © 2017 Nnedi Okorafor
Based on the novel Kindred by Octavia E. Butler copyright © 1979
Published in 2017 by Abrams ComicArts®, an imprint of ABRAMS.
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without written permission from the publisher.
Abrams ComicArts is a registered trademark of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,
registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Printed and bound in China
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Abrams ComicArts books are available at special discounts when purchased in
quantity for premiums and promotions as well as fundraising or educational
use. Special editions can also be created to specification. For details, contact
specialsales@abramsbooks.com or the address below.
CONTENTS
introduction by nnedi okorafor
iv
prologue
7
the river
8
the fire
18
the fall
58
the fight
100
the storm
168
the rope
210
epilogue
235
about octavia e. butler
238
about the adaptor and artist
239
acknowledgments
240
for further reading
240
INTRODUCTION
Finally.
A graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s mold-smashing science
fiction book, Kindred. Can you believe it? And created by visual mad scientists
John Jennings and Damian Duffy to boot? Fantastic. To see Butler’s work
presented in this way is deliciously harrowing. The very medium of the
graphic novel already electrifies words and images. Tell one of Octavia’s most
immersive, relatable tales through this medium and you have fire. This is an
exciting moment in storytelling. Octavia Butler, Level 2.
I first came across Octavia’s work around 2001, when I was well on my way
to identifying as a black female writer of speculative fiction. I was attending
the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at Michigan State
University, and the organizers had brought my group to the local bookstore.
As I strolled through the aisles, something extraordinary caught my eye,
something I’d only ever seen once before in the science fiction and fantasy
section of a bookstore: a cover featuring a dark-skinned black woman.
I was staring at Wild Seed by Octavia Estelle Butler.
There was only one copy of the book there on that fateful day. I grabbed
it, clasped it to my chest as if someone was going to snatch it from me, quickly
bought it, and ran to my dorm room to start reading.
That was the beginning of my bingeing on Octavia Butler’s works.
In the previous weeks at Clarion, I had just begun writing about an angry
Nigerian woman in pre-colonial Nigeria who’d been run out of her village
because she’d developed the ability to fly. I was one of only two people of color
in the writing group, and I was uncomfortable about workshopping my story.
Plus, I’d never read a purely speculative story set anywhere on the continent of
Africa that addressed womanhood and patriarchy bluntly.
When I look back, it’s clear to me that I discovered Octavia right when I
needed her. Reading Wild Seed, a story that featured an ageless shape-shifting
Nigerian woman, blew my mind. And there is nothing like seeing a story in
print that is similar to what you are trying to write. In many ways, reading Wild
Seed proved that what I was writing was okay, that people like me could be a part
of this canon. This was a very big deal to me.
Sometime during those few weeks at the Clarion workshop, I learned
that Octavia had once taught there, which meant that the organizers could
reach her. I immediately asked if they could track her down. Within a day, I
was on the phone with the great Octavia Butler, babbling my way through a
conversation I don’t remember; I was so starstruck. What I do remember was
that Octavia was incredibly kind and liked to crack jokes.
That wasn’t the last time we spoke to each other. When the 9/11 attacks
happened, I found myself having a surreal email exchange with her. I kept
those emails. What she said about terrorists still applies (and was an important
theme in Kindred):

One of my favorite quotes—so sadly true—is from Steve Biko:


“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the
mind of the oppressed.”

There is also the sad reality that it takes very little to set off
young men who want to feel powerful and important, but who
are either unwilling or unable to find constructive outlets for
their energies. Testosterone poisoning. And men have the
nerve to complain about women’s hormonal mood swings.

In 2005, I had a long conversation with Octavia when I interviewed her


about her vampire novel Fledgling; later that year, I met her in person (for the
first and only time) when she came to Chicago State University.
Octavia’s email address was butler8star@qwest.net. For a long time after
her shocking, sudden passing on February 24, 2006, I continued to send
emails to that address, consoling myself by talking to her. Then one sad
day, the emails started bouncing back. Thankfully, she left us with so many
questions to ponder. Like, what would you do if you were suddenly pulled into the past and
had to find a way to survive?

v
Kindred, a story about a modern African-American woman who
mysteriously gets dragged into slave times and situations to save herself, is
Octavia’s most popular book. If one of her works is taught in a literature class,
nine times out of ten it’s this one. That is because Kindred is her most accessible
book. It is a narrative that deftly connects America’s past, present, and future
through the use of mysterious time travel. It’s a most unique slave narrative
that is no less relevant and “realistic” than Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Beloved,
and 12 Years a Slave.
And now, here is that story powerfully told in graphic-novel form. Buckle
your seat belt. Still your mind. Kindred makes the old new, and in doing so
brings back the sting. If you’ve read Kindred before, the graphic-novel format
will renew the story. If you have not read Octavia Butler before, prepare
yourself for an experience. You’ve chosen the perfect introduction to her work.
Kindred will pull you right in.
Welcome.
Nnedi Okorafor
Flossmoor, Illinois
January 2017

