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*Alvin Hollingsworth was born on this date in 1928. He was a Black painting artist and one of the first Black artists published in comic books.
Alvin Carl Hollingsworth was born in Harlem, New York, to West Indian parents and began drawing at age 4. By 12, he was an art assistant on Holyoke Publishing's Cat-Man Comics. He attended The High School of Music & Art. In 1941, he began illustrating crime comics. Since it was not standard practice during this era for comic-book credits to be given routinely, total credits are difficult to find.
Hollingsworth's first confirmed comic-book work is the four-page war comics story "Robot Plane." Found in Aviation Press' Contact Comics #5 (cover-dated March 1945), he penciled and inked his name. Through the remainder of the 1940s, he drew for Holyoke's Captain Aero Comics (as Al Hollingsworth) and Fiction House's Wings Comics. There did the feature "Suicide Smith" sporadically from 1946 to 1950. He is identified under the initials "A. H." as an artist on the "Captain Power" feature in Novack Publishing's Great Comics in 1945. He drew for several publishers and series in the following decade, credited as Alvin Hollingsworth or A. C. Hollingsworth.
They include Avon Comics' The Mask of Dr. Fu Manchu; Premier Magazines' Police Against Crime; Ribage's romance comic Youthful Romances; and such horror comics as Master Comics' Dark Mysteries and Trojan Magazine's Beware. As Al Hollingsworth, he drew at least one story each for Atlas Comics, Premier Magazines, and Lev Gleason Publications. One standard source credits him, without specification, as an artist on stories for Fox Comics (the feature "Numa" in Rulah, Junglecommon, and "Bronze Man' in Blue Beetle) and war stories for the publisher Spotlight.
Historian Shaun Clancy, citing Fawcett Comics writer-editor Roy Ald as his source, identified Hollingsworth as an artist on Fawcett's Negro Romance #2 (Aug. 1950). In the mid-1950s, he worked on newspaper comic strips including Kandy (1954-1955) from the Smith-Mann Syndicate, as well as Scorchy Smith (1953-1954) and, with George Shedd, Marlin Keel (1953-1954). During the 1960s, Hollingsworth taught illustration at the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan.
Fine art career
Hollingsworth left comics for a career as a fine art painter and teacher. From 1980 until retiring in 1998, he taught art at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York. As a painter, his subjects included such contemporary social issues as civil rights women and African Americans and jazz and dance. He painted an African Jesus Christ and told Ebony magazine in 1971, "I have always felt that Christ was a Black man," and said the subject represented a "philosophical symbol of any of the modern prophets who have been trying to show us the right way. To me, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are such prophets."
He was an authority on fluorescent paint, he worked in figurative and abstract art. In 1963, he, Romare Bearden, and William Majors formed the group Spiral to help the American Civil Rights Movement through art exhibitions. During the 1960s, he directed an art program teaching young students commercial art and fine art at the Harlem Parents Committee Freedom School.
Hollingsworth was married to his wife Marjorie and had children Kim, Raymond, Stephen, Kevin, Monique, Denise, and Jeanette. He was living in New York's Westchester County at the time of his death at age 72 on July 14, 2000.
Hollingsworth, A. C. I'd Like the Goo-Gen-Heim: writer-illustrator, children's book (1970; reprinted Guggenheim Foundation, 2009)