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Old August 23rd, 2012   1peace is offline   #1
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Default Gendercrunching 06-2012– & a Little Ethnocrunching Too

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/08/...crunching-too/

Tim Hanley writes;

Marvel was back on top in June as both companies had notable swings overall, Marvel for better and DC for worse. We also mix it up, and potentially court controversy, by looking at stats by nationality and ethnicity.

DC COMICS

I don’t know if Alan Moore has cursed DC because Before Watchmen premiered in June or what, but after a solid May they dropped a fair amount this month. In June 2012, DC Comics published 80 books with 673 credited creators, 605 men and 68 women. Here are their stats:



DC was down 1.4% overall, which is a fair amount given the low numbers we’re dealing with and their usual consistency. Almost everything was down in June, with only pencillers remaining the same and assistant editors gaining 1.8%. Colorists fell almost 5% and editors were down a whopping 7.5%, and the other four categories were each down in the range of a percentage point or so. It was a pretty bad month for DC.

Compared To A Year Ago: DC was at 10.8% in June 2011, so they’re down 0.7%.

MARVEL COMICS

Marvel pulled out of their skid with a solid month that propelled them back to the top of the charts. In June 2012, Marvel put out 72 new comics featuring 645 credited creators, 570 men and 75 women. Let’s look at their stats:



Marvel went up 0.9% overall, which is a pretty decent gain. Things were generally up across the board, with colorists more than DOUBLING their May totals, while artists bounced back from a terrible May with gains of 2.5% for pencillers and 4.5% for inkers. Editors and writers had modest gains, and cover artists fell 3% along with assistant editors who were down just 1%. All told, June was a solid month for Marvel. Now they just need to hire some letterers.

Compared To A Year Ago: Marvel is up 1.6% from a year ago, when they posted 10% in June 2011.

JUNE SOLICITS BY NATIONALITY AND ETHNICITY

Yes, yes, I can hear you all. It’s not enough that I wage a battle of the sexes each month, now I’ve got to start a race war too? Shame on me.

Actually, these numbers are really interesting, especially compared to the gender stats. People have been asking about ethnicity in the comments for a while now, and the results were surprising in terms of the white majority vs. the male majority. Now, of course we’re not pitting one against the other or trying to say one minority group has it worse than another. Instead, this is about how WOW the majorities are HUGE at the Big Two and that maybe this sheer dominance by white dudes is a little bit much....


....That is a lot of white people. And, given the huge stats for men, a lot of white dudes. Almost 80% is a HUGE majority, and Hispanics are way behind at 10.9%. The various groups we’ve combined into “Asian” are third with 6.8%, and black creators accounted for a surprisingly low 2.4% of all creators. Apart from these four groups, the rest was just 2 Turks who made up 0.6%. There were a lot of ethnic groups with no representation at all, including Arabs, Indians, Persians, and several smaller groups.

What’s clear is that white dudes run the show at the Big Two, and by far. No one else is even close. We’ve had many conversations about the problems inherent in a lack of diversity, and the lack of diversity at the Big Two is astounding.

Especially in terms of writers. Artists are vitally important, of course, but writers really dictate what’s going on in the books. The writers at the Big Two are 94.8% white, which is a LOT of white. They’re also 92.7% men. As a rough comparison, white males make up only 32% of the USA’s population, and DC’s Nielsen survey results puts their white audience at 59-75% (dock a few percentage points off of each for female readers to get a general idea of the white male audience). This is some disproportionate representation.

So the news that white men are a huge majority at the Big Two might not be terribly shocking to you, but it’s handy to be able to go from a vague awareness of white male hegemony to specific numbers that show you just how dominant white males are. This lets us check back in from time to time, which we’ll do down the road, and see how things are going. I’m sure the diversity will improve dramatically now that we’ve shone a light on the lack thereof, much like the gender stats have led to so many more female creators.

