Monday, August 18, 2008

Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist

Title: Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist
Author: Nancy Goldstein
Yearly Count: 49
Pages: 225

A stunning book, filled with cartoons by Jackie Ormes, who was the first African American woman cartoonist. There are many black and white cartoons, as well as many pages in full colour. Her characters: Torchy Brown, Candy and Patty- Jo 'n' Ginger bring full-on delight! The expertise and artistic ability of Jackie Ormes cannot be questioned after even just setting eyes on this tome. The fine lines, bold lettering, and witty bubbles are just a start of what this amazing cartoonist gave to her readers. There is an incredible power behind her cartoons, the pride she feels in her heritage, and wants to pass on is at the forefront of every page in this book.

Not only was Jackie Ormes an exceptional cartoonist, she was also a firm believer in the joys of children, and began making her own line of dolls as well. She wanted African American little girls to have a doll they felt was their own, a doll that looked like them. Jackie wanted these young women to fester up their pride in who they were from the start, knowing full well that they were still in a difficult period for African American women to walk in the freedoms that were easily enjoyed by their Anglo counterparts. This was HUGE since, all the other African American dolls in the 20's were stereotypical raggedy little boys and girls, or mammies and "picaninnies".

I enjoyed this book, however there is one thing that really did not sit well with me. The sexualness of the female characters in Jackie Ormes cartoons is offensive to me now, I can't imagine would have been hapily accepted then. Page after page I felt that she was selling sex, and wanted people to stare at the overly emphasized breasts and tiny wastes on her lead female characters. It just is way too sexual, and feels pushy. However I say this in no way to discard all that this woman did for the African American community, and her involvement in political standpoints, African American pride, and so on....the overtly sexualness of it all though, I just don't get it.

For more info, go to the Jackie Ormes website

1 comment:

Minkberry said...

Overtly sexual content is characteristic of all comics of that era (even today's), Archie and Jugghead, Betty and Veronica, Josie and the Pussy Cats etc... If anyone follows comic trends know that many of the topics and styles are aimed for adults. The sexual tones are no different then those of white comics.