Diversity in Comics

Green Lantern 
Marvel and DC Comics have, over the past few years, increased the diversity in comics characters. Earth 2 has featured a gay Green Lantern leading character. The current Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American teen-aged girl. The lead of Ultimate Spider-Man transferred from white Peter Parker to mixed race (of African American and Latino descent) Miles Morales.

I've read some controversy as to whether this is "pandering". I've also heard some people upset that iconic characters who had been white males being replaced by other types of characters - "why not make an original African American character?" for example.

I'll start off with the second comment - "why not make an original xxx character?" From one perspective, I get the question. On the other hand, legacy characters have been a tradition in comics since Barry Allen was struck by lightning and become the second Flash. Looking at new Marvel comics that came out this week I see pretty much every comic is either a team book or features a character not invented within the past ten years. (For example, while the current Ms. Marvel comic features a new character, the character itself is decades old.)

Ms. Marvel
Is it pandering? I don't think so. I think it is knowing your audience. I read in comments older readers saying "this is why I've not read xxx since 1989". That's clearly not their target audience. The image of genre fans as a bunch of white males is outdated. Tonight my younger daughter (10) is sleeping over a friend's house, along with another friend. The three girls are having a Doctor Who marathon.

Can't you enjoy characters different from yourself? Of course you can. I absolutely love reading the comics that have featured Miles Morales as Spider-Man. But why not feature a universe that has the same diversity that the real world has. I've seen my older daughter (13) happily hanging out with friends and being the only white girl present. I think it presents a problem though when you have a universe whose main characters got their start in the 30s through 60s - they will be almost entirely white with perhaps a token minority and token woman. Give me comics that reflect the diversity of the real world.

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