5 Impressive Facts About the First Black Woman Cartoonist

Jackie Ormes was the first Black woman to create, write and draw her own syndicated comic strip in the United States. For those who read and enjoy comics, you may realize that there are not a lot of female creators working on prominent characters for DC Comics and Marvel. However, in the 1930s, Ormes (born Zelda Mavin Jackson), was making a comic strip before Batman and Superman became the cultural icons they are now. She was a pioneer who deserves the same credit as Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, C.C. Beck, Joe Kubert and many others. Ormes was ahead of her time just like Orrin C. Evans.




Torchy Brown in ‘Dixie to Harlem’

Ormes’ first comic strip was published in the all-Black newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier from 1937-38. Above, you can see the extreme detail of her work. This strip showed the great migration of African-Americans moving to the North to escape the Jim Crow South. Torchy Brown is a teenage girl from Mississippi who goes to Harlem to find fame as a singer and dancer.