this article by the Mary Sue is really making me blehghghe? it’s talking about DC’s new “DCYou” campaign where they are publicizing their new line up of books coming in the summer, alongside the fact that they are diverse! except TMS is treating it with a terribly critical eye (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), and acting like they are talking a big talk without walking the walk.
they’re getting to the core of something that is probably the most #toxic in all of this #diversecomics business, which is the fact that certain companies (Marvel) have been very persistent about publicizing the moves they make with respect to diversifying characters and leveraging that for goodwill. DC, on the other hand, is not as into that whole business of publicizing that stuff, so the narrative is shaped as Marvel: Good, DC: Bad. (a narrative that excludes independent press and non-cape comics)
obviously that binary is false by the nature of the fact that … it is! you can’t do that. but everyone knows how DC had the reputation of being the welcoming place for women and not-white people in the eras of cassandra cain and stephanie brown and the birds of prey and wonder woman, while Marvel was the company that canceled all of its female led books at once at one point. this sort of thing is is in constant flux.
the thing is DC is doing well by metrics that really matter!* very consistently, DC has been hiring more women to work on its books than Marvel. that new lineup “DCYou” is showcasing? it has Gene Luen Yang and Greg Pak on the major superman books! (two asian dudes are in charge of superman completely!) it has a black man writing cyborg’s first ongoing book EVER! it has a gay man writing midnighter’s first book! a book about POC youth on the streets of gotham written and illustrated by POC! the female-fronted, racially and sexually diverse, all-ages gotham academy, co-written by a woman! starfire, being written and illustrated by women!
there’s other stuff: an actually egyptian dr. fate, catwoman continuing a run under the wonderful genevieve valentine, prez - a book about a teenage girl as president of the united states, annie wu giving a very novel direction to the new black canary book she’s illustrating, MING DOYLE both writing and illustrating books about DC’s magical side, etc etc
DC is really stepping up its game not just in terms of character diversity, but diverse creators, genuinely diverse voices bringing their line to life. and that’s important
it’s annoying to see TMS not recognize that, tbh.
they do have a point that DC’s solicits for this relaunch actually show a drop in the number of female creators compared to earlier in the year, which is dismaying. however the fact still stands that it consistently outpaces Marvel on that front, despite the drop. Tim Hanley’s own analysis also makes the point that part of the reason for the drop is less one-off and variant jobs for women in these new solicitations, which is upsetting. however, attention should be drawn to the fact that DC’s relaunch is majorly upping diversity in more than one way - nurturing offbeat corners of its publishing line that include Batgirl and Gotham Academy, giving new diverse characters and ideas direction from authentically diverse voices in stuff like We Are Robin and Cyborg and Midnighter, and actually putting diverse voices at the forefront of DC’s most important books with its Superman and Dark Universe stuff. the fact that diverse creators have solid, important, consistent positions in all of these corners is important, too!