“I don’t think Marvel or DC are racist, systemically, nor do I think that anyone there is, either. I am friends with lots of people at both companies and to a person, they’re terrific. Ultimately, people will hire the people that they know and in order to get to know them, you need access to them. I got my access through my day job as a magazine editor in Manhattan. Plus, I’m a dazzling urbanite. But if you’re a black kid living in Detroit or Tampa or Oakland, how do you get that access? How do you know which convention is the best for meeting editors? How do you know which bar to go to?
More importantly, if you’re that black kid (or Hispanic kid or woman of any color) why do you even want to make comics? The end product of decades of stories not told for a diverse audience is this: if the stories are not for you, you won’t read them; and if you don’t read them, why would you want to make them?”
– Marc Bernardin, who has written such comics as Static Shock,
The Authority and Wolverine, reflecting on the current discussion about the lack of black writers at Marvel and DC
Off the top of my head, I cannot recall the tale of a hero told from the perspective of a corrupt cop. But in Nightwatchman (Kickstart Comics), the new 96-page graphic novel from the writing team of MarcBernardin and Adam Freeman, that’s exactly the kind of story you get. To mark the Dec. 5 release of the book, the writers spoke with Robot 6 about their collaboration with artist Javi Fernandez.
Tim O’Shea: How long has this story been rolling around in your respective heads?
Marc Bernardin: It’s been on the runway for a while, one of those ideas that we loved but only had the kernel of. It needed time to ferment, like so many of these things do.
Adam Freeman: You know there’s something to an idea when it keeps rattling around up there. If you can’t shake it you have to explore it or it will drive you crazy.
Since the March solicitations kick off the back half of the New 52′s first year, it’s probably worth noting that the whole line remains unchanged: no “midseason replacements” like Justice Society, but no cancellations either. If I hear relieved sighs from OMAC and Men of War, certainly Dan DiDio and Jim Lee have to be pleased generally that they’ve gotten this far with the 52 intact.
Well, pleased or stubborn, I suppose. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
Ahem. Away we go…!
One of my pet peeves about the New-52 is the sense that it lacks a meaningful “history.” For at least the last few decades, a reader might not have known exactly what had happened or when, but s/he could tell that these characters hadn’t just fallen off the turnip truck. I say this because the solicits for Justice League #7 and Flash #7 both allude to their books’ untold backstories. With Justice League, we’ll learn about membership turnover and other details of the five years between the League’s debut and today. (To be sure, some of that has already been alluded to in the League’s previous present-day appearances, like JL Dark #1.)
The New York Comic Con officially opened its doors this afternoon, but comics publishers and distributors have been releasing announcements leading up to it all this week. Here’s a round-up of news from today, as well as some that hit earlier this week.
• DC Comics, who were having a pretty good week already, announced two creative team changes for the New 52. Ann Nocenti of Daredevil and Longshot fame will write Green Arrow starting with issue #7. She spoke to Comic Book Resources about her approach to the series: “I have a particular way of writing a comic. Comics are short. They are only twenty pages, so you can take a year of comics and that can be your opera, and the opera can have a lot of different passages in it. I kind of believe every issue should be a single story, just a complete story. But there is a momentum that forms like triptychs over it, and then it forms your big overtures, and then the whole thing ends up kind of operatic. I also want a beginning, middle and end, a classic short story approach to every single comic. What I do is I try to figure out, what is the kick in this comic, what is the main feeling I want to get, and everything in the comic has to serve that.”
• And Marc Bernardin (Monster Attack Network, The Highwaymen, The Authority) will take over the writing duties on Static Shock beginning with issue #7. “As a fan and as a writer, one of the great things about Static isn’t just that he’s a new hero, it’s also that he’s a young hero,” Bernardin told CBR. “He will make the mistakes of youth and, even though the New 52 is resetting a lot of heroes to their early days as do-gooders, there’s nothing quite like the fumblings of a teenager.”
DC Comics has selected Marc Bernardin as the new writer of Static Shock, replacing John Rozum, who announced his departure from the relaunched title last month.
Bernardin, a former senior editor for Entertainment Weekly who co-wrote The Highwaymen and The Authority for DC, will join current artist/co-writer Scott McDaniel with March’s Issue 7.
“As a Black comic book fan and as a father of Black children, it’s really important that people see themselves reflected in a media they like,” Bernardin tells BET.com. “I remember growing up and looking at the Cosby Show for the first time and getting to look at people who were like me and doing things like I did, people who were my age going to college and studying for exams. I think for a long time, a Black kid picking up a comic book never got the chance to see himself, so I think that characters like Static are incredibly important.”
Static Shock #2, by Rozum, McDaniel and Andy Owens, was released last week.