SelfMadeHero: Promoting Diversity In Comics Publishing With Their Graphic Anthology Programme

by Richard Bruton

Just announced from SelfMadeHero, a UK graphic novel publisher of UK and foreign material – the Graphic Anthology Programme (GAP). Designed to “find, develop, publish and promote emerging comic-book artists from Black, Asian, Arabic, mixed-race, Romani/Traveller and non-white Latinx backgrounds from across the UK”.

It’s an excellent idea, much needed, and will result in eight emerging comic-book artists being given a platform for success as well as featuring in SelfMadeHero’s GAP anthology, to be published October 2021.


The lack of professional provision and access for non-white comics creators is very real. It’s great to see a very necessary correction from SelfMadeHero with this new initiative.
GAP mentor Woodrow Phoenix

SelfMadeHero, working in partnership with writer development agency Spread the Word, launched the Graphic Anthology Programme on 19 February 2021, with the express aim of identifying eight exceptional emerging comic-book artists and then giving them the tools to become publishable creators.

Once the eight have been identified, participants will embark on a free 12-week online mentoring programme, beginning in May, led by five established graphic novelists: Asia Alfasi, Catherine Anyango Grünewald, Sonia Leong, Mustashrik Mahbub and Woodrow Phoenix.

The eight will then, with the mentors’ support, create a graphic short story, which will then be included in an anthology to be published by SelfMadeHero in October 2021 – to be launched at the 2021 Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF).

“The UK comics scene is young, vibrant and culturally progressive, yet there remains a lack of ethnic diversity among published artists and writers. A 2020 survey commissioned by UK Comics Laureate Hannah Berry found that Black and Minority Ethnic artists were less likely to be published by traditional print publishers than their white counterparts. The launch of our Graphic Anthology Programme marks an important step in acknowledging, addressing and reducing this disparity.” – Emma Hayley, Managing Director SelfMadeHero

For those interested in applying to the Graphic Anthology Programme, you have to be an Emerging comic-book artist, over 18, a UK resident, and a ‘comics artist or illustrator from a Black, Asian, Arabic, mixed-race, Romani/Traveller or non-white Latinx background‘, and you should not already have been published by a traditional print publisher. You can apply at the SelfMadeHero site. Good luck!

You cannot place the responsibility for your own representation on others. No one else can express your reality like you.
– Asia Alfasi

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