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Excerpts and Blurbs 

Advance Praise for Fights:

"Powerful, brave, and deeply felt. A crucial addition to the graphic memoir canon."--Ezra Claytan Daniels, author of Upgrade Soul

"FIGHTS is somehow brutally raw, funny as hell, deeply sensitive and insightful in each panel. His approach to both composition and subject matter are fresh and engaging. Joel has been making crucial, honest work for years-- and his breakout has arrived."--Nate Powell, illustrator of March

"In a windswept ocean of graphic memoirs, Joel Christian Gill's FIGHTS stands tall. FIGHTS is essential not only for the guts it took to tell this life tale, not only for the unflinching candor and clarity of this often harrowing account of hard-scrabble suffering and survival, but because Joel cuts through the meat, the muscle, the tendons, and bone to reach the marrow. Choices—the choices we make, the choices we refuse to make—and the inevitable consequences are what FIGHTS is really about. It's the memoir we, as a people, as a nation, as a planet, need right now." - Stephen R. Bissette, Swamp Thing; Taboo  

“In “Fights”, Gill willingly taps into his vulnerabilities, reflects on his formative experiences, and skillfully translates them into a harrowing, yet hopeful read.” --Whitney Taylor, author of Ghost Stories

"Joel Christian Gill’s “Fights” is an engaging and deeply personal coming-of-age story that breaks new ground in graphic memoir.  Through the eyes of his sympathetic young protagonist, Gill’s deceptively simply visual narrative explores issues of masculinity, race, friendship, violence, love and family, all with humor, honesty and a range of powerful emotions.  This book makes an important contribution to the culture, and it’s a page-turner as well."--Dan Mazur, co-author of Comics: A Global History

“FIGHTS is a much-needed look into the oft times fractured window of a young black boy's life. You may expect youthful stories celebrating memories of innocence and wonder, but when Joel waxes nostalgic, he recalls inconceivable tales of emotional, mental, physical trauma and battle fatigue fit for a war veteran, not a little kid. Author Joel Christian Gill is a SURVIVOR of childhood, and his voice must be heard. A can't-miss memoir.”-- Jamar Nicholas, illustrator of Fist Stick Knife Gun and creator of LEON:  Protector of the Playground 

Bass Reeves Tales of The Talented Tenth 

Glyph Award Winner 2015

Nominated as a Great Graphic Novel for Teens by the Young Adult Library Services Association

Strange Fruit Vol 1

Named a BEA 2014 Buzz Book by Shelf Awareness and School Library Journal

"Still more thoughtful reflections come from Joel Christian Gill’s graphic novel Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, which unpacks its power through drawings and pointed text that chronicle the trials and triumphs of black Americans who struggled against prejudice more than a century ago. At a moment when racial inequities have ignited this nation, Mr. Gill offers direction for the road ahead from the road behind." — The New York Times

"By the time I finished reading Strange Fruit, I thought, let the comic-book sellers have their mythic superheroes; through Joel Gill, we can have our own. But, instead of flying around in capes or spinning webs, the superheroes in Strange Fruit are extraordinary-ordinary black folks making ‘a way out of no way.’ The difference: they really lived." — Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

"These offbeat stories of heretofore-obscure African-American pioneers are filled with heartbreak and triumph. Without whitewashing the realities of slavery and racism, Strange Fruit has a wry, welcoming tone — much aided by Gill’s dynamic, inventive storytelling. After reading about such real American heroes as chess master Theophilus Thompson, bicycling champion Marshall “Major” Taylor, and lawman Bass Reeves, I’m eager to learn more!"
— Josh Neufeld, writer/illustrator of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge

"Strange Fruit is an evocative and richly illustrated tour through the shadowed corners of Black History. Gill shares these nine stories simply and with deep thoughtfulness and reverence to voices that– the reader will quickly be convinced– need to be heard." — Andrew Aydin, author, with Rep. John Lewis, of March

"Strange Fruit is black history as you’ve never seen it before. Working with a striking palette of ruby reds, rich browns, bleached-out blues and deep piney greens, author/artist Joel Christian Gill conjures up forgotten firsts and impassioned everymen in a cartoon style that’s at once cheeky and epic, naive and majestic." — The Chicago Tribune

"If you think comics and graphic novels are the domain of “superheroes and stuff” and “for kids,” then brace yourself for an epiphany. Yes, you’ll find some superheroes and kids’ comics within these pages, but you’ll also find ordinary people striving for the extraordinary."— Foreword Reviews 

"The short narratives are conversational in tone and the accompanying detailed images convey tragic beauty. Gill doesn’t shy away from portraying brutal scenes, but does so without sensationalism." — School Library Journal 

"What Gill has done in this first volume of his collected Strange Fruit mini-comics is pretty remarkable. He’s infused each of these stories with a huge amount of information, humor for kid readers (“Slavery stinks”), humor for adults (when a child is born it appears to be launched out of the mother by jet propulsion, making the umbilical cord not unlike a bungee cord), and a full spectrum of comics storytelling devices." — The A.V. Club 

"Readers of the short stories in Strange Fruit quickly learn to appreciate the playful succinctness of Gill’s iconographic language. He knows when to use humor and sight gags to advance the story. (On the experience of enslavement, Henry ‘Box’ Brown remarks: ‘This stinks.’) But Gill knows when more serious cultural cues are needed too, as in the two-page spread where Brown’s body, shown curled inside a wooden box, silently tumbles from slavery to freedom. "—The Hooded Utilitarian

“Gill’s book fills a definite void in America’s painfully white history books, but on top of that, it’s just a really good read.” —Foreword Reviews

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