It must be hard to be a nerd these days. Look what’s happening in the not real world! Captain America is now Black, Thor is now a woman, Wally West is Black (one of the many version of the Flash), there are two Black Supermen flying around, a Muslim Green Lantern, and the crux of this whole thing is that damn Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man. Who said it was OK to have all this diversity in comic books?
Wait. Let me fix the first sentence. It must be hard to be a white nerd these days.
The socially awkward have a problem with the broad brush stroke of diversity that also includes feminism. These are big words that get thrown around in the comic book worlds because (surprise, surprise!) current comic book audience includes women and men of all races. So it would only make sense that Marvel and…
Here’s the thing about white privilege… White people have the option to either “buy in” to the privilege or not.
They have the benefit to walk around carrying open firearms to compensate for their lack of confidence in… other areas.
They have the benefit of having their own taking the multiple lives of people, who look like them, with no consequence of cultural shaming because of that person’s actions.
They have the option to ignore the injustices perpetrated against people of color every single day.
People who look like me do not have that option.
Keep in mind that this is not a racist statement. This is fact. White people have never had the indignity of being defined by another group to justify the negative actions that people of color, Black people in particular, have been and continue to be assaulted by.
Is it racist that I am a proud man of African and African American heritage?
Is it racist that I celebrate my culture on the daily through my work and my actions?
Is it racist that my standard of excellence is based on the household that I grew up in, the amazing men and women that I am fortunate to share immediate DNA with as opposed to others who don’t “look like me?”
Do I use my anger at the climate of this country, the absolute disrespect and, in some cases, outright institutionalized terrorism against people of color (especially people colored like me) in a negative way to denigrate other cultures?
Hell fuck naw.
If that were the case, you might be “shocked” that I posted this.
It’s not about being helpless. It’s about knowing the odds you’re up against.
Peep game: for all of the rhetoric, all of the opposition, African Americans not only have survived, but exceeded, to an extent, the limitations that were imposed upon us. Yet, we bear the weight of the sins perpetrated against us. We have fools attempting to “justify” the MURDER of an unarmed young man on the basis that he might have stolen a cigar or because he might have had marijuana in his system… And,weare expected to understand, and accept, that justification.
Fuck. That. Corny. Shit.
I am not a victim. Young Black men are not targets for impotent, pea-brained goobers are so afraid of a level economic, cultural and generational playing field that they have to murder the supposed competition to maintain a status quo that they themselves are not a part of.
I am done with the bullshit… Period.
I’m tired. I’m tired of the bullshit outrage certain people are feeling because they’re being taken to task. I’m tired of people calling others racist, not because they are being oppressed, but because they don’t like to be reminded of this country’s original sin.
At this stage of the game, all the comments contrary to the stance of compassion and justice are based on laziness of thought and, especially, action. In other words, it’s a whole lot of “I’m not______” passivity politics.
If these voices are not actively acknowledging nor addressing the issue in a real way, they’re full of shit, plain and simple. They are trying to justify their inactivity, they are trying to piss on our heads and tell us it’s raining.
Their inactivity tells me exactly who they are. Their “facts,” their hollow reactive “outrage” against the truth, their middling excuses does not hold water.
They are a waste of time.
I am about justice. I am about true equality. When I say something, it’s because I’ve analyzed the situation 360°.
There is no way on G-d’s green earth that anyone with a quarter of a brain could justify murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed, defenseless 18 year old Black man who was about to begin college before racism snuffed out a possible shining light on this country. If, by any chance, you have the audacity to try and defend it…
You are not intelligent. You are not informed. You are a bleating sheep that needs to be culled from the herd.
You are a racist, Plain and simple.
Yeah… I said that shit.
So, are white people the gold standard of humanity? No. Not by a long shot. But then again, neither are Black people, nor Asians nor Latinos, etc. Humanity is humanity and we should all strive for a higher standard of being human.
So, if anyone doesn’t understand my rage, if they want to come mix it up in a bullshit debate, if you trolls are looking to stir some shit up?
Bring it. But trust, y’all are bringing a knife to a gunfight…
And, I pack a howitzer.
Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson is now available for print exclusively at Amazon. Grab a copy if you so choose. 10% off the cover price. Peace.
