Strange Fruit Volume I is a collection of stories from early African American history that represent the oddity of success in the face of great adversity. Each of the nine illustrated chapters chronicles an uncelebrated African American hero or event. From the adventures of lawman Bass Reeves, to Henry “Box” Brown’s daring escape from slavery.
Joel Christian Gill is the inaugural chair of Boston University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Narrative and associate professor in the CFA School of Visual Arts. He is also a cartoonist and historian who speaks nationally on the importance of sharing stories. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir Fights: One Boy's Triumph Over Violence, cited as one of the best graphic novels of 2020 by the New York Times and for which he was awarded the 2021 Cartoonist Studio Prize. He wrote and illustrated Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride and the award-winning graphic novel series Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, as well as three volumes of Tales of The Talented Tenth, which tell the stories of Bass Reeves, Bessie Stringfield, and Robert Smalls. He has just completed the graphic novel of Ibram Kendi's National Book Award–winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, forthcoming in June 2023. Gill has dedicated his life to creating stories to build connections with readers through empathy, compassion, and, ultimately, humanity.