A couple of months ago, Stan Lee said
“I would love us to do something with Will Smith, but I don’t know that he’s Captain America. That would be a long shot. It would be a real leap to make Captain America black … then again, I don’t know. It might be a really smart thing. If Barack Obama becomes President who knows … suddenly a lot of our characters will be black!”
DC comics is way ahead of Marvel here
Cultural production is often reactive, and mainstream engines of culture tend to become more conservative over time, and Lee’s quote, and the sudden resurgence of Black characters in mainstream comics, is indicative of this. But I’ve always been puzzled by the lack of Black creators in comics and graphic novels. There is certainly no lack of characters of color in comics, but most were created by white writers and artists. Urban men of color consume comics religiously, and African Americans dominate American cultural production. You would think there would be some crossover there.
Black people have left an indelible mark in every area of the culture from film and television to popular and classical music to fiction and poetry to art and fashion. Yet in comics and graphic novels the picking are slim. I don’t mean to dismiss Black creatives working in the industry like Dwayne McDuffie and Kyle Baker but I’ve always wondered why there is no Baldwin or Miles Davis (or hell a Black Alan Moore) in the field.
This is something I’ll be returning to, but I wanted to get my initial thoughts out there.