Performers dance during a ceremony marki

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Happy Haitian Flag Day!

If you’re Haitian (or know someone who is), you know today is the day when Haitians celebrate their pride of being from the Hispaniola island (despite what Agent Orange has to say about us). The holiday—which is celebrated each year on May 18—commemorates the last day of Congress of Arcahaie, where the revolutionary army officially seized control of Haiti for their leader, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and indoctrinated the flag as the official one for the country in 1803. Dessalines’ goddaughter, Catherine Flon, was the first to sew the flag that same year.

The design is rumored to have originated from France’s flag. But instead of red, white, and blue, it’s designed without the white stripe. The blue stripe represents the country’s Black citizens, while the red represents the “gens de couleur,” or those of mixed race. A coat of arms was later added to the middle of the flag, which depicts two gold cannons on a green hill, a royal palm, the Cap of Liberty, and the phrase “L’Union Fait La Force,” or “Unity Makes Strength.”

To celebrate Haiti’s national holiday, CASSIUS honors seven comic book writers who bring their Haitian influences to the comic book world.

1 Dorphise Jean

Dorphise Jean is the creator of Spirit’s Destiny. The series follows a Haitian girl, Destiny, who’s living in Miami when she discovers new superpowers after being shot by a laser cannon. At the same time, Destiny is also dealing with the loss of her mother making it a story about loss, revenge(?), and superheroism. Jean is also working on other projects about the characters in the Spirit’s Destiny world. For now, issue one, which was created with artist Edwin Galmon, can be found here.

2 Stephane Metayer

Tephlon Funk! Is one of the most popular independent series out (it made it on our Comic Books to Read for the Culture list as well). In Tephlon Funk!, the main character, Inez, is being followed by a mysterious man, Gabriel, who tries to guide her away from trouble. While most of the characters are based on Metayer’s real family, he also introduces a character who is notably Haitian. Nicknamed after one of Haiti’s most popular phrases, “Sak Passe,” speaks nothing but Kreyòl, yet all of the characters can understand him. David Tako, Nicolas Safe, and James Stanley also co-created this project. Check out Tephlon Funk! here.

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Black Panther – World of Wakanda : Ta Nehisi-Coates & Roxane Gay In the fourth in the ‘World of Wakanda’ series the partnership of Ta Nehisi-Coates and Roxane Gay makes for heros, villains and arcing stories we can’t put down. Here Osvaldo Oyola reviews the first Black Panther comic for the LA Review of Books: “Instead of playing second fiddle to white characters, as black superheroes have most often had to do, Coates’s Black Panther shares the title both with a range of black women (like his mother Ramonda and his renegade female bodyguards, the Dora Milaje) and sympathetic opponents whose resistance to the autocratic rule of the Black Panther stems from a desire for a more democratic nation. While problematic legacy characters like rival tribal chieftain Man-Ape also appear, they are soon removed from the game to make room for more nuanced black characters with more complex motivations.” #libreriarecommends #libtryptich #loveforcomics #worldofwakanda #lareviewofbooks

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3

 Roxane Gay

Most people know Roxane Gay from her New York Times–bestselling books like Bad Feminist and critically-acclaimed books like Difficult Women and Hunger. But Gay also co-wrote a Black Panther spinoff series about the Dora Milaje, aka the badass women who guard T’Challa. Ayo from Captain America: Civil War (“Move. Or you will be moved.”) stars as one of the main characters in this six-issue miniseries, It was created alongside Ta-Nehisi Coates, Afua Richardson, Alitha E. Martinez, and Yona Harvey. Check it out here.

4 Greg Anderson Elysee

Greg Anderson Elysee’s Is’nana the Were-Spider follows the son of Anansi, the famed African folktale character who’s all-knowing and takes the shape of a spider (Orlando Jones portrays him in Starz’s American Gods). But as we mentioned, Anansi isn’t the star of this series. It’s his son, Is’nana, who accidentally releases monsters from his world into ours and must go on a quest to rectify his mistake. The series is co-created with Lee Milewski and Walter Ostlie. Check it out here.

Bonus: Elysee is also working on his next series, The Gentleman: Darkness of the Void, which he’s raising money for on Kickstarter.

5 Marc Francois

There’s no mistaking Marc Francois’ Haitian Max as anyone other than a Haitian superhero. The series, which takes place in Haiti, follows Max, a robotics engineer who can manifest powers from the Union Force. He uses these powers (and his Haitian flag–designed costume) to fight corruption in the country. Haitian Max, which is available in English and Creole, can be found here.

6 Newton Lilavois

Crescent City Monsters, which is co-created by Newton Lilavois and Gian Carlo Bernal, follows Jonas, a bluesman who must fight off demons. The series takes place in 1960s New Orleans and features a lot of French-speaking characters. Start the free webcomic series here.

7 Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins’ Bounce is set up like a comic strip as it follows two bouncers, The Bouncer and Yemaya, as they navigate dealing with rude patrons. But between kicking people out, the two often trade sci-fi references for the nerds among us. Bounce, which has been running for almost five years, is available for free here. But if you want to support him monetarily, Collins also has a Patreon.

Fun fact: Collins was a bouncer in real life, too.

Book Ends is CASSIUS’ hub for all things lit(erature). Check back each week for book-related content.