Posted by BatWatch (2905 posts) - - Show Bio

First, let me clarify something. This is an issue that numerous people have addressed over the years many of which are better informed than me, so in no way do I mean to say that my ideas represent the definitive answer to this question. However, I do have some thoughts that I'm going to share which can basically be broken down into two separate non-exclusionary theories. The first theory is one I have heard from other comic book commentators, and after pondering it for months, I've decided that it tracks with me, so I am going to pass it on to you. The second theory consists of my own observations on the issue at hand.

To see this article with images, Click Here.

Theory #1: Black Superheroes Are Not Relatable

Let's take a moment to identify some of the most popular black superheroes in mainstream comics and consider how relatable they are. Black Panther is a scientific genius/martial arts master/leader of a small nation which, due to its vast resources, is one of the most powerful nations on the planet. Anybody feeling much kinship with him? How about Storm? How many of you have been recognized as an African goddess before becoming a teacher at an elite school for the most talented youngsters on the planet? Can anybody commiserate with the half-vampire/half-human Blade who has no discernible friends and spends every waking moment hunting down those who represent the dark side of his heritage? No? How about Steel? Is anybody a technological and mechanical genius who designed weapons which wiped out a third world country? No?

Look, I actually like Steel a lot, and I have no animosity against any of the other characters I mentioned, but though I might like the actions of heroes like Steel, I cannot really claim any sense of identification with their origin or abilities. At least with Steel, I can identify with his compassion, his desire to do good in harsh circumstances, and the sense of deep family bonds that were so present in his own series, but most black superheroes do not even have that much common ground with which I, and I speculate most others, can identify. Blade has little compassion and no family. Black Panther is a pretty stoic character from what I have seen. Storm definitely has some compassion, but she still, in my perception, has some leftover attitude from her time as a “goddess” which makes me feel she is a bit set apart from the average Joe's perspective.

Now if you have your critical thinking cap on, you are probably saying, “But BatWatcher, white superheroes are not relatable either.” In many cases, you are absolutely right. It's safe to assume the average comic book fan is not the Last son of Krypton, an amazonian princess, a narcissistic industrialist, or a billionaire with a rodent fetish, but all of these characters were established in the early days of comics, and they have since become iconic representations of the genre which have in turn become embedded in the subconscious of virtually ever person in the Western world. By getting in on the ground floor of comics, they did not have to be relatable in as large a degree. Those are the guys that new characters now have to compete against.

If you look at many of the characters who have become established in more recent ages, then they often run the Peter Parker route. They are, for the most part, everyday schmoes with a normal life who become extraordinary by circumstances and/or force of will. Think of the Batman and Green Lantern families and consider Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner who were all had relatable lives before the domino masks. How many black superheroes can claim the same?

There was at least one black superhero that managed to break into mainstream comics in the modern era, Static, and he was essentially the black Peter Parker. He did not have anything exceptional going on in his life until he happened to get caught up in the Big Bang and developed electromagnetic powers. Static had a successful comic run of 45 issues in the nineties along with a cartoon series that lasted four seasons. With a notable track record like that and a desire to diversify their line, it is no surprise that DC tried to restart his series in the DCNU. However, they rebooted the character as a wealthy scientific genius, and it flopped. Coincidence? I think not.

Theory #2: Racial Disinterest

Racism is often talked about as if it is a white problem, but it is not. Racism is a people problem. Everybody of every race has a natural tendency to be drawn to those of his or her own race. Now the causes, the implications, and the strategies for dealing with this inherent racism on an individual and global level are all fascinating discussions which have nothing to do with this article, so let's set them aside for the moment. All I am doing is making the point that racial bias is the natural tendency of humans.

With that in mind, it is clear that people tend to be drawn towards entertainment with a protagonist of their own race. Perhaps this sounds controversial, but it pretty obvious if you just stop and think about if for a second. The majority race in the United States is white, so protagonists in movies, books and comics tend to be white. In Japanese movies, protagonists tend to be Asian. In India, protagonists tend to be Indian. There are many movies made for the United States designed to target different racial demographics, and they inevitably star protagonists of the targeted race. The closer the protagonist is to the audience, the more likely the audience will identify with the story and enjoy it.

