Sir Jon Reviews – Your Black Friend
It’s been a few weeks since I read Ben Passmore’s YOUR BLACK FRIEND, a one-shot comic book that I couldn’t pass on ordering when it was solicited through AdHouse Books some months back. I’ve always enjoyed slice-of-life comics, especially done-in-one tales similar to Damon Hurd’s work like MY UNCLE JEFF. I gave YOUR BLACK FRIEND some serious thought though. Would it be infuriating? Would it be little more than race baiting? Was I overthinking it? I chose to order it for a number or reasons, if for nothing more than believing the man had something to say, and it deserved some support with my money.
Simply put: this work is genius.
It’s well drawn, in a pleasing, cartoon style that just excels in storytelling, making the harshest of statements within even more poignant. There are harsh statements within and let me tell you, take them and learn from them. The entirety of the book is a learning experience, possibly not relating to you yourself, but it might relate to something that could happen or has happened around you. YOUR BLACK FRIEND is smart and funny and blisteringly honest and sad. It’s all of that and more, a feat with the most excellent of intentions.
I thought the book had been overlooked, not seeing much in the way of reviews throughout the interwebs, but I found that to be slightly incorrect. NPR made note of it. The hideous Newsarama page made note of it. A handful of others did as well, but there are some marked comments and quotes from some sites that had me questioning the reviewers. One claimed the book should be “required reading for white people”. I find that a woefully inept comment, as it actually should be read by everyone. Passmore covers so much more than just white/black relations, and not subtly, that it’s hard to gather how someone could miss out on the potential of this book reaching so many more people than what that reviewer was considering. YOUR BLACK FRIEND is not a book with limited readership, and it should not be even thought of as one that is limiting. It is just that good.
Your Black Friend, written and drawn by Ben Passmaore, published by Silver Sprocket and distributed by AdHouse Books, is available now at better comic shops and book stores. Here’s hoping for more from the creator, he’s got an excellent voice for the medium.