Comics: Every Black Writer In Mainstream Comics Got Fired Today [@DCComics]

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Mister Terrific? Static Shock? Cancelled!Just in time for the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Black comics fans were treated to some less-than-pleasant news this morning …

As part of the six new May books being announced today, DC Comics has also announced six cancellations, all ending on their eighth issues. Men Of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C., Hawk And Dove, Blackhawks and Static Shock

… it is notable that two of the books, Mister Terrific and Static Shock featured a single male black lead, leaving Batwing. A modicum of self recognition is superhero titles is sometimes necessary, and it is a shame that this has been denied many now. [sic] But sales on both these titles were rather low, comparatively. Although they both will have sold tens of thousands more copies than they would have done without a DC Relaunch.

Admirable that DC grand poobah Dan DiDio allowed his own title to be cancelled, it's also worth noting is that DC went from employing 100 percent of the Black writers in mainstream comics — Eric Wallace and Marc Bernardin — to having zero with this move. Neither Wallace nor Bernardin had a comment as of press time.

In the mean time, it’s interesting to note that we again are finding it hard to secure a place in the Direct Market environment, as the retailers who buy the books were unable to market to our demographic successfully enough for these titles to have sales figures strong enough to survive. Having two Black writers at DC and none at Marvel was interesting enough, but now Black voices have been silenced in the "mainstream" industry, and only one DC book with a Black lead — Batwing, written by Judd Winick — remains.

As we so often do, times like this make us miss Dwayne McDuffie …

[Source: Bleeding Cool]

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Comments

  1. That’s f’d up! I remember the big discussion about women in comics when DC first launched the new 52 (and all the sound and fury that came along with it), and I remember I kept wondering why no one was addressing the other obvious disparities amongst the creative talent in the comics industry like the glaring lack of minority talent.

  2. I can’t imagine we could add much to that. True statement.

  3. Mainstream comics? COmics are comics. You all have the attitude that “If white folk don’t approve, it can’t be good.” attitude. Plenty of “minority” writers and artists working in comics. They got smart and did their own books. At Image Comics, Indyplanet. Y’all gotta get rid of your slave mentality. “Masah, is we sick?” Please! “Minority” messed up thought process. Minority denotes no power.

  4. The financial difference between “mainstream” comics and “indies” in terms of royalties, access and the like is the difference between an FM station and pirate radio. If we found out that no FM stations had hired any Black people, that would look funny. It’s the same argument as limited access to government contracts. We’re not saying people shouldn’t make their own comics. We might, however, be saying, “should you spend where you can’t work?”

  5. I don’t think that black voices have been silenced at all. If we shut up then it’s us who have silenced ourselves. We have so many talented artist, inkers, cartoonist, animators, etc but yet WE as a people are still looking to become part of the mainstream even though we KNOW they don’t want us. Why aren’t we looking at this as a way to start our own. Our own comics, our own distribution, our own marketing….Now Is the time. If we keep letting them tell our story then we’ll always be behind.

  6. And as for the “We might, however, be saying, “should you spend where you can’t work?” That answers itself. Why WOULD you want to spend money someplace that doesn’t want you. Like Ross said, no more slave mentality. It’s like blacks who were freed and only wanted to buy from white folks and never from there own. I say no more excuses. That only empowers the other.

  7. As someone who’s worked in content distribution for the better part of the last 20 years, it it’s online or hard copy, the question remains about financing. If the Department of Justice can’t break Diamond’s monopoly, which has even driven white distributors out of business, where will the revenue come from to compete? If it’s an online model, how does the word get out? Komplicated has original webcomics and fiction every weekday, but the traffic on it isn’t baking the Internet in half. People who make comics, by and large are notoriously bad business people. Ask Jack Kirby’s family. People who are good at business are often notoriously bad at creative endeavors. If Oprah has a billion dollars and can’t figure out how to make a cable channel people wanna watch, who else is gonna step up? People love their X-Men, their Spider-Man or Batman. Do they want change enough to put those characters down?
    Believe me, I’m fine if we’re all going to say, “will Komplicated support a Black boycott of mainstream comics?” Sure. However, unlike the Montgomery bus boycott, we’re aware of diminished financial impact. How long are we willing to “occupy” such a stance?
    At Komplicated, we’re building an alternative model. How many people who are reading this piece have checked out The New Black in the right sidebar, original stories , from fantasy to sci fi to historical fiction? How many have supported their local Black bookstore? Ordered a commission from Sanford Greene or Eric Battle or Afua Richardson? We’re out here every day putting our time and money where our mouth is.
    However, we would never deny people who want to work in the “mainstream” their chance, or say that through merit, they don’t deserve a place at the table. If we can’t call shenanigans on clearly different treatment, why would those “mainstream” types support s when we’re trying to accomplish something?

  8. oh and also, it wasn’t writers fired it was comics cancelled, as the title of this site implies

  9. and also let me get this a comic-book should be continually put out because the character is black? is there any complaints that Hawk and Dove, and OMAC were cancelled? no because sales sucked. hate to burst your bubbles, but sales sucked on Mr Terrific and Static, though I am a bit bummed always love Scott MacDaniels art. If a comic goes under a certain number at DC and Marvel they get axed, it’s a business decision nothing personal or a hatred for black characters.

  10. Bruce: Two weeks ago, two men with families — one who just *got* the job — were of the good faith belief that they’d be getting checks. Now? Not so much. If you’re not calling that “fired,” I don’t know what kind of job you have.
    Second, we’re not even getting into the character issue. There’s Black lead character books (which we noted), with Batwing and (arguably) Voodoo, and even Marvel has Misty Knight arguably leading the ensemble of Heroes/Villains For Hire. We’re discussing an *employment* issue. Whether these two books got the axe or not, there are zero Black people writing comics for more than 75% of the comics industry (based on sales). That has zero to do with characters and everything to do with a systematic problem.

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