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The comics industry hasn't exactly been covering itself with glory in some regards these past couple of weeks.

An interview with Mark Millar where they laud (and in fairness also criticise) his treatment of women (and his comments on "rape as motivating" factor for female characters) in particular might raise some eyebrows, though perhaps not with surprise so much as weary resignation)

Then an interview panel promoting a new PBS docu-series called "Superheroes: The Never-Ending Battle", they had Len Wein, Todd MacFarlane and Gerry Conway. Alas, none of them really cover themselves with glory when addressing certain issues near and dear to this communities heart;

As to why there are so few women and minorities represented in comic books, the answer is more complex.

"I think our series reflects the evolution of our culture. And women and minorities have been marginalized throughout history, so they were marginalized in comics," Kantor said.

Conway added, "I think the bigger question is why readers are not interested in those characters. Comics follow society. They don’t lead society, they reflect it."


Really Gerry? Really?

Oh, and just so I don't end on a sour note, there is an excellent riposte on io9 to these articles here

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
about_faces
Aug. 11th, 2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
Conway make a follow-up response which is interesting. He tries to own up to his "stupid" comments to an extent while expanding further upon what he meant.

The key quote is, "Yes, women and minorities and LGBT folk are horribly underrepresented among the creators of mainstream comics. This is not good. But I argue that they aren’t underrepresented among comic creators in general. My point was that the ‘mainstream’ isn’t the whole picture. Frankly, to my mind, ‘mainstream’ comics are actually the least interesting and creative comics published today. My point was that the ‘mainstream’ isn’t the whole picture. Frankly, to my mind, ‘mainstream’ comics are actually the least interesting and creative comics published today."

Whether you agree with him on that last point or not (and I do, generally speaking), I think he still misses the point by basically saying, "Yeah, it's awful and wrong that mainstream comics exclude women, minorities, and LGBT people, but those comics suck anyway." Regardless, a whole lot of women, minorities, and LGBT people actually LIKE those mainstream comics and actually WANT to read them, and while it's great that non-mainstream comics both more progressive and creative, the mainstream needs to step up to the plate as well rather on remaining in stagnation as a (generally) straight white boy's club.

I appreciate that Conway wants to defend comics in general, but the point needs to be emphasized that mainstream comics should stop being a hostile and unwelcome place, even if they publish "the least interesting and creative comics." Hell, I'm willing to wager that a greater diversity of characters and creators alike can only make DC and Marvel MORE interesting and creative as a result.
aaron_bourque
Aug. 11th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, saw this on tumblr. And there was a great reaction to "comics follow society" nonsense.

http://saphire-dance.tumblr.com/post/57725347207/re-the-comics-follow-society-they-dont-lead-society

"Dear Comics,

"Hello. This is Society. We’re diverse, we are POC, and LBTGQ+ folk, and half of us are ladies. Comics you’re not doing a very good job of keeping up. I think you might want to work on that.

"Sincerely a member of Society"

Morons.

But these aren't even the people in charge at comic books. Not that that makes the ones who are in charge are any brighter:

http://boingboing.net/2013/08/10/head-of-dc-comics-we-dont.html

Of course, when he said that he probably meant "45 year-old MEN" . . . and he probably unintentionally meant "manCHILDREN." White, socially regressed, straight, cis-males

Instead of thinking about building their audience by catching the younger ones and making them fall in love with comic books--like those "45" year old manchildren did 30-35 years ago. Instead of expanding the audience. Instead of not being idiots.

I really do love comic books. But the people who make them need wake-up calls. Serious wake-up calls.
aaron_bourque
Aug. 11th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
Presumably there was at audience to this . . . spectacle. Based on the photo, it was in an auditorium of some sort.

I have to wonder . . . were there people of color in the audience? Women? How big the auditorium was may have given an indication that there were--statistically speaking at least--probably a few gay or at least bi people. Did they never look at the audience?

Or was the auditorium empty and they filmed this interview there to make it seem . . . more grandiose than it actually was?
icon_uk
Aug. 11th, 2013 05:28 pm (UTC)
It was a press tour so you'd probably have had a few members of the local press at a time... or something. Interesting question though.
icon_uk
Aug. 11th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
I hadn't seen that tumblr post, now liked and reblooged, thanks!

I think there is an argument to be made that comics are long since past the point where the majority of them could be argued to be for kids, since there is now, essentially, no regular access to them through newsagent/drugstore spinner stands etc as there were a mere... well, actually when I look back at how long ago it was I feel terribly old, but let's say the late 1980's. It's still a disheartening thing to see stated so tactlessly, but there is probably a grain of truth to it, and that's part of the reason comic sales are dying, IMHO.
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