These are just a handful of the characters of color who have been part of the Marvel Universe who haven’t gotten a significant push in years, if not decades. However, Marvel believes we need an Asian Hulk, A Female Thor, a Female Wolverine, a Black Captain America and a Black Female Iron Man to present a fair and balanced picture of diversity in between the pages of Marvel Comics.
My question is: If the editors at Marvel are so serious about diversity, why don’t they try to push one of the existing characters of color in their catalog?
All these characters I mentioned have established followings in the main Marvel Universe. Many are just one story away from getting over with readers to the point where they could carry their own limited series. Some like Night Thrasher and Shang-Chi have even carried their own books in the past. So why not give these characters a push?
Because it doesn’t get press. It doesn’t get controversy. It doesn’t make people get upset on message boards or talking about Marvel Comics.
And working with these characters would require a writer to actually do some research. In order to work with one of the characters of color I mentioned here, a writer would have to do some research on the Marvel Universe. They’d have to dig deep into the back issues or the archives on comixology and read hundreds of issues to get a sense of the character and their backstory. Then they’d have to plan a story featuring that character that fit organically into the Marvel Universe.
It’s a lot easier for a novice to work with Sam Wilson on Captain America than to write a Lemar Hoskins story that dug deep into the mythos of Captain America. It’s a lot easier to write a terrible America Chavez story than to work with Silverclaw, Firebird, or Living Lightining. It’s a lot easier to work with Kamala Kahn than to develop stories around Dust, who was becoming a fan-favorite X-Man.
Why? Because making up stuff means that a creative team doesn’t have to do the hard work of researching a characters’ backstory. Studying their history. Finding out what worked and what didn’t work and crafting stories that weave organically into the tapestry of the Marvel Universe.
I have to wonder if this new push for diversity about actual diversity or is it just grossly unqualified people trying to cover for the fact that they don’t have the skills to write Marvel Comics? A creative writer with an understanding of the Marvel Universe would have no problem finding a D or E list hero of color and putting a fresh take on them that made them interesting.
Yeah, people are talking about Marvel Comics diversity heroes online. Unfortunately, they aren’t selling many copies to readers. Instead of their new heroes of color bringing old and new readers together to share their interest in a superhero, all they’re doing is alienating the core customer base of White Males and pushing many minority readers away with their paternalistic stories featuring countless old racist stereotypes repackaged in brand new boxes.
The way I see it, Marvel doesn’t need new people of color in their major character’s roles. What they really need is real diversity behind the scenes. Most of the qualified White males who made up Marvel’s editorial staff in the past have been replaced by grossly unqualified White Females. And instead of White men writing characters of color, we have grossly unqualified White female editors working with incompetent writers of color such as Gabby Rivera and Ta-Naheshi Coates. That’s why Marvel Comics attempt to diversify their universe is one of the greatest failures in comic book history.
There’s a great catalog of characters of color at Marvel Comics. And a seasoned creative team of qualified writers, artists, and editors could take one of those characters to the next level if they were given a chance to work at the brand. Yes we need more creators of color in comics. However, instead of Hiring employees based on the color of the skin, Marvel really needs to start hiring writers, artists, and editors based on the contents of their portfolio.