Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MSN Asks: Why Aren't There More Black Superheroes?

Just in time for Comic Con 2009!

A poster on a message board I haunt posted this link about the lack of Black Superheroes in comic book world.

The article chronicles the birth of black superheroes since 1934's Lothar (an African prince who became a manservant) to the 60s and 70s where the heroes still served as sidekicks. There's some great history revealed throughout the article with some heroes you may not have heard about. But one part is very telling in how the industry works:

Although the comic book industry exists to create fantastic tales and epic adventures, the publishers that drive the market don't take chances and seldom try anything new. More resources are spent thinking of new ways to tell the same old Spider-Man and Batman stories over and over again; because, as far as anyone is concerned, that's the formula that works. But when you take characters like Black Lightning or Black Goliath that never worked in the first place, and try to repeat the same formula, you'll continue to fail. And then when the fans don't embrace the black superheroes or the books they're in because it's a rehash of the same junk that didn't work in 1975, the publishers use that as a justification to not even bother developing heroes of color.
The article ends announcing how the comic book industry is woefully behind the times of politics, the silver screen and the music industry. At the same time I can't help but see a parallel in my own industry, publishing, and notice that in both instances we still have a long ways to go.

Definitely make a point to check out the article and write to the editor about which Black superhero you'd like to see on the big screen.
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