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Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation

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Winner of the 2014 Will Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic Work. Bringing together contributors from a wide-range of critical perspectives, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation is an analytic history of the diverse contributions of Black artists to the medium of comics. Covering comic books, superhero comics, graphic novels and cartoon strips from the ear Winner of the 2014 Will Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic Work. Bringing together contributors from a wide-range of critical perspectives, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation is an analytic history of the diverse contributions of Black artists to the medium of comics. Covering comic books, superhero comics, graphic novels and cartoon strips from the early 20th century to the present, the book explores the ways in which Black comic artists have grappled with such themes as the Black experience, gender identity, politics and social media. Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation introduces students to such key texts as: The work of Jackie Ormes Black women superheroes from Vixen to Black Panther Aaron McGruder's strip The Boondocks


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Winner of the 2014 Will Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic Work. Bringing together contributors from a wide-range of critical perspectives, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation is an analytic history of the diverse contributions of Black artists to the medium of comics. Covering comic books, superhero comics, graphic novels and cartoon strips from the ear Winner of the 2014 Will Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic Work. Bringing together contributors from a wide-range of critical perspectives, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation is an analytic history of the diverse contributions of Black artists to the medium of comics. Covering comic books, superhero comics, graphic novels and cartoon strips from the early 20th century to the present, the book explores the ways in which Black comic artists have grappled with such themes as the Black experience, gender identity, politics and social media. Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation introduces students to such key texts as: The work of Jackie Ormes Black women superheroes from Vixen to Black Panther Aaron McGruder's strip The Boondocks

30 review for Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erika L. Miller

