The Keeper (Hardcover)
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NAMED A BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
NAMED A BOOK WE LOVED BY NPR
A young Black girl finds herself trapped between desperation and her family’s dark history in this horror graphic novel
Aisha has suffered a devastating loss. Her parents were killed in a car crash, and now she must move to decrepit and derelict Detroit to live with her ailing grandmother. However, shortly after moving in, Aisha's grandmother's health rapidly deteriorates. With her dying breath, she summons the dark spirit that has protected their family for generations to watch over Aisha.
At first it seems that this spirit, whom Aisha refers to as the Keeper, is truly doing as her grandmother asked, caring for Aisha and keeping her safe; however, it soon becomes clear that this being can only sustain itself by stealing life from others. As the Keeper begins to prey on the apartment building's other residents, Aisha and her friends must come together to destroy it . . . or die trying.
Written by masters of horror Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes and illustrated by Marco Finnegan, The Keeper reflects on the horror Black Americans face every day, while still staying true to the genre.
About the Author
Tananarive Due (tah-nah-nah-REEVE doo) is an award-winning author who teaches Black horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. She is an executive producer on Shudder’s groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. A leading voice in Black speculative fiction for more than 20 years, Due has won an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award, and her writing has been included in multiple best-of-the-year anthologies. Her books include Ghost Summer: Stories, My Soul to Keep, and The Good House. She and her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, coauthored Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights. Due is married to author Steven Barnes, with whom she collaborates on screenplays. They live in Los Angeles with their son Jason and two cats. Steven Barnes is a New York Times bestselling, NAACP Image Award–winning author of more than 30 novels. Nominated for Nebula and Hugo awards, writer of the Emmy Award–winning “A Stitch In Time” episode of The Outer Limits and winner of the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award, he is a pioneering Afrofuturist and one of the most honored voices in the field. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, British Fantasy Award–winning novelist Tananarive Due. Barnes has taught or lectured at UCLA, USC, University of Washington (Seattle), Mensa, Pasadena JPL, the Smithsonian Museum, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and many other institutions. His most recent publication is Twelve Days (Tor, 2017). Marco Finnegan is a storyboard and comic book artist known for his work with 12-Gauge, Vault, Boom, Image Comics, and Lerner Books. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in art from California State University, Fullerton, and teaches graphic novel and art classes for high school students. He lives in Southern California with his wife and four children.
Steven Barnes is the New York Times bestselling, NAACP Image Award–winning author of more than 30 novels. Nominated for Nebula and Hugo awards, writer of the Emmy-winning “A Stitch in Time” episode of The Outer Limits, and winner of the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award, Barnes is a pioneering Afrofuturist writer, and one of the most honored voices in the field. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, British Fantasy Award–winning novelist Tananarive Due. Barnes has taught and lectured at UCLA, USC, University of Washington, Mensa, Pasadena JPL, the Smithsonian Museum, the University of North Carolina, and many others. His most recent publication is Twelve Days (Tor, 2017). Dr. Charles Johnson is a professor emeritus at the University of Washington and author of 23 books. He is a novelist, philosopher, essayist, literary scholar, short-story writer, cartoonist, illustrator, and an author of children’s literature, screenplays, and teleplays. A MacArthur Fellow, Johnson has received a 2002 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, a 1990 National Book Award for his novel Middle Passage, a 1985 Writers Guild Award for his PBS teleplay Booker, the 2016 W.E.B. Du Bois Award at the National Black Writers Conference, and many others. The Charles Johnson Society at the American Literature Association was founded in 2003. In November 2016, Pegasus Theater in Chicago debuted its play adaptation of Middle Passage, titled Rutherford’s Travels. Johnson’s most recent publications are The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling (Scribner, 2016) and his fourth short story collection, Night Hawks (Scribner, 2018). He lives in Seattle, Washington. Bryan Christopher Moss was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. At the age of 18, he began working professionally on storyboards and comics while founding and creating a T-shirt company, Strange Things. His commercial clients include Cirque du Soleil, Marvel Comics, Sprite, and a partnership with the Greater Columbus Arts Council. In addition to his freelancing and contractual projects, Moss is an educator. He has collaborated with the likes of Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Columbus College of Art and Design. He curated, installed, and even showed his own work in his latest exhibition at King Arts Complex, “The Black Panther: Celebrating 50+ Years of Black Superheroes.” In 2020, Columbus Alive named Moss as the city’s Best Comic Book Artist. He was also recently named an artist-in-residency at the prestigious Aminah Robinson House in Columbus, Ohio.
“The Keeper is an imaginative, terrifying tale of generational trauma in a Black family that is crafted with expert technique and told with real heart.”
— Jordan Peele, Oscar and Bram Stoker Award–winning writer and director of Get Out and Us
“A heart-wrenchingly compassionate confrontation with the realities of grief, tragedy, family secrets, and the courage it takes to survive a world waiting to swallow you whole. Aisha is a glorious vision of the complexity of Black girlhood: our tenderness and vulnerability as much as our strength. Fans of Candyman and The Girl With All the Gifts won’t be able to get enough of The Keeper.”
— Lea Anderson, horror scholar and critic for Fangoria
“The Keeper is the best of what classic modern horror can be. Deep character development that draws you in and makes you care, coupled with frights that live with you long after you’ve completed reading. I love this book!”
— Rodney Barnes, author of Killadelphia
“An enthralling and literally haunting tale centered on home and family. Due and Barnes, geniuses of the genre, have done it again, providing a tale that weaves the horrors of real-life events with terrors of the unknown.”
— Frances Gateward, Eisner Award–winning comics scholar
“A masterful stroke of horror from Due, Barnes, and Finnegan, The Keeper is the kind of graphic novel that slithers into your subconscious and refuses to leave. Haunting, beautifully illustrated, and well-paced, The Keeper is, in fact, a keeper.”
— Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Secret Identity
“The Keeper is full of horror and heart. Barnes, Due, and Finnegan are masters of the creepy, and I was just as moved by all the kindness and love I found inside. A wonderful piece of work.”
— Victor LaValle, author of Destroyer, The Ballad of Black Tom, and The Changeling
“The Keeper broke my heart and may be the best graphic novel of 2022.”
— Adam McGovern, author of Nightworld
“The Keeper is as hypnotic as it is wonderful. A deliberately paced story about a young girl’s loss, like the best horror, it’s both intimately moving while being unnerving . . .”
— Pornsak Pichetshote, author of The Good Asian and Infidel
“As moving as it is eerie, the story that unfolds in The Keeper is perfect for comics. Finnegan’s art gets under your skin in the best possible way.”
— Qiana J. Whitted, Eisner Award–winning comics scholar