Friday, February 1, 2013

FRIDAY FOSTER "Meet Friday Foster"

Over forty years ago, history was made...
...on January 18, 1970, Friday Foster became the FIRST mainstream syndicated comic strip to star a Black woman as the title character.
Here's the first seven never-reprinted Sunday strips...
(Jackie Ormes' earlier Torchy Brown was, unfortunately, only published in black-owned newspapers which had relatively-limited circulation.)
Friday Foster was also the FIRST mainstream comic strip to star a Black title character, male OR female!
(The humor strip Quincy by Ted Shearer debuted later in 1970!)

Writer Jim Lawrence was no stranger to newspaper adventure strips, having previously written Captain Easy and Joe Palooka.
After his stint on Friday, he scripted a revived Buck Rogers comic strip based on the 1980 tv series!
And, he penned a 1970s paperback novel series, Dark Angel, about a Black female private eye!

Artist Jorge Longaron had done a number of comic strips in Europe, but was unknown in America. Friday was his Stateside strip debut.

The series was a combination of adventure, soap-opera, and social commentary, about former fashion model-turned-photographer's assistant (and later professional photographer and model) Friday Foster.
Supporting characters included photographer Shawn North (her boss and later business partner) and millionare playboy/romantic interest Blake Tarr.
The strip lasted until late 1974, with some of the final sequences illustrated by DC Comics legend Dick Giordano and a then up-and-comer named Howard Chaykin (American Flagg, The Shadow)!

Besides the strip, there was a one-shot comic book in 1972, and a feature film in 1975 (a year after the strip was canceled) starring action-movie goddess Pam Grier as Friday,
Thalmus Rasulala as Blake Tarr, Yaphet Kotto as Detective Colt Hawkins, plus Eartha Kitt, Jim Backus, Godfrey Cambridge, and in one of his earliest roles, Carl Weathers, as an un-named assassin!
While there was a soundtrack album, curiously, I've never seen a novelization (and, in the '70s, they did novelizations of movies that weren't even released in the US, just shown overseas)!

If you're looking for a cool gift for the Black History aficionado or grrrl hero fan in your life, you can't go wrong with a Friday Foster mug, bag, shirt or other goodie from Atomic Kommie Comics™!

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