Back in August, the announcement of NBC’s Powerless TV series set in the DC universe had comic fans crying afoul of a similar premise to Marvel’s Damage Control comics, created by Dwayne McDuffie and Ernie Colón. Well, good news! Marvel has officially one-upped its rival with intent to develop Damage Control as a live-action comedy on ABC.
Last weekend, the Long Beach Comic Expo presented the first annual Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award, named for the late writer whose career was marked by a commitment to creating a more diverse cast of characters and creators in both comics and animation. Actor Phil LaMarr --- best known to superhero fans as the voice of Green Lantern on Justice League cartoons produced and frequently written by McDuffie --- served as MC for the event, and the ceremony included speeches from creators Reginald Hudlin, Denys Cowan, and Charlotte Fullerton, who is also McDuffie's widow. It was Fullerton who announced the winner: Nilah Magruder, nominated for her webcomic, M.F.K.
Next Saturday at the Long Beach Comic Expo the first ever winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity will be named, and today the organizers revealed an impressive roster of nominees that includes a tribute to the first Chinese-American superhero, a blaxploitation revival, and the most prominent Muslim superhero in North American comics.
In a speech at the National Book Festival at the Library of Congress last weekend, The Shadow Hero writer Gene Luen Yang threw down the gauntlet.
Yang challenged comics creators to overcome their fears of bring criticized for inaccurately portraying characters who are different from them -- in terms of race, gender, or other identifying factors. In brief, he told writers to do some research and get it right, but first and foremost to step outside themselves.
For eleven months out of the year, I can take or leave horror comics. Unless it's something exceptional like Hellboy or Tomb of Dracula, they don't tend to be things that I actively seek out, Until, that is, September becomes October and the scent of pumpkin spiced coffee is on the air, at which time I promptly start scrambling like a lunatic to find as many comics about ghosts, mummies and miscellaneous tentacled horrors that I can fit into the next 31 days.
Sometimes, every now and then, that search through quarter bins brings me something amazing, like a comic where creators like Dwayne McDuffie, Ernie Colon and Gil Kane told the story of a war raging in Hell itself between every single monster from the Lord of the Vampires to Baba Yaga over who would have the right to destroy humankind once and for all. And sometimes, that story turns out to be the comic book version of Monster In My Pocket.
After days of teaser images from Marvel hinting at some kind of new series, this morning the publisher finally announced a relaunch of Mighty Avengers. Written by Al Ewing with art from Greg Land, the new series features a team led by Luke Cage, with Falcon, White Tiger, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Blue Marvel, Monica Rambeau (now named Spectrum), a new Ronin, and the new Power Man as members. Notably, the team is comprised mostly of heroes who are people of color and/or women.
Mighty Avengers has been championed by Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, who in the past has gone on record as describing the idea of an Avengers team comprised of all or mostly black characters as being "contrived," but now says, "people who are interested in these characters and want to see heroes that reflect them have a genuine point."
It's weird being black sometimes. People have expectations that they just assume are true, you know? People at parties want to discuss race relations and Obama all the time for some reason, your non-black friends will grade your blackness, people want to touch your hair, and worse...
Dwayne McDuffie would have been 51 today. Just typing that makes me angry, because I know he should still be here with us. Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of his death, but I'm more interested in celebrating his life than remembering the shock of his passing...
I've been black since the day I was born, reading comics since before I could properly read, writing about comics since 2005, writing about the intersection of race and comics since 2006, and purposefully writing about the intersection of race and comics since 2007...
This is the first week of Black History Month, a four-week celebration and remembrance of the significant events and people of the African diaspora. For many, myself included, it's a month to reflect on where we've been, as a people and as a nation, and to contemplate exactly where it is we're going...