Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jill Jerold: Marvel's FIRST Black Woman!

Before Ororo Munroe was Storm...
Before Misty Knight was a Daughter of the Dragon...
...there was Jill Jerold, Marvel's first ongoing Black woman and third ongoing Black character*!
Debuting in Millie the Model #141 (1966), the British model reflected the fact that European fashion houses were already using Black and Asian models while mainstream American fashion shows didn't, at least until the end of the 1960s.
Created by Denny O'Neil and Stan Goldberg, Jill's first appearance had to have a special notation on the original art...
...as seen on the right side of the panel below...
...to indicate her coloring.
You'll note it's not quite right. It should be a combination of magenta, cyan, and yellow, but the color separator left out the yellow, giving her a grayish/violet skin tone.
When she next appeared, in Modeling with Millie #48...
...the separators got it right (at least on the cover)!
Inside the book, it was another story...
...as we join Millie and Chili returing from London, where they first met Jill...
Wow, Jill's having one hell of a first day, eh?
Be here tomorrow to see how things develop!
*The other two ongoing Black characters were Gabe Jones (in Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos and Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and the Black Panther (in Fantastic Four).

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2 comments:

  1. Great article. I got interested in Jill Jerold after reading this, and bought a copy of the Millie The Model 141.
    I thought her skin colour looked as if it had yellow in it, from your pictures.
    And I can now confirm that it does.
    Jill is coloured the same as all Marvel's black characters were at the time, IIRC:
    "Hulk grey."
    At least this is what I call the colour, having confirmed that it was the colour of the Hulk's skin in Hulk no.1. (A very generous friend let me have a look at his precious copy of the original comic.)
    The colour consists of 25% yellow, 25% red (magenta) and 25% blue (cyan).
    The colour separators would call it Y2R2B2 (as seen on the colour guides which you can buy - or look at - on eBay.)
    It is quite easy to tell apart from the 25% magenta 25% blue of R2B2, once you get your eye in.
    R2B2 is the colour of Batman's grey bits, at least up until late 1969.
    That was when DC started using 25% and 50% yellow for the first time, after Neal Adams talked Carmine Infantino into it.
    Before that, Batman was indeed dressed largely in violet.
    But that wasn't the colour of Jill's skin.
    I can send you high res close-up scans if you like, showing yellow dots.

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    Replies
    1. We're both partly right.
      There is yellow there, but not enough.
      Jill's skin color on the cover is Y/B2/R (Solid yellow, 25% Cyan, Solid Magenta)
      It's possible they were concerned it would print too dark on the interior newsprint as compared to the slick stock cover, and erred on the side of caution.
      IIRC, Gabe Jones had similar skin tone problems in several early issues of Sgt Fury...

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