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Comics have long been home to a variety of races, be it alien or underground or from an alternate dimension. But in the 100-plus year history of comics, one of the toughest for creators to portray accurately is that of black characters. And now Fantagraphics is putting back in print a key work examining that strained relationship, Fredrik Stromberg‘s Eisner-nominated Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History.
Originally published in 2003 but long out of print, Black Images in the Comics surveys the depiction and characterization of blacks going back to early comics like The Katzenjammer Kids to startling portrayals in Tintin in the Congo and The Spirit, all the way to their induction in superhero comics with the likes of Black Panther and John Stewart and the empowering comic strip series The Boondocks.
In this new collection, Stromberg has added over a dozen new entries in the encyclopedic-like presentation of Africans through comics’ history. The foreword by the author of Middle Passage, Charles R. Johnson, adds much to the overall understanding of the book.