“Instead of wishing that Disney and Warner Brothers would deliver us, the marginalized, from our state of white-washed underrepresentation, it is time for You to start looking elsewhere for your dream fulfillment.” – David Walker
I’m starting to feel like I’m going crazy — as if there is something seriously wrong with me — when the sad truth of the matter is that it is not me at all. It is you. And by “you” I don’t necessarily mean you, the person reading this, but I do mean someone other than myself — the crazy person running around pointing out the truth that You (though not necessarily you) don’t want to face. And the truth that I’m talking about is the simple fact that for all the complaining about the lack of diversity in comics — specifically as it relates to black creators — You don’t really want diversity. Instead, You want to sit around, writing blog posts and articles and leaving comments here and there about how few black creators are working in comics, and how You are so…
DISCLAIMER: It may seem like I’m going in on the man, please believe that I am not. I do not know him personally and hold no ill will towards him…
It’s not like he’s paying attention anyway…
The reason why Rob Liefeld was/is popular is because he drew like a hopeful trying to get in… And still does.
He got lucky, flat out. He became famous thanks to a Levi 501 jean commercial directed by Spike Lee. THAT put him in the public eye. NOT New Mutants, NOT Hawk and Dove. Thank the director of Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and Bamboozled for that.
Also, No one… NO ONE will ever get hired by a major company following his “style.”
Sorry to be so harsh, but the 90s ended 14 years ago. And granted, there are many interpretations of how to visualize the world (style), but the only way to develop as an artist is to study the basics: anatomy, proportion, perspective, composition, etc.
Eduardo Risso, Mike Mignola, Shawn Martinburough, Olivier Copiel, Khary Randolph, Ashley Woods, Afua Richardson, Shawn Alleyne, Ivan Reis, etc.
All of these artists interpret the basics (anatomy, proportion, etc.) differently…
However, all of them know the basics in order to bend the rules to their vision, not BREAK them.
That’s why all of them are great artists and great visual storytellers.
And though all of the artists mentioned work in the comic book realm, they didn’t learn that by just looking at comic book artists. Expand your view. Take a life drawing class if you can. But please, please stop idolizing Rob Liefeld…
His artwork has ruined many a hopeful artist’s development.
Actually, that’s the point of Image’s original seven… It was more so their business acumen and being at the right place at the right time with their notoriety that put them on top, financially, rather than their artistic skills.
In fact, you can thank Todd McFarlane for being cocky enough to feel he deserved a bigger piece of the pie and that he was able to convince the others to come along. But, even he has been noted in saying that if Jim Lee (not Rob, not Erik, not even himself) didn’t come along, Image would have never happened because Lee was the best artist of the bunch and the golden boy of Marvel, thanks to his work on Uncanny X-Men at the time.
Peep game: cats like McFarlane and Liefeld were popular because they were the easiest to copy. Their work was closest in competency (though, probably slightly higher) to their teenage fanbase, many of whom were/are hopefuls trying to break-in.
However, having Jim Lee on the squad legitimized Image. Hands down, his work was the most solid in terms of the basics; his work was the “prettiest” girl in the squad. Lee was the apex of what Image was artistically.
So, applaud the gang for their business, because they opened the door for the new wave of independent books. But, without Jim Lee coming on board, we’d still only be talking about the “Corporate Two”.
College professor time: What I’ve come to find is that some artists go to the “lowest common denominator” when it comes to artistic influence because, they feel its the easiest to master. You see it from the Liefeld “love” to people claiming they have an “anime” style. What they are really doing is copying the “mistakes” in their influences’ work and touting it with the attitude of “It worked for them, so it should work for me.”
That’s lazy talk, that’s lazy thinking. Again, I am not knocking anyone’s influences. As artists, other artists (that’s part of the education) influence us all. However, as artists, we must not be slaves to our influences and strive to become better, to develop our own unique viewpoint. That only comes from understanding the basics.
Now, once you’ve got that down, you’ve got to study the business of comics…
And that’s a whole ‘nother conversation…
Speaking of, my new art book, Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson is available now as a digital download for $9.95 at Drive Thru Comics with a print run limited to 1000 copies August 18. Grab both, send me your mailing address when you do so and you’ll get TWO Horsemen posters absolutely FREE!
Along with the creation of Motown and the birthplace of Techno, Detroit has been an influential city in the world of comics as well.
From creators like Jim Starlin (Warlock, Captain Marvel and Dreadstar) redefining Marvel’s “Cosmic Universe” to artists like Arvell Jones and Chuck Patton holding it down at DC and Marvel in the 70s and 80s, to Caliber Comics (I see you, Nate Pride) spearheading the indie comics movement and first introducing the world to the talents of Guy Davis (Baker Street, Sandman Mystery Theatre, B.P.R.D.), David Mack (Kabuki, Daredevil) and James O’Barr (The Crow), the Motor City has been a vanguard in the evolution of the medium.
Detroit has also produced two of the most influential and groundbreaking moments in comic book history. T.R.I.B.E. creator Todd Johnson hails from the “D” as well as the late great architect of Milestone Media, Dwayne McDuffie.
