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Speed Jaxon was a WWII-era comic strip by Pol Curi aka Jay Jackson that ran in Black newspapers like the Chicago Defender. The focus of Speeds character was on wartime adventures with a  message of inclusion and equality.

However, in the examples below white officers express very negative attitudes towards Speed which, in turn, he repsonds to with a mixture of resignation and quiet strength. He repeatedly tolerates the poor behavior, and then tries to prove how wrong people are about Blacks by just being a better hero than the white soldiers.

A native of Oberlin, OH, Jay Paul Jackson was described as a quiet, easy-going sort of person who had a special zest for living. Among some of his better known cartoons creations were: “As Others See Us” from the 1920s, “Tisha Mingo”, “Professor Doodle,” the full page “Home Folks,” & “Girligags.”

The earliest national distribution of Mr. Jackson’s work was through his association with the Robert S. Abbott publishing company in Chicago. He joined the staff of the Chicago Defender in 1933 where he worked as editorial & features cartoonist for 20 years until his death at the age of 49. During his career, he developed illustrations & humorous art for several other Black press publications, The Warner Brothers theater in Chicago and a number of advertising agencies. There can be found in nearly every publication before the 50s as many ads (Murray Pomade products) as there are comics. At the time of his death, Mr. Jackson was feature artist for Telecomics and had begun designing art for the television story “The Search for Christ.”

Murray Pomade

Murray’s Pomade

Jay Jackson also dabbled with exceptional skill in fashion illustrations, layouts, catalog designs and participated in the creation of several murals in oil during a 1940s sojourn in Mexico. He was a recipient of two “Front Page” Awards from the American Newspaper Guild and a citation from the US government for his cartoons and posters during the WWII bond drive. Some of his work was distributed by the Office of War Information. He was a montage artist for Who’s Who in Colored America and Who’s Who in the United Nations. Jay Jackson’s cartoons were featured in the Chicago Defender, Michigan Chronicle, Louisville Defender, the Tri-State Defender and the New York Age Defender.

3 Comments

  • Brian Sandman
    January 7, 2016

    Interesting and great history —- good to learn about the past and graphic designers like Jay Paul Jackson —

  • George Hagenauer
    October 1, 2020

    If you need scans of the art for Jay’s ww2 posters i own the art as well as a number of daily panels, and his signifying sunday page of the 1950s. He lived near 115th st in Morgan Park jsut outside Chicago at one point

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