The news has not been good for Local Comic Shops this year. Many shops are closing as the market shifts. But a few weeks ago a new shop opened up in Lexington, Massachusetts. Lexington has a strong connection to superhero comics as writer Kurt Busiek was raised there. And now Lexington has Omar’s World of Comics whose proprietor has a enthusiastic love of comics that he shares with everyone who comes in.
Omar Masood, who is 22, is a student in a High School program designed for students with special needs. Omar will age out of the program this year and he is now working at his chosen vocation – comics.
When I visited the store earlier this week, Omar and I talked a bit about his love of comics. His favorite superheroes are “Black Panther, Spider-Man, Hulk and Captain America.” And as you can see by his shirt, Superman. That said if he had to pick two comics to bring to a desert island it would be Batman and Green Arrow. He has pretty firm opinions on the actors who have best portrayed superheroes – Adam West as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman.
,As you can probably guess, I asked him who his favorite female superheroes were and he quickly said Wonder Woman and Batgirl.
Clearly, Omar has excellent opinions.
But there’s more to this store than just the man whose name is on the door. The shop is big, brightly lit and welcoming.
Inside there is clearly marked are for kids comics.
There is lots of comic related merchandise including the very popular DC Superhero Girls and stuffed toys for the youngest fans.
The store has the newest comic floppies and shelves of graphic novels.
In addition to comics and comic related merchandise the store also features games and game nights.
The store is being backed by Omar’s parents according to Wicked News with less of a focus on profitability and more providing an opportunity for Omar. The store has a manager, Sally Hoops, who told me she is a newcomer to comics.
Omar also hires his friends, interns from the same program he is graduating from, to work in the store.
The store also has a rock hard code of conduct policy that states, they “are dedicated to providing a harassment-free shopping and event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion, or any other factor.”
A few weeks ago I discussed on Twitter the challenges of the LCS and the hard fact that the market is changing and the market will need a new strategy. More focus on trades and toys for one thing. And of course a realization that they must reach out beyond their traditional demographics. Omar’s shop is the kind of shop I was thinking of. It’s family friendly, it has a good mix of products. And there is no question it is welcoming to all.
You can find out more about Omar’s World of Comics here.
Title: Bingo Love Creators: Tee Franklin (writer), Jenn St-Onge and Joy San (Art), Genevieve FT (Cover) Genre: Slice of Life, Queer Romance Rating: Highly Recommended Publisher: Image Comics Publishing Date: February 14, 2018 Preorder on AMAZON! I can’t settle on just one adjective to describe Tee Franklin’s Bingo Love. Beautiful. Sweet. Heart-breaking. So many different words apply because in…
To be honest:
If your opinion on racebending is anything other than “it sucks that original characters of color can’t get really great screen time but I support diversity and representation and will probably love how they’re portrayed”,
You’re probably a racist.
Because unless you kick up a fuss every single time that a comic or book character doesn’t match your expectations for authenticity – as with how the CW’s Ollie and Barry don’t have an accurate hair color or personality when compared to the comics or with the Ancient One being whitewashed in Doctor Strange – you’re choosing to save your outrage for when people of color get to shine.
And that, my friend, is fucking racist.
That argument was so baffling to me. Do people not realize why a majority of these decades old characters like Dick, Selina, Kyle (to name a few) are viewed/read as white is because of white supremacy in our media? Where white is the default? Do people not realize the reason Iris was originally created as white in the comics or Danny Rand is a white man profiting off East Asian culture is because of white supremacy which prioritizes whiteness?
Iris West first appeared in 1956, Danny Rand in 1974, Dick Grayson in 1940. Know what was popular back then? White people. The only reason characters like Iris, Danny, or Dick are/were white is because whiteness was (and still is) seen as the default in regards to fictional characters and fictional creation. The reason why these characters are white is due to racism. How hard is this to understand?
The reason Dick’s Roma origins weren’t touched upon until Devin Grayson’s run is because all the writers before her viewed and read him as white. Specifically white because whiteness is the default. Her story was riddled with problems (as is Selina’s post-crisis latina reveal storyline) but just because a story sucks doesn’t mean we erase the representation within it. And that’s especially not up for white fans to do because they believe they’re fighting some great equality “humanist” fight for us people of color.
