Why You Shouldn't Care About Diversity in Comics

Fig #1: Someone who doesn't get it.

In San Diego, a girl dressed as Batgirl stole the show with the question “Where are all the female creators?” She asked that question at literally every panel that DC held and became a kind of hero of the oppressed minority of female comic book writers and thus – for some completely bizarre reason – of the comic book readers themselves as well.

Marvel has announced that their new Ultimate Spider-Man is called Miles Morales and is no longer white. Shock and awe ensued and the subject of Miles Morales is currently the topic here at ComicVine. Is him being black a good idea? Will his blackness somehow suddenly cause the character of Spider-Man to speak in ebonics? Comic book fans are debating all these very important questions, because… well, because – I suppose – they feel that they have to.

Meanwhile, I answer to both Batgirl’s question and Spider-Man’s newfound tan with the following statement: Who gives a damn?

Diversity does not matter. It never has and it never will. I imagine it is about now that people will claim that I’m either racist or some sort of bigoted moron who likes NASCAR and drinks Bud Lite. But my point has absolutely nothing to do with race.

You see, I read comics because I enjoy the stories told therein. I read them because I want to see Spider-Man punch the Green Goblin while desperately trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy in his life. I read the Birds of Prey because I’m interested in them fighting crime and how they work together as a team and how Misfit grows as a character (not that she’s doing much of that lately, but it was pretty cool). Whether the characters were female or black or black and female, that was the least of my concerns. In fact, I don’t even particularly care about the race of a character. And neither should you. And neither should the creators. Why? Because it really doesn’t matter. Not one bit.

Look at it this way: All of us, we have at least one friend who is not of your own ethnicity. You might have to think about that one for a bit since I hope I’m not the only one who’s managed to have a Tamil friend and not notice her dark skin until she pointed it out to me when I offered her sunscreen – because if I am, then I have really embarrassed myself. Point is, apart from me hopefully not embarrassing myself, that her skintone did not matter. She could have been green for all I cared and I probably still wouldn’t have noticed. Because the thing I do notice and the things I think of first are – for example – her smile, her sense of humour and the fact that she’s a lot of fun to hang out with and do stuff. I remember the one time she hugged a complete stranger because that poor girl was crying because as it turned out, her boyfriend cheated on her, I remember the day where she got really annoyed and grumpy because she didn’t get to eat breakfast and she’s of the sort that gets cranky when she is hungry. I remember the day where she crashed at my place and brought one of these table-oven things on it so we could make pizza-thingies on it. These are the things I remember, these are the things that make her her. Basically: I remember my history with her.

 
Just as with my Tamil friend, Spidey’s skin colour doesn’t matter, just as the gender of the writer doesn’t matter as long as the story told – the character’s history – is interesting, engaging and ultimately sympathetic, as that’s what gets us to buy the book month after month. The second you make race or gender a deciding factor in a character’s traits, you end up with someone like Poochie from the Simpsons. Or, to use a more recent example, Victor Hernan Alvarez aka. Power Man. I am betting you that the character will be forgotten in three years’ time.

Basically, our user @MydLyfeCrysis put it best in the comment section of the article that revealed Miles to be black:

Diversity for the sake of diversity is a failure on all accounts. It's insulting. I still hold out hope it's a good book, and it's interesting to see what they do with a new Spider-man. But I cannot shake the awful taste in my mouth the awful "D" word brings to my mouth. It's the bane of great stories to begin with diversity and work your way out. Diversity should be a byproduct of a great story, not the genesis.

Another reason why you and DC and Marvel and the rest of them shouldn’t care about diversity in the who-writes-what debate is the following: In comic books, it’s ultimately all about the story told. It’s about heroes or villains overcoming some sort of obstacle in their lives and doing stuff. That stuff can be very interesting. Or very boring. Would you have enjoyed All-Star Superman more if it was written by Grace Morrison? Would you enjoy The Walking Dead more if it was written by Roberta Kirkman? Does Robert Kirkman not write a fantastic female character? Or you could turn it around: Was Felicia D. Henderson’s run on Teen Titans any less abysmal because she uses the girl’s room? Was Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman any less of a failure because Gail is a she herself?

Sure, there’s any number of reasons why a book is either successful or fails. But in the end, it’s all down to the story. You tell a brilliant story, you get readers. You screw that up – regardless of whether you are a man or a woman – nobody will read your idiotic attempts at telling us a story about “new hot and sensational characters” like The Wyld or Victor Hernan Alvarez.

Writing as a concept, seen as the act of bringing ones thoughts to paper, has the advantage that it’s not something that is defined by the person committing the act. Writing is probably the most unbiased form of expression because all we have are twenty-six letters and ten numbers. With these, we can express ourselves. And every writer, regardless of race, age, creed or gender, has the same tools at his disposals. Nobody criticizes Stephenie Meyer because she’s a woman. Nobody loves J. D. Salinger because he’s a man. Both Salinger and Meyer are defined by their writing, their style, their stories and their treatment of the trade. Also, both didn’t get famous because of their gender. The same can be said for every black, Hispanic or Asian writer.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: Publishers should not hire male or female writers or artists because they feel like they must hire a woman or a man or a giraffe to write their comics. Because again, as MydLyfeCrysis explained, it will fail.