    This book came to me as a recommendation after someone on Facebook shared a post about the failings of minorities - specifically males - in Saturday morning cartoons. As a lover of comic books, cartoons, anime and manga I immediately requested it and after going through my "priority" reads settled down with this. The book does give an in-history into the early newspaper comics, or as we know them now "the funnies" (unless that's an old term that I just always ran with because of my father). It wa This book came to me as a recommendation after someone on Facebook shared a post about the failings of minorities - specifically males - in Saturday morning cartoons. As a lover of comic books, cartoons, anime and manga I immediately requested it and after going through my "priority" reads settled down with this. The book does give an in-history into the early newspaper comics, or as we know them now "the funnies" (unless that's an old term that I just always ran with because of my father). It was great seeing the artwork of early black cartoonist and even learning about female black cartoonist, Jackie Ormes, and her works involving Torchy Brown who covered issues and experiences of the Great Migration (which leads Torchy to New York City), racism, romance and eventually environmental issues. There is also a chapter that covers more modern racial representation in the comics and the creator and cartoonist behind them. There are some cartoons that I were unfamiliar with simply because they were not in syndication with my local newspaper and I've since stopped reading the Sunday paper due to a cease in the subscription and the Aaron McGruder's 'The Boondocks' had stopped being printed. The information shared about syndication comics, how it works and the finances behind it were interesting. I found the book lacking it fulfilling its promise based upon the Introduction description of comic book characters, specifically black superheroes, and based upon the cover. Franklin from The Peanuts is presented on the cover and I found myself really interested in learning more in-depth details about how Franklin came to be introduced into the gang. Fortunately, NPR covered that for me while doing an interview with the woman who made the request that an African American youth be included with Charlie Brown, Lucy & Linus Van Pelt and the others. Other black superheroes were also to be discussed such as "Spawn, Green Lantern, Static Shock, Hancock, etc." but are never discussed. The book received a two rating because by chapter 13 I was over the book. Chapter 8: Panthers and vixens: Black superheroines, sexuality, and stereotypes in contemporary comic books, is a stretch to find racist stereotypes in the characters through the overused explanation of hypersexualization of Black Panther and Vixen, specifically. The chapter I found to be very weak as with the two largest comic distributors here in the states being DC and Marvel, ALL of the heroes and villains are hypersexualized and imbue all of the ideal looks of their gender. The author tries to make it a strictly racial issue but is forced to backtrack and explain how it is not simply a racial or gender issue. The essay brought to mind the story of Power Girl, whose breasts were slowly increased after each issue until someone within DC noticed and questioned the creator about it. Let’s not also forget, for those of us who frequent comic book pages on Facebook, the image of Rogue that is being circulated. He also tries to tie in the animal association of Black Panther and Vixen as being strictly racial but there is Catwoman, Black Canary, Squirrel Girl, Wolfsbane and Jayna from The Wonder Twins. The book continued to fall in decline when it opted for a chapter to define or make a bold declaration of “Will the ‘Real’ Black Superheroes Please Stand Up?!” The title alone immediately spelled trouble because it went into how a superhero is not and cannot be black simply based upon his or her skin color. That being “black” is defined by who you hang out with (or what’s your ratio of blacks to “others” in your life), whether or not they specifically “saved the black community” over the world and who is the creator. As an African American who grew up in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood and went to a predominantly white Catholic school I have personally strong issues with this type of thinking: My black is greater than your black. This chapter did nothing more than feed into the own self-hatred that plagues the black community now stating that there is ONLY one way to be black and that there is already in play a “pre-ordained” set of values that should and truly dictate someone that is black. Real talk: Regardless of how well I speak, who I hang out with or how much money I make at the beginning, middle and end of the day it does not erase the blackness of my skin. For this reason, I found myself unable to finish the book and give it a two star rating. Blacks are already an underrepresented demographic in the comic book world and in geek culture anyway and it is because of these idiotic and racist ideals and beliefs that there’s only one way to be black. A black child adopted and raised by a white family does not make them any less black and, in fact, would lead them to experience a greater variety of racism as opposed to someone who grew up and hung out strictly with those of their own demographic. The author focuses solely on black superheroes created by white cartoonist and completely ignores the rest of the heroes and heroines to fit into their own agenda. Representation does matter and there isn’t simply or strictly one way to be black. Just take a look at my bio and you will see that I DO NOT fit the stereotypes that the author is trying to impart upon the heroes that they are hating for simply being full of haterade. The book should’ve stuck with the history and an analysis of African Americans in the various of mediums and avoided trying to tell fans of these heroes and those who identify with them that their hero/heroine isn’t black enough or considered, “[a] ‘sell out’ to the race and thus, intentionally or unintentionally psychologically [be] destructive to the very children who identify with them by skin color or racial heritage.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    I think the essays would have been better served with more visuals regarding some of the older comic strips that are referenced. It was difficult for me to make the intellectual leap without a visual example. I realize that obtaining permissions for images is extremely difficult.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kalimah Mustafa

    Enjoyed most of the essays and learned quite a bit, particularly about the significant artists and the overview of history surrounding the trajectory of AfAm comics. While I felt there were some consistent shortcoming throughout the book, I think it was a good place to start and I would be very excited for any subsequent editions. I don't really like star ratings, but I want Goodreads to recommend me similar books and I think that's how that works, so 4 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Interesting book. It's an academic publication, so not for the faint of heart. Considering how many years I've been an amateur student of comics history, I'm amazed at how much of this book was new to me. The idea that there were essentially separate newspapers with their own comic strips aimed at a black audience, and that they lasted as long as they did in their seperate-but-equalness, seems incredible to me. This book is a valuable resource for fans and scholars alike.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julian Chambliss

    Great book with badly needed consideration of race and the history of comics. I recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    741.5973 B6273 2013

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Keeve

    It's a pretty good primer, but didn't get as in-depth or analytical as I would've liked.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Whitley

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Haynes

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  11. 5 out of 5

    shaz rasul

  12. 4 out of 5

    Allison Hanna

  13. 5 out of 5

    Luana Kay

  14. 4 out of 5

    Viki Cheung

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  17. 4 out of 5

    Keiley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chadwick

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cope Dealer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie Kaiser

  24. 5 out of 5

    Derek

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sylwia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emil CY

  27. 4 out of 5

    MFCOMMAND

  28. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  29. 5 out of 5

    P.L. Thomas

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Montroy

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