OH WOW OH WOW OH WOW - A few of you might recognize this and be gleeful.
What a gem we have here!
If you're familiar, did you ever think you'd see a full copy? Read on for every page.
COMICS WITH PROBLEMS (Issue #74 February 2018)
Hello! I'll keep the introduction relatively brief on this one. Very pleased to return to the posting of a full comic, as it's been more than a few months since a new issue of Comics with Problems. About seventeen months to be exact, wow! Sorry about that. Hopefully you're keeping up with us on Facebook, where we post problematic comics panels once or twice a day. I'm also completing an album called THE BUREAU here, which is a comics panel with a music track every day, as well. And be sure to check out my comics biography on Underground Publisher John Wilcock, which I've been doing with Scott Marshall.
As to what brought us back to a new issue of Comics with Problems in its proper format, it was a good moment in research where I found a copy of what's considered the rarest Black History comic of the last fifty years (and one of the rarest ever produced). In fact this copy might be the best conditioned copy ever found, as all existing examples are in tatters, so I had to scan it and share it. What you're looking at is YOUTH AND THE GHETTO, A BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGE. Technically this is marked as "issue #5" but for people interested in this book, that's only the beginning of its intrigue. (There were no four issues previous to this, it's the only one made) and it was only distributed through Harlem, in 1964.
This comic has it all. It's a book about positive entitlement for the black community, particularly its youth, and makes a very reasonable argument for funding in Harlem for schooling, infrastructure, jobs, and basic rights of dignity for its citizens. It also includes a powerful narrative of the negative impact of government housing, and the burden of drugs and crime on the Harlem community. And the art - MAN - Some of the panels in this gem are incredible. Just look at the cover, where the lead character is battling with his hands, each finger representing a serious threat. It's awesome historic stuff.
When Heritage Comics auctioned a seriously poor condition copy of this item, this was their assessment:
Harlem Youth Report #5 Youth in the Ghetto (Custom Comics Inc., 1964) When it comes to scarcity, this may well be the Silver Age equivalent of Golden Age books like All-Negro Comics and Negro Romances. Many such comics had very limited distribution and only African-American comic book readers would generally consider buying a copy at the time of issue. This one was reportedly only distributed in Harlem. We have never before seen a copy, much less offered one for public auction. While the indicia call this a fifth issue, there is no #1-#4, so this may be the 5th format chosen to disseminate information about this community action plan.
As for Harlem Youth Unlimited, or HARYOU for short, there's some good information online about their role in civil rights in New York in the 1960s. They produced some excellent materials, including an album of percussion that's coveted among vinyl collectors (pictured below) and the more widely distributed 600 page report from which this comic is largely based, "A Blueprint For Change" which is full of charts and graphs, pictured above, at right. The full text of that book is available at archive.org
More on this album at MUSIC IS MY SANCTUARY
But in terms of the comic, only the front and back cover have ever really been seen by many people. (those tattered copies sell for hundreds of bucks) For regular viewers of CWP, you'll love the VD panels and some great drug freakouts, as well. Here's the entire thing. The positive message throughout is very wonderful. Enjoy, happy to put this up online. - Ethan