So there we are, my advice to writers, artists, publishers and fans: Stop forcing diversity for the sake of diversity. Care about the stories that are told. Because those end up mattering, not the authors.

61 Comments
62 Comments
  • 62 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by fodigg

If it doesn't matter then why not opt for more diversity? If the stories are just as good or bad regardless, why not say "yeah, opt for diversity. opt for inclusiveness." 
 
Diversity is good because monotony is dull.

Posted by turoksonofstone
@Battlepig
I disagree completely. Women are underrepresented on the creative end and so are minorities, In story both companies also predominately feature Caucasian males, Like most industries in the U.S. Marvel/DC are run by white males targeting a white male audience. I understand your position of indifference, however, you must consider that your perspective is your own and may not reflect the position of most others, I'm pretty sure most readers no longer fit the narrow base comics are directed at and that this is just part of the current problem the medium faces. 
Posted by Caligula

well spoken.

Posted by evildupe

I didn't know this was such an issue. I think talent in the comic book industry has always been quite diverse. I think the real problem with diversity in comics is in the characters, but even then it's not so bad. The real problem of diversity exists more in the films. But then, I'd say the Blade movies were what helped spark this new generation of comic book movies. Personally, I'd like to see more diversity in comic book films. There's a lot of good source material out there. Film producers could create a new market that takes the comic book movie in a different direction. There's a lot of good indie work out there like Larry Stroman's Tribe that I'd like to see in a movie. I think that would be cool and that's just one example and one creator. Speaking of which, I think an Alien Legion movie would be really cool. Lots of diversity there, don't you think?

Posted by Caligula
@fodigg said:
If it doesn't matter then why not opt for more diversity? If the stories are just as good or bad regardless, why not say "yeah, opt for diversity. opt for inclusiveness."  Diversity is good because monotony is dull.
diversity is fine as long as you are making new characters or having new people carry on the mantle like USM's case. But I hate when they change the ethnicity or sex of an already established character.
 
either make a new character or a new person carrying a classic mantle. but don't make Steve Rogers or Bruce Wayne black or female.
Posted by Caligula
@evildupe said:
I didn't know this was such an issue. I think talent in the comic book industry has always been quite diverse. I think the real problem with diversity in comics is in the characters, but even then it's not so bad. The real problem of diversity exists more in the films. But then, I'd say the Blade movies were what helped spark this new generation of comic book movies. Personally, I'd like to see more diversity in comic book films. There's a lot of good source material out there. Film producers could create a new market that takes the comic book movie in a different direction. There's a lot of good indie work out there like Larry Stroman's Tribe that I'd like to see in a movie. I think that would be cool and that's just one example and one creator. Speaking of which, I think an Alien Legion movie would be really cool. Lots of diversity there, don't you think?
really it's not. some bratty little bimbo stirred up some BS at comic-con over nothing.
Posted by ReVamp
@Caligula said:


                    well spoken.

                   

               
Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7

Colorblind racism is still racism.

Posted by Battlepig
@turoksonofstone said:
@Battlepig: I disagree completely. Women are underrepresented on the creative end and so are minorities, In story both companies also predominately feature Caucasian males, Like most industries in the U.S. Marvel/DC are run by white males targeting a white male audience.
I'm all for hiring creative-end-minorities, but not because they're minorities. They need to earn their spot, just like everyone else. You almost make it sound like white males get comic book gigs thrown at them. That's not true, just like the opposite isn't true either. And if you introduce a new character that just happens to be from a minorty, don't make a point of it. Because that's not what matters in comics. Besides, if Miles Morales ends up being one of these characters that kind of suggest that he can do good despite him being from a minority, I'll be very disappointed. Ideally, they'll end up making as much a deal of Miles' heritage as they made of Peter's. None whatsoever.  That will also impact the readership, because if you suddenly have a black, female character for black female readers that they should enjoy solely based on the fact that the character is black and female... yeah, you can see why this won't work. 
 
By the way: Do you remember Minx, the DC Imprint? The entire concept was basically "Comics are now for girls, too!" and it bombed because of that. I read the one book and it wasn't bad and even with me not being the target audience, I enjoyed it. So I'm convinced that a black female reader can enjoy the aryan Captain America as much as any white male if the story's engaging, interesting and well-drawn. And that's my entire point. If you can have diversity, sure, go for it. But under no circumstance should the stories in your book suffer one bit.
 

I understand your position of indifference, however, you must consider that your perspective is your own and may not reflect the position of most others, I'm pretty sure most readers no longer fit the narrow base comics are directed at and that this is just part of the current problem the medium faces.  

Yes.
Posted by RazzaTazz

First of all, Gail Simone's run on Wonder Woman was quite amazing.  It may not have been the best run with the character, but it was consistently an interesting series.  I think in terms of seeing the difference here it is important to remember that white men are mostly behind the creation of comics, and therefore white men find it the most appealing.  I have read every single issue of Wonder Woman dating back to the 1940s and it has been written 95% by men.  I don't enjoy the character less because of it, but it creates a sort of mutually exclusive system, where if the cahracter was written by a female it would be more relevant in terms of accuracy while not losing any of its entartainment value. 

