Virginia Commonwealth University Acquires Rare Copy of All-Negro Comics No. 1

comicVirginia Commonwealth University in Richmond has more than 175,000 volumes in its Comic Arts Collection, including more than 125,000 comic books. The university recently acquired a rare copy of All-Negro Comics No. 1, the first comic book written and drawn solely by African American writers and artists.

The 48-page comic book was published in 1947 and features characters such as police detective Ace Harlem and Lion Man, a college-educated scientist and superhero. All-Negro Comics No. 1 was published by Philadelphia newspaperman Orrin C. Evans.

A letter from the publisher in All-Negro Comics No. 1 reads: “Dear Readers: This is the first issue of All-Negro Comics, jam-packed with fast action, African adventure, good clean humor and fantasy. Every brush stroke and pen line in the drawings on these pages are by Negro artists. And each drawing is an original: that is, none has been published ANYWHERE before. This publication is another milestone in the splendid history of Negro journalism. All-Negro Comics will not only give Negro artists an opportunity gainfully to use their talents, but it will glorify Negro historical achievements.”

It was the first and only published comic in the series.

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