In light of this, white consumers, which are the majority in the United States, will naturally be less inclined to pick up a book starring a black hero. It is probably not even a conscious decision; it's just that there is slightly less of an identification with that hero.

However, just like with the movie market, this racial gap should theoretically be made up by the comic being more appealing to black consumers. That's the way it works with movies, so why does it not seem to work in comic books?

My theory is simple. I think the black community is uninterested in comics.

I taught English at a school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas that was 97% black, and there were many cultural shocks in store for me during my brief tenure, but one of the greatest shocks revolved around superheroes. One day, I wanted to talk about the heroic archetype while preparing to read The Odyssey, and I tried to lead the class in a discussion of what makes a hero by talking about superheroes. I know this is going to be difficult to believe, but when I tried to discuss the heroic qualities of Superman and Batman, I soon discovered that my ninth grade students had no idea who those characters were. Oh sure, they knew the names, but the vast majority of them could not tell me anything more about them. To quote one student, “Mr. Sims, we don't watch that s***.”

Now there were certainly a few Batman fans in the classroom, and I even ended up sharing some comics with a few of them in an attempt to find some kind of pop culture common ground, (its a long, agonizing story best saved for another time) but most of them had no knowledge or interest in the world of superheroes.

To be fair, one classroom does not a representative sample make. I tried to find some statistics on racial breakdown of comic followers to see if I could confirm my suspicious, but it seems this info is not readily available. However, if comics are trying to target a market which simply is not, as a whole, interested, that would certainly explain why black heroes rarely seem to gain ground.

#1 Posted by arnoldoaad (1007 posts) - - Show Bio

besides Static i would say that Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Spiderman might have a much relatable background as a modern black character, and Black Lighting was a teacher trying to take care of his family, so maybe there are something there too

#2 Posted by Fallen_Crippled (6460 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice post. Static, Cyborg, and maybe Black Panther are the only black characters that have or that could possibly ever sell. Falcon may be able to sell because he will be in Captain America. Other than that, black superheroes never seem to catch anyone's interest.

#3 Posted by War_Hulk_Kills_Sentry2 (559 posts) - - Show Bio

@Fallen_Crippled: war machine

#4 Posted by Fallen_Crippled (6460 posts) - - Show Bio

@War_Hulk_Kills_Sentry2 said:

@Fallen_Crippled: war machine

Completely forgot about him. Him too, but I don't think it would be a very good seller. He isn't very interesting and many people view him as just another Iron Man but black.

#5 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio
@BatWatch
How many of you have been recognized as an African goddess before becoming a teacher at an elite school for the most talented youngsters on the planet?
Well, just that one time... but I don't like to talk about it...It was just part of my show.  My stage name was Hot Chocolate.
 
Can anybody commiserate with the half-vampire/half-human Blade who has no discernible friends and spends every waking moment hunting down those who represent the dark side of his heritage?
I wish you wouldn't ask me questions like that in public.... SECRET IDENTITY... Remember?
 
Is anybody a technological and mechanical genius who designed weapons which wiped out a third world country?
I made a bow and arrow out of a palmetto bush once...  But I never managed to catch that wascily wabbit.
 
To be fair, one classroom does not a representative sample make
I teach chemistry and biology at a college in Georgia...  I am completely shocked how little my students know about comic book super heroes.  Super heroes are a great way to open up discussions on evolution... Or so I used to think.... 
#6 Edited by BlackWind (7062 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll definitely agree that not many black people like comics, not any I know.

Static's new comic failed because they unnecessarily tried something different and it didn't work. Making him a genius, I felt was a welcome change. The problem was taking him away from Dakota, which destroyed his setti and his supporting cast. And then they have him fighting Tron-esque evil Power Rangers, instead of protecting Dakota from evil metahumans and gang violence. With no friends he knew around him, that kills another part of him, the Virgil part.

Also, I hear the editors wanted to tell the story instead of, you know, editing! Stop trying to fix what ain't broke DC.

#7 Posted by PrinceIMC (5422 posts) - - Show Bio

I think its the perceived racial identity of African Americans in media. Sometimes there's an attempt to make them hip, or street, or badass. And no matter how much the writers do this or refrain from doing this people think they're either too hip/street/badass or not enough hip/street/badass.

