Before I tear into this subject, go ahead and show some love to David for his live viewing review. I’m not as energetic as he about the WWE, but he does do a good showing of his ability to review fairly. Now, click more for the actual article.
The curse of a crowded stage. When you try to clear it, you go back to the foundations, and for historical reasons those foundations are super-white and non-white characters are often seen as add-ons. https://t.co/0lOcRNZhXh
— Kurt Busiek Resists (@KurtBusiek) December 18, 2017
Kurt Busiek is the typical Noreaster thinker. He’s quite liberal and very much abrasive to those who are not receptive to his ideas. It’s not to say that he isn’t a talented writer and artist. He very much is. and he’s been around in the business for a long time. However, he also knows that sometimes… Diversity isn’t enough to hang your hat on to sell books. Sometimes, you have to go back to the basics of a comic. And as Kurt states, superheroes started off as white. And the non-white characters were add-ons. Art reflects the population, but in modern times it’s not been representative of the population.
Which Kurt would probably love to be an opposite part of the population to give the fans a differing perspective of where things stand. However, as you can see in this picture… Kurt is very much white and possibly Anglo Saxon. As expected, other minority fans are expressing disappointment in his statement. Yet, others are wondering if Kurt could possibly change the minds of his editors and create a new series to shoehorn in what they consider vital changes needed in comic stories.
That’s not to say that comic writers are not accepting of writing new ideas. Look over at their suffering competitor at Marvel. Short of G. Willow Wilson and Mark Waid, most of the diversity storylines are now up in the air with the dismissal of Axel Alonso. C.B. Cebulski has not said one way or the other on what his actual stance will be with future stories. And Joe Quesada has told the office that he will back any decision made by his Editor-in-Chief, even if it means getting rid of those diverse storylines that are not getting the sales required by Disney.
DC Comics has been built on an old merit system, to be blunt. If your stories are not producing the numbers needed to validate your usefulness, then DC has been known to reassign or to dismiss writers and artists. And before any minority calls DC a racist outfit for not allowing diversity to be open in their comics, you have to remember that their co-publisher is a Korean American. In fact, he’s been one of the most prominent Asian Americans in business, a man named Jim Lee.
Jim Lee made a living at pre-converged Marvel. But Marvel in those days was less caring about diversity and more motivated by the bottom line. Jim ended up starting the independent comic revolution when he, Todd MacFarlane, Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Jim Valentino, Whilce Portacio, and Marc Silvestri handed in their resignation to Marvel. They formed Image Comics in defiance to their former work-for-hire policies.
With this in mind, Jim Lee was successful for many years with Image Comics. Although, when they were on a downturn, he had the business sense to take his properties to his new job at DC Comics. And since 2010, he and Dan DiDio (whom David loathes, but that’s not important here), have run a tight enough ship at DC Comics. Both men have been at the forefront to try to restore DC back to a somewhat normalized base that heralds back to the Gold and Silver Age of Comic Books.
With this being said, Kurt is under these men, along with Bob Harras (current Editor-in-Chief). Bob Harras also doesn’t mind diversity in his stories, but Bob is also a blunt instrument of rules. He oversees the entire DC Comics, DC Universe, MAD Magazine and Vertigo lines. Bob wants stories that keep him employed. To be fair to Bob, that’s smart business as well. And Kurt is telling the fans the reality that his bosses and DC President, Diane Nelson, have put forth to him.
All of this is also under the direction of Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, who has been losing quite a bit of money due to the DC Extended Universe. With all of these factors in place, Kurt is simply telling the fans that even with the arrival of Brian Michael Bendis (responsible for that disastrous Riri Williams Iron Man) on the scene… DC is not going to yield to the direction of the writer until it is proven that said writer can produce for them. And even if the writer can produce, he/she is usually advised to stay within the accepted parameters of the company doctrine.
You’ll not see a Black Batman, unless Bruce Wayne is killed off again. Even then, they’ll go down the Batman legacy first. There will never be a Latino Superman, unless they happen to find a new Latino race from Krypton. Other heroes may be negotiable, as the Green Lantern Corps is an all inclusive force. And with Dan DiDio wanting to keep it at basics… Edgy stories will be once in a blue moon, but well written. There will be no rocking the boat.
As Quesada has to tell Alonso before he left, “There is no money in diversity…” And DC knew it, and they still know it.