Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From Red Jacket
But is there not the perception among many comic book buyers that a title featuring a non-white in the lead must, necessarily, be a book about "racial" issues and therefore either too preachy for the room or dealing with subjects that make them uncomfortable or angry?

I know that when trumpeting Milestone I was often met with responses along the lines of "Well, of course YOU like it. You're black. I want more mainstream stuff."

I even heard this sort of thing, I'm disgusted to say, from other black people who, for whatever reason, consider those works created by or featuring non-whites to be substandard on their face. the logic there being that the people working on such books only got the gigs because of tokenism or "PCness" that would trump quality. If you're good enough, why aren't you writing/drawing XMen (or whatever)? Obviously this book is the low end."

"How about actually picking one up and reading it?" I would say.

No dice.

Bizarre. Tragic. Boom, baby.

Granted this in only anecdotal evidence but, coupled with these other prevailing trends and examples, you can see how books of a certain stripe get shut out without a fair veiwing. And then a cycle is created whereby non-white creators, in RESPONSE to being shut out in the first place, begin to place greater and greater emphasis on their non-whiteness in their works. A sort of "F--- you!" to the big dogs. Who then, in turn, take a look at the focus of the new works, those that they deign to peruse, and say to themsleves, "See! I TOLD you. Not for us. These guys are all about their anger and spewing their own brands of racism. We're all about the love."

Self-sustaining cycle.

I have to say that this cycle can't be stopped by us. Let's say that I can actually draw, and write a bunch of comics with white characters with black faces in it and submit it to the big two. Now the type of idiots who think a black face means that "oh noes, someone might talk about race!!!!!!" aren't going to change their mind if I write a comic about how Suzie Kumbaya fights all the bad black people with the help of her wisecracking rainbow group of pals who never have to deal with any issues that people of color really deal with, because the prejudice has nothing to do with what we do. If a black face makes someone uncomfortable, they'll make excuses but there's nothing that we can do about it. We have to find a target market comprised of our folk or people who can handle the fact that sometimes there are going to be people who don't look like them. To folks who are prejudiced, a scene with a black person being offended because some white guy touched his hair is the same as writing a whole comic about how whites were created by mad scientists.(for people with poor reading comprehension-the first is an example of a racial problem, the second is over the line with the prejudice)

Sure, back in the day, maybe all we had to rely on was the big two, and their slow asses. But now we have the web, we can create our own communities, we can make our own comics, post them for free and then self pub, and there's tons of comic world out there beside the man kids- heck, if you're good enough, get a Xeric grant, go to one of the indies,apply to the
Rising Stars of Manga contest. Of course, this whole discussion reminded me of how my cousin used to have those comics with the black superheroes. Milestone comics,eh?


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