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Saturday, January 16, 2021 

Some history of Black comics artists as far back as the Golden Age

The Orange County Register posted an item about historian Ken Quattro's quest to find information on Black comics artists from the past century, including the notable illustrator Matt Baker, who created Phantom Lady, for a history book called Invisible Men:
Twenty years ago, comic book historian Ken Quattro began digging for information on an artist named Matt Baker.

“I couldn’t find anything about him anywhere,” says Quattro during a phone interview. “The only thing people knew, basically, was he died when he was young and he was Black.”

A comic book fan since the early 1960s who has written thousands of articles on the subject, Quattro kept searching and that quest resulted in his book “Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books,” published by IDW imprint Yoe Books.

“Invisible Men” profiles 18 artists who were primarily active during the Golden Age of comics, a period that covers the late 1930s through the mid-1950s. Quattro spent 15 years researching the book, which looks at the creative work of Elmer Stoner, Robert Pious, Owen Middleton and many more.

Quattro, who was a historical consultant for the film “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” and is an expert on the legendary cartoonist Will Eisner, eventually found out about Baker, who died in 1959 at the age of 37. A well-respected artist in his time, Baker was known for drawing women in the pinup style of the ’40s and ’50s, and his work became collectible in the decades to follow.

When Quattro began asking about the artist’s life, the common perception within the comic book world was that Black artists were extremely rare in the industry. But the more he researched the more he discovered that this assessment wasn’t quite accurate.
Well see, there have definitely been some, even if the racism of that era made it difficult to maintain a well known reputation. But you know what's really sad? Depending what these guys dealt with, chances are the sex-negative advocates of today would see to it that they're obscured anyway, because the artists in focus defied political correctness in ways they hate. Is it any wonder you see SJWs today deliberately erasing significant illustrators from history?

I applaud Quattro for his research, which helps prove any modern PC claims false. But it's a shame that there's only so many PC advocates who'll still pretend these notable Black artists never existed, and obscure their memory if they consider their art contrary to their twisted beliefs.

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Matt Baker didn't create Phantom Lady. She was busy fighting crime long before she met him. He did become one of her most notable artists though.

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