Moderator
Posted by ziplizard

Meanwhile, I answer to both Batgirl’s question and Spider-Man’s newfound tan with the following statement: Who gives a damn?

Diversity does not matter. It never has and it never will. I imagine it is about now that people will claim that I’m either racist or some sort of bigoted moron who likes NASCAR and drinks Bud Lite. But my point has absolutely nothing to do with race.

 
You say diversity doesn't matter, but what you're really saying is that it doesn't matter to you. As you know, I'm a woman. I read comics, but there are comics that I absolutely cannot read because their depiction of women is just horrible. I'll go to my local comic book store, browse the covers, see some panty shot or overly large boobs (no one can fight crime with boobs that big!) and put down the comic instantly since I can tell it isn't 'female friendly.' And if I do pick up a comic, most of the time the women are either there only to be potential love interests for the men or to be mother figures. They are one sided, shallow, and stupid. I actually keep a list of male writers who write amazing female characters. It's pretty short. 
 
So why does diversity matter on the page? Because it shows girls like me that we really can go out in the world and kick butt.
 
Why does diversity matter in the creative team? Because guys just don't seem to understand how or what to write women who can kick butt.

Posted by Bestostero

lol.

Posted by evildupe

If there's any lack of diversity in comics it's probably because the industry is simply not strong enough to support any. The market for comics isn't as big as it used to be and so the publishers don't have the resources to make up a new title, a new character, or even a new creative team every month like they used to like back in the late 80's, early 90's. They just ride the go to characters and titles that have successful franchises like Superman and the X-Men. They just don't take as many risks as they used to because there's not enough money in it. Sad, but true.

Posted by fodigg
@Caligula said:
@fodigg said:
If it doesn't matter then why not opt for more diversity? If the stories are just as good or bad regardless, why not say "yeah, opt for diversity. opt for inclusiveness."  Diversity is good because monotony is dull.
diversity is fine as long as you are making new characters or having new people carry on the mantle like USM's case. But I hate when they change the ethnicity or sex of an already established character.  either make a new character or a new person carrying a classic mantle. but don't make Steve Rogers or Bruce Wayne black or female.
That is certainly ideal, but sometimes there are only so many "team slots" to go around or when you have an opportunity to start from the ground up, there's no reason not to take that opportunity to increase diversity. 
 
Again, because if it doesn't matter, why not be inclusive?
Posted by Battlepig
@ziplizard said:

 
You say diversity doesn't matter, but what you're really saying is that it doesn't matter to you. As you know, I'm a woman. I read comics, but there are comics that I absolutely cannot read because their depiction of women is just horrible. I'll go to my local comic book store, browse the covers, see some panty shot or overly large boobs (no one can fight crime with boobs that big!) and put down the comic instantly since I can tell it isn't 'female friendly.' And if I do pick up a comic, most of the time the women are either there only to be potential love interests for the men or to be mother figures. They are one sided, shallow, and stupid. I actually keep a list of male writers who write amazing female characters. It's pretty short. 
 
So why does diversity matter on the page? Because it shows girls like me that we really can go out in the world and kick butt.
 
Why does diversity matter in the creative team? Because guys just don't seem to understand how or what to write women who can kick butt.

Alright, the snarky bastard in me wants to say the following: By that logic, I shouldn't be able to read any comics either, because the male physique is so overblown, it's not even funny anymore. Okay, the 90s were way worse, but try getting Superman's muscles. Not just the abs but the rest of it too. The guy has like Zero percent body fat. Impossible to achieve. But to be honest, I can live with overdone depictions of male and female characters as long as it fits the tone of the book and isn't one-sided. Like, if males and females are similarly overdone, I don't mind it.
 
Strong. Convicted. Hideously scarred. Gorgeous. Awesome.
The more thinking bastard in me has this to say: When you're looking at a TnA comic, you once more see people making a deal of a woman's sexuality. Large boobs, the most assy ass in the history of asses... that's all making a big deal. However, I find one of the most attractive female characters I've come across is the girl who took over for the Punisher in the Widowmaker-arc of Punisher Max, Jenny Cesare. Physically, she's probably as unattractive as it gets, by conventional standards. She survived breast cancer and is thus scarred. But the woman had an insanely strong will, a mission and she was clever. That's what I appreciated about her. That's what made me go "You rock!" and be excited about her. And no amount of boobs or ass could have changed that. She'd have been just as awesome if she had been a "perfect ten". Because the stuff that made her awesome does not depend on her looks or her gender or on her race. It's all the other things that make her her.
 
Women can kick ass, yes. I agree completely. But they shouldn't do it because they're women or because they feel strongly about womanly issues. They should do it because they can, boobs be damned. A good treatment of kinda-sorta-taboo subjects is Robin #156. It's the suicide-prevention issue. The whole part of it being about preventing suicides was never addressed in the comic itself. There was the number for some hotline or other after the last panel, but the comic itself was a story about a hero saving someone. Not going all "This is something I, as a white male hero, feel strongly about". The whole thing about it being prevention didn't even find a spot in the actual comic. It was brilliant because of it. Nobody wanted to shoehorn anything in, nobody made a big deal about all the superficial rubbish that people are either demanding (such as "Strong female characters", I'll get to that in the next paragraph), it was about Robin helping someone. About being an example to everyone, not just some demographic. And by them not making a deal of it, they made it a better book. In the end, when you saw the prevention hotline's number, you went "Oh." and you realize that, yes, you too can help in cases like these. You know that you can be as heroic as Robin as well. And it doesn't matter whether you're a boy or a girl. That's what I want in my stories. That's what I would demand in my comics, if nothing else.
 
