I'm always appreciative of discovering comics that I hadn't known existed for whatever reason, so I try to share with you all when I can. The S.O. and I recently watched the 1975 film, Friday Foster, starring Pam Grier and Yaphet Kotto. The movie was unintentionally laughable -- everything from a script that seemed to be missing every other page to random explosions for no reason to an insanely over-acted death scene by Carl Weathers to a soundtrack that sounded like it was written by a kid trying to emulate Peter Frampton. We had a laugh-riot mocking the Ruffles-eating police detective for hours after the movie ended.
Anyway, it turns out that the movie was based on a comic strip of the same name!
The strip was originally by Jim Lawrence (of Captain Easy and Joe Palooka fame) and Jorge Longaron (who was making his American comics debut here). The story revolved around Friday Foster, a model-turned-fashion-photographers'-assistant, and was a mixture of romance and adventure with some social commentary thrown in for good measure. The strip debuted on January 18, 1970 and lasted a scant four years, but did spawn a Dell-published comic book in 1972 and the aforementioned movie, which wasn't actually released until a year after the strips' cancellation. (The comic book can be read on the Femmes Fantastique blog here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three. The movie can be seen on Hulu here.)
The comic strip is generally cited as the first mainstream (i.e. nationally syndicated) strip featuring a black character in the title role. (Jackie Ormes' earlier Torchy didn't get widely distributed, and Ted Shearer's Quincy didn't debut until later in 1970.) As far as I've been able to determine, though, the original strips have never been collected and/or reprinted, an oversight that I wouldn't mind seeing corrected, especially in lieu of how little information about the strip is online!