It’s easy to look at social injustices in America and turn a blind eye. It’s even easier to do when you don’t look like the individuals that are constantly battling things like police brutality, racial discrimination, or someone standing on your neck for nine minutes straight. But what if the status quo were reversed? In Black Cotton #1, creators Patrick Foreman, Brian Hawkins, and Marco Perugini tell the story in an alternate reality where the social order of black and white is switched.
The story follows a Virginia cop named Zion Cotton who encounters a caucasian woman walking the streets at night wearing a hoodie and ends up shooting her. This sends an uproar across the country and bad publicity to his family’s billionaire business. The writing gives no reference as to whether the shooting was justifiable or not, or why Zion even approaches the woman in the first place. It’s a shining example of an ongoing current event problem.
Black Cotton #1 manages to be both a story about an unarmed white woman who gets shot by a black cop and a hard-hitting look at the effects that things like police brutality cause to individuals, communities, and society. Script-wise, it allows the reader to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes; a chance to open the floor to conversations that people may not normally associate with comics. But more importantly, it continues to put a spotlight on the real, deep-rooted problem in America that dates back to the foundation that America was built on: racism.
But Black Cotton #1 isn’t just a book focused on reverse racism. It emphasizes the point that no matter black or white, we need to have empathy for people and treat everyone equally. Aside from that, the dialogue makes bold statements as well with lines like, “You shot a girl.” “In cold blood.” “A white girl.” “That sh*t ain’t going away.” It shows a superb perspective that being black can be a double-edged sword even if you come from a rich and powerful family.
Black Cotton #1 may have colored covers, but the exterior is in black and white with gray tones. Given this is a story that talks about the black and white experience, that fits perfectly. Aside from that, Perugini gives the book a Twilight Zone episode type of feel mixed with a little 1940s black renaissance set in the modern-day. The character designs are spot on and pay homage to fallen victims like Travon Martin and George Floyd.
Black Cotton #1 is a compelling piece of art that shines a spotlight on numerous topics like prejudice, racism, and black wealth among others. Hopefully, the second issue touches more on character development and why the son of a billionaire is working as a police officer in Virginia. Other than that it’s a great book that will keep you interested. Grab yourself a copy the next time you hit the comic shop.
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