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African American Comic Collection

Identifier: ARL246

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of superhero, historical figure, athlete, and Western-themed comic books from approximately 1950 to 2009. The comics primarily feature African American characters and showcase the various ways Black people have been depicted in pop culture throughout the world.


  • circa 1950-2009

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

While comic book storylines have historically been dominated by white protagonists, the latter part of the 20th century saw a progression in the depiction of Black characters. During the 1930s and 1940s, Black characters based largedly on racist stereotypes played minor roles in comic books. By the 1950s and 1960s, superhero and historical figure genre comic books began featuring Black characters as more central figures in storylines. Beginning in the 1970s, an influx of Black superheroes filled prominent roles in mainstream series at Marvel Comics and DC Comics. Comic books highlighting African American athletes were published in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


3 boxes (3 linear feet)

Language of Materials




Spanish; Castilian

Dutch; Flemish

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Kevin Jackson, 2010. Gift, Shelley Stash, 2018.

Condition Description

Older serials in Box 3 (Buck Taylor, Kansas Jack, and Bibi Fricotin) have damaged bindings. Due to their fragile nature, they should be handled with care.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Repository

2401 Welton St.
Denver Colorado 80205