Pow! Kaboom! Twak! Ping! Vrooom!....The History of African Americans in Comics

The untold story of African American superheroes.

Did you know that African/African Americans have had a lengthy yet unrecognized presence in comics? The first comic book created by an African American (Orrin Evans and All Negro Comics #1) didn’t arrive until 1947. But there were a number of Black people featured in both mainstream and Black newspaper press strips for many years before that. Not all of the images that were presented were positive or free of stereotypes, but all of them were steps towards the explosion of characters present today.

Move over ComicCon.....The recent and steady reemergence and popularity of comics has sparked a growing movement of African American comic book enthusiast. The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention is an annual gathering of comic book artists, writers, their fans, and retailers who are interested in discussing, buying, and selling comic books, sci-fi, action figures and related material by and or about Black superheroes. The purpose of the convention is to promote literacy and creativity in youth, to offer audiences exposure to some of the leading Black artists and writers in the comic book industry, and promote positive Black images.

Join us as visiting African American Comic Book Historian, Professor William Foster III takes us on a journey to discover the history and significance of African Americans in comics.

Saturday, February 15, 2 p.m.
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

Trailblazing Characters:

  • Lobo - Published by Dell Comics, this comic featured the 1st mainstream Black Comic Book character.
  • Luke Cage - Introduced in 1972 by Marvel Comics, the character Luke Cage is one of the first African American characters to star in his own comic book. Cage is wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. While in prison he was a volunteer for a scientific experiment that endowed him with great strength and almost impenetrable skin.
  • The Falcon - Originally created by Marvel Comics as a partner for Captain America, the Falcon has gone on since the 1970s to become a popular superhero in his own right.
  • Storm - Created by Marvel Comics in 1975 as one of the new, international group of X-Men, Storm has become easily one of the most recognized Black characters in comics, television and motion pictures.

Stop by and check out the traveling exhibit, the "Changing Image of Blacks in Comics" available until February 28 at the Blair-Caldwell Library. For a sneak peek visit our website. Don't forget to check out a variety of resources available at the Library.

PLEASE NOTE: Library hours:
Mon & Wed. 12-8 p.m.
Tue, Thurs and Fri 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Closed Sunday

For more information please contact the Blair-Caldwell Library at 720-865-2401 or email blairstaff@denverlibrary.org.

Written by HEvans on February 14, 2014

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