Black Images in the Comics

Black Images in the Comics

by Fredrik Stromberg

Endlessly browsable illustrated journey through comics' history of radical portrayals both good and bad, now in softcover.See more details below


Endlessly browsable illustrated journey through comics' history of radical portrayals both good and bad, now in softcover.

Editorial Reviews

“As this small but potent book shows, African Americans didn't fare any better in the comics medium than elsewhere in popular culture. Strömberg’s compact cultural critique encapsulates each of about 100 black comics characters in a brief, single-page essay and a full-page illustration...”
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Noble savage, Uncle Tom, Mammy-these are just three of the stereotypical images of African Americans that Stromberg examines in this insightful book. The author tends to allow the artwork to speak for itself; his commentary primarily provides historical and cultural context and, in general, does not set out to impart a specific agenda. A single illustration appears opposite commentary that provides editorial context. The images are drawn primarily from the daily strips of newspapers, although a few notable exceptions like the X-Men and R. Crumb's Angelfood McSpade come from comic books. The collection opens with an unsigned political cartoon from 19th-century England that displays some of the horrendous treatment black slaves endured. It moves along chronologically to icons from the 1930s like Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat to contemporary strips like Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks. Lesser-known works from around the world are also included. Stromberg is startlingly objective in his comments on the images and their cultural significance. Only a handful of artists cause him to step outside this editorial objectivity and praise them for their work. These few include Charles Schulz (Peanuts) and Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County, The Outland), who, in the author's perspective, ignored the stereotype and created strong, memorable characters that happened to be black. The book presents a unique look at the evolution of comics, but it also proves comics to be an effective and sobering lens for viewing the history of racism toward blacks.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Fantagraphics Books
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Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Fredrik Strömberg was born in 1968 in the South of Sweden. He is the editor of Bild & Bubbla, Scandinavia’s largest magazine about comics, writes regularly about comics, heads a school for comic artists and sits on the editorial board for the International Journal of Comics Art. He lives in Sweden.

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