Y’all. I wanted to make a blog post about my favorite comics by black creators. Until I realized I know so few of them.
First, I’ll say that C. Spike Trotman and Taneka Stotts are my favorite black creators who have edited for the Beyond anthologies and My Monster Boyfriend (among other works). And yes, both ladies have written and drawn great comics of their own!
But very few comics I read are written and illustrated by black creators.
At least, not artists working recently.
That said, I can do better to support black comics creators working today. I will do my part to seek them out and read their work. (I think I’ll start with Prince of Cats by Ronald Wimberly, because I follow him on Instagram.) (And also this list from Book Riot.)
Part of the reason why I think it’s hard to find comics by black creators is because…well…
Here’s the Secret.
It’s an uphill battle to HAVE black creators working in comics, particularly “mainstream” comics. They want to work, but industry leaders and execs will not hire them. This prejudice in hiring practices is so intense that CB and I wrote about it in Validation a long while ago, and the topics discussed in that arc are STILL relevant today. (The strips at the top of this post are some highlights from that arc.)
There are more black creators in indie comics because until recently, no one in “mainstream” comics wanted to hire them. Often for not-great reasons.
But then, I’ve never been a big supporter of “mainstream” comics. It was an all-white-boys club in the 80s and 90s, and in so many ways, it still is. “Mainstream” comics regard minority groups as subject matter to highlight their “otherness,” not as a target audience to make comics for.
I know that opinion is contentious. But I’ve come to this conclusion after making comics and attending conventions over the last 7 years. I’ve seen and heard the arguments all around. And I could write a whole other blog post about “the industry,” but that’s for another day.
Long story short: “mainstream” comics has a representation problem with hiring black creators. So much so that many black creators go indie and have immense success on KickStarter.
Am I going to let “mainstream” comics’ allergies to hiring black creators get in the way of seeking them out? No. I will go find a creator on KickStarter, do my research, and if their story tickles my fancy, SUPPORT THEM. And I hope you do the same.
And if you missed it, here’s a list of some of my favorite black creators. Some of them DO make comics in the indie sphere.
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.