The other day, one of our favorite websites, Bleeding Cool, posted a column by Devon Sanders bemoaning the lack of black writers in comics — or more precisely at the Big Two (i.e., DC and Marvel) as well as the mid-major publishers like Dark Horse and Boom. Since its publication, the article has been making its way around the comics blogosphere and message boards sparking some much-needed conversation about the lack of diversity in comics.
The question posed is focused primarily on the lack of black comics writers, and not artists such as Shawn Martinbrough, Jamal Igle, Kyle Baker, or Rob Guillory whose mainstream comics work have all developed quite a following. In the article, Sanders says:
This is the writer’s name, the one you see above everyone else’s and when you count black writers actively working for Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc. it comes down to less than the number of digits on Nightcrawler’s hand.
Now while the thesis of the article is the lack of black writers at the big publishers, the column’s title posited the question “Where are the New Black Comics Writers?” The answer to that particular question would be to look beyond the Big Two. Just ask our own Brandon Easton who recently received an Eisner nom for his work on the spectacular Watson and Holmes.
Back in January, David Walker addressed the issue even further. While most of these type of opinion pieces focus on the lack of creators of color at the major corporate publishers, it doesn’t mean black comics writers don’t exist. You just have to find them in the world of indie comics. And you have to do more than find them, you need to buy (or at the very least talk about) their books too. Basically, if you want to see more African American creators in the mainstream books, you have to support their independent work:
I’m sorry to say this, but if you are upset about a lack of diversity in comics, and you are not supporting the creators that are out there — through both purchases and spreading the word — then you are, in your own way, part of the problem. The fact of the matter is that many of the creators that stand a chance of bringing diversity to comics are already making comics. Many are doing it independently, some are at companies like Image or Monkeybrain or Dark Horse. But if fans and readers don’t show support to indie creators that are doing it themselves, those same creators don’t stand much of a chance of getting to move up to producing for a company like Image or Dark Horse. And if the creators working at Dark Horse and Image aren’t moving the sort of units that make Marvel and DC take notice, then they’ll never be invited to play in those sandboxes. That’s just how the industry works.
If you missed David’s post in January, please take the time and read it. For everyone looking for new writers of color, David can at least point you in the right direction. Speaking of which, we’ll have more on this topic from David tomorrow.