By Osiris1428 10 Comments
When I see a person, I do see their skin color. I'm not afraid to admit it. Because I'm smart enough to know that acknowledging the differences alone doesn't make you a bigot. There are so many things that make up 'self', and ethnicity is one of them. We are beautifully complex creatures, and nothing is wrong with observing and appreciating the details that weave our uniqueness.
Now, on to the business of diversity being "shoved down our throats", and "comics making a big deal about it," 'cuase I'm lost. I am seriously without a clue as to what most people mean by that. In real life, I'm sorry, but going back to all these different things that make a 'self', some of these things can be observed with the casual eye about an individual, and those things can and sometimes does effect how society treats them. If that were to happen, would that be "shoving it in your face?" It doesn't have to happen in every single panel. But, completely glossing over some of the awkward moments and un-niceties the world offers becomes a little stale and misses out on opportunities for character development.
In the early days of comics, minorities did not have the buying power that they have now. The demographic that did often would buy what would allow them to indulge in a power fantasy of seeing their super-selves being great, mighty, and heroic. In abundance. They were specifically catered to because quite simply, they had the economic buying power. Today, that demographic is ever decreasing and almost everything else is growing, not only in number, but in buying power as well.
While so many are crying "political correctness", please keep in mind: the comic industry is dying. And if dying is too strong a word, let's just say that it's not making the money it did ten to twenty years ago. It's a mad dash to figure out how to save it. "Should we re-number our books to be more friendly to those who may be intimidated by decades of long and complex continuity? 'Why, by god, we may never know until we try!'" "Should we make our comics more easily available to the iPad/Kindle/iPhone generation of e-readers?? 'Comics on-the-go?? Why, that's a splendid idea!!'" "Have you noticed that there are more people whodon't read comics than there are who do, and a lot of the ones who don't, do not look like our heroes...could they some how feel...left out?? 'Why, the Census Bureau Reports have been saying that before 2050, the US will be minority-majority nation. Let's make comics that reflect the world as it really is today, and tomorrow!! TO THE FUTURE!!!'"
For the comics industry, it's about survival. There is a reason why they renumber. Why they have event after event. Why they deliberately "spoil." Why they do controversial things like change the ethnicity of characters. It's because half the time, all they have to do is mention it once, and it starts a wild fire of controversy. They don't have to shove anything down your throat, you will do it for them. In chat rooms. On blog sites. On social networking sites. Moan and complain. We are nerds. We show our love for the things we enjoy by trying to posses encyclopedic knowledge of the things we celebrate and treat the beloved source material like scripture. Most nerds are afraid of change. It's who we are. But the world is changing. Evolving. So should we. Because if we keep treating comics like the "He-Man woman Haters Club", we are going to be inside that thing when it burns down, while everyone else is just looking at us like the Dodo.
Too many of us are treating comics like Lenny does rabbits in 'Of Mice And Men.' "George, I just want to pet it, and rub it, and treat it like my very own". And then you wind up killing the damn thing in your hand. Open up your palm. Relax. Breathe. Let new readers who may not have previously been interested in comics in so the industry can stay alive. Otherwise, what can I say, but, "it's been real."