Sunday, February 20, 2005

Why aren't there more minorities in comics?

With the relaunch of Marvel's Black Panther and the release of Fantagraphics' biographical King timed to coincide with Black History Month, The Seattle Times asks the age-old question, "Why haven't there been more comics by and about minorities?"

The answer is fairly straightforward, according to Fantagraphics' Gary Groth: "It's a real white-bread industry."
One possible reason why there haven't been more minorities in comics is obvious. Groth figures: "The comic reading public is probably mostly white, middle class." As for mainstream comics and superheroes, Groth says, "The experience is so bland and generic and massified, most of the black people who work in comics, you couldn't tell the difference in their work if they're white or black."
DC's Dan DiDio doesn't dispute that comics is a white-bread industry, but he contends that "a lot of people are working hard to change that as we speak":
"We're getting a lot more diverse characters, but also a lot more diversity of creators in the business. Each one of our super teams has an African-American character in it. Green Lantern in the 'Justice League' cartoon is John Stewart [not the white Hal Jordan of the comics]. Firestorm has been relaunched as new black character."