#8 Posted by tupiaz (2240 posts) - - Show Bio

It is pretty easy make a comic about Shaft.

#9 Edited by Reignmaker (2235 posts) - - Show Bio

I would say it's more simple than that. Many of the popular white male superheroes have been around longer and enjoy a more loyal readership - among ALL demographics.

Black Lightning, Steel...there have been some pretty forgettable black characters. Pretty sure Steel had a solid run though. Also I think Black Panther has a pretty good rep despite not enjoying an ongoing title. Cyborg is still being crafted into one of the big boys. Give Johns his time, and he might even get a solo book.

Having said all that, there's absolutely no good reason for ANYONE not to be reading Shadowman.

#10 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4530 posts) - - Show Bio

Seriously who's promoting them Dc barely, there aren't any Black titles there anymore, Cyborg is in JL for Quota reasons,as Joh Stewart with the Greeen Lanterns. They even tried to put a Black charcarter in the Bat titles ,Bat wing and he is being replaced then canceled later this year. Static was canceled, as was Firestorm, and where is Black Lightning. Over in Marvel they have a slew of black characters floating around, But Luke Cage is getting lost in the Storm again, Black Panther is touch and go, and where is the Blue marvel. I see Blade every blue moon, Misty Knight is on the rise ,as is the new Captain Universe, Monica Rambieu is back ,sort of! Still at the end of the day marvel is lacking in black titles as well as black hero support. I have love for both companies but both fail in this particular situation.

#11 Posted by lightsout (1833 posts) - - Show Bio

@Timandm said:

How many of you have been recognized as an African goddess before becoming a teacher at an elite school for the most talented youngsters on the planet?
Well, just that one time... but I don't like to talk about it...It was just part of my show. My stage name was Hot Chocolate.

Thread over. Win.

#12 Posted by Pantherman (250 posts) - - Show Bio

Black comic characters don't sell for the same reason most white comic characters don't sell. They have not been around near as long to gather the rabid following that major characters do. Look at the top selling books across Marvel and DC, and you will see that if its not X-men, Hulk, Thor, Avengers Team, Justice League, Batman, Lantern, Superman, or Flash it doesn't sell too well. Its not just a Black thing, as I used to think too, I was very angry there were next to no major Black characters that I as a black man could relate too, Luke Cage came the closest but he is a cameo at best. I began to notice that most books that were not the aforementioned characters did not sell very well and there are alot of deserving books.

#13 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

White characters like Moon Knight fail to sell.If you don't have an established book from the 40's or the 70's,u ain't lasting long.

#14 Posted by tupiaz (2240 posts) - - Show Bio

@Pantherman said:

Black comic characters don't sell for the same reason most white comic characters don't sell. They have not been around near as long to gather the rabid following that major characters do. Look at the top selling books across Marvel and DC, and you will see that if its not X-men, Hulk, Thor, Avengers Team, Justice League, Batman, Lantern, Superman, or Flash it doesn't sell too well. Its not just a Black thing, as I used to think too, I was very angry there were next to no major Black characters that I as a black man could relate too, Luke Cage came the closest but he is a cameo at best. I began to notice that most books that were not the aforementioned characters did not sell very well and there are alot of deserving books.

I have heard that this character called Spider-Man is doing ok. Heard of him?

#15 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

its a hard to tell what would sell, i think most black characters need their own villians to make them standout more.  a good example is spawn when he was al simmons.  
in general its up to the fans most characters need the right writer, story and cast to sell the character well.

#16 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

Because the public isn't interested enough in them.

#17 Posted by Clark_EL (2675 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc: Are you guys forgetting about John Stewert?

#18 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@Clark_EL said:

@PowerHerc: Are you guys forgetting about John Stewert?

Is John Stewart selling a lot?

#19 Posted by turoksonofstone (13200 posts) - - Show Bio

So many reasons. Mostly because most minority readers are loyal to Marvel or DC long established caucasian mainstay characters already.

#20 Posted by BatWatch (2905 posts) - - Show Bio

@arnoldoaad said:

besides Static i would say that Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Spiderman might have a much relatable background as a modern black character, and Black Lighting was a teacher trying to take care of his family, so maybe there are something there too

Yeah, I thought of those, but I was trying to keep the article compact. Like you say, Black Lightning had a pretty relatable background, but both of his series flopped so... With Morales, he seems to be a great example of a black hero being relatable and selling.

