diversity in comics Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
“We know that our fans — and fans of pop culture — come from all races and beliefs, and any sexual orientation,” Bruce MacIntosh, director of programming, said in a statement. “Denver Comic Con guests and programming are deliberately geared towards informing and entertaining the fanboy and fangirl in all of us! Being inclusive of the entire community — both the communities of Denver and the pop-culture community as a whole — has been a focus of DCC since its inception.”
“Oh, always press. Just understand the difference between useless whining and actual pressing. What corporations understand is money. They don’t give a toss about blog posts or combative questioners at conventions. Clearly.
You vote and make change by the strategic application or withdrawal of money. Buy the products you want and withhold money from those companies that don’t produce said product. And say why you’ve done so in both cases.
But this isn’t politics. It’s business. At least, we’re all pretending it’s only business.”
– actor, screenwriter, novelist and comics writer Geoffrey Thorne, when asked whether consumers should give up hope that Marvel and DC will hire “a respectable amount” of writers of color
Passings | Bomb Queen and Five Weapons creator Jimmie Robinson writes a touching remembrance of pioneering cartoonist Morrie Turner, who passed away Saturday at age 90. Widely recognized as the first nationally syndicated African-American cartoonist, the Wee Pals creator frequently spoke at schools, and it was during one of those visits that he inspired a young Jimmie Robinson: “When he came to our class he spoke about his craft and showed us how he worked and what his job demanded. He spoke about his newspaper comic strip and how he had to write it every day. He spoke about the diverse cast of characters in his strip, but he never once spoke about the issue of his race. But for me he didn’t have to. The fact that he, a black artist, even existed, spoke volumes.” The New York Times also has an obituary for Turner. [Jimmie Robinson]
Legal | As the dust begins to settle on the ruling last month by a federal judge that Arthur Conan Doyle’s first 50 Sherlock Holmes stories have lapsed into the public domain in the United States, out march the analyses pointing out the buts. Chief among them, of course, is the possibility of appeal by the Conan Doyle estate, which contends the characters were effectively incomplete until the author’s final story was published in the United States (the 10 stories published after Jan. 1, 1923, remain under copyright in this country until 2022).
However, Publishers Weekly notes that because U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo didn’t rule directly on that “novel” argument, the estate may be satisfied with the ambiguity of the decision, given that uncertain creators still may seek to license the characters to steer clear of any trouble. Estate lawyer Benjamin Allison also insists that the Sherlock Holmes trademarks remain unaffected, an assertion that puzzles author and scholar Leslie Klinger, who brought the lawsuit. “There is a very good reason why the Estate did not assert trademark protection: The Estate does not own any trademarks,” he told PW. “They have applied for them, and there will be substantial opposition.” There’s more at NPR, The Independent and The Atlantic. [Publishers Weekly]
“I think a big reason our industry is experiencing so much growth right now is because we’re finally doing the kind of comics that resonate with a diverse readership. It’s kind of like what happened a decade or so back when comics first started gaining acceptance in bookstores and getting written up in the mainstream press, really, because it’s a slow process and there’s no one way to reach everyone. I mean, for a very long time, comic books and superheroes were practically synonymous, and it took a lot of unique work by a lot of different men and women to finally open things up to the point where someone other than the standard comics reader see the full potential of our medium. If you do different things, you attract different readers. It’s that simple.”
– Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson, addressing the importance of a diverse readership in an interview with Comic Book Resources
It’s little surprise that the editorial board of the conservative Washington Times didn’t embrace the announcement that the new Ms. Marvel is a 16-year-old Muslim from New Jersey, but the newspaper’s actual response is a bit … bewildering. One might even describe it as eerie.
Beginning a Sunday editorial with a declaration that “diversity and quotas are more important than dispatching evil” — because, as we all know, heroes can’t be diverse and fight villains! — the writer engages in a little concern trolling, warning that Ms. Marvel, and by extension Marvel, will have to be careful not to anger “militant Islam” if there’s any hope for newsstand sales in Muslim nations. Of course we’re told in the very next paragraph that, “Ms. Marvel probably won’t appear in comic books in Saudi Arabia, anyway,” which apparently takes care of that problem.
Once we slog through the bumbling writing and odd aside involving Secretary of State Kerry, however, we arrive at the crux of the Washington Times’ argument, such as it is: that diversity is strange and frightening.
“I really don’t understand why people keep trying to tell Marvel and DC how to do business. These are wholly owned subsidiaries of major multi-national entertainment conglomerates with a poor track record of rewarding the contributions of the individual. [...]
Not all comic book companies can be all things to all people. And it is increasingly obvious that Marvel and DC do not want to be anything but superhero publishers selling superhero comics to superhero readers through the supply chain that they have spent two plus decades optimizing to do so. And yes, this limits the amount of money they bring in from demographics outside what they consider to be their core target – straight white males. But it’s not as if Marvel and DC are the only game in town.”
— RM Rhodes at The Hooded Utilitarian, advising readers to stop telling Marvel and DC what to do
“These characters are part of our collective consciousness. They represent a lot more than just people in suits. Most of us grew up with them, and we want to be able to see them reflecting narratives that we identify with. For those of us who’ve recently acquired or who are still fighting for certain civil rights, for those of us who are still subject to a lot of discrimination, seeing the characters we love and grew up with fighting those same battles is gratifying in a way that seeing new characters we don’t know is not. It’s great that those stories are being written and told, and I appreciate every one of them, but there’s something much more powerful about seeing those stories told through the lens of characters that are practically part of our everyday lives.”
— A commenter named Tea, explaining why readers still care
It’s well worth clicking over and reading the whole article, as well as the comments, because both sides present their arguments cogently.