| Michael Cavna & David Betancourt |
WASHINGTON (WP-BLOOM) – Last summer, two-time National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang (“American Born Chinese”) gave a rousing speech at the Library of Congress, letting his fellow writers know at the National Book Festival kickoff that the comic-book industry needs to do more, and give itself more liberty, to increase character diversity.
Just months later, the industry is pivoting harder in that direction.
DC Comics recently announced that its universe is “diversifying” with the aim of continuing to “evolve comic storytelling for its next generation of fans”.
In other words, the traditional Big-2 comics publishers are increasingly seeing the future of their industry lying in making changes that more closely reflect their fan bases in the present.
As part of DC Entertainment’s “bold new direction” come June, the migrating publisher (bye, New York; hello, Hollywood) announced that Yang himself will take over writing duties for Superman — a move that teams him with artist John Romita Jr.
“I feel pretty nervous about it,” Yang (“The Shadow Hero”) said, “but also excited.”
Starting June 3, DC will have 24 series launching with #1 issues and 25 ongoing series with no break in numbering continuity. Besides Yang, the new creative lineups will include: Bryan Hitch writing and drawing Justice League of America; Garth Ennis and John McCrea for the limited Section Eight; Ming Doyle on Constantine: The Hellblazer; rising star Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl) writing the new Black Canary; and Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti on the new Starfire and Harley Quinn/Power Girl titles.
A short time later, Marvel unveiled just its latest move as it has embraced more diversity on the page (Miles Morales, female Thor et al) since editor Axel Alonso took the reins.
Marvel is introducing a new Avengers team. No, it’s not the return of West Coast Avengers — just slightly more epic. The A-Force will be an all-female team of Avengers featuring some of the Marvel universe’s most popular and powerful women characters, including She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru — and a new “cosmically powered heroine named Singularity”.
Not too long ago, an all-”X”-chromosome X-Men-franchise team was announced, so an Avengers squad of women isn’t such a big surprise. It stands as testament to Marvel’s many popular female characters, in fact, that the publisher can do this with not one but two team franchises.
G Willow Wilson (Ms Marvel) and Marguerite Bennett (Angela) will co-write the A-Force title, and Jorge Molina will handle the art.
Many members of the A-Force roster either still have, or once had, their own ongoing solo titles, so there is a lot of star-power to come with this series. The question now is whether these changes truly move the needle — how will readership respond?
How the Marvel moves will tie into the forthcoming Secret Wars (launching in May) — and whether there is a “Y: The Last Man” scenario with the male Avengers — is still unclear. But as more female readers say they want diversity, the “Y” of the matter isn’t in question.