Weird Fantasy #18 (Judgement Day)

Written by Al Feldstein, Artist  Joe Orlando (published by EC Comics, 1953)


Weird Fantasy is an anthology style comic book containing several science fiction stories.  The story “Judgement Day” and the controversy it caused is what makes this book a Black Comic Book GRAIL.  In the story, Tarlton, the Earthman, has landed on the planet Cybrinia, home to mechanical life; He is to judge whether or not Cybrinia will be allowed to “partake of the wonders of Earth.  In the final, now famous, panel of the story we find that the judge is a Black Man.


The story behind EC Comics’ “Judgment Day” is well documented.  GO HERE FOR DETAILS.

The character Tarlton is a Black man depicted in the distant future.  This makes “Judgment Day” historically one of the first “afro-futurist” tales in comics. (There are published cartoons that predate this comic book.  Namely, the comic strip Bungleton Green and Mystic Commandos in the 21st Century published by the Chicago Defender, 1944).

Contrary to popular belief, this is an IRONIC tale, not a heroic one.  The sole purpose of “Judgment Day” is to illustrate the shortcomings of American society during the 1950s. 

Techni-color Dreams

The final panel of this story, the one which reveals Tarlton to be a Black man, is the inspiration for the Black Comix Universe logo due to the POWER the image implies.

I don’t believe that the white-owned EC comics believed Black men and women would one day become their benevolent “masters” in the far future.  However, by making Tarlton the gatekeeper of “All of the wonders and greatness of earth” they inadvertently created a man akin to Joseph in the bible: a man who suffered the persecution of his so-called brothers; endured slavery to become the master of Egypt’s storehouses and his former oppressors’.

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