Do We Need More Diverse Superheroes

Generic Superhero

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Generic Superhero

By Gray Leal, Guest Contributor

Comic books and superhero movies as a genre have developed drastically in the past few years. Since Avengers: Endgame became the highest grossing movie of all time, more attention has been brought to the world of men in skintight costumes, beating ridiculously dressed villains to a pulp. There are so many different superheroes for viewers or readers to latch on to and cheer on in their endeavors. Still, the question of diversity remains, is there enough of it in the comic industry?

More representation is always needed in every industry, but, focusing on comics, there’s definitely a need for more types of characters other than the typical ‘white, able-bodied, straight’ heroes that dominate the industry to this day.

Diverse characters can bring different perspectives, stories, and personalities to comics.

Having disabled characters may show people with handicaps that they’re just as capable and valuable than every other superhero. Having a character of color gives the opportunity to explore heavier topics of oppression, while also normalizing their inclusion. Having LGBTQ+ characters provide opportunities for different romance stories to take the lead, or for different gender identities to take the forefront.

Since superheroes are rising in popularity and are no longer seen as geeky or lame, that means more people are becoming interested in comics. This is the perfect opportunity to begin adding more diverse characters and making different groups of people finally feel seen. Think about the impact that just one character had on a generation. Count how many kids you see now on Halloween dressed up like Black Panther or Miles Morales. It’s that impact to a larger scale. Kids who grew up feeling different from everyone around them, or who never saw themselves validated in books, or on screen, can now get what the previous generation never had.

Some comic incels may complain about how there’s already enough representation. These people who complain are probably the same people who encourage Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy being bi, but then get ‘triggered’ once it came out that Robin was bi. There’s no such thing as too much representation, so long as it’s genuine. Sure, some people may complain that there are too many white people, but their characters aren’t necessarily bad if they’re well written. The main problem is balance. Look at the ratio of straight white characters to everyone else. It’s overwhelming. Just because there ARE diverse characters, it doesn’t mean that there’s an abundance of significant, or even well written ones.

What the comic industry can do to aid the diversity problem is to hire more creators with stories to tell. As long as they have writers or artists with unique voices, and the talent to make their voices heard, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be hired and allowed to expose every comic reader to different stories and perspectives.

It’s undeniable that diversity is making excellent progress, not just in the comic industry, but in all media. However, there’s so much that we can still do to help it along. There’s no such thing as too much representation, and by getting more creators who can contribute to their stories, we can give comics that authentic boost of diversity that the industry so desperately needs.

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