@Fallen_Crippled said:

Nice post. Static, Cyborg, and maybe Black Panther are the only black characters that have or that could possibly ever sell. Falcon may be able to sell because he will be in Captain America. Other than that, black superheroes never seem to catch anyone's interest.

Steel actually had a long running series. Steel, Black Panther, and Spawn are the only black superheroes I can think of who have actually had a track record of consistently selling in a major way. Oh, and Static of course.

Falcon always felt like a forced character to me even when I was youngin'. I'm curious how he will be handled in The Winder Soldier.

@War_Hulk_Kills_Sentry2 said:

@Fallen_Crippled: war machine

I would not say War Machine has ever had a particularly successful series. His first lasted twenty-five issues which is, you know, not a flop, but I would not exactly call it a success.

@Timandm said:

@BatWatch:
How many of you have been recognized as an African goddess before becoming a teacher at an elite school for the most talented youngsters on the planet?
Well, just that one time... but I don't like to talk about it...It was just part of my show. My stage name was Hot Chocolate.

Can anybody commiserate with the half-vampire/half-human Blade who has no discernible friends and spends every waking moment hunting down those who represent the dark side of his heritage?
I wish you wouldn't ask me questions like that in public.... SECRET IDENTITY... Remember?

Is anybody a technological and mechanical genius who designed weapons which wiped out a third world country?
I made a bow and arrow out of a palmetto bush once... But I never managed to catch that wascily wabbit.

To be fair, one classroom does not a representative sample make I teach chemistry and biology at a college in Georgia... I am completely shocked how little my students know about comic book super heroes. Super heroes are a great way to open up discussions on evolution... Or so I used to think....

(laughs over Hot Chocolate line) You had a stage name? What were you teaching?

Sorry if I am outing your vampire nature.

Just follow the wabbit twacks.

I interned at a majority white school, and again, I don't know how well this one sample represents the whole, but I could pretty much talk about anything pop culture all day long with them.

@BlackWind said:

I'll definitely agree that not many black people like comics, not any I know.

Static's new comic failed because they unnecessarily tried something different and it didn't work. Making him a genius, I felt was a welcome change. The problem was taking him away from Dakota, which destroyed his setti and his supporting cast. And then they have him fighting Tron-esque evil Power Rangers, instead of protecting Dakota from evil metahumans and gang violence. With no friends he knew around him, that kills another part of him, the Virgil part.

Also, I hear the editors wanted to tell the story instead of, you know, editing! Stop trying to fix what ain't broke DC.

Any idea why black people do not tend to like comic books. I'm assuming you are black because of your name and avatar. I figured you might have some insight.

Ouch, that description of Static's series sounds pretty rough. I can see why that failed. For my part though, I think I'm getting a little tired of genius superheroes. Maybe just because I follow the Bat books where pretty much everyone is insanely intelligent, but it is becoming a bit trite at this point.

@PrinceIMC said:

I think its the perceived racial identity of African Americans in media. Sometimes there's an attempt to make them hip, or street, or badass. And no matter how much the writers do this or refrain from doing this people think they're either too hip/street/badass or not enough hip/street/badass.

I tweeted this article as I do all of my stuff on BatWatch, and somebody responded, "Why are there no black writers?" There are some, but it does seem that if you want a hero to connect with black people, it would make sense to have a black person writing them. I mean, just being honest here, I would have no clue how to write the Peter Parker of the African-Americans. It could easily turn into the exact problem you mentioned.

@tupiaz said:

It is pretty easy make a comic about Shaft.

Then DC could start marketing Shaft Juice.

@Reignmaker said:

I would say it's more simple than that. Many of the popular white male superheroes have been around longer and enjoy a more loyal readership - among ALL demographics. Black Lightning, Steel...there have been some pretty forgettable black characters. Pretty sure Steel had a solid run though. Also I think Black Panther has a pretty good rep despite not enjoying an ongoing title. Cyborg is still being crafted into one of the big boys. Give Johns his time, and he might even get a solo book. Having said all that, there's absolutely no good reason for ANYONE not to be reading Shadowman.

