WATERBURY, CT– When he was growing up in urban Philadelphia in the 1950s, William H. Foster III enjoyed reading and collecting comic books. But as an African-American, he seldom saw himself or his community reflected in their story lines.
A professor of English and communication at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Foster’s interest in the issue has inspired extensive research into the images of black Americans portrayed in comics, images that often provide a telling mirror for society and race relations throughout history.
“Blacks were deliberately left out of comics and American society for many years,” said Foster. “On those rare occasions when we were included, we were misrepresented as savages, cannibals, simpletons, and worse.”
Foster will hold his first book signing for “Dreaming of a Face like Ours” from 12 – 2 pm on Saturday, July 24, at the Legends of Superheroes comic book store, 1655 Straits Turnpike in Middlebury.
“The premise of my book is to continue sharing the un-told history of Black comics,” said Foster. “My research will document this important history both fair and foul, for all time, while there are still traces of it left.”
Foster, a Middletown resident, is a long-time comic book collector and researcher. He has appeared on CNN and National Public Radio as a commentator on the issue of blacks in comics. His exhibit “Changing Image of Blacks in Comics” has been displayed at a number of venues across the country, including Temple University’s Paley Library and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City.