Saturday, August 25, 2007

Morrie Turner at the San Diego Comic-Con

Meeting Mr. Morrie Turner at the Comic-Con was the highlight of the whole event....and not because he's an old Oakland native. Best known for creating the long-running comic strip Wee Pals, Morrie Turner had the first nationally syndicated strip to not only be written and drawn by an African American Artist, but also to feature an integrated cast of characters from diverse backgrounds. It was Turner's intention to portray a world without prejudice, a world in which people's differences - race, religion, gender, and physical and mental ability - are cherished, not scorned.

Back in 1982, when I landed on Plymouth Rock, the comic strip scene was pretty weak. Family Circle, Garfield, Dennis the Menace, B.C. and other comic strips in the Oakland Tribune had nothing exciting to offer. I got so bored that after a while, I could predict what Heatcliff or Dennis the Menace might to do next.

However, in the sea of comic strips, only Wee Pals stood out. It was not only educational but also entertaining.

I was lucky enough buy one of his original comic strips as a birthday gift for my brother-in-law, Ray. At 83 years young, Turner still draws Wee Pals from his home and continues to work with children in small cartooning programs in the inner city.

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