The Masks and More Book Club discussion

Diversity in Comics

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message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex (o_t4ng) | 17 comments Not to open a can of angry worms, but (the awesome) Gail Simone put out a quick straw poll last night about the diversity of characters in people's pull lists.

How many lead characters (in solo books where they are the title character - no team books) are:
- Female

Not scientific but interesting to gauge general levels.

My count was 8 female, 2 POC and 0 (canon) LGBT.

What about you?

While we're on the subject, Aaron wrote a piece on diversity following the Thor/Cap change announcements. Go check it out.

message 2: by Aaron (new)

Aaron (trippdigital) | 8 comments I'll never not read a book because of character's or creator's gender/sexual preference etc.

That being said, I'll also never read a book because of a character's or creator's gender/sexual preference etc.*

If the story's good, I'll read it. Plain and simple.

*This isn't entirely true. I bought an issue of Harley Quinn recently because I thought she looked pretty good on the cover. Don't judge me.

message 3: by Ez (last edited Aug 02, 2014 06:11AM) (new)

Ez (thevapidwench) | 15 comments I love Gail Simone's twitter feed, Red Sonja is on my to-read pile. However, I'm hesitant to boil my reading material down to stats; I don't read that many titles (Marvel U pass excepted), and I don't make a deliberate effort to seek out diversity. That said, the percentages are pretty good...

The comics I choose, I choose predominately because I believe the writer has an interesting story to tell, regardless of the background of the main character: a well written character can speak to everyone.

However, it never hurts to find someone who explicitly represents at least some of your background, especially when said background is marginalised; or a character written with such complexity and depth that they open your eyes to situations different (and maybe not so different) from your own. More diversity, not less!

There's an interesting interview with Brian Michael Bendis here...
... that tackles Marvel's push for greater inclusivity:

"Now, you can't make these decisions [to be more inclusive] consciously, because then you're just writing in reaction to things, and that doesn't work out, dramatically. But subconsciously, if you look at the world around you and see your readers, you go, I wanna write something that I know is true. So you start writing women better and you write people outside of your experience better, because you look at pages of other people's comics and you don't recognize it as the world around you...

It's [fellow Marvel writers] Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick and Ed Brubaker and others who fight the good fight and put characters out there that don't represent everyone, but all of them put together represent more of the world that we live in. And the response you get back is something else, boy oh boy."

Peace out.

message 4: by Ez (new)

Ez (thevapidwench) | 15 comments Actually, you know scratch that... I sometimes do go deliberately looking for diversity!

I backed My So-Called Secret Identity on kickstarter because it sounds like it's doing great things, and I started reading Ms Marvel partly because I really liked her style in a couple of the Avengers books, and because she was (rightly reputed) to be a top-notch lady character.

So I mostly look for a good story, except when I don't.

The point about more diversity not less still stands.

message 5: by Alex (new)

Alex (o_t4ng) | 17 comments I didn't expect anyone to discriminate based on these criteria, it was more of a gauge of a) the availability of diverse character books and b) the popularity of these.

Like I said, it's not scientific. The majority of people who follow Gail on social media and would be likely to respond to this question, PROBABLY already share her values/ideals/philosophy and thus the results are bound to be skewed.

My results only account for about 50% of my current book list. The rest being split about 30:20 team to male protag books.

I admit I tend to look for female-led books first, but obviously it's the story that brings me in and keeps me in before anything else.

I was really lucky that as I started reading comics a whole bunch of new female-led books were starting new runs (Harley - might be a bit obsessed with her, Black Widow, (new) Ms Marvel, Capt. Marvel, Tomb Raider) so I could get into those and then work out into the rest of the universe(s). This was a lot easier than jumping into the middle of a long run of more "popular" characters (Batman, Superman, Iron Man, etc.) It also made it easier gauge whether I liked a character enough to go back and pick up past books to learn more of their story - I got 2 BW trades. And this leads to finding writers/artists you like and want to read more of - beyond that one initial character - currently amassing Gail's back catalogue in trades (Batgirl, Birds of Prey, The Movement).

So, yeh, my point is... ummm... YAY! COMIC BOOKS.

message 6: by Ez (new)

Ez (thevapidwench) | 15 comments Off topic, but when it comes to films there is that old (wrong)cliché that no-one wants a female lead, and the same old terrible films get cited as examples. Me, I'm succumbing to super-hero fatigue, but I'm still excited for something out of the ordinary, and yes, that means a female driven film!

So just as I make a concerted effort to support diversity in films (assuming it wasn't a stinker like Halle Berry's Catwoman), I do the same with comics. Story first, but I do have agenda as to how I spend my precious pennies and it isn't propping up the patriarchy.

message 7: by Alex (new)

Alex (o_t4ng) | 17 comments Heck yes! Give me my goddamn Widow solo movie already!! Or Captain Marvel. Or She-Hulk. Or even a GOOD Elektra. (I'm pretty sure DC are so far behind on the film front that the chances of them getting one out first is negligible).

That was my one slight problem with GotG, while it is a team movie with a girl on the team *gasp* it was still very much SWM-led... Also OT, look out for my full take on Guardians going up on Geekocracy tomorrow. ;)

message 8: by Craig (new)

Craig | 43 comments Mod
Alex, are you asking what's on our personal pull list or if we're aware of these characters in general?

As for a Captain Marvel movie, as I said in tonight's hang-out, it broke my heart a little when it became clear Katee Sackoff was not signed up to play Carol Danvers.

message 9: by Alex (new)

Alex (o_t4ng) | 17 comments Yes, I was asking about your personal lists. It's not meant to be scientific and definitely not representative of the community at large, just an interesting (imo) question.

They're definitely missing a trick not signing Katee. Especially as Carol has ties to both the Avengers and the GotG. Even if she doesn't get a solo movie should easily make an appearance somewhere in the MCU.

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