What do you get when you mix aliens, mecha, young pilots, and paying tribute to an honorable tradition of service? Tuskegee Heirs is a comic released in 2016 from Marcus Willians, and Greg Burnham. I picked the book up at C2E2 after being drawn in by the art on the cover, and at the artist’s table.
The story follows a team of young pilots, in a world where manned flight is illegal, being trained by a clandestine organization. They are being molded into a squadron meant to be the Earth’s elite defense, operating state of the art jets with the capability of transforming into bipedal mecha. Fugitives from the world government, the young pilots will be called upon to help save the world while avoiding capture.
Like I said, the art caught my eye first. Marcus Williams has a unique style that seems inspired by anime and classic 80’s action cartoons. The whole theme reminds me of Robotech but clearly new and fresh. The line work is beautiful, clean, and precise. Action in the panels is easy to follow, and Marcus conveys motion with an expert hand. It was a great book to look at, as well as read.
The story is great. All the themes of individuality, honor, integrity, and grit are portrayed in this science fiction adventure. I asked the creators if the characters were related to the title’s namesakes, but they said no. They wanted to honor the Tuskegee legacy, the men who served, and their families, and I think they have done just that. The story is good for all ages, and I think it delivers a valuable message for anyone. Teamwork and bravery, resourcefulness, and being steadfast are all parts of the character’s story in this book. Not only that, but it’s a story about young people flying jets, which turn into robots, to fight aliens. We don’t get enough of that kind of fun in comics sometimes.
Overall, the book is a great read. I picked up the trade at C2E2, but you can pick up your own copy over at the website. It’s well worth a read, for all ages. It’s one of the best indie comics I’ve read, and better than a lot we see from the big guys as well. Give it a look.