Samuel Joyner – RIP

Editorial cartoonist Samuel Joyner has passed away.

Samuel R. (Sam) Joyner
February 7, 1924 – March 24, 2020

editorial cartoonist, illustrator, comics historian


From the Philadelphia Tribune obituary:

Often described as the visual voice for African Americans that was represented in mass-circulated magazines and newspapers, Joyner had a storied career as a teacher, cartoonist and illustrator since the 1940s.

Throughout his career, Joyner received numerous accolades, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from Temple University in 2002 as well as recognition from the National Newspapers Publishers Association and the Houston Sun.

“He had an amazing career,” said son Carl Joyner. “He did a lot of positive role models cartoons. He would also do a lot of editorials. He always tried to make a difference through his work and tell the stories of people in the community. He always tried to have a message in his work. His work was more political than happy drawings.”


From Samuel’s profile in Pioneering Cartoonists of Color:

In the years from 1947 into the new millennium, Joyner has been freelancing editorial cartoons and culturally specific illustrations for an impressive of Black press publications such as the Houston Sun in Texas, the Philadelphia Tribune, the Georgia Metro Courier, the Orlando Times in Florida, the Virginia New Journal and Guide, and the Buckeye Review in Ohio.

Samuel also accumulated a vast knowledge of Black cartoonists and has been selfless in passing on that information to such historians as Tim Jackson and Ken Quattro.
As Tim said in his introduction to Pioneering Cartoonists:

The task of finding information about the cartoonists in this book was made phenomenally easier when Samuel Joyner from Philadelphia, who also happened to be a pioneering cartoonist himself, contacted me. Joyner maintained files of tear sheets and clippings from various newspapers around the country that featured his comics. He amassed an overwhelming resource that documented African American cartoonists, illustrators, and graphic artists.

Samuel’s paper are archived at the Temple University Libraries Special Collections Research Center.


More information about Samuel Joyner is at The Ward.

Samuel wrote an autobiographical article for The Comics Journal in 1992.