Robot 6

Quote of the day | Grant Morrison on diversifying the DCU

Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison

“I’ve always wanted to diversify the DCU, but usually when I do it, James Robinson comes along and kills them all. [Laughs] But certainly we try. To me, I look out the window and see all kinds of people walking down the street, and I want to see that reflected in the superhero community. I’m sure a lot of readers would like to see themselves represented as well. It’s always been a focus of mine to widen the scope of DC’s characters internationally and ethnically.”

Grant Morrison, on Batman and diversity, in a conversation with CBR’s Kiel Phegley. Thank goodness this topic isn’t very controversial, or else this could cause a stir!

Meanwhile, you’ve already made CBR’s Bat Signal column regular reading, right?



so… James Robinson is Anti-Life?

“Jeez you kill ONE black guy…”

Morrison just gets it. I don’t read too much DC these days, and this is part of the reason. We all have our favourites, our pet characters, and I understand (though don’t necessarily agree with) DC’s decision to go with “iconic” versions of their heroes. But damn, I’m tired of the overwhelming sense of nostalgia for these old, bland white dudes.

For every “black guy” in the DCU how many “white guys” are there? Problem is that most of the stable of characters arrived before 1960…for whatever reason new capes have had difficulty catching on since then.

Keep in mind James Robinson also killed a bunch of JLE has-beens to make a point that some guy’s badass daughter successor was a badass during Starman.

“I’ve always wanted to diversify the DCU, but usually when I do it, James Robinson comes along and kills them all.”

I’m kinda out of the loop on DC’s senseless minority death. What is he referring to here?

His name was on Gail Simone’s “Atom” in some capacity, but I think that was Krul instead of Robinson.

It’s not easy making superheroes stick because the stable is so cluttered. Also, every major hero has had several extraordinary, iconic runs from writer/artist teams that usually lasts years. What are the chances of a great writer and a great artist teaming up and going balls to the wall on a new/lesser known minority hero for about…let’s say…a decade.

Would Grant Morrison spend even five years on a Black Lightening on-going? He could do it. He has the kind of power and clout where if he told DC to give him a title they should do it. And if DC said no, he could appeal to the people and his fan base, and we’d get on DC’s tail and make it happen. (If Grant Morrison made Blue Superman cool, he can work Black Lightening.)

Is Morrison really ready to put his money where his mouth his? Or will he just try to keep factoring minor characters into titles featuring the iconic heroes and hope one day one sticks.

To be fair to Morrison, he spent a lot of time on 7 Soldiers, which featured no iconic characters, and did introduce at least one new minority character. And then no one used those characters. Or when they did, they completely misused them.

He can keep introducing new characters but if his colleague just use them as cannon fodder there’s not much else he can do.

I know James Robinson went back to the white Guardian. Did he kill the black one along the way? That might be Grant’s reference.

Christian Otholm

October 23, 2010 at 9:32 am

Robinson has returned to a white Guardian, killed off Lian Harper, Ryan Choi (The All-New, All-Dead Atom) and Freedom Beast (formerly known as B’wana Beast) in a single series (Cry for Justice) and worked a little on the “new” (or rather the old coming back) incarnation of the Legion of Superheroes that erases most of the black or ethnic characters.

I like Starman, but Morrison’s critique is dead-on. Johns and Robinson are basically whitewashing the DCU.

Christian Otholm

October 23, 2010 at 9:34 am

Since this is so touchy, I’ll also add that I don’t think either of those writers are racist, I just think they’re so submerged in “retro” that race isn’t a topic they think about in their writing, and thus they just omit it.

I’m all for diverse NEW characters. I just don’t want any more blackwashed OLD characters. Taking an existing character, retiring/killing him and replacing him with an ethnic character (or a chracter with huge breasts) is not character development. With the WEALTH of culture, mythology and visual style available from “non-white” sources to pull from why does “adding diverse characters” have to mean “replacing a white character”?

Says the man who in his final issue oas Green Arrow, made Connor dissapear, and did not care to inform his the person that colour’s in the characters, that Connor is african/ Korean and caucasian, and that his skin is BROWN. Connor Hawke was the most Albino ever in that issue, Grant here made him just like the rest of the arrow family.
Then we have Damian Wayne, who is part middle eastern and has again, been forced to be white! He didn’t even try giving him darker skin like his mother, and instead made everyone white! And you’re going to kill that kid too! Another “Bad Robin” right? If they’re not perfect carbon copies of Dick and Tim, who do EVERYTHING that Batman says, they’re not worth staying alive, am I right?

You are a liar Grant Morrison. You say you want diversity, and yet you contribute to the white washing and killing off characters with different back grounds. You’re nothing Grant Morrison!

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