Blondie, Meet Herb And Marcy

Long shut out of the mainstream, black cartoonists are now livening up the nation's funny pages

For years, the funny pages have been no laughing matter for blacks and other Americans of color. They seldom saw themselves in newspaper comic strips, which were as segregated as the society whose goings-on they caricatured. Suddenly, however, the color barriers are falling down. As rap music goes mainstream and movies by black directors like Spike Lee and John Singleton become mass-audience hits, African-American cartoonists are tickling the public fancy in newspapers across the country.

Four of the artists have joined the big leagues of national syndication within just the past three years. The most successful is Ray Billingsley, 34, of...

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