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1947’s All-Negro Comics was an effort by journalist Orrin C. Evans to have comics produced by and for African-Americans.

It was firmly grounded in the effort to develop “Negro press”, and a part of the 1940s Civil Rights efforts.

Such actions included the 1942 “Double V for Victory” campaign. Its symbol can be seen on the shield used by Marvel’s Captain America (Isaiah Bradley).

However, only one issue could be published.

The book

All-Negro follows a then-common naming format shared with All-American Comics, All-Winners Comics, etc.. The term “Negro” was preferred by Evans, though he also uses “Afro-American” to avoid repetition.

(The second is notable. Since AFAIK, “Afro-American” was but rarely used before Malcolm X pushed for it in ’64.)

It had stories and art firmly set in 1940s standards. With short humour strips, a text story, a jungle comic (Lion Man), etc. – and a two-fisted urban grit detective, Ace Harlem.



  • Real Name: It might improbably be Ace Harlem, as was the style of the day.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: 28th Precinct NYPD.
  • Base Of Operations: Harlem, New York City, New York.
  • Height: 6’ (1.82m). Weight: 187 lbs. (85 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Brown. Hair: Black.

Powers & Abilities

Ace Harlem is a top-notch, two-fisted detective. He demonstrated a great power of observation and deduction.

He’s a charismatic man, respected by Harlemites. Between this trust and his detection skills, he excels at finding locals who do not want to be found.

To examine potential clues, our hero distinctively uses a jeweller’s eyepiece. Our game stats assume a 10x magnification. He also carries a flashlight.

One assumes that he’s armed. Back then he would have packed a regulation S&W Model 10 or Colt Official Police revolver, chambered in .38 Special. But Ace doesn’t produce a weapon during the story, even when attacked.

Mr. Harlem drives an ordinary car.

Ace Harlem - All-Negro Comics 1947 - entrance

Quick historical context

Many firsts were accomplished by African-American police during the 1940s. But more widespread changes took decades – and Civil Rights political victories.

The precinct for central Harlem — the 28th, where we assume that Ace Harlem worked — saw multiple such pioneers.

Ace Harlem’s career is noteworthy – but not unequalled. Though most 1940s Black NYPD officers were harassed by racist colleagues, some nevertheless made Sergeant, Detective or even Lieutenant.

By the early 1950s there even was an African-American working as a Deputy Police Commissioner. Leon Rowe  worked on better racial integration within the NYPD – and on better community relations.

Ace Harlem wouldn’t have been the first Black NYPD officer to operate in plainclothes. A noted example would be the “Four Horsemen”, also from the 28th Precinct.

This was a four-man plainclothes vice squad, with three African-American officers and a Native American one. This unit ceased its activities in 1947, the year of publication of All-Negro Comics #1.

For further reference :

Ace Harlem - All-Negro Comics 1947 - legwork and clues

This references an actual hit tune of 1947  .


Ace Harlem was a “famous Negro detective” in the Harlem neighbourhoods  during the 1940s.

This corresponds to the aftermath of the Harlem Renaissance. Which was a 20+ years span of energetic artistic, cultural and political creation in this primarily African-American communities.

Det. Harlem’s one documented case saw Ace track down two zoot-suiters  . One had been using a chain to murder local shopkeepers while his accomplice looted the cash register.

The ace detective quickly interpreted the clues. But by the time he found his suspects, the killer had murdered his accomplice.

The murderer ambushed Ace Harlem. But he accidentally killed himself with his own chain.


Ace Harlem appears to be a dynamic, resolute but smooth detective.

Though he looks like he’s in his early 30s he has a lot of experience. And a fine knowledge of the mean streets and the locals.

The courageous Ace firmly believes that all criminals are cowards. But he stays silent about any superstitious aspect to their character.

He seems to have solid people skill, and treats witnesses and informants pretty well.


“Keep everything as is, officer. Don’t let anybody touch anything !”

“Call headquarters for a fingerprint expert, there’s a thumbprint here as big as the Chief’s head !”

Ace Harlem - All-Negro Comics 1947 - Harlem street motel

DC Heroes RPG

Ace Harlem

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 06
Init: 018 HP: 020


Charisma: 06, Detective: 07, Vehicles (Land): 03


Area Knowledge (Harlem), Iron Nerves, Police Rank (Detective).


28th Precinct NYPD (Low).


Misc.: As a Black man living in New York City in the 1940s, Harlem is subjected to significant discrimination. Furthermore, he cannot use his Rank for authority over many White police officers.








Eyepiece [BODY 00, Microscopic vision: 04].

Design notes

There isn’t much Ace Harlem material. But the formulaic nature of 1940s comics means that cookie-cutter stats for the archetype have an excellent chance of fitting.

Ace’s stats are benchmarked after Slam Bradley (from Action Comics #1). Albeit slightly reduced since he seems less over-the-top than Slam.

He might have other talents that weren’t demonstrated in the sole existing story.

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: The sole issue of All-Negro Comics (1947). Story by John Terrell.

Writeup completed on the 30th of November, 2013.