Now the promised "Strong female"-rubbish. I like strong female characters as much as I like strong male characters. I like them not because they're female or male. I like them because they're strong characters who just happen to be male or female. There's no need to make a deal of it. Manhunter (Kate) was a brilliant example of that - but also managed to have some of the worst examples as well (the token gay guy at her office). Kate is a single mom with a strong will and the amazing talent of multitasking to the point where she can balance being a hero and a mother as well as a lawyer. I liked her for that. But if she was a single dad, i'd have liked her just the same... or him, semantics be damned. Because she was a character who was engaging, interesting, strong, daring and all that stuff. And she just happens to be female. It wouldn't have made a difference if she was male or a mutated martian rodent. And that's my entire point.
Posted by ElCapitan

@ziplizard: I'm not a woman, but I agree with you on how poorly women are portrayed in comics. One would hope that female artists/writers might do a better job of it. It's a problem for both genders, for sure. I find that a lot of men write women like men with boobs or like how they wish women were. Realistic portrayal of women in a lot of media is kind of rare. Likewise some women are terrible writers for men. I love that we're talking about diversity in comics right now.

@Battlepig: As a Hispanic man, I'm so excited about the prospect of a Latino Spider-Man. I agree with you that good writing is good writing, but I've got to admit that seeing Marvel's flagship character go this route is really exciting for me. I would have bought the book either way, but this is really cool so far. I hope that Bendis doesn't try to overdo it, but most of all I hope that this new kid is awesome and has great stories written for him. By your logic, what does it matter who he is or where he's from? If the stories are good, who cares? Change for the sake of change is ok sometimes. Stagnation is the enemy of creativity and innovation.

Posted by ziplizard
@Battlepig: It's not just "TnA" comics that don't have women covering up. Just looking at some of the comic covers that came out this week, I see Electra in a halter swim suite-like costume and Flashpoint Zatanna showing off her midriff (a look that hasn't been in fashion since the 1990s) on the covers of Heroes for Hire and World of Flashpoint. The only images I could find of men in 'showy' clothing was a shirtless Wolverine in a pose that really hid most of his body on the cover of Claws. He was also standing next to Black Cat, who had her outfit zipped open so much in the front that you could easily see most of her side boob.
 
I agree with you that Jenny Cesare is (or at least sounds like. I don't read Punisher.) a strong character. Manhunter is as well. The problem is that there are still so few strong female characters out there in comics compared to strong male characters. Honestly, if the gender (and races) were reversed in comics, you'll article wouldn't be 'down with diversity!' What if DC announced that the JLA had only one guy and one white person and everyone else was female and a minority? What if they said that 100% of the interior artist they hired were female? If all but one of their writers and one of their cover artist were female? You'll be writing about DC being sexist and how they aren't representing neither their demographic nor the American population. And what if most of the few males in comics were constantly being rescued by women or only there to act as love interests to the women? Because for every Jenny Cesare or Manhunter, there is a refrigerator or two full of poorly developed, ill treated, and weak female characters.
 
I honestly don't get why you're so anti-change right now? It's not harming you. You already said that you like strong female characters. What harm is there if comics add a few more females to the list?
Posted by danhimself

the girl at comic-con was misinformed from the get go....she used the argument that women encompassed 12% of DC before the reboot and only 1% after....the 12% comes from EVERYONE at DC including editors, colorists, writers, inkers, artists and so forth while the 1% after the reboot only took writers and artists into account...if you use only the artists and writers then the number of women at DC after the reboot only drops by 2 and that was only with the creators on the 52 books...they don't include any mini's or secret projects that artists and writers have confirmed that they were working on

Posted by danhimself
Posted by cyberninja

I don't know why comic book fans start talking about diversity whenever they see superhero who isn't white, good character is good character regardless of race.

Posted by Primmaster64

Too much to read...

Posted by The Velvet Rabbit

speaking as a female and a minority, this is almost a non-issue.   as long as quality control still exists, the numbers should only be a secondary priority next to how the numbers are being used.   as long as their are people like Simone, Conner and Liu in the industry I still have a great degree of hope.   I even found myself enjoying a refreshing degree of Devin Grayson's writing.   diversity is never a bad thing, and of course it'll always be nice to see more females in the industry, there's a way to go about it, and it isn't to start hunting for people that look different than the key demographic.   adversely, look at Reginald Hudlin's run on Black Panther - many readers panned his work for 'exploiting the character'.   having said that, I would like to see a few more women in the driver's seat from time-to-time.   but despite popular belief, reading my Birds of Prey and finding out it was written by Chuck Dixon doesn't send me into an overzealous rage.   besides, I grew up with Jim Lee and WildStorm - so no amount of female exploitation can faze me anyway   :P

Posted by The Velvet Rabbit
@Caligula said:
@fodigg said:
If it doesn't matter then why not opt for more diversity? If the stories are just as good or bad regardless, why not say "yeah, opt for diversity. opt for inclusiveness."  Diversity is good because monotony is dull.
diversity is fine as long as you are making new characters or having new people carry on the mantle like USM's case. But I hate when they change the ethnicity or sex of an already established character.  either make a new character or a new person carrying a classic mantle. but don't make Steve Rogers or Bruce Wayne black or female.
I did like the way they worked in the new Spider-Man - personally, I'm kind of looking forward to seeing more of it.
Posted by Osiris1428

It's like as long as the character is white and male, it's guaranteed to be quality work. Not much opposition. If the character is anything other than that "Oh, this is going to suck. Why? Because white people are 'regular' and anything else is extra and trying to be different." SMH...

