The portrait series that runs throughout this issue was born of my desire to make the presence of Black artists more visible within the comics industry. I’m old-school, drawing everything with pencil, pen, and ink on a bristol board. But I add a dash of new school by coloring everything digitally. These are artists whose work I’ve had a long-running curiosity about; some I’ve met, and others I wish to meet.
I’m always curious about the history-makers. Ormes is the first African-American female cartoonist to have a nationally syndicated comic strip, 1937’s Torchy Brown. She’s an important pioneer in comics.
In 2019, Bell became apparently the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning since the award’s creation in 1922. He’s definitely earned a spot in the history books. And this is my tribute to him.
I was drawn to the work she did for The Nib. I think she’s done some of the most insightful comics journalism tackling a broad range of issues. Her work is hilarious, thought-provoking and fearlessly honest.
I met him in 2011 at ECBACC, the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. He’s always been a great advocate for Black voices in comics, and his drawing style is always fun to look at: bold, lively, crisp, dope.
She and I both come from St. Louis, and I used to run into her when she worked at Star Clipper, an influential comic book store in the metro area. I’m amazed at and proud of what she has accomplished in the world of comics over the past decade.
The most relevant comic anyone needs to read right now in this current cultural moment is Passmore’s Your Black Friend, easily one of the best comics of the 2010s. I met him at a comics expo in St. Louis and got him to autograph my copy of YBF. Great dude, so down-to-earth. Can’t wait to see more of what he does.
I grew up on his comic strip Boondocks. It was the main inspiration for my earliest mini-comics, which reached for the sharp, satirical bite he gave his work. Could never come close to him. Not sure if anybody could, to this day.