What do you mean by referring to Cyborg as a boy!

Kidding.

Yeah, that is definitely a part of it. White superheroes got in on the ground floor, and its hard to compete with that.

#21 Posted by guttridgeb (4832 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the main reason is that because of racism last century, I don't think there were any major black heroes. Thus the characters who people know with rich histories - so they sell well - are almost entirely white.

#22 Posted by Teerack (7372 posts) - - Show Bio

Does this answer your question?

#23 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio
@BatWatch: laughs over Hot Chocolate line) You had a stage name? What were you teaching?
Exotic dance and modern culture... :-)
#24 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6521 posts) - - Show Bio

@evilvegeta74 said:

Seriously who's promoting them Dc barely, there aren't any Black titles there anymore, Cyborg is in JL for Quota reasons,as Joh Stewart with the Greeen Lanterns. They even tried to put a Black charcarter in the Bat titles ,Bat wing and he is being replaced then canceled later this year. Static was canceled, as was Firestorm, and where is Black Lightning. Over in Marvel they have a slew of black characters floating around, But Luke Cage is getting lost in the Storm again, Black Panther is touch and go, and where is the Blue marvel. I see Blade every blue moon, Misty Knight is on the rise ,as is the new Captain Universe, Monica Rambieu is back ,sort of! Still at the end of the day marvel is lacking in black titles as well as black hero support. I have love for both companies but both fail in this particular situation.

I know he's being replaced, but is the series officially being cancelled?

#25 Posted by SoA (5139 posts) - - Show Bio

only black characters i can not get into is batwing and falcon, i find them lame

but Icon & rocket , War Machine, Black Panther, Blade, Static, John Stewart, etc are great characters that get no love at all it seems

#26 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4530 posts) - - Show Bio

@V_Scarlotte_Rose said:

@evilvegeta74 said:

Seriously who's promoting them Dc barely, there aren't any Black titles there anymore, Cyborg is in JL for Quota reasons,as Joh Stewart with the Greeen Lanterns. They even tried to put a Black charcarter in the Bat titles ,Bat wing and he is being replaced then canceled later this year. Static was canceled, as was Firestorm, and where is Black Lightning. Over in Marvel they have a slew of black characters floating around, But Luke Cage is getting lost in the Storm again, Black Panther is touch and go, and where is the Blue marvel. I see Blade every blue moon, Misty Knight is on the rise ,as is the new Captain Universe, Monica Rambieu is back ,sort of! Still at the end of the day marvel is lacking in black titles as well as black hero support. I have love for both companies but both fail in this particular situation.

I know he's being replaced, but is the series officially being cancelled?

You didn't hear? Dc is cancelling 16 books in September, Batwing is on the list! I'll try to find you a link!

#27 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

Hard for any dc superhero to compete in a company dominated by Batman's shadow. Even Superman and Wonder Woman are not doing that well so it is probably not a race issue.

#28 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6521 posts) - - Show Bio

@evilvegeta74: I think that's just a rumour, and Batwing being on the list is speculation based on the rumour.

#29 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4530 posts) - - Show Bio

@V_Scarlotte_Rose said:

@evilvegeta74: I think that's just a rumour, and Batwing being on the list is speculation based on the rumour.

I don't think so and it seem logical! Typical Dc actions, Team Seven is on that list as well. There's a thread here somewhere about it!

#30 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6521 posts) - - Show Bio

@evilvegeta74: I've seen the thread. It's still just a rumour though.

Team Seven's not on the list though, as it's already been cancelled.

#31 Posted by fodigg (6148 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd argue because companies don't invest in them to the same degree.

#32 Posted by WaveMotionCannon (5617 posts) - - Show Bio
@guttridgeb

I think the main reason is that because of racism last century, I don't think there were any major black heroes. Thus the characters who people know with rich histories - so they sell well - are almost entirely white.

Some of this and OP's Theory#2. Black characters have a history of minimal promotion, poor art and writing and general disinterest by white readers.
#33 Posted by Clark_EL (2675 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc: A lot of people like him.