Posted by Battlepig
@ziplizard said:
It's not just "TnA" comics that don't have women covering up. Just looking at some of the comic covers that came out this week, I see Electra in a halter swim suite-like costume and Flashpoint Zatanna showing off her midriff (a look that hasn't been in fashion since the 1990s) on the covers of Heroes for Hire and World of Flashpoint. The only images I could find of men in 'showy' clothing was a shirtless Wolverine in a pose that really hid most of his body on the cover of Claws. He was also standing next to Black Cat, who had her outfit zipped open so much in the front that you could easily see most of her side boob.
 
I agree with you that Jenny Cesare is (or at least sounds like. I don't read Punisher.) a strong character. Manhunter is as well. The problem is that there are still so few strong female characters out there in comics compared to strong male characters. Honestly, if the gender (and races) were reversed in comics, you'll article wouldn't be 'down with diversity!' What if DC announced that the JLA had only one guy and one white person and everyone else was female and a minority? What if they said that 100% of the interior artist they hired were female? If all but one of their writers and one of their cover artist were female? You'll be writing about DC being sexist and how they aren't representing neither their demographic nor the American population. And what if most of the few males in comics were constantly being rescued by women or only there to act as love interests to the women? Because for every Jenny Cesare or Manhunter, there is a refrigerator or two full of poorly developed, ill treated, and weak female characters.
 
I honestly don't get why you're so anti-change right now? It's not harming you. You already said that you like strong female characters. What harm is there if comics add a few more females to the list?
I am not anti-change. Not at all. I am against change for the sake of change. Remember when Manhunter first appeared? Did anyone go "New, diverse, strong, female character you'll like" at any point? Her being not male and all that wasn't even an issue. And it was good. Very good. Also, Kate never had her battlecry be something like "Strong female character... PUNCH!" Another example would be Jaime Reyes. He not once went "By the power of all my latino brothers, I will do el kicko en your face-o! Where's my sombrero?" His issue was more "Am I good enough to be a decent hero? And how come you all don't see the bloody alien invasion!?" and not his diversity.
 
I am, however, against change for the sake of change. If you, as a creator, sit down and go "I'mma create a strong, female character now", it will fail.  So I wish that after the first issue of the new Ultimate Spidey-Man ends with everyone going "Holy crap, it's the Green Goblin!" and not "Man, that guy was so black and hispanic."
 
And you raise an interesting aspect of this whole discussion: Cultural background. I've grown up in a place where there are - as of right now - 46 percent non-naturalized foreigners. Another estimated 20 percent are foreigners who have been naturalized in the last twenty years. Also, this place has no "culture of complaining", meaning we don't want to enforce change as long as everything kind of works. However, when something's really wrong, then we jump into action. Meanwhile, Americans seem to insist on there having to be a black guy fighting on the side of the South in a movie about the Civil War as a commanding officers, regardless of it being making sense or being approprisate. 
 
And if All-Star Superman was All-Star Superwoman and if Flashpoint starred Flashette, I wouldn't mind at all. Why? Because the story told is amazing. As previously stated, stories are beyond gender and race on both the story- and the creative end. If a woman is a good writer - Gail Simone most of the time - I'm all for it. If she's a Felicia D. Henderson... yeah, not so much. Not because she's a woman, but because she's a terrible writer and should never be allowed to hold a pen ever again.
 
My thing is not "Down with Diversity", but "Down with this silly need to enforce diversity for the sake of diversity."
Posted by SC

Why is the automatic assumption that 'people' want diversity for the sake of diversity? (not saying you are assuming this OP, I am speaking generally) We don't live in a bubble or idealized world, and fiction reflects this in a very naturally skewered way, because its fiction, and because fiction has human authors and because humans are generally built to be flawed. I want diversity because my idea of the worst comic is one which has myself as all 20 characters all sitting around talking about stuff I think. (thats just one reason) I want to read about people different than me, and not to the opposite extreme either. It doesn't mean that my favorite comic or comic I define is the best, is that because it has a sentient blue cloud that shoots orange light out its 7th eye, a female building called Hasty Tag #### who eats sound and little Jimmy the Brazilian who has the 2nd score for Twisted Metal 4 in the Southern Hemisphere.  (though I wouldn't say those things means it should be ruled out as potentially the best comic ever) Not that I am saying that all people who take defensive stances on whether diversity is a good thing all want to read about themselves in every comic ever. (as in all characters literally as themselves) They would be making a rather weak argument in my eyes.  
 
