Monday, February 11, 2013
Huey Freeman's Future Histories
Years from now, we might add Huey Freeman to a list of notable black historical figures from the early 21st century. Sure, he was a comic strip character, but the fact that someone is fictive doesn't prevent them from becoming a notable culture hero.
Huey began gaining a national following in April 1999 when Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks became syndicated in newspapers across the country. As the revolutionary minded 10-year-old black boy protagonist of the comic strip, Huey was hard to overlook. Rarely, if ever, had a figure like this showed up on the comics pages of daily papers.
Fictive cultural figures such as John de Conqueror, Stagolee, and Shine, as well as real-life radicals including Che, Malcolm X, and members of the Black Panther Party served as inspirations for McGruder's lead character, who routinely found himself facing troubling odds. Readers are often drawn to Huey in part because they sympathize with someone who is regularly misunderstood and surrounded by uncaring, selfish people.
Huey's status as a black nerd and militant and his links to past culture heroes are among his enduring qualities that will make him stand out as a memorable historical character in the near future.
• Future Histories project