Today's comic strip artists dump more chauvinism, vicious racism, kinky sex, torture and horror into the inner recesses of American brain tissue—young and old—than any other known carrier of disease. Fortunately there are exceptions. One very great exception is Brusmic Brandon, Jr.I read that and thought, "Wow. How come I've never heard of this guy before?"
...Naturally, the artists are exceptionally talented and the financial rewards are exceptional—which of course makes Brandon even more exceptional because he's not only a brilliant cartoonist but also a Black one! Until his arrival, syndicate doors were firmly barred against Black cartoonists...
...The cartoonist is actually violating what has always been an American taboo, and that is to create non-white characters or even poor white characters who are human, sympathetic and even loveable. Brandon employs his irresistible humor to level the walls of racism. And what better stage setting could he devise than the schools and the kids they're trying to educate
Well, that's partly because Harrington's assessment, strictly speaking, is a bit inaccurate. All the originality and barrier-breaking that he attributes to Brandon should in fact go to Morrie Turner and his Wee Pals, which debuted a few years before Luther. That's not to say Brandon's work is derivative or lacking in any way; it's just that no one remembers the second man who walked on the moon. (And to be fair to Harrington, he had been living in Germany for about 15 years when he wrote that summary; it's no surprise he hadn't heard of Turner.)
It appears that none of the Luther collections are in print, and in fact most of the used copies available through Amazon don't even have a generic cover image to look at. Neither Luther nor Brandon have entries in Wikipedia, not even stubs. A Google search on "Brumsic Brandon" turns up more info on his daughter Barbara than on him. The most I can find on him (at least online) is his entry on Lambiek:
Brumsic Brandon Jr. was born in Washington DC in 1927. He started his career in comics at an early age, submitting strips for mainstream publication since the early 1940s. He also made caricatures and cartoons, some of which were collected in 'Damned If We Do, and Damned If We Don't' in 1966. It wasn't until 1968 that he came up with 'Luther', a strip deliberately set in the working-class black ghetto and dealing less with race relations than with the universal human aspects of a child's struggle for survival.Aside from the Luther collections, the only print work I can see on him is a reference in Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History, but the index says he's only mentioned on page 7, so I wouldn't expect anything expansive there. Seems to me that this is a big hole in comics research that needs to be plugged. Anyone want to try contacting this guy while he's still around?
With Luther, Brumsic Brandon was determined to "tell it like it is." The strip ran until June 1986, and his daughter Barbara Brandon, who would go on to create her own strip 'Where I'm Coming From', assisted him for a while. Brumsic Brandon is still an active cartoonist, columnist and avid traveler, always searching for new ideas.