The following is a response to a post about the lack of “minority” characters from DC and Marvel Comics. This will be the only time you’ll hear me respond to this, as I am tired of the question. No disrespect to the one that posed the question, I’m just tired of wasting any more time on the question…
Yes, DC and Marvel have both been around since nearly this medium’s inception. Yes, their stable of properties have got decades of traction in the marketplace, and yes, the marketplace see only one color: GREEN, which is their primary concern…
The people who make the money are extremely short-sighted, and a part of that short-sightedness is in the idea of what is “marketable.”
Peep game, do you want to know which property, translated into film, brought Marvel out of the doledrums of bankruptcy thereby putting them on the path to be attractive for their eventual acquistion by Disney? Not, Spider-Man, not The X-Men, but Blade. The financial success of Blade in 1997 made it possible for those other movies to happen.
Who is the most recognizable Green Lantern for a whole new generation? John Stewart. Yet, they used Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern for the film and it was not a success in part because of a younger generation not knowing or caring about Hal… And that’s just not Black folks, either.
Yes, Green Lantern was a horrible film, for many reasons, and it would have done poorly whether or not Ryan Reynolds was Hal or Common was John Stewart. However, most kids today, who don’t read comics, the only Green Lantern they know is African American.
Blade was a great film all-around… Which illustrates the fact that the argument of African American superheroes not doing well financially is false. In fact, other examples of the initial vampire craze is further proof that cultural diversity adds to the value of entertainment (i.e. Rodriguez’s From Dusk ‘Til Dawn Latin-tinged appropriation of the vampire myth to Joss Whedon’s Buffy: The Vampire Slayer’s introduction of such characters as Gunn, Principal Wood, the First Slayer, etc.).
Characters of color from the Big Two have done better in other media rather than in comics because the audience for film, television and video games is bigger and more diverse than the suburban White male demographic that the Big Two consider their core audience. In short, they are marketing to their own tribe… A “passive” bigotry, if you will, using “marketing” to justify their limited world-view. To wait for that kind of narrow-minded thinking to seriously consider female voices, GBLT readers or fans of color, is a useless exercise. Instead of waiting for “Massa” to come around, we marginalized consumer base need to be made aware of, and support, the more than viable alternatives that address our needs. When that happens, when you start taking dollars out of the Big Two’s coffers that way, that’s when they’ll stand up and pay attention.
Don’t depend on the Big Two for some kind of cultural lip-service. All of your dollars don’t have to go to DC and Marvel. That’s like eating McDonalds or Burger King every day. If you want sushi, they are not the place to get it. Instead, seek out material that is going to speak to you. If that gets you off the reservation, so be it. There’s a whole world out there to explore. Who knows? You might find what you’re looking for.
What examples to support that argument? Love and Rockets. Brotherman. T.R.I.B.E. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Nexus. Hellboy. Grendel. Men In Black. The Walking Dead. Image Comics. Milestone Media.
To have a really satisfying and unique meal, you have to go to an Italian, Latin, Asian, African or Indian restaurant…
…That’s the experience only an Indie Comic can provide.