The main entrance to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center is now open. Van Pelt Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library are currently open to Penn Card holders, Penn affiliates, and certain visitors. See our Service Alerts for details.

  • Lecture
  • Workshop

History of Material Texts: Making the First Black Comic Book

Sean Quimby, Director, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts


This event has already occurred

September 12, 2022, 5:15pm - 7:00pm
Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, 6th floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library and via Zoom
Open to the Public

Hosted by: Kislak Center

Front cover of All Negro Comics, 1947

Note: This event will be in person and also live-streamed. To receive a Zoom link for this seminar, please email Aylin Malcolm. For information about the Workshop in the History of Material Texts, please visit the website.

All-Negro Comics (1947) is generally regarded as the first comic book produced by and for African Americans. The man behind it, Philadelphia journalist Orrin C. Evans, imagined a sustained run with global distribution. But only one copy was ever produced. Understanding how and why All-Negro Comics was so short-lived requires us to examine the intersection of race and racism with the material contexts of comic book production and distribution in the 1940s. This talk aims to build on a growing scholarly literature around the history of race and comics by looking at the process by which All-Negro Comics might have made its way, in Evans’ words, from the “brush stroke(s) and pen line(s)” of its artists into the hands of readers.

Event Series

Image of Saint Jerome translating the Bible

Workshop in the History of Material Texts

The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is a weekly seminar with presentations by scholars on a wide variety of topics in book history, bibliography, manuscript studies, history of reading, publication and printing, and related topics.

Image: All-Negro Comics, no. 1 (June, 1947), Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.