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Top 25 Black Comic Book Writers #25-16

by  in Comic News Comment
Top 25 Black Comic Book Writers #25-16

The countdown begins now!!!

Here are the first ten writers that you voted as your favorites of all-time.

25. Felicia Henderson

Longtime television writer and producer, Felicia Henderson, made a name for herself working on a number of hit shows (writing for Family Matters and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and writing and producing Moesha, Sister, Sister, Gossip Girl and Fringe) and producing and developing for television the show Soul Food (the longest running primetime drama starring predominantly black actors). She has also written a number of comic books, including a run on Teen Titans for DC. She worked a lot with Static on a few projects (including Teen Titans) and she wrote an excellent one-shot starring Static in 2011 (drawn by Denys Cowan). In it, Static is reunited with his uncle who has just been released from prison but becomes a target of a villain. Static saves him from the villains, but life sometimes has a tragic sense of drama…

Henderson’s work excels at character-based drama, as the above pages demonstrate. It served her well for years as a TV writer and it serves her well as a comic book writer.

24. Doselle Young

Doselle Young started working at DC Comics in the late 1990s on a number of projects, including his own spin-off of the Authority, the Monarchy (drawn by John McCrea and Garry Leach), where married couple Jackson King and Christine Trelane, longtime members of Stormwatch and then-current liaisons to Authority for the United Nations, get enlisted in a sort of inter-dimensional quest to save the universe, which sometimes involves them doing things viewed as illegal…

Young contributed to a number of Vertigo anthologies, including one particularly excellent one for the gangster-themed anthology, Gangland, which was drawn by the great Frank Quitely.

Young’s work is inventive and bold, delving into strange ideas and making them make sense.

In recent years, Young has been working more in prose and story consulting than comics, but he is still involved in comics.

23. Jimmie Robinson

If you measured the enthusiasm comic book creators have for the world of comics in terms of grains of sand, Jimmie Robinson would be the freakin’ Sahara. He once wrote a great guest post for this very blog about how the way to help comics the most was to embrace the variety of comics and go look for those types of comics instead of complaining that you don’t see them (and yes, try to get other people into comics, as well). Variety has been the spice of Robinson’s comic book life himself, as his work has been all over the map, as he noted:

I self-published CYBERZONE when I didn’t see enough black female leads. I started at Image with AMANDA & GUNN because I didn’t see enough sci-fi. I switched to CODE BLUE when I didn’t see anything to match TV’s ER hospital drama. I changed to all-ages with EVIL & MALICE when not enough kid books were around. I sought out AVIGON back before manga was burning the sales charts.

His most popular series in recent years has been the superhero parody series, Bomb Queen, about an over-the-top “villain” named Bomb Queen, who goes on lewd adventures within the sphere of superherodom.

He also wrote and drew the excellent Five Weapons series, about a young man sent to assassin school. Recently, he wrote and drew the excellent The Empty for Image Comics, about a post-apocalyptic world where people have adapted to their living environments…

Jimmie Robinson has been at this game for decades and he continues to innovate and expand the comic book horizons.

Go to the next page for #22-19…

22. Erika Alexander

Longtime television and film actress Erika Alexander (likely best known for her work on Living Single and before that, her stint on The Cosby Show – she also has a recurring role on the current ABC sitcom Last Man Standing) has taken the comic book world by storm with her graphic novel series Concrete Park, which she writes with her husband, Tony Puryear (Puryear also draws the series), about a prison planet in the future where Earth sends its criminals to mine for natural resources for Earth, which is in desperate need for them. The only city on the planet is “Scare City,” where the only way you’re going to make it on this planet as a prisoner is by joining one of the many gangs in the city (all really colorfully named, like something right out of The Warriors). The series has been a major hit, and Alexander inhabits the cities with fascinating characters in this lawless town, it is very reminiscent (in a good way) of HBO’s Deadwood. Really well-developed characters who stand out in a crowd…

Here is a spotlight on Luca, one of the main protagonists of the book (along with her girlfriend, Luca, a new arrival, Isaac, and the shapeshifting Monkfish)…

Volume 3 of the series is due out this year.

21. Felipe Smith

Felipe Smith first gained attention of the comic book world for his manga series MBQ, about a young black artist trying to make it as a comic book creator in Los Angeles. This led to his hit Japanese manga series (translated into English by Vertical Press) Peepo Choo, about the various sterotypes that Americans and Japanese have about each other – Smith skewers all of these stereotypes in an over-the-top fashion.