I don’t need someone telling me Selina’s never been written as a Latina woman, I know it as a latina woman and it sucks. But that doesn’t mean I want it erased from canon, I want it acknowledged. I want it pushed to the forefront of her character and for her ethnicity and latina identity to become a part of who she is as a character like her bisexuality has become. I want better representation not to be ignored and silenced.
Having Iris be white because “there are other characters of color to use” is a shallow argument. One where you’re basically speaking over actual black fans (especially black women who love Iris and black little girls who look up to Iris check Candice’s Twitter for proof of that) and saying, “well that’s not the representation you should want, it’s not good enough”. That’s not for you to say! Especially if you’re white. Or if you’re not a part of that specific community. You’re basically arguing for the reduction of more racial representation by advocating for a now racebent character to be white.
The continuing problem with comics is a majority of their characters are white, a majority of their well known characters that studios want and feel safe to profit off of are white. Look at the MCU Avengers for proof of this. And the only reason they’re white originally is, again, because of racism.
We can have both. We can update a character that was originally white and include characters of color from the canon into these movies and television adaptions. It is possible to do both. There’s no reason to keep these characters white. I don’t understand people who advocate against racebending. Acting as if I can’t push for Taila Al Ghul (a not whitewashed version), and Cass Cain, while also pushing for a Roma actor to play Dick Grayson or want Ryan Potter to play Tim Drake. I can and will do both. Because more representation is always better.
Okay so this is like super important to keep in mind (and I live for responses like this)!!
If you mean this reply, you’ve missed the whole point, dear Anon. This was the main complaint of the OP:
Dick’s not Korean. He’s just not. He’s white. (x)
The OP cares about whiteness and nothing else. And that’s what was my reply about.
Okay thanks, but you can stop putting words in my mouth now.
I don’t ‘care about whiteness and nothing else.’ Man are you projecting and assuming, not to mention not actually asking me why I dislike the fancast. What a nice person.
I’ve already explained why I feel the way I do about racebending/whitewashing here and here. Basically: my general view on racebending/whitewashing is basically “don’t change the race, gender, or sexuality of established characters; one, because that’s not how it works in real life; two, because it’s lazy half-assed representation in place of creating and promoting new characters and/or already existent diverse characters; and three, it creates fake representation that posits that an entire character’s identity, personality, motivations, and way of looking at the world would remain the exact same no matter what color their skin is, that their personal histories and way people treat them would remain the exact same, and that characters are completely interchangeable with each other.” It’s also about respecting the source material and the fans of that character as well as the continued erasure of actual canonically non-white characters in favor of the facelifts.
There are perfectly valid reasons to dislike canon racebending that are not racist in nature, and assuming that someone who doesn’t like canon racebending is automatically racist is ridiculous as all hell.
(Also to the anon: sorry, but canonically Dick is not ‘brown.’
Please read this, this, and this. The tl;dr of all of those posts is that Dick has been written as white (with white privilege), drawn as white, and characterized as white for every single one of the 76 years he’s been around except by Devin Grayson, the person who originally did that retcon in 1997.
He is vaguely ‘of Romani descent’ at some point in his heritage via this retcon which used terrible racist language and stereotypes. However, I totally understand the desire to see greater representation in the Batfamily. Please consider promoting and uplifting canonically non-white Batfamily characters instead, such as Talia Al Ghul, Damian Wayne, Cassandra Cain, Kate Kane, David Zavimbe, and the Fox family; they’re wonderful and complex characters and more people should learn about them.)
Not putting words in your mouth in any way. You did all the work yourself here in this reply and in your original post, that was in Steven Yeun’s tags. Again, white people with their racist BS and white tears should stay away from tags of people and characters of color.
Thanks for sharing the links with your views on racebending. I had a feeling when I saw that Dick Greyson post in SY tags that this is bigger than just about DG, or Batman comics, this is yet another example of white fans crying over their beloved characters that aren’t white anymore and therefore impossible to love at the same level as before they were racebent.
Another thing: I didn’t need to ask you about why you disliked fancasts or racebending because I did look up your blog and saw your reactions to Mary Jane (x), Iris and Wally West (x), Hermione (x / x). What else is there to say?
And yes, I’m not nice when it comes to fandom racism.
– Mod P.
