Are Comics Becoming More Diverse?

CNN, September 7, 2011

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Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager, will be taking over the character of Spider-Man in the Marvel Ultimate universe, following the death of Peter Parker. He is set to make an even bigger splash in the September 14 issue.

In the same month that Miles is becoming the star of the “Ultimate” Spider-Man title, DC Comics is launching the ongoing series “Batwing,” which features the first black character to take on the mantle of the Bat (that is to say, the persona of Batman), in stores now.

“As we were kicking around ideas for the ‘New 52,’ this idea kind of leapt out at us,” said writer Judd Winick. “For one, just expanding the Batman family, and also having one who is an African, living and working in the continent of Africa.”

Batwing is a member of “Batman, Inc.” a global extension of the Batman brand launched in the comics late last year.

“Africa is kind of an untouched setting for the DCU, it’s never been part of a monthly title, never like this,” said Winick. “We want to attack it in kind of a really honest way.”

Aside from dealing with the many very real issues in modern Africa, Batwing will face his own supervillain, right from the start, said Winick.

“He’ll be going toe to toe with a subtly named villain, ‘Massacre’–a very, very large guy wearing body armor and swinging two machetes,” he said. “This is a superhero story but it will have a lot of realism. Africa is a beautiful, dangerous, tortured and inspiring place, and we want it to get it right.”

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[Comic book writer Brian] Bendis said that the original thinking behind the 13-year-old character was to find a new, ethnically diverse Spider-Man who would represent New York City and all that it means.

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But what about the comic book stores themselves? Kyle Puttkammer, owner of the Galactic Quest stores in Georgia, said that he increased his order for “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” in response to the news.

“We’ve always had a lot of interest in characters like Bishop, Black Panther, and Static Shock. When Nick Fury was portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, it seemed like a natural update.”

As for Batwing, Puttkammer said, “[He] seems to be a throw back to an earlier story. Specifically, ‘the Batman nobody knows’ from Batman #250. I think it’s pretty cool that DC is keeping an eye towards their rich history, while turning an eye to the future.”

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  • Vito Danelli

    what amazes me is that many blacks and hispanics don’t even read books, let alone comic books. The novelty of “diverse” super-heroes will wear off quickly. The audience these publishers are trying to reach out to won’t materialize and these same publishers will be alarmed over their loss of their former reliable white readership.

    Magically, the White Peter Parker will somehow come back to life, most likely through a noble, heroic sacrifice by his hybrid replacement.

  • patthemick

    Well the comics have always been run by the enemy of the majority and since WW2 have been a primary source of propaganda. If you recall the sixties were the star of the drug culture and comics were the first thrust toward making drugs and free love appealing to kids.

    They use the stinking excuse that they are marketed to adults more than kids but still I think they are pushing for our eventual displacement. They are seeking a more diverse market and with the growth of minority populations they are a likely source for new buyers but I still suspect evil intent.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Hmm…just one thing missing from this story…what exactly do the readers want?? That seems to be strangely missing from this story. The whole mentality seems to be, you will accept this because this is what we have chosen to give you.

    I hope these new comics meet with the failure they deserve, but, judging from the sheeplike, unthinking behavior of most whites, especially young whites, I’m not so sure.

  • Anonymous

    Poster 1 sad – “what amazes me is that many blacks and hispanics don’t even read books, let alone comic books.”

    – I work among that population, and we try everything to get them to read. Graphic novels are the latest fad, about five years old or so. They don’t read those either. So instead, the teachers keep the kids busy with activities that have a lot of moving around and talking, like ‘jigsaws,’ ‘mind-mirrors’ and the like. Simple excerpts and dumbed down summaries of the stories provide the context. “Movement” eats up the rest of the time.

    I will not read a book or story or comic book that has characters from a non-civilized culture. In other words, I will read “Kung Fu Master” comics, because there is a context involved that I understand. But I won’t read a comic with some ghetto thug in tights who is really modelled after a white dude because the context is not there.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve collected comics since the 1960’s, but I sure won’t be buying these ones.

  • Hirsch

    Well, it seems their gosls are two-fold here. They want to be inclusive and ensure that they check all the correct boxes when making their multiculutral, updated super-heroes. And they also want to make the African setting as realistic as possible. If they are taking suggestions, might I offer mine?

    How about Batperson?{S}he is a transgendered, bisexual superhero(ine) whose weapon is a biodegradable bat-shaped boomerang. Seeing as Africa is wholly dependent on foreign aid and is the world’s leader in sexual assaults and sexually transmitted diseases, I’d say Batperson has its hands full.

  • The Last White Man Standing

    Hmmm. Let’s see now. Whites, who are a majority of comic readers will not welcome this change and stop reading Spiderman. The comic will ultimately fail and fall flat on its face. Racism will be to blame, there will be the usual hand wringing and proclamations of how there is much more to be done concerning race relations, blah, blah, blah.

    Remember, you heard it here first.

  • White Devil

    One thing I can guarantee, they won’t pay $3 for a comic book. I was shocked when I saw that a normal 25-30 page comic that I used to buy for a dime was now $3 and “graphic novels” can reach $30 for a partial story.

  • CA Dude

    When I read about race and comic books I always think of the old cartoon “Fat Albert” from around the late 1960’s maybe early 70’s. Albert and friends read a comic book called The Brown Hornet and I remember the cartoon showed the cover with a black man on it. Bill Cosby the creator of the show, made sure the characters had a black comic book hero. Of course in todays PC world that cartoon would no doubt be called racist.

