The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Blog has a nice post on Jackie Ormes, creator of Torchy and the first African-American woman cartoonist of note. And she did get note in her day:
Ormes artistic legacy, however, is not tied as strongly to her comics themselves as it is to the deal she struck in 1947 with the high-end Terri Lee Doll Company to create a deluxe doll in the likeness of her characters. This doll, Patty-Jo, was the first African American girl doll to come with an extensive, upscale wardrobe, in contrast to those sold previously that almost entirely projected the pickaninny or mammy archetype. The Patty-Jo doll was meant to capture the spunky, smart, precocious and cute personality of Ormes’ comic character.