Thoughts On: Comics And Race
Last Sunday I was having a text conversation with fellow comicbooker Not So Silent Mike. We were talking about a variety of things: upcoming plans for Comic Booked, comics , movies, how awesome I am, 🙂 really! It came up! Midway through the conversation there were these two texts:
Me: I’m thinking of dropping Brightest Day 🙁
There are a few reasons : Event Fatigue, Finances, Pace of the book. I loved Blackest Night, it was monumental and in my opinion the best organized crossover I’ve ever read. To immediately go from that book to a year long biweekly event is a little too much for me, and my budget. I enjoy the direction of the series,but a few of the story lines are moving a bit slow for me. Mike and I both agreed that the series will get better as it continues, and the return of the Black Lanterns will increase the action. I was still on the fence though so I decided to look through my Brightest Day back issues before I decided.
From time to time comments and questions are raised about ethnicity and the comic book world. About two years ago Actor and Model Tyrese entered the comic world with his book Mayhem. Tyrese started asking why there weren’t more black superheroes and why a black Superhero didn’t have a book of his own. He got a lot of opinions, many of them negative:
Black Superhero books don’t sell well
Comic book companies are racist
I purchased and read all three issues of Mayhem. I wanted to support Image’s decision to give the book a try and hoped fans of Tyrese might give other comics a try. I found the series itself a disappointment. It was predictable and the character seemed a rehash of other more established characters, just a different race.
I’m African American. There are other limbs on my family tree: American Indian, Hispanic and probably many more I’m not aware of.
I was extremely blessed to be raised by a Mother who had a great respect for our culture and a love for learning ,and experiencing other cultures as well. This meant as a child I had Barbie’s of all races, books that ran the gamut from African Fairy Tales to Robin Hood and was exposed to a wide array of films and cultural events.
This served me well when I entered the Geek/Comic book world. Because frankly the majority of comics and movies I loved, didn’t have a lot of racially diverse characters. That’s ok. I’ll admit it’s doubly enjoyable to read a comic that has a great female character or a character of color, but I don’t base my comic purchases on those factors. I buy comics that I enjoy, that are fun, exciting, action packed and epic in scope.
Brightest Day has all of that, but I feel it is equally important that two of the characters involved in this story are African American. More importantly they are well written and interesting characters.
I grew up reading Firestorm and loved the character of Ronnie Raymond. I was introduced to Jason in Blackest Night and I’m intrigued to see how Jason and Ronnie’s relationship develops. I’m also excited to learn more about Jackson Hyde the new Aqualad.
I think it’s commendable that one of “The Big Two” is prominently launching two characters of color into their comic book , collectible and animation franchises. I want to support D.C.in this endeavor and I know the best way to do that is to keep Brightest Day on my pull list.