On -isms: We Need Diverse Comics

By | Thursday, March 26, 2015 Leave a Comment
Image via Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers
As you're probably aware, there's been a set of mostly parallel ongoing discussions going on in comics regarding diversity. We need more women making comics. We need to see more Black characters in comics. We need better representation of Hispanics. We need to see more LGBTQ people. All these types of discussions boil down to: comics need more diversity both in content and in creative development. That's essentially why I started this "On -isms" series -- to talk about precisely those types of issues. Others, like Heidi MacDonald, have been talking about it longer than I have. Still others, like Trina Robbins, have been talking about it longer than Heidi.

The discussions, I think, have helped. If you caught any of the talk last week surrounding Jay Smooth and his appearance on MSNBC's All In, you may have heard him note though that discussion is not enough. There's more diversity in comics now than there used to be. But what needs to happen to continue that trajectory is to actively support diverse creators and characters when they do show up. That's one of the brilliant aspects of the new Ms. Marvel -- it's a minority female character written and editted by two Muslim women, and it's been very well received and supported. That financial support helps to convince Marvel to produce more stories by and about people who aren't just white men.

Image from Princeless #3
But the tricky part has been finding stories and creators like these to support. I try to plug them when I'm able, as does Heidi and others. But we're a handful of individuals promoting what we're able to find, and have time to plug.

And that's where the We Need Diverse Comics Facebook group comes in. Started this week by Carol Tilley and Eti Berland, it's a way to get the internet hive mind to all support more diversity. In Tilley's words...
Recently we've seen efforts across social media to highlight and promote diverse comics, creators, and readers. For instance, in just the past couple of months, creator Greg Pak has started a Tumblr (http://diversecomics.tumblr.com/) to showcase comics of all sorts and February on Twitter saw lots of posts about #BlackCosPlay.

Other groups and pages such as Women Write about Comics (http://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/), Indigenous Narratives Collective (http://www.inccomics.com/), and We Are Comics (http://wearecomics.tumblr.com/) are also bringing attention to what many of us already know: there are all kinds of comics, all kinds of creators, all kinds of readers.

This page isn't intended to replace or overshadow any of these other efforts. Instead, we hope it will be a clearinghouse, a conversation space, a reminder, and a celebration of the value of finding yourself in the pages of comic.
Even at only a few days old, there's a lot of content over there already, a decent chunk of which I hadn't seen before, despite actively looking for precisely that type of thing. I hope you'll head over, Like the page, and join the growing support for increasing diversity in our favorite medium!
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