Afua Richardson is an accomplished illustrator, writer, musician, vocalist, songwriter and activist. The New York City native was born to a family of scientists and began playing classical flute when she was only 9 years old. Not only did she perform at Carnegie Hall at age 11, but she has also performed on the music-dance television program, Soul Train.
Her extensive music career also included performances with Sheila E., Alicia Keys, and Parliament Funkadelic, as well being a backup singer, beatboxer, and background dancer on MTV Jams. Richardson was also a member of an all-female hip hop crew, appeared in an off-Broadway show with Melvin Van Peebles and has recorded music with Alexa Edmonds Lima under the name Afua & Alexa.
Along with her passion for music, Richardson has always been a fan of comic books. She has cited Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal comics as her inspiration for branching into comics herself. Around 2007, Richardson published her first ten-page comic in the erotica magazine Sizzle. In honor of her Native American heritage, she was originally published under the alias Lakota Sioux. She has since become one of very few African American and Native American female illustrators working for both DC and Marvel Comics.
She is best known for her work on the award winning, politically potent miniseries Genius, written by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman. Along with winning Top Cow’s 2008 Pilot Season, Genius was nominated for the 2009 Glyph Awards, for Best Story, Best Artist, Best Female Character, Best Cover, and Fan Award. For her work on Genius, the self-trained artist has been praised for her visual style and ability to draw violent acts in a way that is both “matter-of-fact and highly stylized.”
Additional credits for Richardson includes NPR’s Black History Month, All Star Batman, and Wildstorm for DC, Attack on Titan for Kodansha, Mad Max for Vertigo, and cover art Marvel’s for X-Men ’92, Totally Awesome Hulk and Captain America and the Mighty Avengers. She also currently illustrates the Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey spinoff comic World of Wakanda, alongside Alitha E. Martinez. More recently, Marvel chose Richardson as the artist for a new comic featuring the character Blade. Outside of comics she also illustrated the YA novel, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, written by Leigh Bardugo.
After winning the 2011 Nina Simone Award for Artistic Achievement – as one of the few African American women comic book artists to work for leading publishers – Richardson has been aptly referred to as a Jane of All trades. As Richardson continues to gain prominence in the comics field, the possibilities for this powerhouse creator are seemingly endless.