Brumsic Brandon Jr., a pioneering comic-strip artist whose "Luther" was among the first to run in mainstream newspapers as a result of the turbulence of the 1960s, died in Cocoa Beach, Fla., Friday after battling Parkinson's disease. He was 87.
Morrie Turner's "Wee Pals,""Luther" and Ted Shearer's "Quincy" all debuted late in the civil rights movement and featured black or multiracial casts of children. Adults of color were considered too threatening. With characters such as "Miss Backlash,""Hardcore" and "Oreo," however, "Luther" was more firmly grounded in black life.
Brandon "started his career in comics at an early age, submitting strips for mainstream publication since the early 1940s," according to lambiek.net.
"He also made caricatures and cartoons, some of which were collected in 'Damned If We Do, and Damned If We Don't' in 1966. It wasn't until 1968 that he came up with 'Luther', a strip deliberately set in the working-class black ghetto and dealing less with race relations than with the universal human aspects of a child's struggle for survival."
"Brandon created 'Luther' for Newsday Specials, then a syndicate in Long Island, N.Y. The feature was later picked up by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and distributed by them until 1986," according to a family biography.
"With Luther, Brumsic Brandon was determined to 'tell it like it is' . . . and his daughter Barbara Brandon, who would go on to create her own strip 'Where I'm Coming From', assisted him for a while. . . ."
Brandon's demonstrated interest in children led to appointment as a forum member on the White House Conference on Children in 1970 and work as an illustrator and performer on New York-area children's shows, such as "Joya's Fun School"."He also wrote and illustrated several 'bebop fables' for 'Vegetable Soup,' which were narrated by Dizzy Gillespie," his bio says.
"During this time, Brandon also generated social commentary cartoons for 'Freedomways' magazine from 1963 to 1986 and for black media, later called Black Resources, from 1974 to 1989.
"From 1992 to 2002, Brandon created editorial cartoons and wrote a regular op-ed page column for 'Florida Today,' a Gannett newspaper. Many of his cartoons were included in 'Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year' from 1996 to 2003. . . "
Barbara Brandon-Croft announced on her Facebook page that services would take place Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Florida Memorial Gardens, 5059 S. US Highway 1, Rockledge, Fla. 32955. She said the family, which includes Washington writer Ivan C. Brandon, also hope to have memorial service in New York.