106926632441349791

COMICS: Eli Flores at Broken Frontier has an article on why there aren't more 'black/minority' characters in comics. It's a good article but focuses too much on the creators of the books rather than the fans. She also focuses on superhero comics, which is what I'll do.

The main reason that I see for white males being the majority of characters in comic stories is that white males are the majority of customers in comic stores. Comics have never sought to appeal to minorities in this country, all the way back to Superman/Batman up through Spiderman/Fantasic Four and even now. Most white superhero comic book buyers (which is most comic book buyers period, not counting manga) want to read stories about people like themselves with fantastic powers. A large part of buying superhero comics is wish-fulfillment and it's hard for people to project themselves onto a character with a different skin color.

I don't think there's much hope in trying to get more black main characters into superhero comics, honestly. Pretty much the base of fans for superhero comics is set and not growing at any appreciable rate. That means the same set of mostly white male readers are going to be buying the books and they've shown they don't want to read about black characters, except in supporting roles. Since the readers don't support books with black main characters (see Black Panther, an exceptionally well written comic about a great black character) there's no incentive for writers to write black characters.

If you're thinking that publishers should push books starring black characters at the black members of the superhero reading public, look at the math. Black people make up about 12% of the population of the US. Even assuming that the superhero reading audience contains the same percentages (a very weak assumption) you're looking at sales of maybe 10,000 copies, based on the usual 100,000+ copies of the top-selling superhero book. Unless there are other factors at work, that book wouldn't last long.

Really the only way there are going to be more black main characters in comics is by pulling in more black readers and superhero books have never shown any ability to bring in new readers in large numbers. If books like Grrrl Scouts could get out into the mainstream and into hip-hop magazines and the like, that would bring in new readers which would give publishers and writers more incentinve to write black characters. If you want to see more non-white faces in comics, supporting non-superhero books is the way to go.

Thanks to Journalista for the link.