Tribe #1

Story and Dialogue: Todd Johnson, Story and Art: Larry Stroman (Image Comics, 1993)


The Tribe (created by Todd Johnson and Larry Stroman) is an African American super-hero team operating out of New York. Blindspot, Shift, Rosalyn, Steel Pulse, The Front, Short Order and Hannibal make up the core team roster. When Tribe was released in 1993, it was well received by fans, selling over one million copies – making it the largest selling single issue of an African American comic created by African American creators. (Via


The Black Age of Comics (1990-1999) saw several Black owned publishing companies and Black creators emerge.  I believe it was inspired mainly by the Hip Hop cultural movement which began to make an impression on music, movies, comedy and literature.

If you look carefully you’ll see Black creators moved in one of two directions; either they were pro Black and catered only to Black readers (ANIA) or they championed “diversity” showcasing not only Black but other marginalized groups as well (Milestone Media).

Tribe, on the other hand, went straight to the source and targeted the Hip Hop community directly.  Unashamedly Black but not condescending.

Thong Song

Their unique approach has been immortalized by one single image; the voluptuous Rosalyn in her signature leather thong.  The image embodies the risks Johnson and Stroman were willing to take to cut through all of the hype surrounding Image comics in the early 90s.

And it paid off with a million copies of issue #1 sold. It continues to hold the record as the highest selling Black superhero comic book created by Blacks.


The After Party

After releasing issue 1 on Image, subsequent issues were released under their own imprint called Axis.

Axis produced Axis 1, issues 2 and 3 of Tribe, and a new title called Beasties.

Tribe Issue 0 was produced by Good Comics and concludes Tribe’s original 4 part story arc. 

No need to really discuss the “downfall” of the series and Axis because no one really survived the 90s.  The entire industry imploded on itself and Tribe was just another victim of that.


Collector Notes

With millions of copies sold of Tribe #1, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t find a raw copy in long boxes anywhere.  Cheap too. Due to its lack of scarcity.

The black cover, though iconic, is hard to find in high grade.

However, the all-white variant is highly sought after.  I’ve seen copies on eBay with prices ranging from $600 to $1000.

Download our FREE Beginner's Guide to Black Comic Book Collecting

In this beginner’s guide I have showcased 13 of the most important Black comics of the 1990’s.    Also included in this guide is a Collector’s Checklist that presents even more Black comics published during the 90’s.

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