Torchy Brown

Real Name

Torchy Brown

First Appearance

Torchy Brown in "Dixie to Harlem" (Sept. 4, 1937)

Original Publisher

Pittsburgh Courier

Created by

Jackie Ormes


The emergence of Torchy Brown marked the first appearance of an independent African-American woman in a nationally syndicated comic strip. Torchy's self-reliance drove her to leave her Mississippi home at an early age and pursue her dreams of performing on stage, ultimately becoming a staple act at Harlem's Cotton Club.

In keeping with Torchy Brown's forward-thinking themes, the character often tackled hot-button issues like racism, pollution, and social injustice in a comedic and approachable way. Because Torchy's syndication was largely limited to papers with circulation extended only to Black constituents, the character has only recently gained long overdue widespread attention.

The strip was resurrected in 1950's Torchy in Heartbeats. Since, Torchy Brown, the feisty and independent singer and dancer, has appeared in her own TPB and several hardcover tributes to her creator, Jackie Ormes.

Public Domain Appearances

  • Torchy Brown in "Dixie to Harlem" comic strip (1937-1940)
  • Torchy in "Heartbeats" comic strip (1950-1954)


  • Torchy Brown's creator, Jackie Ormes, is widely-regarded as the first African-American female cartoonist.
  • Torchy Brown was made into a popular doll in 1947.

See Also