It is officially Black History month and I want to start it off by telling you the story of an African American artist by the name of Clarence Matthew Baker, also known as Matt Baker.
Baker was born on December 10th, 1921 in North Carolina. Baker and his two brothers moved to Pittsburgh, PA. with their parents. He graduated from high school in 1940, and moved to Washington working a government job.
Later on, Baker moved to New York city and there he studied art at the Cooper Union School of Engineering, Art and Design. Around 1944, he began his art career. He joined the S.M Igor Studio as a background artist.
For his first assignment, he was a penciller and inker for a comic called Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Unfortunately most of his work was inked by others who took credit for it. Baker had a good reputation as a skilled practitioner of drawing female forms, and one of the best “Good Girl” artist.
Baker became the principle artist of Sky Girl, which was a regular feature in Jumbo Comics in 1944. Later on Baker illustrated characters such as Lorna Dorne and Phantom Lady.
Baker is often known as the first most successful African American in comics. He was a hard worker. He would work for days and collapse into a deep sleep that would last for days. Many described him as handsome, cool and a nice dresser.
Baker continued to draw until his heart failed him. He died on August 11, 1959 from a heart attack in New York. In 2009, Matt Baker was introduced into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.
For more details on the life of Matt Baker, visit http://www.greatblackheroes.com/entertainment/matt-baker/