That’s sarcasm, of course. The Big Two don’t particularly care what I say in these posts.....
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Old August 24th, 2012   TJLamb0518 is offline   #2
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Is it?
 
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Old August 24th, 2012   Lady Obie is offline   #3
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It may be interesting but it's definitely not surprising.

I've heard for years that the comics industry has a glass ceiling for female creators and it wouldn't surprise me if there's also a glass ceiling for non-white creators, even if said creators are male

Some white male writers, say Kurt Busiek, can do a good job writing a diverse set of characters but I do understand the concern some fans have that most white dudes might prefer to "write what they know" meaning most comics, superhero teams etc., are dominated by characters who are also white dudes
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   1peace is offline   #4
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A follow up article
Understanding Ethnocrunching – How Racism Works In The Comic Industry



Brandon M. Easton writes for Bleeding Cool. He is a current Thundercats and Transformers animation writer and recently had his first graphic novel, Shadowlaw, published.

Part I: Business as Usual.

A few weeks back, Rich Johnston published an article by Tim Hanley examining the employment numbers of White women, women of color and non-White men at Marvel Entertainment and DC Entertainment. The findings were awful but not unexpected as the Big Two have long been dominated by a culture of nepotism that routinely excludes women and non-White men, particularly Black/African-American men.

Clearly, breaking into Marvel or DC is insanely difficult and few people of any background manage to get close; but the fact that there are less than 3.0% of Blacks credited on all Marvel and DC titles as of June 2012 illustrates a serious problem that requires greater exploration. I’m not the first one to discuss this as Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin and Dwayne McDuffie have shared their valuable experiences as Black men working in the mainstream comic book industry. Their experiences haven’t always been pleasurable and now, in 2012, things don’t seem to have gotten better.

Before I go further, we must understand that American race relations are very complicated and cannot be fully explained or understood through the microcosm of superhero comics. Any anonymous internet discussion of racism (in comics and in general) usually morphs into a virtual pissing match of accusation, denial, debasement, personal anecdotes and a lack of common decency. Everything becomes personalized, people make speeches and few walk away with increased clarity on the issues of race and prejudice. In the U.S., it becomes a situation where some White people feel personally indicted as a racist and the burden rests on Black people to 1) prove racism still exists and impacts all of us, 2) explain the difference between a White person living their daily lives vs. the institutionalized system of racism, and 3) defend yourself against claims of “reverse” racism as the very mention of the issue means that you hate White people. Almost every online discussion of race boils down to these three arguments before it’s all said and done. And ultimately, nothing changes because some folks refuse to separate the system from their personal identity.

Let me give you an example, during my undergraduate years, I took a few classes dealing with feminism and gender studies. I never once considered myself, a Black male, as a participant in sexism and patriarchy. I always thought of myself as being “more” enlightened than my male brethren on issues of equal rights for women. The revelation that I had sexist ideas drilled into my psyche was unsettling. I hated feeling like a bad guy. First, I blamed my professors, labeling them as “feminazis.” Then I gave endless examples from my personal life about how fairly I treated women compared to most men. For months, I carried a deep, burning hatred of feminism and those who preached the tenets of gender politics because I believed that the problem wasn’t “that bad” and it would go away if they would just shut up. Eventually, after many long years of self-reflection, I realized that it was not me – Brandon Easton – they were criticizing; it was the system of sexism itself and showing me how I was an unwilling participant in patriarchy didn’t mean I was an evil person. It just meant I needed to grow as a human being.

One more thing, I’m not an advocate of affirmative action in comics. Either you have talent or you don’t. The problem is that those with talent aren’t getting the same opportunity to pitch ideas as others. The numbers don’t lie. The question is why are the numbers so low?

I should delineate between comic book illustrators and comic book writers. To break in these days, a writer must distinguish themselves in Hollywood and/or the independent comics scene and/or be a creator of something in popular entertainment. The few Black writers who’ve been employed by Marvel or DC in the last few years have fit the bill (Eric Wallace, Felicia Henderson, Eric Jerome Dickey, Hudlin). However, there have been writers at Marvel and DC who never had to be someone notable outside of the realm of graphic novels to get a gig.