#34 Edited by AlteredBeast (149 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't speak for every black comic book fan, but in my opinion a lot of the heroes are extremely unrelatable, weak, or ignored. Also, a ton seem to not have great writers near them ever because some writers could do a stent on any character and make that character a must-buy. Morrison, Moore, etc. can pick any character up out of oblivion. Back to the whole weak, unrelatable, ignored theory lets run down a list real quick: Unrelatable and Weak (to me): Luke Cage-- he's more insulting than anything. He got his powers while in jail and is a hero for hire. If Luke Cage was a top tier strength powerhouse I'd be slightly onboard cause he can then be seen a symbol for strength, but instead his strength is definately above average and nowhere near top tier. I don't like to phrase it this way, but his power is b-list at best. On top of that he doesn't seem to have any other great qualities like the indominable will of Cap, indistructable moral fiber of Supes, or the dark brilliance of Bats. His only schtick is being from the streets and being really strong and can take a beating. John Stewart-- to echo what someone else stated earlier, he's just a status quo for the Lanterns. His personal history isn't unique or interesting. Sometimes he's wrapped up in some drama, but it usually is just nonsense fluff. Also, no one would ever try to make the arguement that he is the best Lantern from Earth. So even amongst his cohorts he is unexceptional. Verdict Unrelatable and Weak Cyborg -- Star athelete with scientist parents gets caught in accident and gets powers. Except he isn't a tech genius questing for any righteous cause, he's never going to be written as someone who is the same unbeatable tier level of Supes or Batman and seems to have no love life. It seems the character of cyborg was suppose to be a spot for an emotionaless android like the JL's version of vision, but they realized they need some diversity so they said lets make the emotionaless android black, give him a random back story but never have any chance of being "the dude" that is always cool and gets the girl. Speaking of getting "the girl" Cyborg is written as if he is a eunuch. It'd be interesting to have him entertain a romance with Wonder Woman as has Batman and Supes. But the truth is, even when you read that last sentenced you viewed that is almost offensively far fetched, because well he's a ???? or she would never find him appealing because ????? Black Panther --- I would purchase and read a BP title if it expanded on everyday life in this awesome nation of Wakanda. Wakanda sounds awesome, but has never been fully realized aside from acknowledgement for being where BP is from and for being awesome. I'd like to see a hardboiled detective-type arc featuring BP or a new Wakandan detective solving crimes in the most advanced city in the most advanced nation in the world, but instead all we see of Wakanda is random shots of BP's throne room and the same non-detailed skyline. Black Lighting-- i'd assert he is both weak (power set is easily overcome) and ignored. Mr. Terrific-- is suppose to be a super geniuis, but is written more as a weak blurry amalgomation of Batman, Mr. Fantastic, and Iron Man. On paper this might be interesting, and on paper it is not. Mr. Terrific best boast is that he is the 4th smartest man on the planet. Why not the 1st? Why not make Mr. Terrific be "the dude" when it come to scientific knowledge in the DCU similar to Mr. Fantastic in Marvel U? He just seems nerfed to death for some reason. Blade-- I think Blade's character has the potential to be insanely lucrative in light(inadvertent pun) of the increase popularity of other metaphyisical stories. Why not do with Blade, what darkhorse does with Hellboy. I feel, storyline-wise, Blade can branch out into other supernatural assassinations. He should be hanging with Dr. Strange more often because they are both heavily linked to the metaphyical world. Anyway, this rant isn't done, but I am ending it. Ultimately it seems black titles don't get writers or the artists that would make them sell. I'd buy anything by Frank Cho, Doug Mahnke, Ed McGuiness, Frank Quietely, and whoever did Astonishing X-Men. I just remembered the stent that Richard Corben had with Luke Cage and am slowly gettting pissed at how easy it is to make these titles sell and make these characters great. *shaking my head* EDIT-- Sorry for lack of paragraphs

#35 Posted by daredevil21134 (12394 posts) - - Show Bio

Spawn to me is proof black heroes can sell when writers but effort into the characters.A lot of writers just don't seem to care about them.I would like to see an A lost creative team tackle Blade and see how it would do.

