Tag Archives: diversity

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What are folks planning on getting? What do you look forward to? Sound off in the comments below!

While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

ComicMix – Joe Corallo: Diversity, Comics, and the Culture War – Bumpy times ahead.

New York Daily News – Comic-book thief nabbed while trying to unload rare X-Men, Spider-Man issues – Good.

Newsarama – Gareb Shamus Launches New Comic Con Biz ‘To Shake Up The Industry’, Justice League Stars On Board – Interesting.

Publishers Weekly – Politics Take Center Stage at the Small Press Expo 2017 – All the better!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Ninjak #0

Capeless Crusader – Wonder Woman ’77 Meets Bionic WOman #6

“Comics” Need to Deal with their White Supremacist Issue Before Hashtags Mean Anything

With the country still in shock and the civilized part outraged by the events this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia many have wondered what they can do about the domestic terrorists that plague our nation. While they might hide behind labels such as “alt-right,” the triumvirate of White Supremacists/Nationalists, KKK, and Nazis are exactly that, domestic terrorists responsible for the murder of Heather Heyer and injury of 19 others.

The comic industry does what it does best in these situations, hashtag their way to involvement while ignoring their own numerous issues in their backyard that involves creators, fans, the press, and the publishers that enable it all.

Not even a month ago we ran a story about a comic about white “American nationalist” Kyle “Based Stick Man” Chapman being created with quite a few “mainstream” creators who publically haven’t seem to be condemned for their involvement. Mike Baron, Donald Jackson, Rick Miller, Brett R. Smith, and Mort Todd have escaped in their involvement mainstreaming through propaganda a comic an individual who sided with those domestic terrorists this weekend. These five individuals aren’t conservatives in the industry, these are five individuals who are working with a racist that’s on the radar of both the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. They are aiding and abetting a racist.

Brett R. Smith went so far to call it a “war”:

This is not only a culture war, this is war. The highest form of warfare is to subvert the culture because you don’t have to raise a standing army. We’re never going to change the culture from Washington. We’re going to do it from comics, from movies.

And, I’m sure Smith will suffer no consequences for his comments continuing to get work much like the other deplorables in the industry have been protected in the name of “free speech,” “art,” or whatever other excuse is in vogue for the week. I’m sure some creators will brush this entire post off as “mob justice” with an agenda (there is one, fuck Nazis).

But should we be surprised by the industry’s inaction? No. It’s the latest in a long string of instances where publically we’re told “diversity” and “inclusion” but those words ring hallow as behind the scenes reality is anything but. The industry still makes money off of material that called “art” and “challenging” (ex. Image’s Airboy and Divided States of Hysteria) but in reality is the same edginess that makes the Fryer’s Roast still a thing. It’s a bygone mindset that hasn’t been “in vogue” for decades now. They profit off of it catering to a dying breed of “cis het white males” that are the same cesspool that gave us things like GamerGate, Trump, and Charlottesville.

Beyond a few creators, the industry has been silent about the above comic and outright defends insensitive material not realizing you can defend it’s right to be published and condemn the content at the same time. Instead those (often marginalized groups and individuals) raising concerns are dismissed instead of being listened to with creators rallying the wagons around in defense in the name of “art.” But how many creators will refuse to work with the above? How many publishers? How many conventions will not invite them? When push comes to shove few creators really act on their convictions instead settling for a few Tweets of support.

But, one doesn’t have to look far to understand why this is the case. The industry still sees those cis het white males as their customers.

Marvel Comics made news when a quote by their Vice President of Sales David Gabriel was taken out of context:

What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity,” Gabriel told ICv2. “They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not … We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.

“What Marvel has heard” has led the publisher to rethink their sales slump and return to a “core” and “traditional” set of their characters, mainly “cis white and male.” What few seem to connect is this same narrative is the one that has plagued the video game industry for years now and gave rise to GamerGate. Video game companies were catering to “social justice warriors” by making their stories and characters more diverse. In reality one can easily argue those same companies are instead positioning their releases for a broader worldwide market. Where in video games there was a name for this neolithic and backwards movement, in comics it hasn’t revolved around a hashtag instead being push as a narrative by fans, stores, and even the a duped media who while discussing “sales” push the narrative that diversity doesn’t sell.

