Webcomic Weekly: RAMZEE’s ‘Being Black And Working Class’ Gives An Insight From Simplicity

by Richard Bruton

Webcomic Weekly – giving you a look at the wonderful world of webcomics here at Comicon. Here we’re going to be featuring all manner of webcomic work, whether it’s from the biggest names or someone completely new to you, whether it’s a years in the making magnum opus or a short, one-off piece, the only two essential things to get onto Webcomic Weekly is that it has to be is published and available to you online and it has to be damn good.

This week, it’s the turn of the immensely talented young writer & artist RAMZEE, with the very short webcomic, Being Black and Working Class, available on the Khidr webcomix platform.

It’s just 15 panels long, but it proves the point very well that the beauty of webcomics is that the only rule is that there are no rules – and when we find something this good, we’re going to bring it to your attention.

Because RAMZEE’s 15-panel piece does just what it needs to in the minimal space, simple and effective storytelling to make a very important point about the barriers that black working-class people still face in both education and employment.

RAMZEE draws from his own experience, growing up with more love for movies than for school, something that took him from visiting the video shop to discovering niche cinema showing the non-blockbusters and the older films, but along the way there’s always that sense of his being different, being the outsider, not fitting in…

From that early love of film, he pivots with ease to widen the focus onto the difficulties that he’s faced and the difficulties faced by black, working-class men and women in Britain and beyond, in employment and in education…

It’s a simply done piece, both in terms of storytelling and artwork, perhaps surprisingly so for something describing an issue that’s complex and multi-layered. Indeed, this is one that could very easily have supported many, many more pages of comics, going deeper and deeper into the problems that RAMZEE is addressing here.

But the simplicity of Being Black and Working Class is its strength and its brilliance, the big, bold artwork functions to emphasise each point, and each point is made well, building the argument without over-complication, summarising things so well, giving us all a starting point to begin thinking about the issues, to begin discussing the issues.

And lets not forget how much more difficult it is to do it this way. Anyone can build a complex, long-form argument describing and exploring the multi-faceted nature of a socio-economic issue such as this. But to be able to distill the essence of something this important, this complex, this multi-layered, into just these 15 panels – now that’s something that’s ever so hard to do and something that RAMZEE does ever so well here.

Being Black and Working Class is available at the Khidr webcomix platform.

RAMZEE’s most high-profile work to date was in the 2020 Tammy & Jinty Special from the Treasury of British Comics, where he collaborated with artist Elkys Nova on Cat-Girl. He’s also got his first graphic novel coming out in 2021 from Good Comics, entitled LDN. I first came across his writing on his 2015 writing debut, the self-published Triangle with art from Josceline Fenton, Tom Crowley, and Liz Greenfield.

You can find more from RAMZEE on Twitter, Instagram, and get hold of his comics at his store.

Zain Dada and Kumail Rizvi’s Khidr Comix Lab is a new digital publisher that describes themselves as ‘a radical, hopeful storytelling platform for creators & collaborations‘ and has the intention of giving a voice and platform to Muslim comic creators, either through the pay-what-you-like digital catalogue or their webcomics offerings.


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