Nnedi Okorafor is an acclaimed Nigerian-American author of science fiction,


fantasy, and magic realism whose work has won the World Fantasy Award for Best
Novel and the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature, among others. She
teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Buffalo. 

vi
PROLOGUE
THE RIVER
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
THE FIRE
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
THE FALL
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
THE FIGHT

100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
THE STORM
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
206
207
208
209
THE ROPE
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
233
234
EPILOGUE
236
237
ABOUT OCTAVIA E. BUTLER
She described herself as, “I’m
black, I’m solitary, I’ve always
been an outsider”—but she left off
“extraordinary.”
Octavia Estelle Butler was indeed
a most extraordinary writer. Often
referred to as the “grande dame of
science fiction,” she is the author
of a short story collection and more
than a dozen novels, which have been
translated into ten languages. Her
work garnered two Hugo Awards, two
Nebula Awards, and the PEN Lifetime
Achievement Award. She was the first
science fiction writer to win a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
Butler was born in Pasadena, California, on June 22, 1947. A graduate of
Pasadena Community College, she also attended California State University
and UCLA. When she participated in the Clarion Science Fiction Writing
Workshop, she attracted the attention of the famous science fiction writer
and editor Harlan Ellison, who gave her a typewriter and bought Butler’s first
professional story.
Butler began writing as a child and was an avid reader of science fiction—
which she couldn’t help but notice never included characters like herself.
Many of her novels, such as Kindred, feature strong, black, female protagonists
struggling with complicated issues of survival. She was a master of powerful,
realistic prose that supported inventive genre narratives, and most important
explored the deepest, often disturbing possibilities of human relationships.
A list of Octavia Butler’s books can be found on page 240.

238
ABOUT THE ADAPTOR
Damian Duffy is a cartoonist, writer,
and letterer, and the co-editor of
Black Comix: African American Independent
Comics Art & Culture. He holds a PhD
in Library and Information Science
from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign.

ABOUT THE ARTIST


John Jennings co-edited the
Eisner Award–winning anthology
The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of
Black Identity in Comics and Sequential
Art. He is professor of media and
cultural studies at the University
of California at Riverside and was
awarded the Nasir Jones HipHop
Fellowship at Harvard’s Hutchins
Center for African & African
American Research.

239
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
All encompassing thanks to Sheila Keenan for making this book exist.
More thanks to Charlie Kochman, Susan Van Metre, Pamela Notarantonio,
Chad W. Beckerman, Michael Clark, Kathy Lovisolo, Melissa Esner,
and Maya Bradford.
Further thanks to Alex Batchelor, Anthony Moncada, Stacey Robinson,
Solomon Robinson, and Tim Fielder. Thank you again to the Octavia E.
Butler estate, and thank you always to Octavia E. Butler.

FOR FURTHER READING BY OCTAVIA E. BUTLER


Patternist Series Parable Series
Patternmaster Parable of the Sower
Mind of My Mind Parable of the Talents
Survivor
Wild Seed Stand-Alone Novels
Clay’s Ark Kindred
Seed to Harvest (omnibus) Fledgling

Xenogenesis Series Short Story Collections


Dawn Bloodchild and Other Stories
Adulthood Rites
Imago
Xenogenesis (omnibus)
Lilith’s Brood (omnibus)

240
A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

O C TAV I A E . B U T L E R ’ S

Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor


ABRAMS COMICARTS • NEW YORK
U.S. $24.95 | Canada $29.95 | U.K. £15.99
A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

JENNINGS
DUFFY /
O C TAV I A E . B U T L E R ’ S

Octavia E. Butler was the MacArthur “Genius,” Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor I LOST AN ARM ON MY LAST TRIP HOME.
Nebula Award, and Hugo Award–winning author
of numerous books. She is considered one of Home is a new house with a loving husband
America’s most prominent science fiction writers. “Kindred is a perfect candidate for the graphic-novel medium—Damian Duffy’s
taut adaptation and John Jennings’s tense, electric renderings vibrate in 1970s California that is suddenly
Damian Duffy is a cartoonist, writer, and letterer, throughout, pacing and containing, then pushing every ounce of discomfort transformed into the frightening world of
and the co-editor of Black Comix: African American to the forefront. Comics and science fiction exploit their greatest the antebellum South.