For months the narrative has been the same, the industry’s (re Marvel and DC) sales have been in a decline during the period they have attempted to diversufy their characters and much slower the creators. Though sales numbers are incomplete and often off by thousands (something I’ve confirmed directly with creators) a lack of deep dives into market trends, changing consumption rates, shifting business models, broken distribution systems, keeps the narrative focused on “numbers” and “diversity” playing into the regressive fan narrative. Further when pointing to sales years ago without further insight can only lead one to a conclusion that those backwards looking individuals must be right. There is no counterpoint only flawed numbers.

But beyond the sales, lack of condemnation, there’s a simmering acceptance of articles and discussions that don’t get called out for what they are.

The launch of Wonder Woman pivoted from the success of a female led superhero film to a discussion as to whether actress Gal Gadot was “white.” Numerous sites ran think pieces on the debate while little was dedicated to the anti-Semitic nature of the discussion as a whole and it playing into the Nazi/KKK/white supremicist narrative. In an industry founded be Jewish individuals, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Joe Simon, Will Eisner, the cluelessness within the “comic community” over the discussion was astounding. Argue Gal Gadot isn’t white you’re reinforcing racists beliefs that Jews are “other.” Argue Gal Gadot is white and you’re reinforcing racists beliefs that Jews “blend in” and are “sneaky.” So maybe it’s best to not even have the discussion let alone have it run on (formaly) reputable sites? But, that’s rarely, if ever, brought up. Instead the discussion as a whole is treated as a valid one to have and it reinforces a belief of racists.

But should we be shocked by any of this? A publisher can’t even condemn the use of their character’s iconography by racists a simple act that even the Detroit Red Wings were able to do.

In an industry that was founded as a haven for individuals that couldn’t get work due to their gender, skin, or religion, and whose earliest works challenged the status quo championing a progressive outlook, we’ve slipped over its 100 years of existence.

It’s time to remember our roots and practice the lessons taught by the champions we love on the pages. We don’t need hashtags, we need real heroes who will stand up.

#AACC17: Can Pop Culture Save The World?

by Arturo R. Garcia

The Asian-American Comic-Con Summit kicks off with a look into how Asian-American creators and artists are redefining the spaces around them.

So About That Epic Rant About Diverse Comics…

Some of you may already have heard about this, but late Friday night, on June 30, I basically got fed up with the whole discussion over whether or not diversity in comics sells, why Black Panther World of Wakanda, as well as Black Panther and the Crew, got canceled (among other titles). I had had a pretty long week of work and the #wellactually cadets were out in full force. So I do what I always do when I’m stressed about something. I research.

So I pulled up over 30 comics that I knew off the top of my head that had diverse characters or creators. African, African-American, Latinx, East Asian, Southeast Asian, Sikh, Muslim, LGTBQ and more. I posted that list pretty fast on twitter. So fast in fact, I completely forgot to give it a hashtag to find it.

It kinda went viral anyway.

theblerdgurl, twitter,So I took some time and storified my original tweets as well as a few more that replied. But trust me this list isn’t exhaustive. It’s a sample. It’s proof. Proof that diversity sells and that people of different backgrounds/ethnicities/sexual orientations/religions have the ability to write good stories. Even if you’ve never heard of them. And if you don’t see that many Marvel or DC titles, that’s on purpose. I also wanted to show that there are more than two comic book companies in the US (more worldwide) and that independent creators make good work as well. There are links to all of the titles listed. So go buy them. Like now. Enjoy!


screen-shot-2016-01-14-at-6-47-27-pm@theblerdgurl is a commercial film/video editor by day and comic book reading, anime watching, TV live tweeting,  K-Pop listening, blog writing, geek gurl by night. She is on a mission to shine a light on indie, female and comic artists of color and highlights them and their work on her blog theblerdgurl. She currently lives in a century old brownstone in Brooklyn with 2 cats who plot her demise daily. You can also find her on twitter, facebook, instagram,  tumblr  , youtube and soundcloud.

