There’s be quite a bit of discussion in the comic book community of late, and it goes beyond the usual debates on best characters, creators, publishers, etc. Lately there’s been a growing discourse about gender, diversity, sexuality, audience and the like. And it’s great! In my opinion anyway, because while such open debate and discussion can sure bring out the ugliness in fandom it also forces these important topics to the forefront.
Add in the ability to quickly and easily reach out to comic book creators through social media and this open discourse about comics only expands and gains clout. As was the case with a recent exchange on writer Brian Michael Bendis‘ Tumblr. Bendis, as many of you may know, is one of Marvel’s top writers credited with the creation of Ultimate Spider-Man, having written for dozens of Avengers books, and most recently working his magic on the X-Men titles. Basically, when it comes to Marvel and its universe the dude knows it inside and out. So when one fan had the most pressing question about the current state of comics they reached out to Bendis,
I understand trying to make comics female friendly, but aren’t you guys worried that you’re going to lose your core audience which is male? In the X-books you’ve had more focus on the likes on these females like jean and kitty while it should be Cyclops who has been the star of the X-Men comics for years. What warrants these characters more page time than him? Jean and kitty are secondary characters. You guys listen too much to women bitching. They cause so much freakin drama in comicdom.
To which Bendis responds,
Wow. You are the first person who I am kind of glad asked your question anonymously because I don’t want to know you.
As a reader of my work I want you to listen to me very carefully: you have major major issues. Almost every line of your question reeks of complete misunderstanding of yourself as a man and of women in general.
It’s okay to find yourself more interested in something than others, of course it is, it’s okay to like Cyclops more than Jean Grey, but for you to draw the line at women characters not being interesting to you because you are a man or that you think I am being manipulated by some bitching women is really out there.
And as a reader of the X-Men whose entire philosophy is about tolerance and understanding… you are missing the point.
Here, here! Bravo! This guy is missing the point entirely, and way to go Bendis for not letting something like this pass by without addressing the matter. Nothing is more important, and in the X-Men comics particularly, than fair representation. Adding in female, black, Latino, gay, transgender, or alien characters does nothing to detract from the already abundant, hetero-normative male characters. If anything, such a diverse cast only makes your universe more exciting. And if you honestly think characters like Cyclops, Captain America, or Wolverine are being shoved to the sidelines then I have no idea what comics you’re reading, ’cause they ain’t what’s available on the shelves at my local shop.
Source: Tumblr via Blastr