“Negro America’s Favorite Cartoonist” – that’s what Langston Hughes called Ollie Harrington, whose cartoons and comic strips were a staple of America’s Black newspapers for decades starting in the 1930s. In his single-panel series “Dark Laughter,” Harrington brought out the vibrancy of Harlem life in its day, while serving some cutting looks at the politics of the time.
At the heart of “Dark Laughter” is Bootsie, a cunning, conning, girl-chasing ne’er-do-well who is nonetheless beloved in his Harlem community… if often reluctantly. Bootsie is both the victim of the world’s troubles and a frequent cause of them for others.
Here’s a collection of prime cartoons from the mid-1950s, drawn with the detailed joy that only Ol Harrington (who also worked as Oliver W. Harrington) could bring, finally available to a larger audience.
- Paperback : 155 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1949996352
- ISBN-13 : 978-1949996357
- Item Weight : 1.04 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.35 x 11 inches
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In the 1940s, the comics pages of America’s weekly Black newspapers were filled with characters both inspirational and aspirational. In addition to the life stories of great African Americans, there were fictional tales of Black reporters, Black detectives, Black government agents, Black aviators, Black people rising in the ranks of society, even Black superheroes, all to give their audiences the sense of the best that was possible.
Then there was Bootsie.
Bootsie was a liar, a womanizer, a layabout, a scammer, a cheat, and an all around disreputable dude. Among the denizens of Harlem he was scorned, threatened, detested… and yet nonetheless loved as a part of the community.
Collected in this book for the very first time are almost 150 “Dark Laughter” cartoons from 1941 through 1946, during which time Bootsie goes from being a draft evader to a draftee, an enlisted man, a serviceman on the ground in Europe, and ultimately to a veteran for the winning side. In these, cartoonist Ollie Harrington’s lively art captures the rich reality of Bootie’s world while telling tales that are sometimes joyous, sometimes very harsh, like the world itself.
- Paperback : 161 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1949996336
- ISBN-13 : 978-1949996333
- Item Weight : 10.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.41 x 9 inches
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