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d folks get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below!

While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The Beat – 10 years after Minx, here comes Charmz, a new comics line aimed at tween girls – Nice! One to watch.

ICv2 – How the Big Two Painted Themselves into a Corner on Diversity – An interesting read.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Batman #20

Newsarama – Hawkeye #5

The Comics Are All Right: Marvel, Diversity and the Comic Market Part 1

Much has been discussed these last few days about diversity and comic sales. In an interview with ICv2, Marvel‘s David Gabriel discussed the last year and the perception that there’s been a shift in the comic market and sales are lagging. Though clickbait articles have spun Gabriel’s comments into “Marvel blames diversity” or “Marvel blames comic buyers” he said nothing of the sort. Here’s the actual exchange with an emphasis added:

Now the million-dollar question.  Why did those tastes change?
I don’t know if that’s a question for me.  I think that’s a better question for retailers who are seeing all publishers.  What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity.  They didn’t want female characters out there.  That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.  I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales.

Gabriel was just repeating “what he heard” from retailers and if you read the full interview you’ll see that his thoughts on the subject are much more wishy-washy without much of an answer. This isn’t about defending Gabriel, this is about answers and reality.

The comic industry absolutely needs to do a better job of inclusion in creators, content, and engaging audiences. Publishers are dominated by hetero-white male creators. Other industries have recognized this and found success. Fox (yes Fox) has acknowledged this. Jordan Peele’s Get Out has so far made $167.6 million worldwide on a $4.5 million budget, a 37.24 multiplier (so far). There’s an audience hungry for diverse entertainment from diverse voices. And all of that is being planned to be discussed in the second part (and third, fourth, etc. if needed).

We’re not about clickbait here, so lets discuss the reality of the comic market, Marvel’s sales, and diversity in 2016 using facts and the data we have. First up, lets look at the industry as a whole.

Here’s the reality according to the numbers.

Fact: 2016 had more UNITS shipped by Diamond than 2015

Fact: 2016 had less revenue in due to an average lower cover price (ie the hold the line at $2.99 dropped the average). The industry lost roughly $9 million or about $3000-$4000 per shop.

Fact: January 2017 had the most units shipped for a January in 20 years.

Fact: February 2017 was 5% more units shipped than February 2016. If the end of 2016 sucked you’d see a big downturn in units shipped about now. That’s not happening.

All of this data is based on the excellent reporting of ComiChron based on Diamond’s estimated shipping numbers. Now, what’s shipped isn’t what’s sold, far from it. But, you’d think stores are smart enough to order about what they can sell and if a series begins to tank orders will adjust over time and we’d see a rapid decline eventually.

What’s reported so far is Diamond Comic Distributor’s estimated sales. Diamond is the primary distributor for comic shops, so this is some of the prime data that we’d want to look at to see the “health” of how shops are doing. Again, I stress as I always do that this data is estimates and not perfect in any way.

diamond-data-2016

But what’s the year to year like? Below we see the gains and losses for 2015 and 2016.

diamond-data-2016-year-to-year

That’s a bunch of red in 2016 compared to 2015.

  • All comic sales are down in dollars
  • The Top 300 is down in dollars
  • The combined top 300 comics and TPBs are down in dollars
  • The average price of the top 300 weighted by orders is down

It’s not all bad though.

Comics not in the top 300 increased compared to 2015 selling 820,000 units more. Trade paperbacks too saw a massive increase in dollar sales.

Unit sales have increased as well.

  • All comics increased by 1 million units from 2015
  • Top 300 comics increased by 180,000 units

Trade paperback sales are up. Non top 300 comic sales are up.