#36 Posted by Jorgevy (5114 posts) - - Show Bio

you just need to get Will Smith or Sam L Jackson. just ask Hancock or ultimate Nick Fury

#37 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4530 posts) - - Show Bio

Black heroes never recieved the promotion that Superman,Batman,Spidey ,or Hulk has gotten over the years. That's why a minimal percentage of the black community get into comics. Heroes like Luke Cage ,Black Panther, Icon, John Stewart etc... aren't being solicited by Dc nor Marvel to the black culture.As a result the black community take a lack of interest in comics, sure there is a percentage that , indulge because of the Hulk, Spidey , Superman,etc..this is when they discover, hey there are some black heroeswho are really cool. powerful and intelligent. Yeah some are urbanized, if you will say, like Static and Cage for example.Then there's the stereo typical voice of Cyborg from the Teen Titans. Khari Payton who does the voice is used in almost every black heroes voices in cartoons on tv, like Kaldur from Young Justice. He's also the voice for Luke Cage in a Spiderman game. Black cultures see these depictions and say, is this how they see us, this turns black cultures away from comics. Marvel and Dc are the blame for the problem. Just imagine where Luke Cage would be today if he got promoted to the public for the same amount of time that Batman or Superman! Seriously would he be as popular of course not, but he'd be well known in the black culture in comparison to where he really is today.

#38 Posted by BlackWind (7062 posts) - - Show Bio

One of the problems with Blade is that he shows up once in a blue, and if the situation ain't vampire related, he doesn't care. Too bad because he has potential.

Many black characters also are part of someone else's supporting cast, a team character or a legacy character, and not their own hero.

@BatWatch: I'm of mixed race, but part black. My name's just a coincidence though. Anyway, I don't wanna sound offensive, but quite honesty, the black youth of today just doesn't care about reading, much less superheroes. They'd take a cell phone, computer, or video game before a comic. I even see this in my peers and I'm only 20. Once in high school a teacher asked us who likes to read. I was one of the only people to raise my hand.

#39 Posted by The Stegman (25541 posts) - - Show Bio

Because Batman isn't black.

#40 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4530 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackWind said:

One of the problems with Blade is that he shows up once in a blue, and if the situation ain't vampire related, he doesn't care. Too bad because he has potential.

Many black characters also are part of someone else's supporting cast, a team character or a legacy character, and not their own hero.

@BatWatch: I'm of mixed race, but part black. My name's just a coincidence though. Anyway, I don't wanna sound offensive, but quite honesty, the black youth of today just doesn't care about reading, much less superheroes. They'd take a cell phone, computer, or video game before a comic. I even see this in my peers and I'm only 20. Once in high school a teacher asked us who likes to read. I was one of the only people to raise my hand.

Then why are you watching them do these things instead of incouraging them to read. You have to lead by example don't sit back and point fingers, because you're on the right track.

#41 Posted by BlackWind (7062 posts) - - Show Bio

@evilvegeta74: I'm not pointing a finger. If my classmates didn't like to read, they didn't like to read. I don't think less of them for it, and it isn't my business what they do.

#42 Posted by Blood1991 (8098 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

I'd argue because companies don't invest in them to the same degree.

I'd agree here.

Lets look at two popular black characters in the big two Cyborg and Storm. Cyborg was thrown in the JLA and was not even given a shot at a solo title. Storm beat Wonder Woman and instead of a well deserved solo series she got a mini.

These are great characters that aren't given a shot to stand alone. Other characters are written with so much racial undertone that the completely detach themselves from readers. Luke Cage and Falcon were terrible about this. This is where the ability to relate with these characters dies. The race of the character matters, but it shouldn't be all consuming. Static did an excellent job of being a relatable character, but like mentioned earlier if the character isn't big out the box they have a hard time selling next to characters readers already know and love.

#43 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4530 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackWind said:

@evilvegeta74: I'm not pointing a finger. If my classmates didn't like to read, they didn't like to read. I don't think less of them for it, and it isn't my business what they do.

You should always encourage kids and peers to read, regardless of culture!

#44 Posted by BlackWind (7062 posts) - - Show Bio

@evilvegeta74 said:

@BlackWind said:

@evilvegeta74: I'm not pointing a finger. If my classmates didn't like to read, they didn't like to read. I don't think less of them for it, and it isn't my business what they do.

You should always encourage kids and peers to read, regardless of culture!

That isn't my thing, honestly.

