African American Comic Book and Action Figure Hero Collection [Frank X Walker]
In 2014, the exhibit "We Wear the Mask: Black Superheroes Through the Ages" opened at the Lyric Cultural Arts Gallery and Museum in Lexington, KY. The exhibit was on display September 6, 2014 through January 5, 2015. All items in the exhibit belonged to Frank X Walker (NKAA entry); the exhibit represented only a portion of his overall collection. The size of the exhibit was a surprise to visitors, most of whom knew little or nothing about the many African American superheroes and superheroines in comic books or about the action figures and posters.
Frank X Walker's collection, one of the largest personal collections of its kind in the United States, is a serious venture he started almost 30 years ago. "Over 300 black action figures (and a few other non-white characters like Bruce Lee); 1,000 plus comic books and graphic novels featuring black characters; professionally-framed posters; and original art, including a 5-foot tall caped crusader carved by Lavon Van Williams, all make up the bulk of Frank X Walker's private collection, which also includes original paintings, African masks, musical instruments and stools, ethnic sculptures, and books that focus on positive representations of blacks and other people of color." - - [source: Frank X Walker, via Facebook chat, 10/01/2014]. For more about the collection, contact Frank X Walker at the University of Kentucky.
- WEB: For more about African American superheroes see Yolo Akili, "The History of the Black male superhero in comic books," Huffpost Black Voices, 1/24/2013 [online]. For images of Black superheroes and villains see the World of Black Heroes website; Africomics.com. Change the image. Change the mind; and Black Science Fiction Society.
- BOOKS: Black Comics: politics of race and representation, by S. C. Howard and R. L. Jackson, II; Negro Heroes, by the National Urban League (1947); and Black Comix: African American independent comics, art and culture, by D. Duffy and J. Jennings.
- ARTICLES: J. A. Brown, "Comic book masculinity and the new Black superhero," African American Review, vol. 33, no. 1, Spring 1999, pp. 25-42; M. Singer, "Black skins and white masks: comic books and the secret of race," African American Review, vol. 36, no. 1, Spring 2002, pp. 107-119; and P. Hirsch, "This is our enemy: the writers' war board and representations of race in comic books, 1942-1945," Pacific Historical Review, vol. 83.no. 3, August 2014, pp. 448-486.
- FILMS AND VIDEOS: White Scripts and Black Supermen: black masculinities in comic books, by J. Gayles et. al., California Newsreel, 2011; The Business Owners. No.8. Derek Dingle, by G. Borland and B. Nelson, Gloria Borland Media, 1993-1994; and Funky Turns 40, by M. A. Gonzales, et. al., Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 2/4/2014.