So on top of being you know… hella racist (their thoughts on racebending are terrible and just as gross as what you’d see on 4chan but wrapped in a liberal “i’m doing this for you” layer), this fantastic-nonsense person is wrong because Dick is still Roma in the current comics (namely the recently ended Grayson and the current Nightwing run). He is still canonically Roma and therefore “not white”. Until the canon in its many forms explicitly has Dick disavow that part of canon, that’s a fact.
It’s still super shallow representation and clearly, the industry needs to shape up here, but calling Dick white is perpetuating racism and erasure. No one ever retconned that aspect of Devin Grayson’s canon and in fact, multiple creators have nodded to his Roma heritage over the years (including Grant Morrison, the Grayson team, and others).
On top of that, there’s nothing about Dick prior to Devin Grayson where his ethnicity is made explicit. Almost eighty years of canon and instead of thinking about how Dick’s origins never precluded him being Roma, fans are busy acting like they’re fighting this great white fight for Roma fans in comics.
Remember: Fans and creators made a choice to read Dick as white because it’s their default. Devin Grayso nwas the first creator to say “no, that’s not what I want to do” and made it explicit. How she handled it was poor at the very least but that doesn’t mean that we let go of it. It just means that we get all up in DC’s face and demand that they do better because I think that I can count all of the Roma heroes in comics on one hand… That’s not good.
It’s so sad how, instead of fighting for proper Roma representation (both in how Dick is portrayed in canon and in casting anyone that isn’t Roma in the part), the DC fandom is busy pretending they care about representation in order to say that whiteness is essential to Dick’s character.
I’m not Roma and definitely I’m not telling anyone who is how to feel about Dick as a character, but this push for “Dick Grayson is white” is born out of racism. Straight up.
(Like this is a thing that I keep seeing in this fandom, where (largely white) fans hate Devin Grayson so much that instead of fighting for DC to get off their butts and write Dick as Roma without trading on stereotypes or using the g-slur, they concern troll and say that erasing his Roma heritage entirely is the best thing for the fandom and character. That’s not right and that’s not helpful.)
Look, there are serious problems with the rumors of casting Steven Yeun as Nightwing and they have nothing to do with Dick being white (because he’s well… not white even if he does have conditional access to whiteness) and everything to do with how people of color aren’t interchangeable.
(Also, seriously. They have shit opinions on racebending that boil down to concern trolling (”don’t give me half assed representation”) and authenticity that doesn’t manage to apply to like all the brunets playing Barry Allen lately (they’re concerned about Iris and Wally no longer being redheads but have no outrage to spare for the lack of a blond Barry Allen). I say block, mock, and move on.)
I wanted to get to the positive bits of queer stuff and totally avoid any negative today. So I present a list of 10 queer creators you should be checking out, This is by no means a top 10 creators or top 10 queer creators list. This is just 10 queer creators I really like that I managed to think of first. These aren’t in any order or anything so just enjoy seeing 10 awesome persons who can enrich your life with their amazing content.
Jen Bartel: Jen Bartel is an amazing illustrator currently doing covers for Jem and the Holograms and creating her own comic Crystal Fighters on the comic app Stela. I discovered her work Jem and the Holograms and am excited, despite my utter love for Sophie Campbell (and do expect to see her popping up again), for her to do some pages of Jem and the Holograms. She infuses a lot of life into characters, she has a nice style that feels like it has just enough punk rock influence to always be badass.
Marguerite Bennett: Bennett is one of my favorite writers hands down. She manages to flawlessly creator amazing queer story after amazing queer story. Not only are they amazingly queer but amazingly written when some of the strongest uses of character voice in comics. Along with this she is really great at at humor and I very often find myself giggling across stories she writes. She is currently putting out DC Bombshells and Insexts with Animosity and Josie and the Pussycats coming up soon. I also highly recommend her work on Angela in particular Angela Queen of Hel that is soon releasing in trade.
Brittany Williams: Brittany is an amazing artist who’s currently working on Hellcat at Marvel. She is also the artist on Goldie Vance and the upcoming Legend of Korra graphic novels. Brittany’s work manages to have such a wonderful defined style that I can’t help but be impressed with every time. She has a very cute chibi style she also uses and it flows really well with her normal art. I am excited to see anything she draws and it’s always an amazing time visually. When I think amazing art Brittany is always near the top of the list.
