Los Angeles based writers Shawnee´ and Shawnelle Gibbs have been quietly creating a brand in comics and animation crafting timeless stories centered around bold female leads.
Next Thursday, February 25th, they are set to debut a Kickstarter crowdfunder for their latest project, “The Invention of E.J. Whitaker,” a story that follows the adventures of a young, African American female inventor who’s latest creation, a flying machine, causes a stir at the dawn of the 20th century.
Though their day jobs are as television producers, for networks including NBC, Food Network and the National Geographic Channel, the twin sisters have spent the better part of a decade telling diverse stories in independent comics and animation. With “The Invention of E.J. Whitaker,” they are hoping to engage a new audience of future innovators.
“Shawnelle and I seem to find a way to work a little science fiction or magic into most of our stories, probably because we were such imaginative kids,” said Shawnee´. “We’ve told stories of little black girls flying in spaceships with one of our first animated cartoons, Adopted By Aliens, now with EJ Whitaker, we’re telling a story of a young woman who could possibly build one.”
Centering on two African American lead characters, it was important for the sisters that ‘E.J. Whitaker’ have both a female and male focus. “Sometimes in an effort to empower girls, we overlook boys. We wanted to tell the story of a bold and daring duo—a young man and woman—who overcome their creative and personality differences to help change the world,” said Shawnelle.
The sisters’ goal is that this is just the beginning for the story of The Invention of E.J. Whitaker. “We hope that our first issue becomes one of a series of books about our young heroine and her allies. I think in this country, we tend to concentrate on the history of African Americans during Slavery and the Civil Rights era and often overlook the wealth of stories in between. The 1900’s was such a significant time for us as a people–and America as a whole–that it begs to be re-discovered in a new way,” said Shawnee.
The “Invention of E.J. Whitaker’s” Kickstarter campaign kicks off Thursday, February 25th, 2016 and features illustrations by some of the Gibbs sisters’ favorite artistic collaborators: Mark Hernandez on Pencils, Disney Publishing’s Hasani McIntosh on colors, and cover artist Earl Womack. Starline Hodge of Candi Comics designed the project’s emblem.
For more information, please visit: http://www.ejwhitaker.com