So is the one about diversity and "people" just wanting it for diversity sake. To me that's a weak argument that does not address any of the actual problems or issues surrounding the topic. For good reason to. Diversity isn't a comics issue. Its a real life issue that is discussed heavily in religion, philosophy, ethics, morality, and usually involves money as well. If the arguments were that easy then I am pretty sure any and all questions/issues about it would have been solved outside of comics.  
 
I don't know the woman from the convention. So I could prescribe both smart and dumb reasons for the ones she did. Even if in actuality her reasoning was more dumb than smart, I sit back and think of the smart angles, because applying the weakest arguments to a situation rarely does anything to improve a situation. Look at how many threads her actions and statements have helped inspire or partially inspire (as far as people discussing this) Discussion usually helps refine both sides (or a better word, multiple angles) of the arguments. Well thats the hope anyway. 

Moderator
Posted by cosmo111687

I'm for more giraffes in the business.

Posted by cosmo111687
@SC said:
Discussion usually helps refine both sides (or a better word, multiple angles) of the arguments. Well thats the hope anyway. 
I think that's the best thing that's come from all of this. It's really opened up a lot of discussion and I'm sure that has done nothing but helped the medium.
Posted by Morgaine_Levesque

Interesting point of view. I agree with you for the most part. 

Posted by DrTTD

I like the idea that things like ethnicity and gender don’t exclusively define a character. But that doesn’t mean that they have no significance at all, or that they are purely superficial aspects of our lives.

It’s like this: We all have genders, and we all have ethnicities. I’m pretty sure that if we were to wake up in bed tomorrow with a different set of genitals, or a different cultural background, most of us would not be unfazed, save for a slight surprise.   Although they’re not all-important, these traits influence our lives. Fiction can either reflect experiences common to life, even in stories of fantasy and adventure, or it can exist in a vacuum with less depth, in which such parts of life are ignored. I personally believe that good stories do the former.

If we need an example of this sort of storytelling, since Gail Simone’s name has come up several times, we need look no further than Secret Six. If Scandal Savage was a man, or if Bane and Deadshot were women, the series would be something completely different. I don’t read it because of the genders of the characters, and it’s not a series that’s ever been about “women’s issues,” or anything like that. But to suggest that the genders of its characters are completely negligible would be silly. 


Moving beyond restrictive views of ethnicity and gender is a great thing. But that doesn’t mean that ethnicity and gender are meaningless either, and that anyone who acknowledges them is just some sort of rabble-rouser. I want deep, well told action stories that are engaging and fun yet meaningful and true to life as much as the next reader. And broadening the backgrounds of characters only broadens the tools that writers have to work with, which, when used well, only broadens the stories that can be told. 


(also, if we’re talking about diversity in all respects, there's also the matter of gay and lesbian characters...)

Posted by NightFang
@cyberninja said:
I don't know why comic book fans start talking about diversity whenever they see superhero who isn't white, good character is good character regardless of race.
Posted by Do I have to give a name?

Positive discrimination is a contradiction in terms. Ability should be all that matters. And even when it's not, filling quotas doesn't alleviate the problem, it adds to it. 
 
Anyway, the main reason I posted in this thread: I don't read the Ultimate Universe. What happened to Peter Parker?

Edited by Battlepig
@Do I have to give a name? said:

Positive discrimination is a contradiction in terms. Ability should be all that matters. And even when it's not, filling quotas doesn't alleviate the problem, it adds to it.  Anyway, the main reason I posted in this thread: I don't read the Ultimate Universe. What happened to Peter Parker?

He died fighting the Green Goblin and a whole cabal of villains after being shot by the Punisher who actually wanted to take out Captain America. THat's the short version, the whole "Death of Spider-Man" is much bigger and longer. Not necessarily better - I found the story to be lackluster at best - but certainly longer.
 
@DrTTD said:

I like the idea that things like ethnicity and gender don’t exclusively define a character. But that doesn’t mean that they have no significance at all, or that they are purely superficial aspects of our lives.

It’s like this: We all have genders, and we all have ethnicities. I’m pretty sure that if we were to wake up in bed tomorrow with a different set of genitals, or a different cultural background, most of us would not be unfazed, save for a slight surprise.   Although they’re not all-important, these traits influence our lives. Fiction can either reflect experiences common to life, even in stories of fantasy and adventure, or it can exist in a vacuum with less depth, in which such parts of life are ignored. I personally believe that good stories do the former.

If we need an example of this sort of storytelling, since Gail Simone’s name has come up several times, we need look no further than Secret Six. If Scandal Savage was a man, or if Bane and Deadshot were women, the series would be something completely different. I don’t read it because of the genders of the characters, and it’s not a series that’s ever been about “women’s issues,” or anything like that. But to suggest that the genders of its characters are completely negligible would be silly. 


Moving beyond restrictive views of ethnicity and gender is a great thing. But that doesn’t mean that ethnicity and gender are meaningless either, and that anyone who acknowledges them is just some sort of rabble-rouser. I want deep, well told action stories that are engaging and fun yet meaningful and true to life as much as the next reader. And broadening the backgrounds of characters only broadens the tools that writers have to work with, which, when used well, only broadens the stories that can be told. 


(also, if we’re talking about diversity in all respects, there's also the matter of gay and lesbian characters...)


