David Brothers (half-man, half-amazing, all black) is once again launching into his fantastic take on Black History Month over at 4th Letter by looking at the intersection of black people and comics. Right now, he’s about halfway through examining the foundation of African American creators in comic books, with short introductions to pioneers like Herriman, Ormes, and Baker. Go see. It’s important.
And while it’s important that African Americans join all Americans in creating the myths of tomorrow through sequential art, it’s also important that we appear in the myths as well. And while many are also providing interesting bios on well-known black characters in comics, what I’d really like is for companies to provide a list of graphic novels featuring black characters that people from all walks of life can enjoy right now. I’m talking about trades that are currently in print and can be easily ordered through Amazon. Let’s face it—while every bookstore I’ve ever been in has had a plethora of Batman, Wolverine and even Hellboy graphic novels, it’s quite rare to see an issue of Aya on the stands. If you want to see black people in comics, it’s either Amazon, the direct market, or an iPad. And none of my family members are setting one foot in a comic shop to pick up a floppy. Not even me.
So DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Top Shelf, and many more—what do you have for the superhero lover in me? What do you have for my mother who adores murder mysteries? For my father who loves science-fiction? For my aunt who is obsessed with politics? For my cousin who loves tales from the streets? For my niece who likes scandalous drama and romance? For every black individual yearning to see the reflection of his culture, his history, and his face in that paper mirror? Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm; Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence; Bayou; Aya, Daughters of the Dragon: Samurai Bullets; Shot Callerz; Vixen: Return of the Lion? Let us know! Because, really, we are desperate to know.
And I promise that if the effort is made to compile those lists, they will not go in vain. I will personally showcase work featuring black female characters and creators over at the Ormes Society. If you send it to me, it will go up.
Also, I forgot to mention webcomics, which is an absolute astronomical blunder! There are so many men and women making great, easily accessible comics right on the web. Speak up! Tons of us don’t know about you—and that needs to be rectified.