ADAPTATION
shared strength by illuminating the mundane that surrounds us, allowing

A GRAPHIC NOVEL
Independent Comics Art & Culture. He holds a PhD Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain
in Library and Information Science from the any reader to critique and process our world with new vision.” how she is transported across time and
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. —Nate Powell, Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling space to a plantation in Maryland. But she
John Jennings co-edited the Eisner Award–winning graphic novelist of March, The Year of the Beasts, and Swallow Me Whole does quickly understand why: to deal with
anthology The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black   the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white
Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. He is professor slaveholder—and her progenitor.
“Wonderful. Captures the essence of Octavia Butler’s vision even as it
of media and cultural studies at the University of demonstrates the superlative skills of Damian Duffy and John Jennings.” Her survival, her very existence, depends
California at Riverside and was awarded the Nasir on it.
—Nalo Hopkinson, author of Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms,
Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard’s Hutchins
and Sister Mine; winner of the World Fantasy and Sunburst Awards
Center for African & African American Research. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of
and the Prix Aurora Prize
Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a
Nnedi Okorafor is an acclaimed Nigerian-American powerfully moving, unflinching look at the
author of science fiction, fantasy, and magic violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the
realism whose work has won the World Fantasy people it chained together, both black and
Award for Best Novel and the Wole Soyinka Prize white—and made kindred in the deepest sense
for African Literature, among others. She teaches of the word.
creative writing and literature at the University
of Buffalo. 

COVER ILLUSTRATION © 2017 JOHN JENNINGS

COVER DESIGN BY PAMELA NOTARANTONIO

www.abramscomicarts.com
@abramsbooks

U.S. $24.95 Can. $29.95 U.K. £15.99


ISBN 978-1-4197-0947-0

AN IMPRINT OF ABRAMS
“A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary.” 
PRINTED IN CHINA —Junot Díaz , Pulitzer Prize–winning author
U.S. $24.95 | Canada $29.95 | U.K. £15.99
A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

JENNINGS
DUFFY /
O C TAV I A E . B U T L E R ’ S

Octavia E. Butler was the MacArthur “Genius,” Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor I LOST AN ARM ON MY LAST TRIP HOME.
Nebula Award, and Hugo Award–winning author
of numerous books. She is considered one of Home is a new house with a loving husband
America’s most prominent science fiction writers. “Kindred is a perfect candidate for the graphic-novel medium—Damian Duffy’s
taut adaptation and John Jennings’s tense, electric renderings vibrate in 1970s California that is suddenly
Damian Duffy is a cartoonist, writer, and letterer, throughout, pacing and containing, then pushing every ounce of discomfort transformed into the frightening world of
and the co-editor of Black Comix: African American to the forefront. Comics and science fiction exploit their greatest the antebellum South.

ADAPTATION
shared strength by illuminating the mundane that surrounds us, allowing

A GRAPHIC NOVEL
Independent Comics Art & Culture. He holds a PhD Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain
in Library and Information Science from the any reader to critique and process our world with new vision.” how she is transported across time and
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. —Nate Powell, Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling space to a plantation in Maryland. But she
John Jennings co-edited the Eisner Award–winning graphic novelist of March, The Year of the Beasts, and Swallow Me Whole does quickly understand why: to deal with
anthology The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black   the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white
Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. He is professor slaveholder—and her progenitor.
“Wonderful. Captures the essence of Octavia Butler’s vision even as it
of media and cultural studies at the University of demonstrates the superlative skills of Damian Duffy and John Jennings.” Her survival, her very existence, depends
California at Riverside and was awarded the Nasir on it.
—Nalo Hopkinson, author of Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms,
Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard’s Hutchins
and Sister Mine; winner of the World Fantasy and Sunburst Awards
Center for African & African American Research. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of
and the Prix Aurora Prize
Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a
Nnedi Okorafor is an acclaimed Nigerian-American powerfully moving, unflinching look at the
author of science fiction, fantasy, and magic violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the
realism whose work has won the World Fantasy people it chained together, both black and
Award for Best Novel and the Wole Soyinka Prize white—and made kindred in the deepest sense
for African Literature, among others. She teaches of the word.
creative writing and literature at the University
of Buffalo. 

COVER ILLUSTRATION © 2017 JOHN JENNINGS

COVER DESIGN BY PAMELA NOTARANTONIO

www.abramscomicarts.com
@abramsbooks

U.S. $24.95 Can. $29.95 U.K. £15.99


ISBN 978-1-4197-0947-0

AN IMPRINT OF ABRAMS
“A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary.” 
PRINTED IN CHINA —Junot Díaz , Pulitzer Prize–winning author