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.
Last week, David Walker threw down the gauntlet for folks who say there isn’t enough diversity in comics but may not buy — or even know about — comics and graphic novels by writers and artists of color. If you feel like supporting creators of color and publishers who aren’t “the big two,” you can start with a digital-only book by Walker himself. The third issue of David Walker’s digital mini-series The Army of Dr. Moreau comes out today exclusively on ComiXology.
It seems like every day I read something, somewhere, about the lack of diversity in comics (not to mention various other pop culture mediums). Sometimes these pieces focus on gender, other times on people of color, and sometimes both. At the recent Image Expo, sixteen comic creators took the stage, with only two being women, and none being of color, and in the aftermath we are once again having this conversation. (Read about it here on Bleeding Cool.) To be absolutely clear, this lack of representation in the creative forces that produce comics is problematic. There needs to be greater diversity on many levels when it comes to comics, both on the creative side, and within the stories that are being produced. But that is only one problem, and not the problem I want to address.