Creator Spotlight: Ashanti Fortson

Ashanti Fortson
Image Courtesy of Ashanti Fortson

Award-winning illustrator, cartoonist, and professor Ashanti Fortson creates visual stories that explore the human condition. Their debut graphic novel Cress & Perta is forthcoming from HarperCollins in 2023. Their short comic Leaf Lace, featured in this creator spotlight, is available to purchase at Hivemill (the store for the webcomic platform Hiveworks).

I’ve received a review copy of Leaf Lace from Hiveworks in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Since 2015, Ashanti Fortson’s work has appeared on venues and publications like POMEmag, The Nib, ZEAL, Bitch Media, and The New York Times. DC Comics, Fortuna Media, and Power & Magic Press are among other publications featuring their work. Their comics, dynamic and colorful, express emotions and moments through character gestures: comic memoirs about being autistic, a story about a young engineer grappling with past failure, women-centric fairy tales, and more. Such is the case in Leaf Lace, a story about an immortal woman grieving the death of her mortal lover.

Leaf Lace by Ashanti Fortson
Leaf Lace by Ashanti Fortson (Cover)

Ananke, immortal and a spinner of mortal life’s threads, faces the inevitable death of her mortal lover Mnimi. Ananke, willing to break the rules of creation to prevent this, endangers the earth and sky with her grief. But Mnimi accepts this fate, encouraging Ananke to cherish life. Refusing to let go won’t fix things; Ananke must not only move on but also nurture life like always.

Leaf Lace takes the common narrative of death and grief and creates a memorable story out of it. Ashanti effortlessly shows human emotion through character expressions and subtle moments. Ananke literally determines the life and death of mortals through her thread, but cannot bear the thought of Mnimi’s passing. With dynamic art and emotional resonance, Leaf Lace shows the preciousness of life.

Leaf Lace by Ashanti Fortson
Leaf Lace by Ashanti Fortson

Leaf Lace is available to purchase in digital format (PDF) from Hivemill (print copies are on pre-order).

For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives! You can also find more about Black creators and their works on The Geekiary here.

Author: Bradda M.

Bradda M. currently lives in Virginia. He teaches ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) at a public school and spends his free time reading and watching movies each night with his partner. For The Geekiary, he writes about webcomics and SFF media.

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