It’s not a racist or biased statement to say that the majority of the editors at Marvel and DC are White males from suburban backgrounds. Just as it isn’t a racist statement to say that the majority of NBA players are Black males from working class backgrounds. It’s not the statement, it’s the sentiment. The argument usually is this: “The reason the mainstream comic book industry infrastructure is predominantly White is because mainly White males read comic books. These same White males fall in love with the characters and then fall in love with the industry and then a few of them pursue it seriously as a career. The numbers in the industry reflect this and it’s not the result of racial engineering.”

That argument wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t a flat out lie. While there is no way to accurately measure the ethnic makeup of the mainstream comic book audience, one only has to use their eyes and ears to reach a cursory conclusion that it’s not a White-males-only party. I started reading comics in 1981 or 82, I can’t remember because I’m getting old. I do remember that it was a MARVEL TALES issue reprinting an original Amazing Spider-Man story by Lee/Ditko where Peter fights Flash Thompson in a boxing ring. In my elementary school, which was 70% Black (I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD), all my friends read comic books. Most of my friends were Black boys. And as I went through middle school, high school, college and graduate school, I noticed that there were a ton of Marvel and DC fans who were Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Gay, Lesbian, developmentally disabled and physically handicapped, male and female.

Many of the Black folks I work with today in Hollywood are lifelong fans of Marvel and DC Comics. Go to San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, WonderCon, Comikaze, Anime Expo or any of the larger conventions across the nation and you will see a very diverse population of fans that are over the age of 30. Then there are the Black-themed conventions like the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia, OnyxCon in Atlanta, Motor City Black Age of Comics () and there was even a Black Comic Book Day held in Harlem in NYC over the last few years. And I’m not even going to address the Black cosplayers LOL.

The point here is that historically-speaking, no one can make the argument that there haven’t been Black people interested in mainstream superhero comic books; at least, not from the late 1970s onward. I’m surrounded by very talented, incredibly intelligent and remarkably geeky Black professional writers all the time. Some of them create in the independent comics scene and others stick to Hollywood television and film. Almost all of them would love the opportunity to do work at Marvel and DC. So again, the question is why are the numbers so low?

At this point, I may offend some folks, so if you’re the type who is easily offended by honest discussions of prejudice and race, then stop reading. Now, here is where it gets complicated. There are those who confuse the terms “racism” and “prejudice.” Some believe the terms are interchangeable.

I don’t.

From a purely sociological definition, prejudice is having an assumption about a person, group, place, thing, food, etc. without an experience to justify that assumption; hence, to “pre-judge” something. That said, we all have prejudices, heck, I was prejudiced against sushi for decades before trying it. I am prejudiced about living in certain kinds of neighborhoods. I am prejudiced against driving SUVs with low gas mileage. I am also prejudiced against being the only Black person in a room and if I know that there won’t be at least two or three other Black people in attendance at an event, I tend to avoid it. Prejudices aren’t rational, they just exist.

It’s well-known that Black Americans have a perception problem. Even though the majority of Black Americans are middle class, we still are generally considered to be dirty, poor, angry, violent, irresponsible, inherently stupid, morally depraved and whiny with a never-ending sense of entitlement. Black males are considered to the worst of the worst in almost every conceivable category of society. It’s not much of stretch to assume that there are a lot of people in the U.S. and the world who possess an anti-Black Male prejudice.

I deal with it all the time. Pretty much every day I step outside. There’s a tangible fear of me no matter where I go. People are less gentle and less kind, there’s an assumption that I’m a moron and a pathological liar. There’s no effort made to get to know me as an individual, rather, people often speak to me in street slang or make stereotypical comments about basketball and drugs (I’m asked where to score cocaine or marijuana). The comic book industry is not immune to this mentality.