The problem is pretty clear from the data, even though there’s more comics being sold, they’re returning fewer dollars, and there are two data points that back that up.

Dollar sales for the top 300 comics is down nearly $9 million and add in the 11 cent decrease in cover price the picture is obvious. More is being sold at a lower price which is causing a pinch of dollars.

If I sell 1,000 units at $3.96 I make $3,960 but if I sell 1,025 units at $3.85 I make $3,946.25. Even though I sold MORE comics, I’m making LESS money.

It’s unknown exactly how many shops there are in the United States but estimates has it between 2,000 and 3,000 shops. $9 million split that way equals some serious dollars.

shops-loss

To emphasize how big of a shift just 11 cents a cover makes. If 2016 sales had 2015’s cover price the dollars sold would have increased $15.871 million in 2016 compared to 2015.

That’s a lot of money per local comic shop that’s vanished. Take into account some shops are doing well, that means there’s potentially a bigger loss for other shops. Those numbers above represent a month’s rent at least for some shops gone. Even with margins, these numbers show shops absolutely should be feeling a money pinch compared to 2015 and that there’s something that needs to be corrected.

It’s pretty clear cover prices are a major problem for the 2016 comic market. But what about the myth that diversity is the problem? We’ll discuss that in the next article. Stay tuned for part 2!

 

The Comics Are All Right is a regular featured column looking at the positive and negative in the comic industry using data and measurable statistics.

Discussing Iron & Rage and Diversity in Entertainment with Guest John Brougher. Listen on Demand.

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

What if we had more diversity in action films? That’s what actor John Brougher set out to show with the short film Iron & Rage. Iron & Rage reimagines Marvel’s Netflix series Iron Fist as an Asian-American superhero with a diverse supporting cast. This Tuesday, we discuss this and more when John Brougher joins Graphic Policy Radio with hosts Brett and Elana.

John is an actor based out of Los Angeles who can be seen on screen and stage, playing such roles as Dan in the first season of “The A-Word,” Bob in “Secret Valentine,” the titular role of Willum Cubbert in “The Nerd,” and James Ryan in Mark Jason Williams’s “Straight-Faced Lies” in the Capital Fringe Festival. Before that, he was “Brad Majors” in Nu Sass Productions’s “The Rocky Horror Show” and was Jacob in “Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay,” an Iraq war veteran who turns to faith after his tour of duty. John Brougher has been Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance,” worked on numerous commercials and films, and hosted many events.

Discussing Iron & Rage and Diversity in Entertainment with Guest John Brougher this Tuesday

What if we had more diversity in action films? That’s what actor John Brougher set out to show with the short film Iron & Rage. Iron & Rage reimagines Marvel’s Netflix series Iron Fist as an Asian-American superhero with a diverse supporting cast. This Tuesday, we discuss this and more when John Brougher joins Graphic Policy Radio with hosts Brett and Elana.

Listen to the show this Tuesday at 10pm ET.

John is an actor based out of Los Angeles who can be seen on screen and stage, playing such roles as Dan in the first season of “The A-Word,” Bob in “Secret Valentine,” the titular role of Willum Cubbert in “The Nerd,” and James Ryan in Mark Jason Williams’s “Straight-Faced Lies” in the Capital Fringe Festival. Before that, he was “Brad Majors” in Nu Sass Productions’s “The Rocky Horror Show” and was Jacob in “Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay,” an Iraq war veteran who turns to faith after his tour of duty. John Brougher has been Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance,” worked on numerous commercials and films, and hosted many events.

Listen to the show when it airs this Tuesday at 10pm ET and Tweet us your questions @graphicpolicy.

