Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition

Vintage Black Heroines Logo Stacked 2

An Exhibition Featuring Vintage Black Comic Strips And Comics From The 1950’s-1970’s



Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition

The Vintage Black Heroines exhibition features the first Black heroines to ever appear in comic strips and comic books.

Vintage Black Heroines Logo With 3 Characters

 

The Museum Of UnCut Funk has acquired exclusive access to two Vintage Black comic strips published by the Smith-Mann Syndicate during the 1950’s: Torchy In Heartbeats and Torchy Togs.

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The Torchy Brown character was the first positive Black female character to ever appear in her own syndicated comic strip. Torchy In Heartbeats and Torchy Togs were featured in a first time ever color newspaper insert featuring Black comic strips in the Pittsburgh Courier, the only Black newspaper to carry the insert, from 1950 through 1954.

Torchy In Heartbeats and Torchy Togs were written and illustrated by legendary Black female cartoonist Jackie Ormes. Ormes was the first Black female cartoonist to have a syndicated comic strip and the only one until the 1990’s.

Torchy In Heartbeats chronicled the adventures of a mature, independent Black woman who took on serious issues of race and environmental pollution as she sought true love. The comic strip also featured Torchy Brown in various fashions.

Torchy Togs was a paper doll cut-out panel that educated Black women on how and when to wear exquisite fashions. So in addition to being a powerful cartoonist, Jackie Ormes was also a fashion designer.

These comic strips are historically and culturally significant because they presented a positive Black female character at a time when Black female images in all forms of popular media reflected the ugliest racist stereotypes. These comic strips predated the Civil Rights Movement, which was a driving factor behind presenting more realistic representations of Black female characters in illustrated and animated media. Positive Black female characters and Black superheroines did not appear in comic books and cartoons until the 1970’s.

As the original art and newspapers were not preserved, very few copies of these comics, if any at all, currently exist. We believe we have access to the largest collection of, and for some of these comics, the only color copies that remain. These comics have not been seen since the 1950’s.

The Museum Of UnCut Funk has curated an exhibition featuring these Vintage Black comic strips to commemorate the 67th anniversary of their introduction.

You can learn more and see some of these vintage comic strips at the following links:

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The Museum Of UnCut Funk has also acquired exclusive rights to exhibit the Friday Foster comic strip published by the Chicago Tribune from 1970 to 1974.

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Friday Foster® was the first positive Black female character to ever appear in her own syndicated comic strip in a non-Black publication, the second in a syndicated comic strip.

Friday Foster was written by Jim Lawrence, illustrated by Jorge Longaron. A comic book was published in 1972. In 1975, Friday Foster was adapted into a feature film staring Pam Grier in the lead role.

In the comic strip and comic book Friday Foster was a former fashion model who became an assistant to world-famous fashion photographer Shawn North at a glamor magazine. The comic strip chronicled her comings and goings in the modeling and magazine / publishing worlds. In both the comic strip and comic book, she moonlights as a detective.

These comic strips are historically and culturally important because they presented a positive, independent, professional Black female character at a time when all women were fighting for equal rights and the ability to pursue careers. As the character lives in the world of fashion photography and modeling there is a focus on fashion and beauty.

An interesting fact – the Friday Foster comic strip only appeared in Northern newspapers and was not accepted in Southern newspapers due to racism. Some Southern newspapers that published the comic strip not knowing that the main character was a Black woman immediately abandoned it.

In the feature film, Friday Foster is an ex-magazine model turned magazine photographer who ends up working with a detective to investigate the death of her best friend. Friday Foster followed Coffy and Foxy Brown, and delivered another performance in which Pam Grier continued to break barriers as a Black female lead in an action film.

The Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition features Friday Foster comic strips and commemorates the 47th anniversary of the strip’s introduction.

You can learn more and see some of these vintage comic strips at the following links:

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The first positive Black female character to ever appear in her own syndicated comic strip in a non-Black publication, the second in a syndicated comic strip.

 

The Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition also features The Butterfly, the first Black female superheroine to appear in a comic book – 1971 Hell Rider #1 and #2, commemorating the 46th anniversary of the comic book introduction.

 

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Marian Michaels was an aspiring songstress who turned into a crimefighting superheroine. She was very stylish as her alter ego and as a superheroine.

Hell Rider was a black and white magazine published by Skywald (Sol Brodsky and Herschel Waldman) which ran for just two issues. There are two features in the comic book – The Butterfly, and The Wild Bunch – but instead of making them separate entities, both stories are a part of the bigger Hell-Rider story.

The Butterfly was written by Gary Freidrich, illustrated by Rich Buckler.

You can learn more and see some of these vintage comic books at the following links:

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 The first Black female superheroine to appear in a comic book

 

Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition Specs

The Vintage Black Heroines exhibition features reproductions of the original comic strips and comic book pages that feature all three heroines.

Exhibition material options:

  • Custom installation printed on fabric wall mural material, produced to wrap museum display units or or adhere to museum walls, including text, comic strip / comic book images, graphics
  • White banner panels with snap clip holders

Exhibition configuration options:

  • Custom installation – (TBD depending on wall space)
    • Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition – All Four Comic Strips / Comics – Up to 183 Comic Strips / Comics – Up to 46 – Full Page Strips (TBD), 5 – 3/4 Page Strips (TBD), 129 – Half Page Strips  (TBD), 3 – 1/3 Page Strips (TBD), Opening / Text / Character Graphics (TBD)
    • Torchy In Heartbeats – Up to 40 Comic Strips – 20 – Full Page Strips (TBD), 5 – 3/4 Page Strips, 15 – Half Page Strips, Opening / Text / Character Graphics (TBD)
    • Torchy Togs – 13 Comic Strips – 10 – Half Page Strips (TBD), 3 – 1/3 Page Strips (TBD), Opening / Text / Character Graphics (TBD)
    • Friday Foster – Up to 104 Comic Strips – Up to 104 – Half Page Strips (TBD), Opening / Text / Character Graphics (TBD)
    • The Butterfly – 26 Comic Book Pages – 26 – Full Page Comics (TBD), Opening / Text / Character Graphics (TBD)
  • White banner panels with snap clip holders:
    • Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition – All Four Comic Strips / Comic Books – Up to 179 panels – 46  Full Page Strips (36×24), up to 114 – Half Page Strips (18×24), 3 – 1/3 Page Strips (12 x24), 16 – Text / Character Panels (36×24)
    • Torchy In Heartbeats – 25 Panels – 16 – Full Page Strips (36×24), 7 – Half Page Strips (18×24) – printed on 4 Full Page panels, 5 – Text / Character Panels (36×24)
    • Torchy Togs – 16 Panels – 10 – Half Page Strips (18×24), 3 – 1/3 Page Strips (12 x24), 3 – Text / Character Panels (36×24)
    • Friday Foster – up to 108  Panels – up to 104 – Half Page Strips (18×24), 4 – Text / Character Panels (36×24)
    • The Butterfly – 30 Panels – 26 – Full Page Comics (36×24), 4 – Text / Character Panels (36×24)

Approximate space required:

  • Custom installation – TBD depending on wall space
  • White banner panels with snap clip holders:
    • Full Exhibition – Up to 179 panels – TBD depending on the number of panels
    • Solo Comic Strip Exhibition – TBD depending on the exhibition, number of panels
 

Vintage Black Heroines Exhibition Additional Information

For more information and rental fees or to book our Vintage Black Heroines exhibitions please contact the Curator, Sista ToFunky.

Curators are available for Curator’s Talks, Curated Tours, Expert Panels, Lectures. For more information or to book the Curators please contact the Curator, Sista ToFunky.

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