Panel from Barbara Brandon-Croft’s One Cartoonist’s Journey. 2023. Courtesy the artist

While comics have appeared in print since the late 1800s, it wasn’t until 1989 that “Black women characters drawn by a Black woman’s hand have been given a voice on the comics page in the mainstream press,” says cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft. Thirty-four years ago, her comic strip, “Where I’m Coming From,” was first published in the Detroit Free Press. Two years later—after she published an incisive letter about the lack of diversity in comics—Brandon-Croft’s work was picked up by the Universal Press Syndicate, making her the first Black woman to have her work nationally syndicated in mainstream newspapers.

“Where I’m Coming From” follows a cast of nine Black women as they discuss relationships, sexism, and racism. The stories are about “exposing what life is like from a perspective that is so often overlooked, ignored, or marginalized,” says Brandon-Croft. “And I take pride in having a cast of cartoon characters who are not caricatures.”

In this month’s Drawn to MoMA, the renowned cartoonist looks back on how her journey in comics started with her father, Brumsic Brandon Jr., who “by far left the biggest impression.” The story shows the importance of having people who advocate for us, and how we can pay that forward. For Brandon-Croft, the story of Black women in comics doesn’t begin or end with her. She urges emerging artists of color to keep drawing: “You’ll only improve! I’m sure you’ll figure out how to monetize your craft on the Internet long before I do…and you can give ME advice!”

Barbara Brandon-Croft was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island. After debuting her comic strip “Where I’m Coming From” in the Detroit Free Press in 1989, Brandon-Croft became the first Black woman cartoonist to be published nationally by a major syndicate. During its 15 year run, “Where I’m Coming From” appeared in over 65 newspapers across the USA and Canada, as well as Jamaica, South Africa, and Barbados. Her comics are in the collection of the Library of Congress. In February 2023, Drawn & Quarterly published her comics strips as a book delivering a spirited career compilation cut through with razor-sharp wit

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