There is a hesitation in calling something or someone the ‘first.’ More often than not, there are too many unknowns, too many what-ifs, too many complications for us to arrive at that designation with any certainty. We call Matt Baker “the first known African-American artist to find success in the comic book industry.” Today is the anniversary of his birthday and it presents us with a lot of questions.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.