Black history month: cartoonists

When we think of the history of Black people in the African Diaspora, cartoonists and graphic novelists rarely come to mind so here I thought I would mention a two Black artists, one cartoonist Morrie Turner and the other graphic novelist, Lance Tooks, who have made significant contributions to their profession. Starting with Morrie Turner, who created the “Wee pals” (1965) comic strip and later “Kid Power” an animated TV show from the 70s.

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Both Wee Pals and Kid Power involved a group of kids from various ethnic backgrounds and it was this multiculturalism that is woven through all of Turner’s work.

It’s this particular care for detail that makes Morrie Turner, the creator of the first truly integrated comic strip, Wee Pals so successful as a cartoonist. His work pivots upon the issue of sensitivity to others. Awarded numerous awards for his work in cartooning, Morrie Turner’s KID Power, Rainbow Club, Wee Pals characters are used to promote brotherhood & multi-culturalisim. Long before ‘Multi-Culturalism’ became the politically correct catch phase of the `90’s Wee Pals presented that message as early as 1965.

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The second artist is the more contemporary graphic novelist, Lance Tooks, author of a number of graphic novels including “Narcissa” As well as his graphic novels, Lance also writes comic strips and blogs at Lance Tooks (more sketches here). His work is amazingly beautiful with strong images of Black woman like this one below.

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Also check out his “Unpublished Symphony series here.


Links: More on Lance’s graphic novels

NOTE: There will be a celebration of the work of Morrie Turner as part of the “Drawn in Black and White: a panel discussion on African Americans in Cartoons and Comics” on February 16th, Museum of Pittsburg

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