In a comic about regular human beings going on with their lives, gender and ethnicity as well as sexuality matter. However, the fight our heroes are fighting are not bound by these things. Let's say - oversimplifying it, of course - that their common goal is "fighting injustice". Now, justice and injustice are abstract concepts. You can comprehend them no matter what gender you are. You can identify with the fight against injustice and all that rot regardless of who you sleep with. Would Superman not stop a gang of guys who beat up gay people? Would Batman not stop someone who beats women? You don't necessarily need a gay or a female hero to address those issues that are undoubtedly issues (For a very good example of this, read Robin #156). I don't think that they should create characters with their sexuality, gender or looks in mind. Create everything else first. It's like when we write newspaper articles "The title comes last" (there are exceptions of course). If people share a common goal - you can observe this at your workplace, for example - gender and sexuality becomes unimportant. Watch a group of people work together at work, for example. It's very interesting how everyone starts playing to their strengths automatically. It's a very interesting phenomenon. I could give you a practical example, if you like, since I admit that this paragraph here is rather heavy on theoretic stuff and abstract concepts and perception thereof.
 
Also, while I'm a big advocate of gay rights in real life (triggered by one event that I'd be glad to share with you, if you want to hear it. Let me know), I don't see why there is this almost desperate urge to have gay characters in comics, because all they do is talk about how they're gay. A very good example of a gay character is Steve Jinks on the new season of Warehouse 13. He mentions it once, briefly, then it's back to business for him. It's not like he has to have a big speech about acceptance and everything.  Here's how they treated the subject when he came out in the second episode of this season:
 

Steve: "Oh my God, I'm not hitting on you, I'm gay. You know, when two people of the same sex find each other..." 
Claudia: "I know what gay means..." 
Steve: "Look, I usually don't make a big deal of it."

And that was it. Why does this make Steve quite possibly the best gay character in recent history? Because it's not really an issue. The job's still retrieving strange artifacts. Not making a big fuss about homosexuality. It's never addressed again and yet Steve still manages to be gay and is a very well-rounded and likable character. And he just so happens to be gay. Coincidentially. And that's how it should be treated.
 
EDIT: In other news, and I just like to put that out there, I really like the way this discussion is going. It's very, very interesting.
Posted by tidals

Even though I agree with your stance on diversity, I would rather see more different characters than almost the same character over and over. It is like having Ryan Reynolds play every white male super hero, at first you cheer him on but after movie #4 with him starring you would rather see Neil Patrick Harris for a change be casted for a similar role. 

Posted by Do I have to give a name?
@Battlepig said:
@Do I have to give a name? said:

Positive discrimination is a contradiction in terms. Ability should be all that matters. And even when it's not, filling quotas doesn't alleviate the problem, it adds to it.  Anyway, the main reason I posted in this thread: I don't read the Ultimate Universe. What happened to Peter Parker?

He died fighting the Green Goblin and a whole cabal of villains after being shot by the Punisher who actually wanted to take out Captain America. THat's the short version, the whole "Death of Spider-Man" is much bigger and longer. Not necessarily better - I found the story to be lackluster at best - but certainly longer.
 
Thanks. And that was a very well thought out and interesting post btw.
Posted by DrTTD
@Battlepig:  
 
The way I see it, if a comic is going to have depth, then it can make us believe that it's not just an action fantasy completely divorced from the life that you and I know, and can make it seem as though it is about human beings going on with their lives--and that their lives happen to be filled with fantasy, romance and adventure. Now, this is certainly personal preference in some respects,  
 
I'm going to go back to Secret Six, since it's an example I already brought up. It is a story about a group of people who share a common goal, a scenario which you've mentioned. In this case, those people are mercenaries with the goal of completing whatever mission they are sent on (although they're arguably not very good mercenaries). Yet there are elements of this series that do rely on things like gender and sexuality. Such as the recurring conflict between Scandal and Vandal Savage, caused by Scandals refusal to bear her father a son (because, amongst other things, she's a lesbian). Or Bane's attempts at being the paternal figure that he decides Scandal needs. Or Catman and Cheshire's brief romance, and the fallout that continues throughout the series. Or just Deadshot's flagrant sexist attitude that rounds out his character. This isn't what the series is entirely about, and it certainly isn't about "issues," but it's not an afterthought either, and if you took gender and sexuality out, it would be completely different. And while it would be flatter, dare I say less interesting as a result, keeping these elements in doesn't make it heavy-handed, preachy, or overly serious; if anything it's a terrifically exciting action series, liberally peppered with humor. 
 
Now, I'm not going to insist that everyone should prefer or even like these kinds of stories, or that they're inherently superior. But it is possible to make good comics that involve these elements, which at least some people want to read. So the way I see it, when you're fleshing out your universe you can either 1) have some diversity, which writers can incorporate into the plot or ignore as they please, leaving the potential for good stories of both kinds, or 2) have a homogeneous cast, ensuring that there are never any plots or story elements that build off of factors influenced by race, gender, or sexuality. I would say that the first one is, if anything, just adding creative possibilities.  
 
