Olivia Stephens creates stories about relationships and Queer girl werewolves. Her debut graphic novel, Artie and the Wolf Moon, comes out later this year. For this creator spotlight, I want to highlight her poignant webcomic Alone.
Olivia Stephens holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration (Rhode Island School of Design, 2017) and lives in Seattle, Washington. Several of her illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, and more. Her Middle Grade graphic novel, Artie and the Wolf Moon, comes out on September 7th from Lerner Books. A 2019 Literary Tulsa Artist fellow, Olivia has also worked on other projects, including the webcomic Alone, an evocative story about trust and forgiveness.
The romantic drama webcomic Alone unfolds Javier (Jack) and Sarah’s story through an interconnected series of vignettes. It’s been a few years since Javier’s wife passed away. He spends his days managing The Vagabond, the restaurant he owns and cooks for. He meets Sarah, a former musician and the owner of the new coffee shop Revival. The two become friends then eventually commit themselves to a romantic relationship.
But things turn complicated between them: besides his grief, Javier is still dealing with family issues. Sarah’s fallout with her family over her future wishes (going to music school) continues to haunt her. When Sarah accepts Javier’s invitation to meet his family, Javier’s anti-black uncle humiliates her. Afterward, Sarah calls Javier out on his silence, and the argument ends with the two not speaking to each other.
Alone remains unfinished as of 2017, but Olivia has assured her audience that she’ll return to Javier and Sarah’s story in the future. Whether it’s a continuation or a graphic novel version, I’m truly looking forward to where she takes this gorgeous webcomic. The art style includes a contrast of black and white and red coloring, the latter emphasizing intense moments and emotions. Olivia doesn’t skirt around the challenges of being in an interracial relationship and gracefully portrays Sarah’s bisexuality as not the source of the fallout with her family.
Olivia is represented by Jennifer Azantian at Azantian Literary Agency. She is open to speaking opportunities relating to art and comics. Proposals for panels, presentations, etc. about Black trauma (including police brutality) will be declined.
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives! You can find more about Black creators and their work on The Geekiary here.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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