James Spooner is a graphic novelist, filmmaker and tattoo artist. His award winning debut graphic novel, The High Desert was named “Best of 2022” by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and The New York Public Library. The High Desert is the 2023 recipient of the American Library Association's Alex Award and the Cartoonist Studio Prize. Spooner recently co-edited an anthology of Black punk writers and comic creators entitled, Black Punk Now. The book will be published NOV 2023 with Soft Skull Press. He is also a regular contributor to RazorCake Magazine.
Spooner directed the seminal documentary Afro-Punk which premiered at national and international film festivals, including Toronto International and The American Black Film Festival. James also co-founded the AfroPunk Festival, which currently boasts audiences in the hundreds of thousands around the world.
Spooner’s work has been recounted in various publications, including NPR, The Los Angeles Times, Vice, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, MTV, NBC News and Variety. He was a recipient of the ReNew Media Rockefeller Grant. He is an ongoing guest curator for the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, and previously programmed for the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
James continues to screen Afro-Punk around the world, giving talks on punk and Black identity.