40 Years of Funky

Today’s Saturday morning cartoon post is about a new exhibit on black cartoon characters up at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (host to the Black Comics Fest a few weeks ago).

Specifically charting the increasingly positive depictions of black characters in cartoons from the 1970s, the show is actually the first traveling exhibit of the Museum of Uncut Funk, founded by Sista ToFunky (favorite comic? Heroes for Hire) in 2009.

The show features characters like the Jackson 5ive, Harlem GlobeTrotters, and of course Fat Albert:

One noteworthy cartoon here is “Kid Power“, which I’d never heard of, but was based on Morrie Turner‘s nationally syndicated multicultural comic strip Wee Pals.  Turner died in January of this year.

If you can’t make it to New York, you can see selections from the museum’s animation collection online.

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Chen’s Sci-Operas

Continuing with this week’s InsightALT festival for new opera, first comes the news that all events, starting with tonight’s master-class with soprano Catherine Malfitano, will be live-streamed here, by Opera Music Broadcast.  Not sure what the relation between the two is, but American Lyric Theater‘s YouTube channel does have lots of full video of past events, so guess it’s legit!  On the other hand, you can still buy tickets here!

Anyway, the first opera performed this week is by Justine F. Chen, on Thursday at 7pm (PS: happy last week of APAHM!).  Her opera is The Turing Project, about computer science pioneer Alan Turing.  Any operatic depiction of science should be interesting, and Justine has actually gone to that well before for American Lyric Theater, as evidenced by this one-act opera, “On the Origin”, about Darwin:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycabM18s5lQ&w=350&h=300]

This was created as part of American Lyric Theater‘s Composer Librettist Development Program, pairing composers with writers for a pretty fun-sounding curriculum on the words & music collaboration…  If any of my readers are interested though, you’ll have to wait until next year to apply  : P

To prepare for Thursday, you can also visit Chen’s site for some audio samples of past works, including operas, monodramas, and songs.

MoCCA Fest Award Winners

Ghost Hotel by Kim Ku

Ghost Hotel, copyright Kim Ku, 2013 MoCCA Fest Award winner

If you remember as far back as this year’s MoCCA Fest (the first under the new leadership of the Society of Illustrators), you’ll remember one of their new additions was a juried award for exhibitors.  Well, the lucky 7 winners are the subject of a new exhibit at the Society opening today, but partiers-in-the-know will wait for the free reception tomorrow night, from 6 to 10.

I sadly missed some really neat sounding exhibits at the Society in the mad dash that was the end of last semester, so I’m ready to get back in the swing of things… And coincidentally, I know someone in my library science program who knows one of the winners!  So looking forward to blending my library and comic museum worlds in one night…

And since I’ve been slacking on the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month front, here’s Kim Ku, one of this year’s MoCCA Fest Award winners!  As a future librarian, I find this cardigan zine very compelling…

Ghost Cardigan zine by Kim Ku

Ghost Cardigan zine, copyright Kim Ku

It’s also neat to see that her silkscreened books have been collected by the Brooklyn Museum Library and Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library; those are some cool librarians!

Johnny Wanders to Japan

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the US, so to celebrate here’s Yuko Ota‘s brief travelogue about a 2012 trip to Japan to visit family.

Japan Travelogue, 2012, by Yuko Ota

Japan Travelogue, April 2012, copyright Yuko Ota & Ananth Panagariya

Yuko is the drawing half of the Brooklyn-based Johnny Wander autobio webcomic duo (alongside writing half Ananth Panagariya), which I featured way back in the blog’s early days.  Between half-Japanese and…  Indian, I guess?  they’re an APAHM double whammy, oh yeah!

Last Day for Women’s History!

Woah!  Comics Beat is wringing the juice out of the last days of Women’s History Month with a series of short, sweet, and freqeuent features on cartoonists who happen to be female, “24 Hours of Women Cartoonists”!  Looks like a great way to get to know a bunch of new artists quick, so hop on over!  (Easter bunny pun!)

Jess Ruliffson

Copyright Jess Ruliffson

Jess Ruliffson is just one of the many featured artists (featured on BT before as well), and her journalistic biographical work with military veterans in conjunction with the Joe Bonham Project was featured in an earlier interview with Comics Beat.  Interesting stuff.

Gender through Comics

If you like discussing gender and society and you love comics, the free Gender through Comic Books online class from Muncie, Indiana’s Ball State University may be the MOOC for you (that’s Massive Open Online Course, btw).  Taught by doctoral assistant Christina Blanch, you can see the assigned reading list on Comixology.  Sort of an appropriate way to mark Women’s History Month, even if it does start in April… 

Enroll here; class starts next week on April 2nd.

I learned about this from DC Women Kicking Ass which, despite it’s narrow-sounding focus, is still a great place for anyone concerned about representations of women and diversity in general in maisntream American comics. 

Jackie Ormes

For my last Black History Month post, here’s a midcentury cartoonist who’s been popping up all over the place lately.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmdHOkB1SHA&w=350&h=300]

Jackie Ormes (1911-1985) was a Chicago-based cartoonist whose work appeared in African-American newspapers from the 1930s to the 1950s.  Her black female characters were like her: stylish, intelligent, and politically conscious (apparently she was investigated by the FBI during McCarthyism which is a badge of honor in my book).

Torchy Brown in “Dixie to Harlem” by Jackie Ormes, 1930s? From the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at OSU

In 2008, Nancy Goldstein wrote a biography of Ormes, which may account for the recent flurry of attention?  Having never heard of her, in the past week or so she’s popped up on three comics news sites I regularly visit, which is great!

The images here come from a blog post from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at Ohio State University, which is something I should look into as an aspiring librarian…  Appropriately, they also recently announced a Guide to Multicultural Resources highlighting work by African-American, Latino, and Asian-American cartoonists in their collection, so check that out.

Torchy in Heartbeats by Jackie Ormes, 1951.  From the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at OSU

Ormes is the namesake for the Ormes Society, a group dedicated to supporting black women in the comics business today, so Ormes also serves as a nice bridge between Black History Month and Women’s History Month in March!  Expect that Lady Creators tag to keep on growing…