Saturday, February 28, 2015

Can You Guess The Only Father-Daughter Tag Team in Comic Strips?

First Black Female With a Nationally Syndicated Strip

Black History Month

Barbara Brandon-Croft is best known for creating the comic strip, Where I'm Coming From and for being the first nationally syndicated black female cartoonist.

Brandon-Croft was born on Long Island, New York, to Brumsic Brandon Jr.  (1927 to 2014).  Her father was a cartoonist who created the comic strip Luther which was in circulation from 1970 to 1986 from the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. She and her father are the only known father-daughter newspaper cartoonists.

Where I'm Coming From began in 1989 in the Detroit Free Press. The comic strip is about the experiences of about twelve Black women and the challenges of being a Black woman living in the United States. The characters are based on Brandon and her real-life friends.

Basic writing rule #1. Write what you know!

Where I'm Coming From went into national syndication in 1991 with the Universal Press Syndicate making it the first comic strip by a black woman to be syndicated in mainstream newspapers.

Jackie Ormes’ Torchy Brown comic strip was not in mainstream papers.

The comic strip was featured in more than sixty newspapers between 1989 and 2004. It appeared in newspapers throughout the United States, including Essence, The Sacramento Bee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Baltimore Sun, as well as in The Gleaner in Jamaica and the Johannesburg Drum magazine

You may read more about her here.

Other resources
Black Women in Comics NYC panel Discussion

Women in Comics

Kids's Comic Con



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Friday, February 27, 2015

Who Was the First Lead Black Cartoon Character in a Sound Cartoon?

Black History Month

Mickey Mouse appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928. The cartoon was directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It was produced in black-and-white by Walt Disney Studios and was released by Celebrity Productions. The cartoon is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse, despite appearing several months earlier in a test screening of Plane Crazy.

This is the first cartoon with synchronized sound, including character sounds and a musical score. Steamboat Willie was the first cartoon to feature a fully post-produced soundtrack which distinguished it from earlier sound cartoons such as Inkwell Studios' Song Car-Tunes (1924–1927) and Van Beuren Studios' Dinner Time (1928).

Before some of you get your panties in a knot. Readers of this blog already know about blacks who passed for white. Go ahead. Check it out and come back. I'll wait.

Back? Yeah, that's right. Just keep looking at the picture below. You'll see it.

See Steamboat Willie and other shorts with this historic black character.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Do Any Women Draw Comics?

First Black Woman Cartoonist

Black History Month

Jackie Ormes (August 1, 1911 – December 26, 1985) 

Jackie Ormes is the first black woman cartoonist who created the Torchy Brown comic strip and the Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger single panel strip.

The Pittsburgh Courier, a weeklyAfrican-American newspaper published on her comic strip, Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem from 1937 to 1938. Torchy Brown was a humorous depiction of a Mississippi teen female who found fame and fortune singing and dancing in the Cotton Club. Ormes became the first black woman to produce a syndicated comic strip. Torch Brown bore a strong resemblance to her creator.

She created Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, a single-panel cartoon in August 1942, which ran for 11 years. It featured a big sister-little sister combo, with the precocious, insightful and socially/politically-aware child as the only speaker and ta beautiful adult woman as a sometime pin-up figure and fashion mannequin.

Ormes contracted with the Terri Lee Doll Company in 1947 to produce a doll based on her little girl cartoon character. The Patty-Jo doll was on the shelves in time for Christmas and was the first American black doll to have an extensive upscale wardrobe. As in the comic strip, the doll represented a real child, in contrast to the majority of dolls that were mammy dolls. Patty-Jo dolls are now highly sought collectors' items.

In 1950, the Courier began an eight-page color comics insert, where Ormes re-invented her Torchy character in a new comic strip, Torchy in Heartbeats. This Torchy was a beautiful, independent woman who finds adventure while seeking true love. Ormes displayed her talent for fashion design as well as her vision of a beautiful black female body in the accompanying Torchy Togs paper doll cut outs.

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Who was the First Comic Strip Character Played by Pam Grier?

Which Comic Strip Became a Blaxploitation Film?

Black History Month

Friday Foster  is the first American nationally syndicated comic strip to feature a black woman as the title character. Friday Foster debuted in 1970 and ran in newspapers until 1974.

It was created and written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Spanish cartoonist Jorge LongarĂ³n and syndicated by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate. The strip focused on the glamorous life of its title character, a fashion model.

Dell Comics published one issue of Friday Foster as a comic book (October 1972), written by Joe Gill and illustrated by Jack Sparling.

Friday Foster was adapted into a blaxploitation feature film of the same name, starring Pam Grier  in

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Who is the Most Surprising Black Character?

For decades no one knew he was black

Black History Month

My favorite Aquaman villian is Black Manta. He has a unique look and is pure evil. His evilness was enhanced to me because he never removed his helmet. (And he killed Aquaman's son.) The character first appeared in Aquaman #35 (September 1967).

It was quite a surprise when he did remove the helmet and was revealed to be a black man. His little speech was stupid, but still a surprise.

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Which Black Cartoonist Passed for White?

Which Black Cartoonist Passed for White?

Black History Month

George Joseph Herriman

George Joseph Herriman

(August 22, 1880 - April 25, 1944)

Geroge Herriman was  light skinned Creole who passed for white.

Herriman's early strips include Major Ozone, Musical Mose, Acrobatic Archie, Professer Otto and his Auto, Two Jolly Jackies and others.

The Dingbat Family began as two strips in one; the main story with the human family taking up the top each panel and an unrelated storyline involving a cat and mouse underneath the family's floorboards taking place in the bottom part of each panel.

This strip was renamed The Family Upstairs. The cat and mouse strip was then spun off into another strip in 1913, originally Krazy Kat and Ignatz and then Krazy Kat.

During its 31-year run, Krazy Kat was enormously popular with the public, as well as influential writers, artists, and intellectuals of the time.

Read more about him in Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman

And check out the start of the acclaimed comic strip in Krazy and Ignatz 1916-1918 (Krazy & Ignatz)

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Why Women Hate Comic Books and Why Boys Lust After Them

Black History Month

Clarence Matthew Baker 

Clarence Matthew Baker
(December 10, 1921 – August 11, 1959)

A black comic book artist who drew the costumed crimefighter Phantom Lady, among many other characters. He was possibly the King of Good Girl Art. One of the earliest black artists during the Golden Age who worked for the Iger Studio. He also penciled an early form of graphic novel, St. John Publications' digest-sized "picture novel" It Rhymes with Lust (1950)

Read more about him in Matt Baker The Art of Glamour,  Matt Baker with Love and check out It Rhymes with Lust.

Waayyy back in the Golden Age it was okay to exaggerate the human figure, especially females. It was pretty much okay to do anything you thought of at that time.

That is until Fedric Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent in 1954. He whined about gross and implied depictions of violence, sex, drug use and other adult happenings within crime comics. Gangster/murder-oriented titles of the time were not the only thing he considered "crime comics." He lumped in superhero and horror comics as well into the category. His book asserted that reading this material encouraged similar behavior in children and caused juvenile delinquency. (Yawn, how many times have we heard this fish oil since then?) Because only boys read comics.

Well he brought the industry to it’s knees (no homo)! Everything was toned down, except for scantily clad and well-endowed women, much to the chagrin of feminists everywhere.

How can it stop when guys enjoy drawing over sexualized women and boys do enjoy looking at the tatas?

Also, how did DC Comics miss snapping up Matt Baker to draw Wonder Woman? Can you imagine his Wonder Woman with the bondage overtones?

Discuss below.


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