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Our Highest Recommendation. By Ken Quattro. Art by Matt Baker, Adolphe Barreaux, A.C. Hollingsworth, Cal Massey, E.C. Stoner, Owen Middleton, et al. Read the riveting stories of Black artists who drew–mostly covertly behind the scenes–superhero, horror, and romance comics in the early years of the industry. An in-depth, highly original look at each of these important illustrators, offering intimate details of their life and work like never done before. This is a gem of a book, put together by the incredibly painstaking researcher who’s offering all comic fans new ground to be enjoyed. Yoe Books. 2020.

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Read the riveting stories of Black artists who drew–mostly covertly behind the scenes–superhero, horror, and romance comics in the early years of the industry. An in-depth, highly original look at each of these important illustrators, offering intimate details of their life and work like never done before. This is a gem of a book, put together by the incredibly painstaking researcher who’s offering all comic fans new ground to be enjoyed.

  1. The life stories of each man’s personal struggles and triumphs are represented as they broke through into a world formerly occupied only by whites. Using primary source material from World War II-era Black newspapers and magazines, this compelling book profiles pioneers like E.C. Stoner, a descendant of one of George Washington’s slaves, who became a renowned fine artist of the Harlem Renaissance and the first Black artist to draw comic books. His Sally the Sleuth was one of the rare pulp comic strips that made the leap to comics themselves, toned down from nudity to for kid-friendly fare, He wrote AND drew his creation Phantasmo for Dell’s The Funnies, was a mainstay artist on The Blue Beetle, and co-created The Challenger, the first every comic featuring minority characters in a positive light.

Also fascinating is Owen Middleton who was sentenced to life in Sing Sing. Middleton’s imprisonment became a cause célèbre championed by Will Durant, which led to Middleton’s release and subsequent comics career.

Then there is Matt Baker, the most revered of the Black artists, whose exquisite art spotlights stunning women and men, and who drew the first groundbreaking Black comic book hero, Vooda!

The book is gorgeously illustrated with rare examples of each artist’s work, including full stories from mainstream comic books from rare titles like All-Negro Comics and Negro Heroes, plus unpublished artist’s photos. Invisible Men features Ken Quattro’s impeccable research and lean writing detailing the social and cultural environments that formed these extraordinary, yet invisible, men!

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