“We have to become the change we want to see in the world.”
First coined by President Barack Obama while on the campaign for his initial election, the phrase has become something of a cliché as of late. However, that does not mean it bears any less credence. Although the medium of comic books has held a special place in my heart since preadolescence, it is only recently that comic books have made a halfway decent effort to represent people of color in a respectful, thoughtful and abundant artistic eye.
Yes, we all love Storm, Black Panther, Vixen, Luke Cage, Blade, Black Lightning and the elite few Black superheroes created by both Marvel and DC Comics decades ago. And they are still beloved by many until this day. However, even they had their “When keeping it real goes wrong” moments, from Luke Cage’s logo featuring a Black man breaking his shackles to Falcon’s history being retconned to him meeting Captain America as a street hustler in Harlem named Snap. (I kid you not.)
It is for that reason that Black Twitter, and the digital comic book realm in general, erupted when MizCaramelVixen of VixenVarsity.com first coined the hashtag #BlackComicsMonth back in February 2015. She was also featured on a Women on Comics podcast for TSL Comic Book Convo back in February of this year. On June 6, MizCaramelVixen presided over the Black Comics Month panel at the annual Special Edition NYC at Pier 94. Her guest were an all-star assembly of women and people of color working within the medium to create minority characters of strength, dignity and determination.
On the panel were Kim Gaines (Eventide), Alitha Martinez (Foreign, Archie, Batgirl, Iron Man, Black Panther), Amy Chu (Wonder Woman, X-O Manowar) late arrival Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man), Greg Pak (Storm) Darryl "DMC" McDaniels (DMC Makes Comics), Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet), Skuds McKinley (Plunder), and Che Grayson (Rigamo).
If you’re a comic book fan and were unable to make the panel that day, it sucks to be you…if we didn’t record every minute of it for you.
How much are you loving us now?