Race and Comics, part one

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.


6 responses to “Race and Comics, part one

  1. did you read the newsarama thing about Black Kryptonians?

  2. Of course, but the treatments of him have never risen to the level of quality of Batman, or even Daredevil. Hudlin’s initial run on the comic was uneven at best. They are relaunching the title with a new writer next month. He may fare better as a film or TV show.

  3. and STORM by eric jerome dickey, which was my toe in Black comic books water.

  4. Pingback: And Spidey’s still swinging through your neighborhood… « Elmcitytree

  5. im sorry but one of the contributors for spiderman is black and I dont believe that anyone should souly take some one on because they are black, but because they are good writers
    there are some black characters out there
    (more villains than hero, like black manta or the dude from the X men comics drawn after samuel L jackson hahaha) and I honestly think there should be some descent black superhero’s but i wouldnt want to see one created as a sort of gimmick in the industry like that princess and the frog debocal.
    the best thing to do is to inject a new black character into an already existing well renound comic book (like superman he seems nice…) and see that character grow and if fans learn to love, give it its own comic
    ….sorry about the bad spelling(im swedish)

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