Big Black: Stand At Attica Tells The True Story Of The Civil Rights Confrontation

by James Ferguson

Boom! Studios has announced Big Black: Stand at Attica, a new original graphic novel written by Frank “Big Black” Smith and Jared Reinmuth and illustrated by Améziane. Coming in February 2020, the comic looks at the true story about the price of standing up to injustice during one of the bloodiest civil rights confrontations in American history, told by the man at the center of it all: Frank “Big Black” Smith.

Big Black: Stand at Attica takes us to New York’s Attica State Prison in the summer of 1971 as it stands as a symbol of everything broken in America. Everything from prisoner abuse to rampant racism is on display and a blind eye is turned towards the injustices done on the powerless. When the guards overreact to a minor incident, the prisoners decide they’ve had enough and revolt against their jailers, taking them hostage and making demands for humane conditions.

Pearl Battle Smith, wife of Frank “Big Black Smith” says:

My only wish would be that Frank was alive to experience and be a part of this, because he would love this. And he would leave us with this message: ‘The struggle continues.’ The struggle continues!

Frank “Big Black” Smith is in the middle of this uprising, struggling to protect hostages, prisoners, and negotiators alike. When the only avenue for justice seemed to be negotiating with Governor Nelson Rockefeller, he soon finds that a peaceful resolution for the prisoners is unattainable.

Writer Jared Reinmuth adds:

In September of 1971, I was a small child sitting in the living room with my brother and sister as the events at Attica played out on television. My mother vowed that if we were ever in a position to contribute, we would help the Attica Brothers. “Frank ‘Big Black’ Smith was our hero, and [the fact that] decades later he and his wife, Pearl, would trust me to attempt his biography stands as the honor of my life. But it was only with the addition of Améziane and his brilliant artwork that the project took flight. And when BOOM! Studios took us on, this story found its home. The opportunity to work with insightful and talented editors like Sierra Hahn and Allyson Gronowitz completes the circle to fulfill a promise made decades ago.

Big Black: Stand at Attica will be published under Boom! Studios’ Archaia imprint. This story sounds like a perfect fit for this line.

Artist Améziane says:

Jared felt certain that the biography of a legendary Attica Brother, Frank ‘Big Black’ Smith, was the perfect book for me. He was 100% right. Together, with the support of Frank’s family and those who for decades stood with the Attica Brothers, we strove humbly to do justice to a story much larger than ourselves. I couldn’t be more proud to present it to you.

Big Black: Stand at Attica is set for release in February 2020 at your local comic shop, book store, and digitally.

Sierra Hahn, Executive Editor adds:

The story of Frank ‘Big Black’ Smith and the Attica Brothers represents a pivotal moment in our own violent and bloody history within the justice system and our country’s relationship with race, religion, and class. The work done by Big Black, Jared, and Améziane in this graphic novel honors those who fought against injustice of the time and asks us to look at where we are today.

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