Tag Archives: diversity

Chris Butcher Resigns from His Roles at TCAF as Calls for Diversity are Made


Chris Butcher has announced that he has stepped down as the Artistic Director for TCAF, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Butcher cites his need to address his “persistent health and wellness issues” that he has neglected.

Butcher has also addressed criticism towards the festival and organization. They have been criticized for a lack of diversity in input and staff from BIPOC, disabled individuals, and trans people. They organization has admitted it can “do better.” There are also charges that those who have spoken up and attempted to volunteer to help the organization have had their input dismissed. And, when they were engaged not given the support needed and then blamed when those tasks aren’t completed.

Simply put, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF)—whose leadership currently lacks Black or Indigenous representation —can do better. 

Butcher acknowledges the criticism and in his announcement takes responsibility in the role he “played in devaluing the contributions of members of staff and volunteers.” Part of his stepping away is for himself to “be better.”

TCAF late in June put out a statement in late June concerning conduct and harassment in the comics industry as well as a commitment to ending anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. The organization acknowledges it has a role in supporting diversity in the field and has made a commitment to do so.

We’ll see what steps the festival and organization takes in the coming months and years as they’ve committed this is an ongoing project that they are dedicating themselves to.

TCAF is a comics festival that’s free to attend. It’s a week of comics-related events that includes readings, presentations, panels, gallery shows, and an exhibition area featuring publishers, authors, and artists. It was co-founded by Chris Butcher and Peter Mirkemoe with the first held on March 29, 2003. The show has grown from the original 600 attendees with 25 staff, and 780 creators to over 25,000 individuals in 2016.

(via The Beat)

Nominations for the 2020 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics are Open. Two New Selection Committee Members Announced.

Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics

The 2020 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics is now officially accepting submissions and welcomes two new Selection Committee Members: Artist, Colleen Doran, and Marvel’s Blade and DC Comics’ New Teen Titans creator, Marv Wolfman.

The 6th annual prestigious Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics will once again honor five finalists whose commitment to excellence and inclusion, both on the page as well as behind the scenes, exemplifies the late Mr. McDuffie’s own career producing entertainment that reflects a wide scope of human experience, created by an equally wide scope of human beings.

The winner will be announced via video later this year by returning Master of Ceremonies, actor Phil LaMarr, who voiced both heroes Static/Virgil and John Stewart/Green Lantern in the animated Warner Bros.’ series Static Shock and Justice League Unlimited written by Mr. McDuffie.

The deadline for completed submissions to be received at dwaynemcduffie.com is 11:59pm PST on September 1st, 2020.

List of past winners:

  • 2019 – Archival Quality, written by Ivy Noelle Weir & illustrated by Christian “Steenz” Stewart (Oni Press)
  • 2018 – Leon: Protector of the Playground, written & illustrated by Jamar Nicholas (Kids Love Comics)
  • 2017 – Upgrade Soul, written & illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels
  • 2016 – Ms. Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson & illustrated by Adrian Alphona (Marvel Entertainment)
  • 2015 – M.F.K. written & illustrated by Nilah Magruder (www.mfkcomic.com)

The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics’ Selection Committee consists of prominent comics and animation industry professionals who have themselves demonstrated a commitment to Mr. McDuffie’s vision of inclusiveness in their own lives and work.

This year’s judges are:

