Robert Smalls
Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls

Tales of the Talented Tenth


Tales of the Talented Tenth


158 Pages, 8 x 10

Formats: Paperback

Paperback, $23.95 (CA $31.95) (US $23.95)

Publication Date: February 2021

ISBN 9781682750667

Not Yet Published. Estimated release date: February 2021


With vivid and whimsical art, these comics are accessible to adults, teens, and young readers, and bring to life not only an extraordinary tale of adventure but also the history of previously disenfranchised peoples

Do you know the story of the slave who sailed himself to freedom? For the third book in the best-selling series, Tales of the Talented Tenth, Joel Christian Gill brings Robert Smalls to life by telling the true story of the enslaved African who pulled off one of the most daring and largest heists of the Civil War. Come along for the adventure as Robert earns a job working for the C.S.S. Planter, escapes to freedom, goes on to become a first-generation black politician, and makes history by writing and leading the passage of legislation that led to the U.S.' first free and compulsory public school system. Tales of the Talented Tenth is a historical comic series that focuses on the adventures of amazing African Americans in action.


For the Tales of the Talented Tenth series: "Joel Christian Gill is a modern day graphic griot. His mastery of visual storytelling coupled with his tireless research make him one of the most important artist/scholars working today." —John Jennings, Eisner-nominated comics scholar and award-winning graphic novelist "Bessie Stringfield's story is a call to adventure. Joel Christian Gill's gorgeous artwork depicts her dynamic heroics throughout America's lush and beautiful landscapes." —Box Brown, New York Times best-selling artist, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend "Gill delivers the story of her diasporic roots and struggle from childhood to adulthood with artistic brilliance and compelling wit. Like Stringfield, Gill asserts himself as a messenger; he is bringing together multiple generations of readers who now have an opportunity to read and view Blackness and Black historical figures anew." —Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, author, Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime "This quick-paced biography of Bessie Stringfield, the so-called 'Motorcycle Queen of Miami,' is a pocketful of cheerful, hard-fought optimism." —Publishers Weekly "Books for Holiday Gift Giving in 2016. A graphic-novel-style biography of Stringfield, known as the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, who roamed the country on her Harley in the pre-Civil rights '30s and '40s. For readers 12 and older." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "An incredible true story that has as much power as Bessie and the motorcycles she rode." —Kirkus Reviews starred review "A great story that should be heard by all, starting with our youngest generations." —J.A. Micheline, contributor, A.V. Club and Women Write About Comics "This is a great biography for readers 12 and up, and could be a good gift for a Motorcycle Mama of a higher age. For them, or for anyone who wants to learn about an interesting, little-known story, Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, is the book to see." —Terri Schlichenmeyer, "The little known story of an African American woman crossing the country eight times during the 1930s and 40s is remarkable enough. The fact that Bessie Stringfield did it—alone—on a motorcycle is downright astonishing." —Word of Mouth, NHPR "The Jamaican-born Stringfield (1911–93) led a remarkable life as [an] adventurer, stunt performer, U.S. Army courier, cross-country rider, and winning racer. Gill's account appears in colorful, kid-friendly art." —Library Journal Gill (Strange Fruit ) launches the Tales of the Talented Tenth series, about notable figures in African-American history, with an entry outlining the life of Bass Reeves, among the first black Deputy U.S. Marshals. Over seven chapters, Gill skillfully shifts (and draws parallels) between Reeves's childhood as a slave and his adult service as a marshal; two hard-hitting motifs are a menacing, avian Jim Crow figure and a pickaninny caricature, the latter used as a rebus-style replacement for racial epithets in the dialogue [...] A bibliography is included for readers seeking to learn more about Reeves. Ages 12–up. (Nov.) - Publisher's Weekly Wonderful biography of the black US Marshall, born a slave, who became the most successful lawman of the West and legend has it the stories of the Lone Ranger are based on him. The author's previous book, Strange Fruit, contains a mini-biography on Bass Reeves and this book takes the same story, expounds upon it and fills in more details. An interesting, informative and exciting tale of a man not that well known to history. Looking forward to seeing who the next volume will be about. - Nicola Mansfield, It's All Comic To Me blog Gr 7 Up–Expanding upon the short entry that appeared in his Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History (Fulcrum, 2014), Gill opens his new graphic novels series on African American heroes with a volume about Bass Reeves, a former slave and the first blac

Author Biography

Joel Christian Gill is a cartoonist and historian who speaks nationally on the importance of sharing stories. He wrote the words and drew the pictures in Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield's First Ride (published by Lion Forge, 2019) and the award-winning historical comic series Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, as well as, Tales of The Talented Tenth from Fulcrum Publishing. He has worked for diverse clients including the People's United Party of Belize, NBC, The Boston Globe, and The Huffington Post. He was Chair of Comic Arts at The New Hampshire Institute of Art. He is currently Associate Professor of Illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Gill has dedicated his life to creating stories to build connections with readers through empathy, compassion, and ultimately humanity. He received his MFA from Boston University and his BA from Roanoke College.