Not So New, Not So Different: On Red Wolf and Indigenous Representation in the New Marvel
Yesterday Marvel Comics released the first teaser image for All New, All Different Marvel, the post-Secret Wars relaunch for the Marvel Universe. Editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and senior VP of sales and marketing David Gabriel hit the media to publicize it, Alonso telling USA Today that the new lineup of characters and creators will show “diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity.” The image itself highlights a lot of the company’s recent efforts in diversity, with characters like Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Captain America Sam Wilson, and Spider-Gwen getting visible spotlights. The image also included an unexpected appearance by the Native American superhero Red Wolf. On face value, rejuvenating Red Wolf is a fantastic idea, an opportunity to do something that I stated the need for the last time I talked about indigenous superheroes: increase the presence of North America’s first peoples in the medium. But there's a problem.
From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics
DC's recent announcement of a new post-Convergence lineup of titles offered promising signs of diversification at the publisher, with Gene Luen Yang, securing a high profile assignment on Superman with John Romita, Jr., and fellow Asian-American creators Sonny Liew, Ming Doyle, and Annie Wu picking up new titles, plus several LGBT creators on titles, including Steve Orlando on Midnighter and James Tynion IV on Constantine; and black author David F. Walker taking over Cyborg. It was great to see so many non-cis-straight-white-male demographic groups represented, both in characters and creative teams. These announcements go some way towards correcting ongoing imbalances in the mainstream comic industry, but as ComicsAlliance editor Andrew Wheeler noted in his coverage; "this is the superhero comic version of diversity, where ‘any’ feels like a victory; any non-white creators, any women, any queer representation. Any is not enough.” Thinking about that statement, a question occurred to me; “Are there any indigenous characters or creators?”
‘Teen Titans Go’ Producer Michael Jelenic On The ‘Young Justice’ Crossover And The Show’s Changing Voice
Over almost two years and over eighty episodes on the air, Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go has dropped its characters into a wide variety of different situations. They might go to the future, meet alternate versions of themselves, or die of old age. There are even songs. Some critics have accused the show of being too silly, so in the episode debuting today, “Let’s Get Serious,” the Titans meet some of these critics in the form of Young Justice, the teen superhero team from their own, departed, animated show --- and they’re definitely not pleased with what they see. To battle their critics, the Titans grimace really hard until they too become incredibly serious, muscled, gritty one-liner-spouting versions of themselves. We spoke to series producer Michael Jelenic about the crossover, bouncing criticisms back at detractors and pushing the show into even wider, weirder directions.
Correcting the Post-Colonial Story: Identity And Belonging In Sam Humphries & Dalton Rose’s ‘Sacrifice’
Right from the start, Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose's Sacrifice is identifiable as a work of passion. It was self-published – a risky proposition in the direct market – and it was a story of personal importance to the author. Humphries has epilepsy, and Sacrifice is the story of a boy whose epilepsy isn't only a source of frustration and anguish, but also a superpower that propels him into an adventure at the zenith of the Aztec civilization – and perhaps also provides the ultimate key to his agency. That's not the only source of passion evident in Sacrifice, though. The premise of the series – a suicidal Joy Division fanatic has a seizure that sends him back in time to before Cortés' invasion of the Aztecs – provides a venue for Humphries to spit fire over how profoundly outrageous and angering the perception and purported 'history' of the Aztecs is. As someone fascinated by and familiar with the truth about the Aztecs, Humphries uses the series' bedrock of time travel, violence, and destiny, to help readers take a step towards that truth.