Thursday, July 7, 2016

Diversity in characters, but not writers?

Image from Vulture

Below is an excerpt from an article at Vulture highlighting how Marvel has made big strides in adding diversity to its characters, but still has work to do behind the scenes:

The geek commentariat on Twitter swiftly and collectively reached two incriminating realizations about Riri. First, this black female character was created by and will be written by a white man. The contrast irked some on a creative level: “You can't call these diverse stories without diverse voices,” tweeted writer Carly Lane. 

That pecuniary line of criticism led to the second, more startling realization: Not only was this black female not being written by a black female, Marvel has no black female writers. Indeed, experts struggled to name a single black woman to have ever written a Marvel comic during the company’s 77-year history.

[It] would be a shame to look at the critiques that progressive nerds are making about the Iron Man news and conclude that they’re calling for a kind of identity siloing, in which only black people can write black characters, only women can write women, and so on. Marvel just needs more black creators and women creators, period, doing all kinds of series. Things are getting better, as of late. According to industry analyst Tim Hanley, nearly 19 percent of the company’s creators are female, a number that’s been generally rising in recent years. Last year, there was an outcry over the paucity of black creators on Marvel titles; there are a few more now, including none other than Ta-Nehisi Coates.

However, looking at the backlash to the Riri announcement, one is reminded of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s oft-quoted line about gender on the Supreme Court: “People ask me sometimes, ‘When do you think it will it be enough? When will there be enough women on the court?’ And my answer is when there are nine.” If a black girl can dream of flying as high as Tony Stark, it’s perfectly reasonable for geeks to dream of a superhero-comics publisher whose staff is as diverse as its characters.

Read the full article at Vulture:

Photo and text from Vulture

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