From the WireTrashy Bitches

Blackward by Lawrence Lindell

“Blackward by Lawrence Lindell” is a captivating graphic novel that tells the story of a group of Black, queer friends who are determined to build a space for people like them. The novel follows Lika, Amor, Tony, and Lala as they face challenges and roadblocks in their quest to create a community center called The Section. After being banned from their local community center due to an altercation with a homophobic individual, the group sets out to find the right space and event programming to realize their dreams. They decide to throw an all-Black, queer-friendly zinefest named Blackward, which becomes the centerpiece of their journey. With compelling characters, stunning artwork, and a powerful message about the importance of community and support, Blackward is a must-read for fans of contemporary romance and LGBTQIA+ literature.

Blackward by Lawrence Lindell

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Summary

In the graphic novel Blackward by Lawrence Lindell, readers are immersed in the story of a group of Black, queer friends who are trying to build a community space called The Section. The story follows Lika, Amor, Tony, and Lala as they face challenges, including an altercation with a homophobic man and his misguided ally. Throughout the book, the theme of community building and the importance of leaning on others for support is emphasized. The group decides to organize an all-Black, queer-friendly zine fest named Blackward as a way to promote The Section and gather like-minded individuals. With its vibrant art style and powerful message, Blackward is a heartwarming and inspiring read.

Characters

The main characters in Blackward are Lika, Amor, Tony, and Lala. Lika is the group’s de facto leader and is determined to build The Section. She struggles with anxiety but is passionate about creating a safe space for Black, queer individuals. Amor is the smooth-talker of the group, always encouraging and supporting his friends. Tony is an adventurous skateboarder who is down for any activity with his friends. Lala, known for her goth punk style, is not afraid to stand up for her friends and call out injustice. These characters work together to overcome obstacles and build their community.

Blackward by Lawrence Lindell

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Plot

Eight years before the main story, Lika, Amor, Tony, and Lala met at a reading camp at their local community center. The friends continue to gather at the center, but they face a setback when they are banned after an altercation with a homophobic older man and his misguided ally. Determined to continue their community-building efforts, the group sets out to find the perfect space for The Section and plans an all-Black, queer-friendly zine fest named Blackward. The story unfolds as they navigate challenges, confront discrimination, and work together to make their dreams a reality.

The Section

The Section is a community space that Lika, Amor, Tony, and Lala are trying to build. It aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for Black, queer individuals who may feel marginalized or misunderstood in mainstream society. The Section represents a place where people can come together, express themselves, and support one another. It symbolizes the importance of community building and the power of creating spaces where people can truly belong.

Blackward by Lawrence Lindell

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Finding the Right Space

Finding the right physical space for The Section proves to be a challenge for the group. They search for a location that aligns with their vision and values, but face various obstacles, such as limited resources and opposition from others. Despite these challenges, they remain determined and resourceful, eventually finding a space that fits their needs. This process highlights the perseverance and resilience required to create meaningful community spaces.

Event Programming

As part of their efforts to promote The Section, Lika, Amor, Tony, and Lala organize a zine fest named Blackward. A zine fest is a gathering that celebrates self-published works, providing a platform for artists, writers, and creators to showcase their work. By hosting an all-Black, queer-friendly zine fest, the group aims to amplify the voices of marginalized creators and foster a sense of belonging and inclusion. The planning and execution of Blackward become an integral part of the story, showcasing the importance of events in community building.

Blackward by Lawrence Lindell

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Mr. Marcus

Mr. Marcus, the group’s former reading camp facilitator, plays a significant role in the story. He runs a local independent bookstore called Books ‘N Thangs and often emphasizes the importance of leaning on others for support. Mr. Marcus serves as a mentor and guide, offering his assistance and wisdom to the group as they navigate their community-building journey. He embodies the theme of community building and reminds the characters that they do not have to carry the burden alone.

Theme of Community Building

A prominent theme in Blackward is the importance of community building. The story emphasizes that building a community requires collaboration, support, and a willingness to ask for help. The characters demonstrate the power of unity and working together to overcome obstacles. Blackward serves as a reminder that no one should have to face discrimination or the challenges of life alone. By coming together, individuals can create safe spaces and foster a sense of belonging for everyone.

Zine Fest

The Blackward zine fest plays a significant role in the story as the event that showcases the work of Black, queer creators. Zines have historically served as a means of community building, especially within punk and queercore scenes. By organizing a zine fest exclusively for Black creators, Blackward highlights the importance of representation and amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals. The event becomes a catalyst for community building and a celebration of diverse and unique perspectives.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Blackward by Lawrence Lindell is a powerful graphic novel that explores the themes of community building, resilience, and the importance of support. Through the experiences of the characters, readers are reminded of the transformative power of creating inclusive spaces and amplifying marginalized voices. With its vibrant art style and thought-provoking storytelling, Blackward is a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration, representation, and a heartwarming tale of friendship and resilience.

Source: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/blackward-by-lawrence-lindell/