Friday, February 3, 2012

Comics First African-American Artist

I'll admit I used to hate history in school. I didn't care about what happened back or what some dead guy (usually some dead white guy) did in this year or that year. And many of those acts were detrimental to my people. At some point though, I began to care. This is because I was able to discover what my people did in the world. I wanted to know who my people were and where I came from. My ancestors did great things, but you'd never know that judging by the history books. Seeing how interesting history can be, I've got a treat for you to kick off this month of celebration.

I love comics and I love being black. You're here because you already know that, well not the second part so much. Since comics are a visual medium and this is Black History Month, let's talk about the first African-American comics artist. His name was Matt Baker and he lived from 1921 to 1959. He was quite active in the Golden Age of comics and was known for being a "good girl" artist.

A 2009 Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame inductee, his credits include, but are not limited to Phantom Lady, Jungle Girl, and It Rhymes With Lust. Below is his cover for Phantom Lady #17.

This piece which was also featured in Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham. Some of the more knowledgeable and hardcore fans might recognize that. But that's a whole different subject.

Here's to Matt Baker's work in the field of comics. His name shall live on and I have no doubt he's inspired many to join the world of comics. Rest in peace.

Thanks for joining me in this celebration. But the fun doesn't stop there. Stay tuned as I shine some light on the careers and accomplishments of my people in the realm of comic books.