Today marks two years since the death of the most talented, prolific and influential creators in superhero comics, Dwayne McDuffie.
I don’t know when we’ll see another person who will fill his shoes.
McDuffie’s vision of comics, of superheroes was one where everyone could have representation. This too is my vision. This is one of things I work for.
Both DC and Marvel have made strides in diversity in the two years since McDuffie passed. This month we saw titles starring Vibe and Katana debut. Marvel has Misty Knight co-leading a team book. Miles Morales is still swinging.
Unfortunately when it comes to the creators behind those characters none of them of are black. Joe Hughes wrote about there being no black writers at either Marvel or DC for Comics Alliances a few weeks ago concluding:
It is incumbent upon all of us — publishers, editors, fans, and members of the comic industry media — to keep this conversation going. We owe it everyone — from Jackie Ormes to Dwayne McDuffie — who has come before us and tried to show us a better way. But maybe most of all, we owe it to ourselves. We deserve better than this.
The blogger Cheryl Lynn at Digital Femme made this point about the lack of black writers:
As much as I love Idie, she isn’t ours. Luke isn’t ours. David isn’t ours. T’challa isn’t ours. Miles. Isn’t. Ours. Yes, they look like the men, women, and children in our lives, at our tables, and on our minds—and that is important—but they do not carry our voice. There are no black writers working on mainstream comics at DC. There are no black writers at Marvel at all. In the DC universe and in the Marvel universe, black people are voiceless. It is what it is.
It’s disheartening. It’s depressing. It’s just. Not. Right.
Can it change? I think so. But as Hughes says there needs to more people discussing the lack of black creators at the big two. I know the power that the demands for diversity can have on the comics community. I’ve seen how the anger about the hiring of Orson Scott Card by DC drove story after story. I know intimately how anger about the lack of female creators drove change at the big two.
More of us need to get angry about this issue as well.
For Dwayne. For us. For comics.
Here’s a lovely video tribute to the Maestro. Watch it and know the impact he had. And let’s work to ensure his vision, his impact continues.
Finally. And John Rozum of Xombi (with Scott McDaniel) is writing. A bit of good news. That’s three Black men with books - Mr. Terrific, BatWing and Static. I’d like to see some more diversity for women (and more women), but I have to applaud this move.
Virgil Hawkins has been gifted with incredible electrical powers. Adopting the persona of Static, he faces super-powered street gangs, raging hormones, homework, and girls in STATIC SHOCK #1, co-written by John Rozum and Scott McDaniel, with McDaniel also illustrating.
A few weeks ago I posted about the challenges of race and diversity in comics. And there was a lot of thoughtful discussion. And there was a lot of the SOS I hear every time that racial diversity is brought up in comics.
On Friday there was another incident that led to discussion. This one was also, sadly, was filled with some of the same shit. While it was disheartening, I am trying to get some enjoyment out of it by reading some of the posts across the net and in forums. I’d say the best was a moderator who kept telling everyone to stop talking about the racial connotations of the Flashpoint map and then admitting pages later he was “unaware” of the history of using ape as a racial slur. I am not making this up.
I hope everyone will spend just a few minutes watching this video by Dwayne McDuffie about the realities of writing black characters in comics. It is compelling.
Oh, and CBR reported last night the Static ongoing from DC Comics, which was announced last July, and was postponed earlier this year, is cancelled. I really wish I could say I am surprised. But who knows? They may have big plans for Static.
I cried the day Dwyanne McDuffie passed away. First, because he was a talented creator. And secondly, because I knew he was one of the few voices out regarding race and comics. Who will replace him?