Creator of the ‘Wee Pals’ comic strip Morrie Turner dies at 90.
By Dennis Stokes
‘Wee Pals’ daily by Morrie Turner, dated November 8th, 1965, from the first year of the strip. Courtesy of The SEKOTS studios Collection of Original Comic & Cartoon Art.
The comic industry lost one of its great voices earlier this year when on January 25th Wee Pals creator Morrie Turner passed away peacefully at a hospital in Sacramento.
Morrie created his beloved comic strip Wee Pals in 1965. From it’s humble beginnings, debuting February 15th, 1965 in just five newspapers, Wee Pals went on to become the first nationally syndicated comic strip by a black cartoonist.
There have been many noted African-American cartoonists both before and after Morrie Turner; most notably, George Herriman (Krazy Kat), E. Simms Campbell (Cuties), Jackie Ormes (Torchy Brown), and Robb Armstrong (Jump Start).
However, the ‘Wee Pals’ creator was the first to create a comic strip which not only addressed but also embraced the subject of both ethnic and cultural diversity.
With a cast of characters that quite literally spanned the color spectrum in terms of nationality and race, Morrie Turner not only spoke of the vision of equality he shared with Martin Luther King, Jr. but from the mouths of his characters a rally cry of “Rainbow Power” echoed across the comic page and beyond.
Morrie taught tolerance through his funny words and pictures and he will be sadly missed.