Part II: My Experiences

I said before that people confuse racism and prejudice. The difference is that racism = prejudice + power. A lot of people have prejudices but not everyone has the power to transform that prejudice into a stimulus that can affect jobs, economics, education and housing. I know some Black folks who scream and holler about White people but it doesn’t change a single thing. That’s prejudice.

There are Whites who scream and holler about Black people and they get increased police protection or get congressional districts realigned to keep their kids away from predominantly Black school districts and cause those school districts to lose funding, therefore affecting the lives of Black students. That’s racism.

I’ll never forget the first time I learned that there were a lot of bigots in the comic book industry. Not too long after SDCC 1999, a group of Black comic book creators met in an apartment in Manhattan. It wasn’t a planned thing, a popular artist was in town and we grabbed some beers and met him. Soon, a party of six became a party of twenty. Most of the guys there were illustrators but there were a few writers, colorists and editors in attendance. While they were all Black men, none of these guys were similar. Some were Baptists, some Republicans, some were Muslim, some Catholic, some were gay, some were liberal and some were anarchists. It was a very, very eclectic mix of personalities and attitudes.

Eventually, the conversation turned into a series of jokes about the racist crap some of them had recently experienced. After a few moments, the tone got serious and the name of a White male editor at the Big Two kept coming up.

Then another name. Then another.

After thirty minutes of this racist roll call, those guys all realized that the same five White editors had treated them the same. And the only common thread was the color of their skin. Of course, for every racist name mentioned there were six or seven guys who were decent human beings. There’s an old saying about never meeting your heroes, and this conversation bothered me on a deep level. I’m going to reveal a secret about Black males – a lot of us are naïve idealists. We actually believe that people are going to judge us on the content of our character rather than the color of our skin. What you see is our reaction to constantly having our hearts broken by the realization that yet another White person is counted as an enemy. Disappointment can be worse than hate.

Fast forward a few years, I had a meeting at the Big Two. An assistant editor set up a meeting with his boss after I sent him some pitches. I emailed his boss back and forth for a week or two and things were pleasant. The last step was a face-to-face meeting to nail down the specifics. Stepping into that office the first time was an amazing feeling, a fulfillment of a lifelong ambition. I was dumbstruck by how cool that place was and the euphoria lasted only a moment as I saw one of their “superstar” editors and he completely ignored me when I said hello and tried to introduce myself. I told the assistant editor what happened and he was shocked, replying, “Really? He did that? Weird.”

I let it go and prepared for my meeting with his boss. The “meeting” lasted about 180 seconds. The person saw me, realized I was a big Black dude, their eyes widened and their body language betrayed a revulsion they’d never admit to in polite company. I don’t remember what they said except “I’ll be in touch.” I never heard from this editor again. I told the assistant editor what occurred and he didn’t have a logical explanation for his boss’ behavior. But I understood, I understood all too well.

I could easily recount another twenty incidents that were racially tinged; situations where the gig was available until I showed up in person for a meeting, interactions that were strangely uncomfortable and awkward, people who refused to make eye contact or shake my hand, editors flat out lie to me about the availability of writing assignments but told my White male colleagues to give them a call later. There are only so many times these situations can be explained away as coincidence or bad luck.

....

t »
ddf
full article @
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/09/...omic-industry/
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   ADGood is offline   #5
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Really.
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   Mr. Wrong is offline   #6
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Really.
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Yeah, I guess that's the best response to the above article that I can give without delving into issues best left un-discussed on these forums.

Really.

And, *sigh*.
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   TJLamb0518 is offline   #7
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Agree with the last two posters. Writers of articles like this (and, sorry to say, people who feel the need to "spread the word") so obviously have an agenda that they can say "I'm not a racist" all they want, but they're overtly racially motivated.


I have wanted for years to start a thread asking posters what ethnicity they are because I do think white, black, green or blue...there are some poeople who let it...ahem....color how they post.

