2016 has been quite a year, and we can only imagine what 2017 will bring. As I look back at what superhero comics have been in the past year, I can't help but think about what the future holds. DC Rebirth, I admit as someone who was skeptical going in, has overall led to some great comics. Civil War II has been less encouraging, although there have still been some very good Marvel comics this year.
DC and Marvel comics seem simultaneously to always be relaunching and never changing. But there are changes creeping in around the edges if you pay attention. With that in mind, I've put together five hopes --- five suggested resolutions if you will --- for what I'd like to see from mainstream superhero comics in 2017.
Journalist and editor Jennifer de Guzman convened some up-and-coming Asian-American writers for a roundtable discussion about the state of Asian representation in comics. Amy Chu is the current writer on Poison Ivy, a former writer on Sensation Comics, and the co-creator of her own self-publishing imprint Alpha Girl Comics. Sarah Kuhn’s novel trilogy about Asian-American superheroes, Heroine Complex will be released by DAW Books in July. She’s also written for Rosy Press’s Fresh Romance and is currently writing a series of Barbie comics. Jonathan Tsuei is the co-creator with Eric Canete of RunLoveKill, published by Image Comics.
As of 2011, an estimated 9 million Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender1, yet Hollywood blockbusters continue to overlook the existence of queer people, especially the ones already fighting crime on comic pages where there are at least 37 openly LGBTQ characters. For most audiences this lack of queer representation may seem like the accepted norm, but for the LGBTQ community the omission is a repeated assertion that queer people aren’t welcomed or worthy of existing in those fictional worlds. Acknowledging lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other spectrums of queer identities in franchise movies won’t only make Hollywood more diverse, it could positively change the way our culture perceives the queer community.
Over the past week there's been much discussion in the comics sphere about how books that have risen to the challenge of greater diversity have not in turn risen up the charts of the direct market. A debate is taking place over whether the audience is really putting its money where its mouth is, and this debate is more complex than a yes or a no, and requires a little unpacking.
Adam Frey at Pop Culture Uncovered has one take, asking if the failure of diverse books is a responsibility that ultimately rests with the market. Personally, I think a better question to ask when speculating if the market itself has failed is, “which market?”
Nine Worlds Geekfest is a London convention that is --- and let’s just get this out of the way now --- unconventional. The event was born out of a Kickstarter in 2013 which sought to put on a “weekend-long, multi-genre convention” with a note that they are “founded on the radical belief that geekdom should not be restricted by class, age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, or the ability to cite Wookieepedia in arguments.” This is the kind of lip service you see at most conventions, despite actual attendants finding the truth to be slightly different.
But Nine Worlds puts its money where its mouth is.
Today, The Mary Sue reported that GenCon would be hosting a panel titled "Writing Comics: Writing Women Friendly Comics" that featured only male comics writers. While GenCon has since stated that they will be including women on the panel, this isn't the first time this has happened at a convention. Men are also usually the majority of convention guests. One group of women hopes to make it the last time it happens.
Deny it if you want, but after last week’s Strange Fruit controversy (which Boom Studios has yet to address), this week’s discussion about Marvel’s appropriation of hip hop and black culture (which Tom Brevoort addressed first badly, then wrongly) and a general pattern of racial diversity promised in press releases but rarely actually seen in the creative process… the writing is on the wall.
On July 13, comics creators Shing Yin Kor and Taneka Stotts awarded the first Harpy Agenda Microgrant to J.A. Micheline for her sharp critique of the controversial first issue of the Boom Studios miniseries Strange Fruit by Mark Waid and J.G. Jones III. Kor took a moment to answer a few questions about the new initiative.
To help any con-going readers with their convention plans, ComicsAlliance has put together this handy list of panels we recommend. Some are panels we think sound cool and some are panels where you can see CA contributors! You may not be able to experience everything (and probably not everything on this list!), but here's what we think are the best panels to attend on the final day, Sunday, July 12th!
San Diego Comic-Con is underway, bringing over 130,000 people to enjoy the pop culture extravaganza taking place inside and outside the convention center. There is a lot to see and do every day during SDCC. More likely than not, if you don't go in with a plan for experiencing the things that you most want to check out, you'll miss them!
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