Smith designed the recent Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, but he has also done work for Marvel creating and writing the All-New Ghost Rider, which I’ve praised a lot in the past. I love the hero he came up with for the series, Robbie Reyes, who is a modern version of those classic Stan Lee/Steve Ditko type of heroes who are familiar with the concept of greet responsibility…

but also can be reckless, as well, before the grow as heroes, like how Robbie Reyes steals a car from the garage that he works in an attempt to win a high stakes race to get enough money to get himself and his brother out of town….

And when the cops show up during the race, Smith and his artist, Tradd Moore, give us a stunning example of Robbie realizing what is at stake here…

Smith’s Ghost Rider series has been an absolute blast. I hope we someday get more of it.

20. Eric Wallace

Longtime television writer and producer (Eureka for SyFy, currently writing and producing Teen Wolf for MTV), Eric Wallace had a significant stint at DC Comics following Final Crisis, beginning with the Final Crisis spin-off, Ink, starring the Tattooed Man…

Wallace’s initial work at DC had a compelling edge to it, which led DC to give him the relaunched Titans book, consisting of villains-for-hire.

However, Wallace’s writing is not just for the edgier stuff, as he was the initial writer on the New 52 Mister Terrific series, which embraced Terrific’s unique position as one of the most non-cynical superheroes out there – he’s not just a superhero, he’s an inventor, a philanthropist – he stands out in the best sort of ways.

19. Alex Simmons

Alex Simmons has done wonders for comics, and that’s not even counting his own work as a comic book writer! The curator of the Color of Comics art exhibition, as well as his work founding the Kids Comic Con, Simmons is wonderful when it comes to giving back to the comics community, especially the future generations of comic book fans. However, he is also an excellent comic book writer, working a lot for Archie Comics over the past few years, particularly on sort of “mini-series within series,” like a Jughead storyline where Jughead becomes a private detective, an excellent spotlight on the world of Chuck Clayton, comic book artist, in Archie and Friends, and the introduction of a whole pile of new kids to the world of Archie (many of whom have been transplanted into Mark Waid’s new Archie series). He also wrote (with artist Dan Parent) the hilariously offbeat storyline where Archie and Reggie Mantle get caught up in school politics and start claiming that President Obama endorsed Archie’s run for Class President while Sarah Palin endorsed Reggie, which leads to the President and Palin showing up in Riverdale to find out what the heck is going on here…

Go to the next page for #18-16!

18. Morrie Turner

In 1965, the great cartoonist Morrie Turner created the first nationally syndicated comic strip about an ethnically diverse group of characters with his Wee Pals series. The Wee Pals became so popular that they eventually got their own animated series, as well as a live action series in the Bay Area (where Turner lived).

Turner’s comics were marked by their sharp sense of humor and willingness to take a slightier edgier tone than most other cartoonists, including his mentor, Charles Schulz (who compelled Turner to creating the strip in the first place).

Here are some samples from 2008…

He also would teach kids about notable figures in his “Soul Circle” feature in the strip…

Turner passed away in 2014 at the age of 90. Wee Pals continues to this day, although I honestly do not know who writes and draws the strip now (it might just be reprints of Turner strips).

17. Fred Perry

Following his service in the first Gulf War, Fred Perry was inspired to write a manga-influenced series about an archaeologist, sort of like Indiana Jones, only with a more supernatural bent to it. Gina Babette Diggers, and her various friends and family members, has been exploring hidden worlds for over TWO DECADES now, as Pery’s Gold Digger series (which he writes and draws) has been going strong for over 200 issues!

Here’s a snippet from #200…

16. Jackie Ormes

Jackie Ormes was a legendary comic strip creator, working in the field when there were few black comic strip creators AND few female comic strip creators.

She produced a series of strips over her long and impressive career. She first began in 1937 with a strip in the Pittsburgh Courier (a prominent African-American newspaper of the time) called Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem about a young woman trying to make it as a singer…

After she moved to Chicago in the 1940s, she began in the Chicago Defender (one of the MOST prominent African-American newspapers of the time) what is probably her most popular strip, Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger, about two sisters where the older one is pretty but effectively mute while the younger one is clever and bold…

Later, when the Courier went to an all-color comic strip section, Ormes re-did Torchy Brown…

She even did fashion doll strips!

She retired in 1956, still at the top of her game, but continued as an artist for the rest of her life. She was a big fan of dolls, and thus it was a great honor to her that at one point in the late 1940s, she even helped produced Patty Jo dolls! Patty Jo dolls are now highly sought after collectibles.

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