  • rockman

    What bothers me about this is that the white hero is killed off to be replaced by a hybrid being representing the mixing of black and hispanic. This mixed race being is the perfect representative of the new American with no white blood in evidence. Think about it fools What is it telling you?

  • flyingtiger

    Soap operas tried the same thing. They had diverse characters and story lines. The results were that the ratings dropped and soap operas are dying. Take heed camic book industry, for blacks and hispanics don’t read. Your industry will collapse even sooner.

  • Julian Curtis Lee

    Geez. With all the anti-White messages White kid are getting in the media 24-7, can’t our non-White overlords permit one little niche where White boys can feel good about themselves and have White heroes?

  • shaunantijihad

    Erm, super heroes are just the fictional creations of minds. Is Big Brother thus saying our thoughts are not sufficiently diverse?

  • jdavis

    Years ago the comics were called “funny devils”, I wonder why? Maybe our grandfathers and grandmothers knew something we are too smart to know.

    Mind molding is a dangerous thing, witness the downfall of our great institutions, and society overall.

    Of course reading is to most ethnics, an exercise reserved for geeks.

  • Tom in illinois

    Everyone, read this and you’ll think there is a huge lack of white superheroes!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_black_superheroes

  • PhillyGal

    This pandering to minority readers who don’t truly exist is precisely what’s decimating newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer. Why should white folks pay for rags that demonize them while lionizing urban black thugs? I could discover the cure for cancer, and because I’m white, I’d end up in two half-columns on the bottom of page 26. But if Tamiqua and Jamal set a new jump rope record, it’s front page news. THIS is why the Inquirer is held in contempt by white, middle-class and suburban folks. THIS is what has alienated its readership. Toss the white folks a bone every now and then so they’ll keep subscribing and paying the overhead – but we’re really all about promoting the minority power structure. THIS is the mantra of our mainstream media. What to do about it? Drop your subscriptions, turn off your TV sets, and make damn sure that the MSM (here in Philly, the biggest anti-white, anti-conservative offender by far is Comcast) knows that WE know what the hell is going on. A day of reckoning is drawing ever nearer – and I’m truly stoked that the Inquirer won’t be around long enough to cover it.

  • Caiden

    Back in the 90s DC tried a line of minority hero books called Milestone, which lasted a total of 3 years if I recall. The problem as many people stated is most comic book readers are white but willing to pay for the books, not many blacks or hispanics will pay money for the books, at least not in the numbers that whites do. I hate to say it but blacks and hispanics come from liberal backgrounds meaning the comics should be free for them. I’m guessing in this day alot will a few will be sold then posted alone in file sharing sites.

    Alot of white comic book fans will say it’s great, and it’s about time and blah blah blah, but most won’t want to read Captain Affirmative Action. That plus the concept is more publicity stunt that natural story telling and I really doubt these will be well done stories.

  • Anonymous

    I have an idea for Captain Affirmative Action.

    When he falls asleep one nite he looks just like The What Me Worry Kid from Mad Magazine.

    He has never done anything of value in his life but when he wakes up by some freak of nature occurance he is President of The United States.

    He invites a few rappers to the White House and his wife scedules million dollar a month vacations for herself and friends.

    AWWW forget it who would ever beleive a story like that?

    SORRY

  • myhouse

    perhaps blacks should create their own comic book business. maybe they should design their own ‘barbie’ type dolls. maybe they should invent something on their own. hell, they have way more options than whites do to open a business.

    black comics won’t sell anyway… all the movie remakes where the white guy is replaced with a black make no money either.

    there has never been and never will be a black super’hero’.

    michael jordan was the big hero at the time, he’s a millionaire now, but still can’t speak english. check the commercial where he’s a smart guy with 2 stupid white guys on an airplane, and the white guy says ‘we are the same’ (something like that about underwear), and the uneducated millionaire jordan says “no we not”, twice. and that’s how they all speak.

  • dhb

    Well if you take a look at Brian Bendis ,ultimate pider mangs writer, he adopted two children from Africa.

    Axel Alonso Marvel’s EIC has an english mother and a mexican “poppy” Axel claims he wept when BHO was elected Prez because finally someone like him (mixed race) was in the white house.

    I guess Bendis couldn’t find or didn’t want to adopt any white children and Axel has a better relationship with his hispanic “poppy” than with his white mother. So both of them wanted a mixed race super hero for their kids to relate with and to hell with what the white kids want.

  • Svigor

    I’d rather see more Black artists forced into comics (and consequently, White artists forced out) to portray these Black heroes, than see White artists coerced into portraying Black heroes. Let Black and Brown writers and artists portray their own heroes, and let the White customers decide who’s more talented.

    But I’d much rather see comics reflect the demography of their readership than that of the country at large; why should a disproportionately White audience finance a coerced “diversity” (fewer Whites) that does not reflect the actual demographics of the customer or creator base?

    I mean, why not call for more conservative comics? Comics nerds are largely liberals – shouldn’t we force some political diversity down their throats, too?

    There’s something very, very creepy about the idea of Blacks, Browns, and their White, non-comics-reading enablers forcing the overwhelmingly White comics creators to portray more Blackness and Brownness for the consumption of overwhelmingly White readers.