Category Archives: culture

Diversity in Comics


AriseTV America invited me on to discuss New York Comic Con and diversity in comics. I did the best I could in a five minute segment.

It’s a loaded subject because comics readership is increasingly diverse but the comic properties published by Marvel and DC don’t come close to adequately representing that diversity. So we are forced to look for ourselves in legacy characters that won’t necessarily remain relevant to us. That’s why I took pains to highlight Black creators like Jimmie Robinson and the great Kyle Baker, who both offer interesting work that comments on issues of race and class. I wrote a scholarly article on Nat Turner a few years back that I’ll be revisiting in my forthcoming book on race and representation in comics.

It’s not enough, but I’m happy to do my part to make sure their stories receive the wide attention they deserve.


Recent Goings On…

So, I’ve been writing some for Entertainment Weekly.

A friend asked me why I wasn’t updating my blog with links from  The answer: because I’m an idiot.  In the future I will update the blog with links to my mainstream writing.  I will also run some things here that don’t get picked up elsewhere. Below are some links to the things I’ve written at EW.  (Try to guess which of these articles got 50,000 clicks.) Enjoy.

Pop Perfection

It’s best to mistrust blanket disavowals about matters of taste. What’s fun, though, is that the opposite is not the case. One can assert the near-universality of a cultural artifact or event with a great degree of confidence.

This is a fancy way of saying that Cee-Lo Green’s new song is ridiculously enjoyable. In fact, if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face I seriously doubt you have a sense of humor.

Alice Walker should be proud

I assume by now that everyone is familiar with Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s overwrought letter dissing LeBron James for leaving town to join the Miami Heat. Jesse Jackson accused Gilbert of having a ‘slave owner’s mentality,’ which I don’t think is accurate since his franchise paid LeBron $63million during his time in Cleveland.

Seeking to limit further self-inflicted damage to his image, Gilbert issued a statement declaring his unwillingness to discuss his attack on LeBron further. I think this is a mistake. After all, how could his letter have betrayed a slave owner’s mentality when it paraphrases Celie from the climatic scene in The Color Purple?

Consider that Gilbert claims that LeBron’s

heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Until you do right by me… Now where have I heard that before? [skip ahead to the six minute mark]

I was hoping to see Gilbert cite his appreciation for Walker’s novel as proof of his racial enlightenment, but I guess it’s not to be.

Black on an elevator…

This video cracks me up and makes me shake my head at the same time

and that’s one to grow on…

Fatness Studies?

So, there is a book coming out in the fall called the Fatness Studies Reader.   It’s not out yet, but one of the advance blurbs declares the collection

A path-breaking anthology, and the first to map this emerging field. Leading scholars and activists from diverse disciplinary backgrounds explore the pervasiveness of prejudice based on body size, and challenge conventional policy responses. By focusing on goals of health, fitness, and social tolerance, The Fat Studies Reader redefines the ‘problem’ of weight and invites more promising solutions.

See, this is why academics are so easily mocked. I haven’t read any of the essays, but here is an interview with two of the editors, Sondra Solovay and Esther Rothblum. You can listen below:

Fatness Studies interview

If you don’t feel like sitting through the entire thing, just know that the editors engage in sophistry throughout, refusing to answer basic questions about the difference between being slightly overwieght and obese.

They also repeatedly compare fat discrimination to racial discrimination! Um, being overweight is not the same as being Black!  Just ask Jarad from Subway!

I can’t believe this even has to be said, but clearly…

I don’t mean to demean the problems associated with being fat, and clearly there needs to be a more nuanced approach to this issue in America, but Fatness Studies? This is foolishness.

Discovering David Anthony Durham

Often we don’t hear about someone until after they’ve won an award. This is certainly the case with David Anthony Durham, a young writer who just won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Hugo award recognizes speculative fiction (aka science fiction), but Durham has written four novels only one of which, Acacia, qualifies at sci-fi. Durham’s website is here, and you can read excerpts from all his novels there.

Hat tip to Rich for the heads up.