But I know those same posters would be offended by the question and then mods would be involved and who needs that?
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   1peace is offline   #8
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soo it's this guy never really had any issues with race at marvel or DC.
It's all in his head you think? no one every discriminated against him. He just read it that way you think? or maybe once or twice but it's realy it not an issue overall.

What do u guys mean. That guy put his view out there. some folks don't seem to agree, so OK

I'm genuinely curious.
Not looking for a fight just honest opinions, there are no "wrong" answers on that front.

just a poll,
It's all in his head.
Some just read racism into a bad encounter
there is no racism in comics
there are a few racist but overall its cool
the guy that wrote the article is to sensitive
the guy who wrote the article is a racist
so what, only a few minorities and women have jobs in comics, quit whining who cares.
the guys pretty much right.
the guys got a few good point but...

or what?
it's a serious issue for some, just a sentence.
Last edited by 1peace; September 14th, 2012 at 11:53 AM.
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   TJLamb0518 is offline   #9
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Nope. Not gonna bite.
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   Mackaybear is offline   #10
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A quick reminder here.

Bloc policy is to provide a link to an article. Maybe quote at most a paragraph or two. Let posters go to the original source so they can get 'the hits'. It's been our policy for a while.

Just a reminder since it doesn't come up often.
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   1peace is offline   #11
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mmmm well so much for candor here i guess.
I guess everyone will just assume the best of everyone and we'll move along then.
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   TJLamb0518 is offline   #12
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And far be in from me to be board historian, but it was the....need to have candor that made the admins create the Debate Forum for topics that were not board sanctioned. It was the communities utter inability to shopw any restraint in that forum (where the line from candor to rabble rousing lay) that caused them to close it. In fact, IIRC, you created your own board/blog because you felt it too constrained here. Or am I mis-remembering?



If you want candor, I'll break out the shrink ray.

 
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Old September 14th, 2012   Scott Mateo is offline   #13
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Agree with the last two posters. Writers of articles like this (and, sorry to say, people who feel the need to "spread the word") so obviously have an agenda that they can say "I'm not a racist" all they want, but they're overtly racially motivated.


I have wanted for years to start a thread asking posters what ethnicity they are because I do think white, black, green or blue...there are some poeople who let it...ahem....color how they post.

But I know those same posters would be offended by the question and then mods would be involved and who needs that?
ddf
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I kinda threw in my two cents over a Gail Simone's forum on the subject. A white poster got all offended because my race/heritage wasn't more prominent in comics even though most the time when we are represented it comes off as a stereotype...but that's OK with him as long as he can "collect" us all!
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   Scott Mateo is offline   #14
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I'll break out the shrink ray.

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Wha...no white dwarf matter?
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   1peace is offline   #15
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And far be in from me to be board historian, but it was the....need to have candor that made the admins create the Debate Forum for topics that were not board sanctioned. It was the communities utter inability to shopw any restraint in that forum (where the line from candor to rabble rousing lay) that caused them to close it. In fact, IIRC, you created your own board/blog because you felt it too constrained here. Or am I mis-remembering?
ddf
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You remember partly. i created my own board because the debate area, which had been very open, was being slowly closed in bits in and pieces and finally closed completely. But, If you remember, i was never an offending party in the debate areas downfall. never took politics out of the area , never had a beef. I tried/try to make it a policy to treat folks pretty decent, even if i disagree. You know, do unto others and all that.

As far as board sanctioned topics go. the articles are about ethnic/gender issues and dibursment at the big 2 comic book companies.

But race/gneder at and in comics is a potential 3rd rail no go subject on the COMICbloc?

So much so that people don't even feel free to say 'Yes i think it's a problem' or 'No I think it's not'?

It does occur to me that just the fact some feel so uncomfortable even making an honest comment here kinda makes it's own statement on the general environment.
 
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Old September 14th, 2012   ADGood is offline   #16
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Wha...no white dwarf matter?
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Why's it gotta be a white dwarf, huh? Haven't dwarves of all ethnicities earned equal standing?
 
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