Tag Archives: naacp

Comics Herstory: Barbara Brandon-Croft

bbc_4As the first African-American woman cartoonist to write a syndicated strip, Barbara Brandon-Croft is yet another trailblazer. Her father, Brumsic Brandon Jr., created the comic strip Luther, which was about a group of inner-city African-American children and had an underlying theme of the struggle for racial equality. Brandon-Croft also developed an interest in drawing and completed a fine arts degree at Syracuse University. She then went on to work for Elan and Essence magazines, and did some illustrations for The Crisis, a magazine published by the NAACP.

In 1989, Brandon-Croft began publishing Where I’m Coming From through The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s largest daily newspaper. Where I’m Coming From was nationally syndicated in 1991, and was published in more than sixty papers throughout the United States between 1989 and 2004. It ran for more than fifteen years before Brandon-Croft ended the strip in 2005 after a downturn in readership.

The comic itself featured a cast of about a dozen women, known as “the girls.” Each had a distinct personality; some were conscious of social issues while others were more conscious of men, but all contributed to the comic’s unique appearance and tone. One of Where I’m Coming From’s distinct characteristics is its lack of background. The characters appear against a blank panel.

The comic’s other distinct characteristic is the way in which the characters are drawn, as none have bodies. Rather than drawing an entire person, Brandon-Croft depicted each character with a head and a set of hands. She has said that it was a conscious decision to draw the characters as heads and hands only. Rather than define these characters by their bodies in a world where women are already defined by their bodies, each character is distinguishable by her distinct face and personality.

Where I’m Coming From is important for the insight it gives into being African-American in the United States, and for its social commentary. Though the comic wasn’t always politically focused, many of the points it made remain relevant today. It is also important because there is a distinct lack of African-American cartoonists in newspapers. Barbara Brandon-Croft is the only African-American woman to reach syndication, and to date there have only been a dozen African-American artists with syndicated comics.

Idris Elba Talks Thor and Racists

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Actor Idris Elba made news when he was cast in the role of Heimdall in the upcoming Marvel Comics movie Thor, but that news wasn’t positive.  Some white supremacists got up in arms over a black man being cast as a Norse god.  In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter the actor blasted the critics and racists who had an issue with the casting.  The actor had this to say:

We have a man [Thor] who has a flying hammer and wears horns on his head. And yet me being an actor of African descent playing a Norse god is unbelievable? I mean, Cleopatra was played by Elizabeth Taylor, and Gandhi was played by Ben Kingsley.

Bleeding Cool gave some other examples of minority roles including Noah Ringer playing Aang in The Last Airbender. Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh were in Memoirs of a Geisha and Reece Shearsmith as Papa Lazarou.  I’ll also throw in C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man and since it’s on tv while I write this, Eddie Murphy in Coming to America.

The majority of the article is focused on roles for black actors and came on the heals of the NAACP Image Awards.

Idris Elba in Thor

Friday Fun – The NAACP Does Comics

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There’s not a whole lot as far as history when it comes to Your Future Rests, a comic book produced by the NAACP in 1964.  It’s goal was to get people engaged politically.  It stresses voting and civic engagement to improve education, living standards and employment.

You can read the full comic at http://www.ep.tc/problems/34/index.html.

Thanks for http://www.ep.tc/ and it’s amazing collection of these fantastic nuggets of history.