If Kickstarter campaigns are any indicator, comic book fans are very excited to read Bingo Love, a forthcoming 80-page graphic novel about a star-crossed romance between two older black women.
The project met its initial funding goal in March after just five days, and has raised more than $37,000 from more than a thousand backers. (Well over its initial $19,999 goal).
The story, which writer Tee Franklin describes as “Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” episode meets Moonlight,” chronicles a relationship that’s half a century in the making.
Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray first meet as 13-year-olds at a church bingo hall in 1963. They become inseparable as friends, and then fall in love—prompting their families to forbid them from ever seeing one another again.
Five decades later, when Hazel and Mari are both mothers and grandmothers in their 60s, their eyes meet from across a bingo hall once again. The women quickly discover that the love they shared in their youth is still alive and well.
“It’s rare in the comic industry to have two black women leads, especially written by a disabled, queer black woman,” Franklin told Huffington Post. “Now to have these protagonists queer and older? This will never happen in the comics industry unless someone does it on their own.”
But, she adds, “If there can be an Ellie and Carl from Disney’s Up, there can be a Hazel and Mari in Bingo Love.”
In 2015, Franklin created #BlackComicsMonth to promote diversity in an industry often dominated by straight, white guys. Giving representation to characters like Hazel and Mari, says Franklin, can be more exciting to readers than the same old costumed characters.
“The only superpowers Hazel and Mari have is the confidence to leave their past lives in their 60s and spend the rest of them together, living their life to the fullest.”
The Bingo Love graphic novel is expected before the end of 2017.