Photo: Tom Abbott
July 26, 2014 (San Diego) One of the artists inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Comics Industry was Orrin C. Evans. He was born in Steelton, Pennsylvania in 1902, and died in 1971.
Professor William H. Foster III accepted the award. According to Foster, Evans was part of “generations of people who worked; have been working in anonymity.”
Foster said that “unlike today when there is a concerted effort to create and showcase a variety of comic book characters, back in 1947 there were few.” He added, “Orrin Evans decided there was time for a change.”
Evans was an award-winning journalist with the Philadelphia Tribune, which was the oldest African American newspaper in America; using his own funds he published All Negro Comics #1. This book was full of heroes that were black. It also had criminals, but most importantly did not have the stereotypes common to that era.
This was a very different country. It was a country where segregation and Jim Crow laws were still in effect in the South. Those would not go away until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s. It was also a country where making waves could be dangerous.
The cover price was fifteen cents, which was “a princely sum at the time.” Collectors also consider this an extremely rare book.
Foster said, “Tonight the Eisner Awards honors Orrin Evans for his brave effort to bring color to the palette of American Comic Books.”