Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Minority cartoonists plan February 10 comics page "crossover"

It's not a crossover in the traditional sense, it's something that's never been done before. If you're a cartoonist of any ethnicity and you want to participate, and you still have time to turn in a new strip for February 10, contact me at "candorville at gmail dot com" and I'll fill you in on the details.

From Editor & Publisher:

NEW YORK At least eight African-American cartoonists plan to take part in a Feb. 10 comics-page action to draw attention to the way their strips are perceived and purchased.

"Many editors and readers consider different 'black comics' to be interchangeable," said "Candorville" cartoonist Darrin Bell. This, he told E&P today in a phone interview, is among the reasons why many papers run only one or two comics by African-Americans and other creators of color -- no matter how many strips and panels are in their comics sections.

But, Bell said, comics by black cartoonists are obviously as different from each other as comics by white cartoonists are different from each other.

"Some are political, some are about friends, and some are about family," noted Bell, who organized the Feb. 10 action along with "Watch Your Head" cartoonist Cory Thomas. (Both are syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.)

For the action, the cartoonists will all do a version of one of Thomas' comics. The theme and writing in each strip will be similar, though "we're all plugging in our own characters," said Bell. The idea is to satirically protest the erroneous notion of many editors and readers that comics by African-American creators are interchangeable.

What might the action accomplish? "I hope editors will start allowing minority cartoonists to compete for all their comics slots, not just one or two slots," replied Bell, whose 2003-launched "Candorville" strip runs in 60 to 65 papers.

The cartoonist -- who also does the "Rudy Park" comic with Theron Heir for United Media -- further noted that strips by African-American cartoonists are enjoyed by many white readers as well as black readers.

Bell said he's not sure the Feb. 10 action should be called a protest, noting that black cartoonists face a problem nowhere near as serious as, say, New Orleans residents still without housing after Hurricane Katrina. But it's still a problem.

"It's like a weather forecast of mostly sunny with patches of racism," Bell said wryly.

"Wryly." I like that.


SPJ said...

Yay!!! Fight sterotypes and ignorance!

Paul said...

""Many editors and readers consider different 'black comics' to be interchangeable," "

"Readers" - doesn't surprise me - from a large population it's not surprising at all. But editors? Professionals who do this for a living? Given many make their decisions based upon unscientific "polls" it's not surprising. Sad. But not surprising.

Woodrowfan said...

yeah, because "Curtis" and "Candorville" and "Watch Yoour Head" are sooooooooo much alike (rolls eyes)

2Unruly said...

Darrin, I don't think enough people know about this. I am trying to spread the word also. Do you plan on doing this more frequently?

I hope so, until the message gets across, and this will give more time, to make others aware. Especially black bloggers, and other people who care about the cause. May we post your protest strip?


Darrin Bell said...

Thanks, feel free to post it tomorrow. I'm going to be on CBS News either tonight or tomorrow night to talk about this.

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