Over the past few months, there has been discussion on the blogs and in comic shops around America about how the Big Two are attempting to pack greater diversity in their books and live-action projects. The rivalry between Marvel and DC is long and rich, yet with these two being the only companies really making a splash at the theaters and on television (we haven’t forgotten you, The Walking Dead) — we wonder out loud if they’re actually doing all they can to improve the spectrum of diverse characters seen on screen.
In Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, we seen Black Widow, Scarlett Witch, Sharon Carter and one-half of the Dora Milaje in prime moments during the blockbuster picture. For DC’s Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman stole the show, while Amy Adams’ Lois Lane proved that she was no pushover either.
Still, there are definitely some huge leaps and bounds for both companies to go to shorten the divide. With Marvel and DC both straying from doing something stupid, the companies have added some reputable names to their growing roster.
Yet, it can be said that both companies cater to the cliché of the straight, white, male fanboy. Contrasting these stereotypes is quite a feat, but we’re here to point you all in the right direction. Sure, there are already some moves made for nontraditional audiences with the Pakistani-American Muslim from New Jersey, Ms. Marvel; the female clone of Wolverine, X-23, starring in All-New Wolverine and Jane Foster battling gods and cancer as Thor.
These changes are really good, plus they’ve done well as fleshed-out female characters… but that’s not enough. So, without dashing your hopes of a straight, white, male hero coming in to save the day, we want to point you in the direction toward these five diverse comics that you should be reading. Enjoy!
SAGA, Image Comics, by Brian K. Vaughan
Described as “Star Wars meets Game of Thrones,” Saga is based on concepts that writer Brian K. Vaughan had as a child and as a parent. Set in a space opera/fantasy world, the lead characters are husband and wife, Alana and Marko, from two long-warring extraterrestrial races.
(Photo Credit: techgeekgamers.com)
As the Landfall Coalition (Alana’s home planet) and Wreath (Marko’s) continue to battle amongst the galaxy, the two sire a child that they struggle to care for in the midst of this war. An Eisner, Harvey and Hugo Award winning project, Saga is consistently noted for its “diverse portrayal of ethnicity, sexuality and gender social roles,” and is one you should certainly add to your queue, if you haven’t already.
WOLF, Image Comics, by Ales Kot
Crime noir tales and stories about the supernatural are usually reserved for Doctor Strange and his ilk, but Ales Kot’s Wolf is another level worth checking out. The series follows the ups, the downs and the limbo-induced adventures of Antoine Wolf.
(Photo Credit: comicvine.gamespot.com)
A paranormal detective who’s seen it all and done it all thrice, Wolf is an urban fantasy where the slightly suicidal sleuth is forced to use his abilities (as well as connections to some horrid creatures) to protect a little orphan girl who is rumored to be the anti-Christ. Tasked with being responsible for the key to the impending apocalypse, Wolf has to survive the tests in front of him in pure, true California-style.
RAT QUEENS, Image Comics, by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Follow the exploits of this party of four rowdy, foul-mouthed adventurers, as Rat Queens serves all your comic fantasy needs. Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe, the series has garnered critical praise for its “sarcastic and intensely loyal” dedication to gore, humor and Dungeons & Dragons. A 2015 GLAAD Media Award winner for its portrayals of LGBT characters, Rat Queens mixes humor with sword and sorcery tropes.
(Photo Credit: comicsalliance.com)
Comprised of Hannah, the rockabilly elven mage; Violet, the hipster dwarven warrior who shaved her beard before it became cool; Dee, an atheist human cleric who hails from a family of Lovecraftian monster cultists and Betty, a hippie halfling thief who loves drugs and candy — Rat Queens is an expressive and unique tale worth losing yourself within.
WATSON AND HOLMES, New Paradigm Studios, by Karl Bollers
Set in present-day America, Watson and Holmes is a re-imagining of the popular Sherlock Holmes series. Written by Karl Bollers, this Eisner nominated project finds the world’s greatest detective and his partner, Dr. John H. Watson, in Harlem, New York City, solving mysteries and being uber-cool. If that wasn’t challenging enough, Watson and Holmes is designed differently than comics in the past, using one-shot tales featuring Holmes and Watson.
(Photo Credit: newparadigmstudios.com)
Framed from the perspective of Watson, the Afghanistan war veteran and inner-city clinic worker joins Holmes as an unlikely duo who enter a labyrinth of drugs, guns, gangs and a conspiracy that goes deeper into the game than they could have imagined.
MYSTERY GIRL, Dark Horse, by Paul Tobin
An ongoing series about a detective who already knows everything, Trine Hampstead might be able to tell you what’s going on, but she doesn’t know anything about her own past. Announced at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Mystery Girl, which was created by Paul Tobin developed her unique situation with the reader in mind. Ask her about keys or if a mate is cheating on you, and readily Trine has an answer for you.
(Photo credit: comicsalliance.com)
But if you ask her about anything that has gone on with her from the last ten years of her life, and you’ll be waiting like a politician for a check to come in the mail. An interesting concept from an equally interesting creator, Mystery Girl is a colorful concept for the comic-book lover of the new millennium.