World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Angelfood McSpade

Angelfood McSpade is a comic book character created and drawn by the 1960s counter culture and underground comix artist Robert Crumb. The character first appeared in the second issue of Zap Comix (June, 1968).


  • Characterisation 1
  • Controversy 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6


Angelfood McSpade is a satirical depiction of a stereotypical black African woman.[1][2] She is depicted as a large, bare breasted tribeswoman, dressed in nothing but a dress made out of palm tree leaves.[3] She is drawn with big lips, golden rings around her neck and in her ears, huge breasts, large round buttocks and speaks jive. Her name references the Angelfood cake and the racial slur, "spade".

According to the second issue of Zap Comix, she has been confined to "the wilds of darkest Africa", because "civilization would be threatened if she were allowed to do whatever she pleased!". It is not clear whether she was born in Africa or born in the U.S.A. and then sent to Africa. Her type of clothing suggests she is African, but her jive talk suggests she's from the U.S.A.[4]

Angelfood is depicted as a nymphomaniac and open to sexual intercourse.[5] Policemen prevent other sexually aroused men from meeting her. In a later story three men bring her to the United States and promise to "civilize" her. There she is told to lick toilets clean in order to gain success. While she does this, the men push her head inside the toilet and violate her.[1][6]

She is very naïve and easily abused or even raped by the horny men who surround her, though, being a nymphomaniac, she isn't bothered by this. Often, she is vulnerable to assault while being asleep or unconscious. Angelfood has a tendency to walk barebreasted, even in cities. However, no one seems to stop her from walking around half naked. In another story she saves two boys, Chuck and Bob, from being eaten by members of her own tribe.[1][7] They flee from the tribe to the US, where she spends a night with the boys and afterwards goes to the hairdresser. When she returns, she has bleached her skin, changed her hair and clothing and learned fluent English, much to the disappointment of the two boys. In another story she asked Hugh Hefner if she could become a Playboy Bunny, but when Hefner saw her in the outfit he couldn't resist laughing. This made her so angry that she attacked him. In the last panel she and Mr. Natural (who accompanied her) are kicked out of Hefner's office.

The character was featured regularly during Crumb's late 1960s and early 1970s output.[2] In later comics her appearances became less frequent, and finally Crumb stopped using the character in his comics altogether.


Angelfood McSpade is one of Crumb's most notorious targets for accusations of sexism and racism.[8] As an Afro-American naïve female character who is always half naked and often abused as well as being used as a sex object by men, these accusations were inevitable. Crumb has responded that he did not invent racist caricatures like Angelfood, but that they used to be part of the American culture in which he was raised.[2][9]

He saw it as criticism of the racist stereotype itself and assumed that the young liberal hippie/intellectual audience who read his work were not racists, and that they would understand his intentions for the character.[2][10] Crumb is a fan of early 20th-century art, where racial caricatures and hypersexed natives were commonly featured in American comics, cartoons and films from the 1920s–30s.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Dowd; Hignite 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d Crumb; Holm 2004.
  3. ^ Crowley 1995.
  4. ^ Estren 1993.
  5. ^ Harvey 1996.
  6. ^ Jahraus; Neuhaus 2003.
  7. ^ Heller 2004.
  8. ^ Sorensen 2005.
  9. ^ Huxley 2001.
  10. ^ Lopes 2009.


  • Estren, Mark James (1993). A History of Underground Comics. 3rd. ed. Berkeley, CA: Ronin Publishing, pp. 62, 117. ISBN 978-0-914171-64-5.
  • Harvey, Robert C. (1996). The Art of the Comic Book – An Aesthetic History. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi, p. 205. ISBN 978-0-87805-758-0.
  • Heller, Steven (2004). Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design. 2nd ed. New York: Allworth Press, p. 119. ISBN 978-1-58115-356-9.
  • Heller, Steven (1999). Design Literacy (continued): Understanding Graphic Design. New York: Allworth Press, p. 74 (as other). ISBN 978-1-58115-035-3.
  • Hodgetts, Vicki. "America's Best Loved". New York. Vol. 3, No. 25. 22 June 1970. New York Media, LLC, pp. 40–43. ISSN 0028-7369.
  • Huxley, David (2001). Nasty Tales: Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll and Violence in the British Underground. Vol. 2, Primal – Spinal Comix History Series. London: Critical Vision, p. 135. ISBN 978-1-900486-13-2.
  • Jahraus, Oliver; Neuhaus, Stefan (2003). Der erotische Film: zur medialen Codierung von Ästhetik, Sexualität und Gewalt. Vol. 1 Film – Medium – Diskurs. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, p. 40  (English). ISBN 978-3-8260-2582-2.
  • Lopes, Paul (2009). Demanding Respect: The Evolution of the American Comic Book. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, pp. 80–82. ISBN 978-1-59213-443-4.
  • Sorensen, Lita (2005). Bryan Talbot: The Library of Graphic Novelists. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-1-4042-0282-5.

Further reading

  • Kerekes, David; Slater, David (2002). Critical Vision: Random Essays & Tracts Concerning Sex, Religion, Death. London: Critical Vision. ISBN 978-0-9523288-0-3.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Fair are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.