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The character of Onyx, one of handful of black female heroes in the DCU, showed up in Green Arrow #28 looking, well, here you go:
The character’s much whiter appearance was chalked up by various folks as 1) the character was wearing Kabuki make-up 2) Albinism 3) claims that it was doubtful this was the same character as in the new 52.
In this month’s issue, the mystery is solved.
Here’s Onyx, in the same outfit and the same setting, in issue #29 of Green Arrow.
You can see the difference.
At the time this happened last month my hope was that a coloring mistake was the issue here. Certainly we know Jeff Lemire, the writer on this book, is very focused on diversity in comics. I know he brought diversity into Justice League Dark by reimagining the new 52 Black Orchid as a woman of color and his new Justice League United will feature a young First Nations’ woman.
But while a coloring mistake is the best reason that a person of color character appears white, it’s still a problem. There’s an ongoing problem in making sure that people of color are, well, portrayed as people of color. From the varying appearances of Connor Hawke to Vixen appearing very white to the recent appearances of Atomica (Rhonda Pinenda) in Forever Evil:
While much effort has been made to make comics more diverse, there needs to be a more consistent focus at making sure those characters appear correctly.
I hope that all comics publishers will take the time to put in measures to ensure this happens.