Challengers Comics + Conversation Celebrates Women’s History Month

Award-Winning Chicago comic retailer Challengers Comics + Conversation launched an ambitious plan to highlight local female and non-binary artists in daily tabling events to commemorate Women’s History Month. From horror to heroes, from established artists to comic-related art, the talent Challengers has put together allows for comic fans of all ages a great chance to find something new to love. New creators are being added regularly so make sure and check out their website to see the latest additions. Creators can email challengers@challengerscomics.com to participate. Challengers Comics + Conversation is located at 1845 N Western Ave in the Bucktown neighborhood. Swing by and celebrate Women’s Comics Month!

The current schedule is as follows:

Thu Mar 02: Chloë Perkis, 11am-7pm
Fri Mar 03: Bianca Xunise, 3pm-7pm
Sat Mar 04: Lauren Burke / Monica Ras, 11am-5pm
Sun Mar 05: Amber Huff, 11am-5pm
Mon Mar 06: Rosie Accola, 11am-5pm
Wed Mar 08: Isabella’s Crafts, 5:30pm-7pm
Thu Mar 09: Sara Kloskowski, 3pm-7pm
Fri Mar 10: Marie Enger, 2pm-7pm
Sat Mar 11: Andrea Bell, 11am-5pm
Sun Mar 12: Rebecca Rothschild,
Tue Mar 14: Natalie Andrews, 2pm-5pm / Isabella’s Crafts, 5:30pm-7pm
Wed Mar 15: Kat Leyh, 5pm-7pm
Thu Mar 16: Stephanie Mided, 2pm-7pm
Fri Mar 17: Ashley Riot, 11am-5pm
Sat Mar 18: Amy Peltz, 11am-5pm
Sun Mar 19: Sheika Lugtu / The Ladydrawers 11am-5pm
Tue Mar 21: Sage Coffey, 11am-7pm
Wed Mar 22: Isabella’s Crafts, 5:30pm-7pm
Thu Mar 23: Vickie Perez-Segovia (Vixtopher) 11am-7pm
Fri Mar 24: Yewon Kwon, 5pm-7pm
Sat Mar 25: Cathy Hannah, 11am-5pm
Sun Mar 26: Corinne Halbert, 12pm-3pm
Tue Mar 28: Leila Abdelrazaq, 11am-5pm
Wed Mar 29: Isabella Rotman, 11am-7pm
Thu Mar 30: Delia Jean,
Fri Mar 31: Caroline Picard, 5pm-7pm

Challengers Comics + Conversation was opened on March 31, 2008 by Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush. Since then, they’ve been honored not just to be the recipients of awards like Best Comics Shop (Chicago Reader, 2010) and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award (2013), but to be the local comics shop of some of the most enthusiastic comics fans.

challengers-comics

Lion Forge Hints at Shaking Comics Up with Diverse Talent

In the lead up to San Diego Comic-Con Lion Forge announced a killer line-up of new staff joining the company including Rich Johnson, Syndee Barwick, Mark Smylie, Joe Illidge, and Devin Funches.

All of those hired are talented and have impacted comics and entertainment paving paths, and leaving marks in their own ways.

The most interesting hire to me was that of Illidge who is vocal about the need for more diverse talent in comics and better handling of diversity in general in the entertainment. Illidge has been a guest contributor on this site and a guest on our radio show. He’s one of the folks that when they talk, I listen. And thus, I’ve been watching his various social networks for hints as to what Lion Forge might be up to. And it looks like they’re about to really shake things up in comics.

Illidge first set off my Spider-Senses with this Tweet:

While some might shrug their shoulders that they have a new series. He then Tweeted:

There’s been quite a few Black Panther artists and I’m salivating at a lot of them working with Illidge. If that weren’t exciting enough, he then Tweets:

What I’m taking that as is it’s not just a WOMAN, but it’s a BLACK WOMAN writing a comic series from the publisher! And I’m hearing confirmation that’s the case, but not hearing who. Illidge and Lion Forge look to be stepping up and filling a gap too few publishers are willing to.

If they make the announcements as far as diverse creative teams at San Diego Comic-Con, it’s likely this publisher will steal the show and buzz coming out of the show when it comes to comics. That’ll be a hell of a coup.

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