Kieron Gillen: Kieron Gillen defined many of Marvel’s most iconic queer characters. While none of the characters he wrote as part of the Young Avengers roster were his own creation America Chavez in particular went from old man’s perverted teen fantasy to bad ass defined queer woman. His work on The Wicked + The Divine is amazing, thought provoking, and charming. Kieron Gillen in many ways is sort of artist personified infact coming out he wrote a whole long essay because he is like the writer incarnate. Seriously though he is an amazing talent who manages to really balance so much creatively. When it comes to a large ensemble cast I think there is no writer better to getting them each to feel totally their own and uniquely likeable (or unlikable).
Noelle Stevenson: Noelle has moved away from comics for a little bit but she is one of the most important writers for queer media. With Nimona her webcomic then print comic she helped further prove that webcomics moved to print can be a nice payday for the publisher and the creators (Side note she also did the art on that book, and it’s great). Then being one of the biggest creators on Lumberjanes she has set childrens queer media in comics on fire. I believe Noelle is very much one of the main reasons that so much queer content is getting published in smaller press. Lumberjanes is an amazing series and something that really brought life into the comics field. Right now you can go back and buy her older work including a Secret Wars run of the Runaways that is pretty underrated. You can also see her writing live in animation in the Disney XD show Wander Over Yonder.
Ted Brandt: Inking for Princeless Raven the Pirate Princess Ted is the best in the biz. Ted adds so much to the art and it’s one of the very few times where I can really tell the inkers influence on art. Ted is also just a super nice person in every interaction I have had with him so that is good. Ted is currently putting out Raven The Pirate Princess and you should really be checking it out. It’s super cheap on Comixology and the first two volumes are out in trade. It’s a great time to catch up before issue 9 releases.
Sophie Campbell: Oh my gosh, I can’t even begin to talk about how great Sophie is. Sophie is a double threat being a talented writer and artist. Her art manages to always have lovely body types and I have had the experience of thinking for a moment, people look odd, then i was like “wait these people just look like people.” It’s so amazing, so lively, so fantastic. I always watch what Sophie is doing be that art or writing. Sophie is currently putting out reprints of Shadoweyes and Wetmoon some of her older projects. There is more Wetmoon coming in the future as well as a webcomic she is working on. You can also read the book I found Sophie in Jem and the Holograms as she goes to her last issue of drawing the series.
Kate Leth: Kate’s work in comics transcends her writing and her art. Kate has put so much into She is a founder of The Valkyries making the industry much better for woman working at comic shops. Her writing is also so filled with energy, fun and queer characters. Kate recently had her creator owned project Power Up come out in print and it’s a great comic. Kate always manages to really bring this lovely lively feeling and Power Up displays that pretty well. She is also doing writing on Hellcat, Girl Over Paris, and Vampirella.
Shannon Watters: I had to have an editor somewhere here and Shannon is the very best in the business. She edits pretty much if not all the Boombox books and is a leading force for queer representation in the comics industry. In fact she now shares writing duty for Lumberjanes after Noelle Stevenson left the book. She is a fantastic writer, fantastic editor, and a general talent. You can find her work on a lot of things since she is Head of KaBOOM! & BOOM! Box.
Magdalene Visaggio: I wanted to include Mags here despite not really being attached to her work yet. She is the writer of the upcoming Kim and Kim and it’s my most anticipated comic this year. Mags is a trans woman getting to write a trans woman and this is so insanely rare in print comics. Reading the preview and the earlier tease of it both filled me with so much joy. Kim and Kim is a book I have all my faith in and I really want it to be a success so please do check out Kim and Kim issue 1 that is coming out very soon.
I read Grayson #20 and really didn’t like how Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelly handled the Helena/Dick relationship because of what it reinforces about women of color when placed into relation/competition with white women (especially in the superhero and sci fi genres).
AKA: That gross nod to Dick/Babs at the expense of Helena/Dick wasn’t just annoying because of how the former ship is played out, but because of how it frames a WOC as “lesser” (and unlovable!)when compared to a white love interest like Babs (who isn’t even DATING DICK FOR THIS TO BE A THING). It was unnecessary, dismissive, and when coupled with the “Helena’s a strong Black woman that don’t need a man” vibe that sees her leaving the issue… It just smacks of major misogynoir and I’m not here for any of it.