Difficult Questions

  1. You are a comic-book writer or editor attempting to create a team of superheroes. You are sensitive to diversity issues in comics, but as a heterosexual white man, you are concerned that if you make characters of color, gay characters, or (wonder of wonders!) both, you will be accused of tokenism and appropriation. What do you do?
  2. You are a submissions editor at a major comic book publisher. You receive a pitch from a brilliant and well-known creator for a series whose content you consider extremely offensive. The company at which you work is in serious financial trouble, and you know that signing such a big-name creator might make the difference between going under and staying in business. What do you do?
  3. You are a writer or artist and a member of a minority or nonprivileged group (or groups) frequently misrepresented in or omitted entirely from mainstream media. You feel strongly about the importance of accurate representation of you and your peers in mainstream comics, and you believe that it’s vital for the Big Two to step up and take responsibility for this. However, they have consistently failed to respond to your frequent letters and submissions. What do you do?
  4. You are a die-hard fan of a publisher or creator whose work you respect deeply. However, that publisher or creator has just released a work you find extremely and inexcusably offensive. What do you do?
  5. You are a woman and/or minority who wants to break into mainstream comics. Knowing that comics is traditionally a monochromatic boys’ club, you are torn over emphasizing the contributions you could make in terms of diversity, and downplaying your otherness so that you will fit in and advance more quickly to a position in which you would have more power and impact. What do you do?
  6. You are a writer or artist working on a book which features a character of color. This character has been written and drawn for decades as a palette-swapped Caucasian. If you change that, you risk angering fans of the character by significantly altering his or her ‘personality’ and appearance; however, you feel that the character’s current appearance and personality are not true to her or his heritage, or to your own experiences and knowledge. What do you do?