Cats like Kenjii Jumanne-Marshall, Mark C. Dudley, Matthew & Kevin Minor, John J. Hill, Andre Batts, Judd Winick, Brad Meltzer (U of M represent) and yours truly are part of a grand legacy.
We stand on the shoulder of giants.
Speaking of, I have a new art book coming out in time for the M.E.C.C.A. con coming in September: Chronicle: The Art of Jiba Molei Anderson.
“The creator of The Horsemen returns showcasing the work and philosophy of a new master of the medium. More than just the average “sketchbook,” Anderson also includes two tutorials on the creation of comics… A must have for any fan of the medium!”
The book will be available for download Wednesday, August 6 for $9.95 with a print option limited to only 1000 copies available August 18 EXCLUSIVELY at IndyPlanet for $19.95. Grab both versions and the first 100 customers get two FREE Horsemen posters! Did I mention that each physical copy of the book will be signed?
So, while I’ve been busy this past weekend, almost wishing that I were at San Diego Comic-Con to be amongst the hordes of my fellow lovers of the medium, I happened upon this post written by Khalil Kakarot Asadullah in the Facebook group Comic Nerds of Color. He had written, basically, a “Dear John” letter to the “Corporate Two,” in general, and DC in particular. Here is that letter now in all of its heartfelt glory:
Dear Dan DiDio,
The big two, Marvel and DC Comics have for years been a cornerstone of great ideas and stories that I have loved since my childhood. Some of my favorite characters have been DC Comics characters, Nightwing and the Flash (Wally West). I personally was a little disappointed in the New 52 and the reboot of characters and altering their history. The New 52 was convoluted and seems haphazard with no true direction. In establishing the New 52 continuity, there was no continuity at all. Some stories were not even on the same time frame as some stories were five to seven years in the past while others were present, and the stories that were supposed to be in the past frequently referenced events that were supposed to have happened in the present.
Very confusing indeed.
This, however is not the main issue I have been having…
I applaud any true attempt at bringing diversity to comic books. The fact that Asian, Black, Hispanic and LBGT characters are under represented in comic books is a travesty in my eyes. Comics should represent the ultra diverse world that we live in, and it is about time that both Marvel and DC set the standard with this new path. There is however a way that this path should be done. Ultimately, I think it first starts with having a workplace where this diversity is celebrated. More capable female, Black, Asian and Hispanic writers and artists would be a big step in defining characters with authentic backgrounds and personalities because they have been written by people who reflect that diversity.
Currently, you have a reboot in progress for the character Wally West. This new reboot has changed Wally from a white character to a black character. I personally have a reservation with “race bending” characters, it shows a lack of originality. It doesn’t show true diversity because all you are doing is giving a character another complexion. But this is not the factor that has me to the point of not giving DC Comics another penny of my money. In four or five issues now, this new Wally West, this new black Wally West, has been in handcuffs in two of these issues. He has been arrested TWICE!
For real Dan? TWICE?
It just seems to me that all you are currently doing is reinforcing a trope about young black men- that we are criminals. I have never been arrested. My brother has never been arrested. My cousins have never been arrested. My male friends who are black have never been arrested. But this is however a statistic that is forced in the minds of young black men. It is seen in televisions shows like The Wire. It is in the news repeatedly. Now, it is in comic books.
As an educated black man who is also a high school English teacher, my job is to not only educate these young men so that they are more prepared for college and beyond, but it is also to be an example of what these young men are fighting against– stereotypes. I often use comic books and graphic novels in the classroom to change up the pace and to give my students more reference material. Through characters like Batman and the Hulk I have been able to introduce students to characters like Sherlock Holmes and books like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But why on Earth would I introduce a juvenile delinquent to my students? Why would I allow a trope like what your company has created into my classroom?
I am truly disappointed in what DC Comics has done. The feign attempt at diversity is nothing more than stereotypical propaganda that consciously reinforces a racial and social paradigm that is undeserved. Maybe DC Comics (and Marvel for that matter) should study the work of Christopher Priest on The Black Panther. Use his writing as a lesson plan of how to avoid tropes and create stories about a character with dignity, honor and an unwavering moral code that not only young black men can be proud to read about, but also all races can see the goodness that dwells in the hearts of people of color.
To sum it up, DC Comics has failed. DC Comics has failed to create stories about characters with integrity and characters that do not negatively reflect any particular race, gender or sexual orientation. DC will make their money, and some people will still purchase this “Shazbot,” but it won’t be me. Make mine Indie Comics because I see nothing MARVELous about Marvel or DC.
Well, DC and Marvel, that’s one source of revenue gone. And trust… he’s not the only one that’s fed up. This is what happens when you short-shrift a sizeable portion of your “1000 True Fans.”