The daughter of poor Southern sharecroppers, Zora Neale Hurston emerged as one of the preeminent African American writers and anthropologists of the early 20th Century. Frequent collaborator of such literary giants as Langston Hughes, Hurston was a figurehead in the Harlem Renaissance and is perhaps best remembered for her 1937 novel, Their Eyes were Watching God. Hurston traveled the southern U.S. documenting African American folklore and spent the last years of her life directly addressing race issues. For all she accomplished, Hurston was plagued by financial woes and spent 13 years in an unmarked grave after she passed.
Peter Bagge pays Hurston all the deference she is owed in Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story. As informative as it is entertaining, Bagge's graphic biography is a gem, a thoroughly engrossing exploration of the life of one of America's often overlooked groundbreakers. In merely 72-pages—with another 30 of detailed notes and supporting information—Bagge paints a robust portrait of this larger than life figure. Incorporating her own writings, along with biographical documentation and anecdotal history, this graphic novel is buoyed by intense research and succeeds due to equal parts expert craftsmanship and fascinating subject matter.