Tag Archives: African-Americans

Too Much Information

Minorities in cartoons: “Unshelved”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is the webcomic “Unshelved.” The strip’s written by Gene Ambaum and drawn by Bill Barnes, and debuted in 2002. “Unshelved” features the daily goings-on at the “Mallville Public Library” and its staff of librarians. (Wikipedia claims the library’s name is a play on “Smallville” of Superman fame.) The strip makes fun of various aspects of life at a public library; besides writing “Unshelved,” Ambaum also works as a librarian himself. The main characters deal with both each other and with the library’s patrons. Among…

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Jakeem Thunder

Minorities in cartoons: Jakeem Thunder

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Jakeem Thunder. Jakeem first appeared (under his original name “J.J. Williams”) in “The Flash” (vol. 2) #134 in February 1998, and was created by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Paul Ryan. Jakeem’s backstory states he grew up in Keystone City, the home of the original Flash (Jay Garrick) and the third Flash (Wally West). Jakeem came from a tough background (orphaned at a young age, etc.), and adopted a similarly tough attitude (including a foul mouth) in response. Meanwhile,…

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"Daria" logo

Minorities in cartoons: “Daria”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is the TV series “Daria.” A spinoff of “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “Daria” aired on MTV from 1997 to 2002. The series starred Daria Morgendorffer, an acerbic, cynical teenager who, in this spinoff, is shown moving from the fictional blue-collar town of Highland (the setting of “Beavis and Butt-Head”) to the also-fictional town of Lawndale, an upper-class community. Besides Daria, the Morgendorffer family (who she had little in common with) included her vapid-but-more-popular younger sister Quinn, her workaholic mother Helen, and panicky…

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Clay Walker and Kevin Keller's wedding

Minorities in cartoons: Clay Walker

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Clay Walker, a character in Archie Comics. (SPOILERS aplenty about the “Life With Archie” series below…) Clay exists in Archie’s “Life With Archie” series, which has just concluded as of this writing. The series presented the Archie gang as twentysomethings. Each issue featured two different alternate futures: one in which Archie married Betty, another where Archie married Veronica. Both futures had similar events. For instance, both futures saw Moose finally dumped by Midge due to his violent temper, which…

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War Machine

Minorities in cartoons: War Machine

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is James “Rhodey” Rhodes, an Iron Man supporting character who’s best known as the superhero “War Machine.” Rhodey first appeared in “Iron Man” #118 (January 1979), and was created by David Michelinie and Bob Layton. His debut as War Machine came in “Iron Man” #284 (September 1992). Rhodey’s backstory states he served in the military as a Marine on tours of duty in southeast Asia. While he was originally involved in the Vietnam War, comic book time’s retconned the war involved in…

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The Princess and the Frog

Minorities in cartoons: “The Princess and the Frog”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.” Released in 2009, “Princess” was Disney’s first feature-length theatrical animated film (and first “Princess” film) with an African-American star. Based on the old fairy tale “The Frog Prince,” the film’s plot centers around Tiana, a young woman living in 1920s New Orleans whose dream is opening her own restaurant. Not being wealthy (far from it), she’s working hard at a restaurant to try to raise funds to open her own eatery. Meanwhile, Prince Naveen, a…

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Fillmore

Minorities in cartoons: “Fillmore!”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is the Saturday morning series “Fillmore!” Airing on ABC from 2002 to 2004, the series was produced by Disney. “Fillmore!” focused on its titular character Cornelius Fillmore, a bald 12-year-old African-American kid who was once a juvenile delinquent. Caught planning to steal a shipment of chalk from his school (“X Middle School,” supposedly located in the Twin Cities per Wikipedia), the school’s safety patrol gave him a choice: help solve a case or spend the rest of middle school in detention. Fillmore…

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Not Invented Here: Runtime Error

Minorities in cartoons: “Not Invented Here”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is “Not Invented Here,” a webcomic about the staff of a software development company. The webcomic started in 2009, and is created by Bill Barnes, Paul Southworth, and Jeff Zugale. The strip’s lead characters consist of Owen and Desmond, a program manager and a developer respectively. Owen, a thin Caucasian man with a goatee, is the goofier of the two. However, that’s not by much, seeing as his best friend Desmond (a heavy-set bald African-American man) is also prone to odd behavior,…

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Keith White

Minorities in cartoons: Keith White

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Keith White, a minor supporting character in the Superman comics. Keith first appeared in “Superman: Man of Steel” #1 in 1991, and was created by Louise Simonson. Keith was introduced as a young boy sent to live in a Metropolis orphanage after his mother, suffering from AIDS-related complications, was unable to continue caring for him. One day, while wandering underground, Keith was caught and kidnapped by “Underworlders,” genetic experiments-gone-wrong (long story) who were living underneath Metropolis. Telling Keith they were…

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Minorities in cartoons: Dave Stevens and Tina Ames

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is another two-fer: Dave Stevens and Tina Ames, who (as far as I can tell) hold the distinction of being the first recurring African-American characters in Superman comics. Dave first appeared in “Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane” #106 (November 1970), while Tina first appeared in “Lois Lane” #114 (September 1971); both were created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Werner Roth. Astute readers may recall that “Lois Lane” #106 is one of the most (in)famous issues in Lois’ Silver/Bronze…

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