black women hit back in this southern gothic comic

October 9, 2018
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Tee Franklin’s Jook Joint is a Southern Gothic horror series that follows Mahalia, owner of the hottest spot in 1950s New Orleans. It is a booze-filled, jazz bopping brothel where the working women are to die — literally, if you break the Joint’s only rule, “Keep your hands to yourself.” And for men who think this rule doesn’t apply to them, Mahalia and company have something in mind for you. With a coven of slain women, Mahalia will set you straight, even if it means eating you alive.

Illustrated by Alitha E. Martinez (Black Panther: The World of Wakanda), Jook Joint tells the stories of disempowered Black women reclaiming their agency and punishing those who threaten it. Written by Franklin, a buzz-worthy queer, disabled author of Bingo Love, the Mature-rated period comic tackles issues of domestic abuse, social inequality, and racism with five planned installments.

‘Jook Joint’ issue #1 artwork by Alitha E. Martinez
‘Jook Joint’ issue #1 artwork by Alitha E. Martinez

“I actually wrote Jook Joint in mid-2016. I had no idea there would be this ‘reckoning’ with sexual assaulters, harassers, molesters back then,” Franklin told the Hollywood Reporter. “Honestly, Jook Joint was a story to help me deal with past traumas that I had experienced since I was as young as 11. Summer of 2014, the mental dam that I had built in my brain to protect me from every single trauma I had gone through… burst. All the horrible memories were flooding through me and I couldn’t handle these extremely detailed images — I was reliving multiple assaults, rapes, child abuse — as well as the unfortunate incidents which led me to burying my two sons.

“I ended up going to therapy as a result of a mental breakdown. My therapist suggested I start writing, whether it was journal entries, a barrage of cuss words, poems, stories. She just wanted me to write. Jook Joint ended up being one of those stories I wrote, it was extremely cathartic for me. I was ‘killing’ my abusers in a roundabout way.”

Franklin added, “Damn. That answer was heavy as hell… my bad.” Heavy indeed and the visceral emotions of those deep experiences resonate throughout the gripping comic, which just released its first installment.

‘Jook Joint’ issue #1 artwork by Alitha E. Martinez
‘Jook Joint’ issue #1 alternative cover artwork by Alitha E. Martinez

Sound like something you might like? Grab your copy of issue #1, here.

‘Jook Joint’ issue #1 artwork by Alitha E. Martinez