Marvel comics strives for diversity
Marvel has caused a rather difficult predicament for people who like to begin their sentences with, “I’m not racist, but…”
Long-time fans of Marvel comics, with overused plot-lines that focus on white men, seem to feel a little betrayed by the creation of new characters that stray from the lily-white path.
The long overdue beginning to proper representation within comics began in 2011, when the new Spiderman was introduced. Miles Morales, who is half-Latino and half-black, took the mantle of Spiderman from Peter Parker.
It caused, predictably, a lot of backlash.
If you’re having trouble imagining what the onslaught of bigotry looked like, think back to August when actress, Zendaya, was announced to be playing Mary Jane in the upcoming Spiderman movie. Or go back to July, when Riri Williams, a black woman, was announced as the next Ironman.
While it is easy to focus on all the vile and hateful things bigots shout, I think we should instead focus on the progress that is happening here.
Yes, it should have been done ages ago. It’s disappointing that only just now, in recent years, proper representation is being given.
Even then, it’s still a minor fraction, comparatively.
However small, it is a step in the right direction.
With more writers becoming conscious of the glaringly obvious racial gap in comics, we start to see more people of colour becoming leads instead of minor characters.
I don’t think I need to spell out how amazing this is going to be.
Besides the racists and their unwanted opinions, there have been real issues brought up through these characters, specifically around Riri Williams. Not only is a white man writing her character, but even more, there is a staggering lack of female black writers that work for Marvel.
The twitter account “Black Girl Nerds” tweeted “I’m happy for all these black women leads in Marvel comics, but really wish the publisher would give black women a chance to write them.”
In response, Marvel hired on three black women writers, bringing the total number up from zero to three.
None will be working on Riri Williams, instead they will write for the Black Panther comics.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but considering Marvel has been around since 1939, I think it’s something to celebrate.
I’m not trying to let Marvel (or any entertainment media for that matter) get away scot-free for doing the barest of minimum when it comes to representation. Black women in particular seem, to me, to be one of the most unheard voices.
When they do raise their voices to be heard, they get written off easily as a trope.
White people have so much privilege; we are the most represented everywhere. We shouldn’t see the increase of minorities within media outlets like movies and comics as a downfall.
Instead, a new age of comics is being ushered in, an age of equal representation and hopefully, in the future, an age of equal chance.