Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
By Octavia Butler
Illustrator John Jennings
Adapted by Damian Duffy
Introduction by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Imprint: Abrams ComicArts
  • Publication Date: July 24, 2018
  • Price: $18.99
  • Trim Size: 6 12 x 9 12
  • ISBN: 1-4197-2855-5
  • EAN: 9781419728556
  • Page Count: 256
  • Illustrations: 240 color illustrations
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rights: World/All
  • Additional formats:

Now in paperback comes the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel adaptation of Kindred, Octavia E. Butler’s literary science-fiction masterpiece. First published in 1979, Kindred tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and mysteriously transported from her home in 1970s California to the antebellum South. Dana moves between worlds: one in which she is a free woman and another where she is part of a complicated familial history on a southern plantation, forced to interact with and save the life of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of her ancestors. Frightening, compelling, and richly detailed, Kindred takes an imagined yet unstinting look at our complicated social history. Adapted by celebrated academics Damian Duffy and John Jennings with the full cooperation of the Butler estate, the paperback edition of Kindred explores the violence, loss of humanity, and twisted relationships engendered by slavery, in a format that introduces the work to a new generation of readers.


"A glorious tribute to Octavia Butler’s masterpiece. Extraordinary."
— Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
"Kindred is a perfect candidate for the graphic-novel medium—Damian Duffy’s taut adaptation and John Jennings’s tense, electric renderings vibrate throughout, pacing and containing, then pushing every ounce of discomfort to the forefront. Comics and science fiction exploit their greatest shared strength by illuminating the mundane that surrounds us, allowing any reader to critique and process our world with new vision."
— Nate Powell, Eisner–Award winning and New York Times bestselling graphic novelist of March, The Year
"Wonderful. Captures the essence of Octavia Butler’s vision even as it demonstrates the superlative skills of Duffy and Jennings."
— Nalo Hopkinson, author of Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms, and Sisters Mine
"This adaptation of the classic science fiction/neo-slave narrative novel by Octavia E. Butler is required reading."
Vice's The Creators Project
"Nearly four decades after its original printing, Kindred remains a valuable story and teaching tool. From its pages, we are reminded of the destructive consequences of prejudice."
Cleaver Magazine
"Together, Duffy and Jennings manage to condense Kindred into 240 pages that are respectful of Butler’s original work while also feeling like a distinctly new story at the same time. In exchange for some of Butler’s scene descriptions, the book offers up a richly rendered, raw take on Dana’s experience, heavy with thick lines and blurred movement conveying her existential disorientation."
"Butler’s original novel is a powerful commentary on how the past informs the present and how we engage with both. But this adaptation makes an even more vivid statement about black Americans’ relationship with history. The kinetic lines feel urgent, messy, and visceral. The colors for scenes set in the present are muted while the colors of the past are vibrant, almost like a bright wake-up call to reality."
"This graphic novel adaptation beautifully retells the story…"
 "The heavily shaded, thick-lined, and rough edged art lends a grimness appropriate to a life of jagged brutality and fearful uncertainty. Both a rewarding way to reexperience the tale and an accessible way to discover it. "
"It’s gorgeous, powerful, and makes you realize how resonant this sci fi story, about a young black woman living in 1970s California who’s transported to the South in the period before the Civil War, really is."
Book Riot
"The story lends itself well to the medium, which makes it easy for writers to contrast narration with dialogue… According to a 2015 survey of Comic-Con attendees, half of comic fans under 30 are women. In graphic novel format, Kindred provides a voice that can resonate with those readers."
The Huffington Post
“While Kindred was released nearly 40 years ago, its exploration of black womanhood and afrofuturism proves to be as relevant today as it was then. And now, with the added imagery, the graphic novel certainly isn’t short on capturing the same sentiment as the original.“
Complex Magazine
“The violence is wrenching at times, but never over the top; what’s more disturbing, ultimately, is seeing this story through the eyes of someone who has been rendered powerless by the society around her.”
Library Journal
"The book stays close to the original, with Duffy reproducing Butler’s matter-of-fact-to-the-point-of-bleakness prose, and Jennings turning in moody, expressive, woodcut-influenced illustrations that look hacked out of, or into, the past.”
“This dead-on retelling of Octavia E. Butler's 1979 sci-fi novel is intense, heart-stopping, thought-provoking, and powerful…”  
Common Sense Media
"I do not lightly give anything a 5-star rating, but this is the best graphic adaptation of a full novel that I have ever encountered….the book belongs in every library and in the hands of any adult reader interested in serious graphic fiction.”
"In its illustrated form, Kindred receives a new identity of sorts, while retaining all of the complexities, politics, and moral questions that propelled its author to literary icon status.”
NPR’s Code Switch Blog
"Adapting any prose novel to the graphic format is an audacious undertaking at the best of times, but translating Octavia E. Butler’s fearsomely powerful work in particular must surely have been a herculean task. Yet Damian Duffy and John Jennings have managed it…A worthy and powerful supplement to a classic.”
The New York Times
"Kindred is a deeply intimate book filled with emotion, and portraying it visually only adds to that weight. Butler’s voice is much needed in the social and political climate right now, and Kindred’s mix of time travel and a historically accurate portrayal of racism is an incredible way to introduce her work to comics readers.”
Paste Magazine
 "This is an outstanding adaptation of a brilliant novel, and there's nothing more you could possibly ask for.”
Boing Boing
"Duffy’s words, coupled with Jennings’ brutally jagged, disorientating, gothic, and impactful art allows their adaptation to be two things: A graphic adaptation of a beloved novel, and an amplification of said novel. Reading them together illuminates Butler’s work from angles I never thought possible.”
Nerds of Color
"… Duffy and Jennings have risen to the challenge; their book highlights all of the medium's strengths while still respecting Butler's original words… It's a good introduction not only to Butler's body of work but also to the potential of the graphic-novel form.”
Entertainment Weekly
“If you’ve read Kindred this is a great companion. If you haven’t read it yet, this adaptation is strong enough to stand on its own." 
Book Riot
“The 240-page graphic novel adaptation makes Butler's story all the more accessible. Duffy's adaptation perfectly captures the horrific situations forced on the lives of black people in the pre-Civil War South and conveys the emotional impact of Butler's work. Jennings' illustrations add to the atmosphere; instead of pristinely drawn images, the images have a fitting "rough sketch" quality to them that emphasizes the hardships of life in those times…Taken together, the graphic novel adaptation of Kindred is not to be missed as a solid piece of entertainment.”
Kirkus Reviews
 "A compelling, masterly graphic novel for all libraries serving teens..."
School Library Journal, starred review

About the author

Octavia E. Butler was an award-winning writer widely considered the best science-fiction writer of her generation. John Jennings is Associate Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY-Buffalo and has written several works on African American comics creators. Damian Duffy is a cartoonist, writer, letterer, and holds a PhD in Library and Information Science and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. John Jennings is professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California at Riverside and was awarded the Nasir Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.