Have you ever wondered why black characters in recent cartoons are so badly drawn? The ones above are from Clampett's "Coal Black" in the mid 40s and they're drawn great, but take a look at the ones from modern cartoons like "Bebe's Kids" and "Boonedocks"....Arrrgh! What happened?
I really don't know what happened but I'll make a guess.
"Coal Black" was considered racist by some critics and was taken out of circulation. Later artists, many of whom had never seen Coal Black, were forced to reinvent the wheel and come up with a whole new way of drawing funny black people. That's a tough problem. When I try to draw a funny white guy I can reference Elmer Fudd and dozens of others. I don't have to start from scratch. I can reference a tradition. Artists who try to reference the tradition of funny black drawings have a door closed in their face.
Let me make it clear where I stand about racial issues. I can't stand racists or racism. I would never do anything to promote racism. But even I can see that that the ban on Coal Black is handicapping the development of funny black cartoons. History will never forgive us if we let the hip-hop era slip through our fingers without comedic comment. Warners doesn't have to put Coal Black on TV but it should at least make it available on DVD where artists, including black artists, can get hold of it.