Panthers In The Hole
by Bruno Cénou and David Cénou
translated from the French by Olivia Taylor Smith
Nonfiction Graphic Novel
Afterword by Robert Hillary King, member of the Angola 3
Panthers in the Hole relates the experience of three men whose lives were snatched away by a prison system that seems more at home in a totalitarian regime than contemporary America.
In 1972, three prison inmates, Robert Hillary King, Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, were put in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary, (a.k.a. Angola Prison), after the killing of a prison guard.
Originally imprisoned for their militant involvement in the Black Panther party, Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement before his conviction was overturned and he was released. Wallace was released in 2013, after more than 41 years in prison, and died soon after of liver cancer. In November of 2014, Woodfox had his conviction overturned by the US Court of Appeals, and in April 2015 his lawyer applied for an unconditional writ for his release. As of June of 2015, that release has been blocked by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. What is it like to spend decades in solitary confinement for a crime you did not commit?
Press and Reviews
"Though the book is successful in presenting these stories in an exciting and engaging way, I think that its greatest achievement is that it provides the movement for change with three dynamic hero figures. These men are brave, admirable role models, which, for a cause seeking to gain public support for convicted prisoners, is something that is sorely needed." -Brandon Hicks
“Panthers In The Hole moves between each of their stories, all told in first person, while also exploring the larger issues of the United States penal system. It’s a fantastic, ambitious achievement that largely succeeds." -Laura Farmer
Bruno Cénou was born in Agen in 1968 and has lived in Marseille since 1994. After studying philosophy, he became interested in information technology and, in particular, free software and the free circulation of intellectual property. He currently works for the National Center for Scientific Research. Panthers in the Hole is his first graphic novel.
David Cénou published his first graphic novel, Mirador, tête de mort, in 2011, a no-holds-barred memoir about his past as a skinhead. He is a nurse in Agen. Panthers in the Hole is his second book.
Olivia Taylor Smith is the Executive Editor at Unnamed Press. She lives in Los Angeles.
Cover art by David Cénou