Today, many black heroes grace the pages of comics, and some are now making it to the silver screen. But it’s been a long road filled with very small steps and long periods of no movement at all. Here is a chance to see how black comic book characters appeared in comics from the earliest “Pioneer era” through the Golden Age, Atomic Age, Bronze Age, the Modern Age, to the present day. These historical treasures depict black characters from the 1800s to today, spanning virtually the entire history of American comic books.
The Chronological History of Black Characters is a collaboration between the Museum Of UnCut Funk and a private collector on the west coast.
Pamela Thomas is the Co-Owner and Co-Curator of the Museum Of UnCut Funk (museumofuncutfunk.com), an avid collector of Black memorabilia and an expert on 1970’s Black culture.
Finally, we’ve been able to source digital copies of Sugarfoot from the ground breaking comic book All Negro Comics circa 1947 from the Digital Comic Museum.
Super-Team Family is a comic book anthology series that was published by DC Comics in the 1970s and lasted for fifteen issues. These comics featured a mix of original and reprinted stories.
The Montgomery Story comic book was commissioned by the Fellowship of Reconciliation with the permission of Martin Luther King, Jr. The actual creators of the comic are unknown and the artist is said to be a blacklisted comic artist of the time. The purpose of the comic was to spread the message of nonviolence and to get the word out about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. You can read this comic below.
The Hanna-Barbera cartoon series the Harlem Globetrotters aired from Sept 1970 through Oct 1971. Gold Key created a 12-issue comic book series for cartoon that ran from April 1972 through January 1975. You can see all of the covers from this series in one of our previous blog posts. You can read Issue 7, from October 1973 below.
Bill Stern was a radio and a TV sportscaster from the 1920’s-1960’s. In the 1950’s, Ziff-Davis published Bill Stern’s sports stories in the form of a comic book series entitled Bill Stern’s Sports Book. Volume 2 # 2, published in the winter of 1952, contained a story featuring the Harlem Globetrotters. You can read this comic below.
The creators of the 2009 blaxploitation spoof film, “Black Dynamite,” are taking the film to the comic book world with the first issue hitting stores in early April.
Mmmm…does every white guy need a Black man to help his ass? LOL???
Lothar is Mandrake’s best friend and crime-fighting companion. Mandrake first met Lothar during his travels in Africa. Lothar was then “Prince of the Seven Nations”, a mighty federation of jungle tribes. He foolishly passed on the chance to become king but decided to followed Mandrake on his world travels, fighting crime and villains from all over the world. Lothar is often referred to as the strongest man in the world with the exception of perhaps Hojo — Mandrake’s chef and secret chief of Inter Intel.
The character Fat Albert first appeared in Bill Cosby’s stand-up comedy routine “Buck Buck,” as recorded on his 1967 album Revenge. The stories were based upon Cosby’s tales about growing up in inner city North Philadelphia. In 1969, Cosby and veteran animator Ken Mundie brought Fat Albert to animation in a one-shot prime-time special entitled Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Albert. The special, which aired on NBC, was a hybrid of live-action and animation.
In April 1972, Gold Key Comics launched a comic adaptation of the Harlem Globetrotters animated series; their first comic book appearance was in issue #8 of Gold Key’s Hanna-Barbera Fun-In, published in July 1971.
From the minds of Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca, the Afrodisiac phenomena got it’s start in 2005 as short stories and anthologies. Jim Rugg, co-creator of the Afrodisiac comic series, recently stated in an interview with Comic Book Resources “ We try to capture the style and energy of the great Blaxploitation movies”.
Torchy Brown first appeared in the Pittsburgh Courier in the 1937-38 comic strip Dixie to Harlem, drawn by the first Black Female Cartoonist, Jackie Ormes. Torchy Brown was later syndicated around the country until it’s end in 1940.