As far as gay characters, I would say that having a gay superhero who constantly derails the story just to talk about being gay would be silly. But at the same time, if a character is gay, it wouldn't make sense to have that be something we know but never actually see. Unlike something like race or gender, which we give meaning to as a culture, human sexuality is inherently meaningful. This is demonstrated by the fact that comics are absolutely teeming with flagrant, unabashed displays of heterosexuality. Since Superman is so iconic, let's look at him: We know he's straight, even though he doesn't make an issue about it. Sometimes his sexuality is irrelevant. Yet at the same time, his romance with Lois Lane does exist, and persists as an element of stories about him, sometimes a minor one, sometimes as a focal point. I wouldn't think it unreasonable for a gay hero to be as gay as Superman is straight. And there are heroes who are more sexual than Superman, just as there are heroes who are less. So having gay characters whose are more and less sexual too seems only natural.  
 
Whatever your thoughts on gender and race may be, it's hard to say that action and sexuality don't mix. There are a thousand action stories with a thousand romantic subplots, and almost all of those are heterosexual romances. Heroes are characters we admire, characters we aspire to, and characters we seek to emulate. In a story, when the guy gets the girl, that provides the reader with, if not an affirmation of his sexuality, at least an idealized representation of it. I'm just saying, gay audiences deserve such a representation of their sexuality too. 
Posted by VenomMelendez

Your Privilege is showing. Diversity does matter since the US is a diverse country. And really, every kid should have a hero that looks like them that they can look up to.

Diversity matters, because "White" is still treated as "Default". The only people that would have a problem with Diversity are bigots, since Diversity in the end is a good thing.

Posted by Battlepig

@VenomMelendez: That is all fine and dandy. But how is Ultimate Spidey-Man better because Miles is black?

Posted by Superguy0009e

there has to be some sort of diversity, not every person in the world is a blonde haired blue eyed american

Posted by WildStyle

@Superguy0009e said:

there has to be some sort of diversity, not every person in the world is a blonde haired blue eyed american

Pretty much

Posted by Mega_spidey01

the truth is race & genders matters always has and always will especially in america.

good example the original x-men are all white due to the conception of the time that they we're created but, they are white minorities so its okay.but all the black characters, latino, asian, are second rate and written poorly.

Posted by Battlepig

@Superguy0009e and @WildStyle: Sure, otherwise everybody would look the same. But how would that make the story told better. How is Ultimate Spidey-Man better because Miles is a twofer in the Minority Bingo?

@Mega_spidey01: Would the first incarnation of the X-Men have been better if Jean Grey was black and Iceman Asian?

Posted by joshmightbe

I still don't see why women are considered a minority, being that they make up more than 51 % of the population. I'm no math expert but that's a majority

Posted by Decoy Elite

I'm all up for diversity, but I don't think it should be forced.

But, I mean if you've got a cool idea for a new character and you don't have any reason to not make them a girl than why not?

Posted by WaveMotionCannon
@VenomMelendez

Your Privilege is showing. Diversity does matter since the US is a diverse country. And really, every kid should have a hero that looks like them that they can look up to.

Diversity matters, because "White" is still treated as "Default". The only people that would have a problem with Diversity are bigots, since Diversity in the end is a good thing.

@Battlepig

@VenomMelendez: That is all fine and dandy. But how is Ultimate Spidey-Man better because Miles is black?

How is it worse?
Posted by Amanthine

@WaveMotionCannon said:

@VenomMelendez

Your Privilege is showing. Diversity does matter since the US is a diverse country. And really, every kid should have a hero that looks like them that they can look up to.

Diversity matters, because "White" is still treated as "Default". The only people that would have a problem with Diversity are bigots, since Diversity in the end is a good thing.

@Battlepig

@VenomMelendez: That is all fine and dandy. But how is Ultimate Spidey-Man better because Miles is black?

How is it worse?

Because he's not Peter Parker, but that's beside the point.

I like variety, and diversity plays a part in that. So yeah, it matters.

Posted by Battlepig

@WaveMotionCannon: The story has come to an absolute standstill as nothing has happened in the first three issues other than Bendis giving us some Bendising (the dialog going "Bendis." - "Bendis?" - "Bendis." - "That Bendis?" - "No, The Bendis." - "Oh, Bendis. Chutzpe Oy Vey Schmuck!") and a lot of characters we're supposed to care about despite them not having any defining characterstics other than being black or asian and talking like Bendis characters talk.

While I don't mind the race of the cast, because it's the least of the book's problems, it's everything else that bothers me to no end.

Posted by Obtrusive

I think our generation is more accepting of other cultures and races than previous ones. Im 25 so around that generation for reference. That being said, I like characters to stay what they are. I am having a debate with a friend of mine about lex luthor being black in the justice league unlimited animated series. since lex luthor has never been portrayed as black I had an issue with it, however when nick fury decides to be black I have no problem with that because he has been portrayed as black and white at different times.

Posted by Vance Astro

As a black person I would like for their to be diversity but I don't complain about it.I'm fine with the few black heroes we already have.I personally don't like when the creation of a black hero is seems like affirmative action or that it's purposely bait to reach minority readers.I like my comics to be somewhat realistic and in the real world there are all different types of people so it's only OBVIOUS that superheroes would be all different types of people so..I CARE about diversity but it doesn't have anything to do with what I do and do not read.

Moderator
  • 62 results
  • 1
  • 2