  • Colleen Doran is a writer/artist, film conceptual artist and cartoonist. She has illustrated hundreds of comic books, graphic novels, book and magazines, and dozens of stories and articles. Her award-winning work has appeared in The Sandman, Wonder Woman, Legion of Superheroes, Teen Titans, Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and her own fantasy series, A Distant Soil.
  • Jamal Igle is the writer/artist/Creator of Molly Danger for Action Lab Entertainment and the penciller of the critically acclaimed series, BLACK from Black Mask Studios, as well as many titles for DC, Marvel and Dark Horse. He’s been a storyboard artist for Sony Animation and is also a popular guest lecturer on the subjects of comics and animation.
  • Joe Illidge is a veteran of the comic book industry who is currently co-managing editor for Heavy Metal. He’s also a columnist for Comic Book Resources and The Shadow League, and the co-writer of “Solarman” for Scout Comics. He’s previously been a top editor for Valiant Entertainment, Lion Forge Comics, Archaia Press and DC Comics, and began his editorial career at Milestone Media, Inc.
  • Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of Comicsbeat.com and a former editor for Disney and DC Comics. She can be heard on Publishers Weekly’s weekly podcast More To Come and The Beat podcast Three Women in a Hotel Room. 
  • Kevin Rubio is a writer/producer who has contributed to Justice League Action, Avengers Assemble, Thunderbirds Are Go!, Green Lantern: The Animated Series and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He is also the creator and writer of the Star Wars graphic novel, Tag & Bink Were Here and Red 5 Publication’s Abyss Vol. I & II. He is an inaugural recipient of the George Lucas Film Award for his Star Wars short film, TROOPS, a Promax Award winner, and Emmy nominee.
  • Geoffrey Thorne is the writer/Creator of MOSAIC for Marvel Comics, PRODIGAL for Genre 19 and JOURNEYMEN for Dark Horse Comics. He is also the head writer and Showrunner of Marvel’s Avengers Black Panther’s Quest as well as a writer-producer on such hit series as LEVERAGE, LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT and THE LIBRARIANS.
  • Will J. Watkins (Director of the DWAYNE McDUFFIE AWARD for DIVERSITY in COMICS) is a freelance TV and animation writer who is also comic book story/world-building consultant on The Protectors graphic novel published by Athlita Comics. He had a stint as an assistant editor at DC Comics, and before moving to L.A. he co-owned Chicago’s first African American-owned comic book store. He’s currently a staff writer on a cool Freeform show he can’t talk about yet, but that deserves to be made into a comic book.
  • Matt Wayne has written on many highly-regarded animation projects including Niko and the Sword of Light, Cannon Busters, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Avengers: Ultron Revolution, Thunderbirds Are Go! and the 2006 Biker Mice from Mars revival. He wrote the Emmy-nominated Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms and was also a writer and Managing Editor at Milestone Media, Inc.
  • Marv Wolfman is the multi-award-winning writer who created Blade for Marvel Comics, The New Teen Titans for DC Comics, and legions of other iconic characters and stories. In addition to comic books, he’s written for animation, videogames, novels and more. It’s been said that he’s created more characters who’ve made the jump to movies, TV shows, toys, games and animation than any other writer save Stan Lee. 

Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes is Free to Watch in May on World Channel

This month PBS premiered my documentary – Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes. The film has been to over 52 film festivals and has won 9 major awards. It has also screened in over 100 educational institutions, at almost all Comic Cons and numerous conferences.

Drawn Together traces the fascinating journey of three comic creators who challenge the notion of race, appearance and gender stereotypes through cartoons, comics and cosplay. The film features Keith Knight, Vishavjit Singh ( AKA Sikh Captain America ) and Eileen Alden.

For the month of May, you can watch the film for free on Youtube.

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Aquaman: Deep Dives

The weekend is almost here! Yes, the days may be blending together but we’re making sure the weekend is defined! While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Washington Post – Newspaper comics hardly ever feature black women as artists. But two new voices have arrived. – Awesome!

WBIW – IU Professor Reads From His 15000 Comic Book Collection On Facebook Live – Only 15000? This is such a great idea!


Newsarama – Aquaman: Deep Dives #1
Newsarama – Marvel’s Avengers: Road to A-Day

Finalists for the 5th Annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics Announced

Dwayne McDuffie

The five finalists for this year’s Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics have been announced. The selection committee consisted of nine comics and animation professionals who personally knew and worked with Mr. McDuffie and/or have demonstrated a serious commitment to his vision of excellence and inclusiveness on the page and behind the scenes, Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Jennier de Guzman, Joan Hilty, Jamal Igle, Mikki Kendall, Heidi MacDonald, Kevin Rubio, Geoffrey Thorne, and Will J. Watkins.

The winner will be announced live at an awards ceremony at the Long Beach Convention Center on Friday, February 15 at 7:30pm PT and serving as the closing ceremony of the 2019 C3: Comic Creator Conference. Phil LaMarr will return as the Master of Ceremonies.

Below are this year’s nominees. Congrats to all:

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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.

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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.

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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

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