Back in January of 2012 Mr. Terrific, Static and The Black Panther comic books were all canceled. Although the cancellation was far from racism, it made me wonder if the Black Superhero in comics is a relatable concept. So I started tweeting.
As I did two of my friends Julian Lytle and Shawn Pryor responded and my twitter rant went on over the course of the next few days.
One of the characters in question had a highly successful TV series, and one had a feature film that was a summer blockbuster. The numbers on the book sales didn’t reflect the popularity of the characters within pop culture as a whole.
There had to be an explanation.
In my research I found that when a title circulates under 20,000 copies, it’s pretty much destined for cancellation. This is a decision where race isn’t a factor, but for some reason, these characters were not resonating with the consumers. I decided it was time to stop waiting for answers and go out and get some.
And the below 4-episode documentary series, “Colorful Characters” was born.
EPISODE 1: In this first episode we ask the if the lack of diversity is a deliberate act within the comics industry. At first glance there may not seem to be an issue with diversity but when you look at the staff and characters of the large comics companies it tells a different story.
EPISODE: 2 Are a superheroes of color a relatable concept? In this episode we dig deeper into the issue of what kinds of characters the readers relate to. Many comics fans have to make a leap in order to lose themselves in the world of the creators have made. What would happen if the audience was given characters who looked like them? The goal of any storyteller should be to make a closer connection with the audience.
EPISODE 3: Are women portrayed soley as sexual objects in comics? We talk about the ide of the “Male gaze” and how it affects the content.
EPISODE 4: In a capitalist system the major factor for any product is “is there a market?” Are Consumers interested in stories starring women and people of color?