The opening of the massive Comic-con convention last week provided days of comic book related news coverage. However, few of the images from that event were of African Americans. The dearth of African American perspectives in mainstream comic books inspired many black artists to create webcomics. Webcomics are online sites that present a story in comic book form. The success of Boondocks and the current global recession were motivators for many of these artists to try their hand at starting an online webcomic business. These five webcomics present a sample of African American entrepreneurs who are presenting a different perspective on the web.
Created by Houston based artist Fave, A Pug Named Fender chronicles the adventures of a pug as he enjoys the thrills of barbecue, music, technology, and other essentials that make life worth living. This recently launched webcomic has already featured guest appearances by soul music artists like Questlove. New episodes of A Pug Named Fender are posted every Tuesday and Thursday.
Michelle Billingsly created JOE! to capture the life the title character, a rambunctious 10 year old. This webcomic doesn’t just focus on Joe and has created a cast with well developed characters. There is no regular update schedule, but new strips come out about twice a month.
George Ford publishes Addanac City which depicts the shenanigans of Hank Addanac. It’s an interesting mix of Calvin and Hobbes and Phineas and Ferb. Ford keeps a rigorous schedule of publishing seven comics a week that goes back to August 2008. The cast is very diverse and both the writing and art show a high degree of quality.
Charles Arrington’s Redux Deluxe covers the adventures of three boys named CJ, Chris, and Rob as they try to retrieve a lost basketball from a neighborhood girl named Angela. Containing many references to comic book and video game culture, new episodes of Redux Deluxe come out twice a week.
Phoenix artist Frank Jordan publishes a new Company Man strip five days a week. I offers a humorous look at the lives of a diverse cast of characters. The content of the humor make it a webcomic for mature readers.
The artists behind these five webcomics are using new media to present the diverse perspectives of African Americans through the comic art form. Both the comic book and webcomic industries tend to be representative of white culture, and these webcomics offer a refreshing dose of color commentary.