Things To Do In Pittsburgh If You Like Comics – An Exhibit Of Early Black Comic Artists

In Pittsburgh there is a Black History Month exhibit that is focusing on early black comic creators that broke the color barrier in the 1930s and 1940s. Entitled Beyond The Funny Pages, the exhibit runs through the end of February at the City/County building. It showcases the work of Matt Baker, the first black man to work in the industry, Zelda "Jackie" Ormes the first black female comic artist and Orrin C. Evans, the first black comic publisher.

baker5Baker was hired in the 1940s by Eisner & Iger Studios, an all-white firm at the time and went on to work for Marvel Comics and Playboy Magazine. Baker redesigned the Phantom Lady into the character we see above when it moved to Fox Publications in 1947. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2009.

bhm11-ormes-torchyOrmes began convinced an editor at the Pittsburgh Courier to let her draw a comic strip called Dixie To Harlem and went on to create Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger.

1447268-all_negro_comicsEvans came up with the idea of an all black comic and in 1947 published the first issue of All-Negro Comics. A second issue was written and drawn but never published. Evan became a journalist for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

The exhibit is being presented by Citiparks in partnership with Toonseum.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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