#45 Posted by SUNMAN (7265 posts) - - Show Bio

there are several reasons and variables many which won't even be touched on in this thread.

But Black characters have sold, lets not pretend they haven't. Look at Spawn. Look at Milestone back in the day. I'm sure Blade would sell if you let an independent company have him like Dynamite or Valiant, that actually focused on promoting the character and didn't just put a half hearted effort the way Marvel and DC does with a lot of titles.

More importantly, the comic industry is a very small niche market. It's only a very small percentage and demographic of the population thats actively purchasing comics. With movies, videogames, tv shows, manga and other forms of media comic have a lot to compete with. Not to mention piracy. This isn't an industry thats seeing a drastic increase in readership. Or at least people purchasing comics.

Lastly, mainstream comics developed a certain way overtime and are predominantly written and illustrated by white males at Marvel and DC anyway. So that has helped shaped the medium and the readership to an extent.

If you are looking for more diverse mediums I'd turn towards, movies, tv/web shows and videogames. Those industries cater to a larger audience and have much more of a reason to be diverse.

#46 Posted by PowerHerc (85153 posts) - - Show Bio

@Clark_EL said:

@PowerHerc: A lot of people like him.

Okay. But the question is about selling.

Does he sell? If he was really that well liked he'd be headlining his own ongoing and selling.

#47 Posted by BatWatch (2905 posts) - - Show Bio

@AlteredBeast

Hey, I'm a bit swamped in comments now, so I am trying to quickly read through all my old ones until I get caught up to comments from the past couple days, and technically, this one is more than two days old, but since you wrote so much, I wanted to take the time to at least respond to some of your points.

I cannot really speak to black superheores in general since my experience with them is very limited. I do know I've always liked Steel as a character who is the only black hero I've really had the chance to know. I would not classify him as weak from a physical or character standpoint. He is the defacto leader of Team Superman when Supes is not present to call the shots, and that is no small feat.

I like you ideas for Black Panther. That certainly sounds more interesting than anything I have heard actually happen with Black Panther in comics.

Mr. Terrific seems like a stupid character to me too.

Black Lightning...I actually like him as a character though the name is a little cringe worthy. There are a lot of black heroes with black in front of the name. Kind of...obvious. In fact, color names in general are kind of cheesy, but whatevs.

I do not know about the strength of writers with different black led series. I've heard the guy doing Black Panther is a pretty big name or at least a solid established writer. I know with Steel's series, they kind of gave him a second-tier artist to start him out.

Is there interest in superheroes among your black friends, and if not, why not? Any theories?

#48 Posted by dimmoe (61 posts) - - Show Bio

@Blood1991 said:

@fodigg said:

I'd argue because companies don't invest in them to the same degree.

I'd agree here.

Lets look at two popular black characters in the big two Cyborg and Storm. Cyborg was thrown in the JLA and was not even given a shot at a solo title. Storm beat Wonder Woman and instead of a well deserved solo series she got a mini.

These are great characters that aren't given a shot to stand alone. Other characters are written with so much racial undertone that the completely detach themselves from readers. Luke Cage and Falcon were terrible about this. This is where the ability to relate with these characters dies. The race of the character matters, but it shouldn't be all consuming. Static did an excellent job of being a relatable character, but like mentioned earlier if the character isn't big out the box they have a hard time selling next to characters readers already know and love.

#49 Posted by dimmoe (61 posts) - - Show Bio

Black superheroes do not get the same creative effort as white heroes. all that extra shit you're talking about dosent really matter. if jim lee started illustrating batwing, i bet it'd sell. if Scott Snyder, John Layman started writting the book, it would sell. when Judd Winick was writing Batwing the book was selling! if Jeff johns started writhing it, it would sell. there is simply not any creative effort behind black characters! or any non white character. period. end of discussion.

#50 Posted by FalconPuuunch (942 posts) - - Show Bio

My only problem with minority lead characters is that the writers ALWAYS turn their stories into a way to inject political messages into their stories.

I for once would like to read about a black/latino character or gay character that isn't defined entirely because they're different. I get so angry when the characters complain about being black/gay in a world of intolerance or that they have to struggle because they're different.. If I want that I will read about the X-Men or The Hulk.

Not ALL minority characters are like this, but the ones with the most fans are.