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Wednesday, March 13, 2013 

Diversity alone does not a story make

MTV Geek News wrote about how 2 series DC launched starring the new takes on Vibe and Katana are not drawing in the diverse crowds they thought would come flocking just because they star minorities, all their promotion notwithstanding:
Is it that comic book fans just don't have the patience to plunk down $3 or more for a solo character that doesn't have a "Bat" or an "X" attached to it?

Or does the fact that both comics starred diverse supeheroes also play a part?
Not exactly. Many people, save for obsessive collectors, have wised up and aren't going to spend money on books that have otherwise just been promoted based on diversity instead of storytelling; that's the big mistake they've made.
The comic book industry is often accused of not producing comics reflecting a variety of different nationalities, races, genders, and sexual orientations. This criticism goes double regarding solo titles. Why not enough female solo titles? Where are the comics featuring a Hispanic or Asian or American superhero? And how about female comic creators -- why don't we see enough of them?
Maybe because the female writers don't want to work for a company with massive limits on creative freedom and that's not been offering many stories respectable of women regardless? A shame they won't ask that.

In fact, why do the minorities virtually always have to be superheroes proper today, and can't be co-stars and supporting cast members? That's another drawback the titles they're touting have going against them; it's become pretty obvious that these projects are not based on the merits of the storytelling, and none of the old or new writers have what it takes to accomplish something laden with so much political correctness.
As a person who has been in this business for a good long while, I expected from the moment I heard these two books were announced for them to have short runs. I expected this based on a mix of all the factors discussed in this post -- the unwillingness of readers to read comics featuring diverse characters, the insular nature of mainstream superhero comics culture, and a generic look to the first preview material of said comics.

But DC Comics did try -- as they have done many times before -- to increase the diversity of their heroes. And they did promote the titles, not leaving them to die in the cradle unloved. So in the quest to have a more inclusive slate of superheroes and comic creators, what is the next step for them here?
No, they didn't try. If diversity is all they care about, and if they're going to remake and reboot everything to suit their ultra-PC viewpoints and tamper with much of the established casts (Alan Scott, for example), then all they're trying to do is discourage everybody from bothering.

The only next step I could possibly accept would be to return to the state DC was at prior to Identity Crisis, and even before. Now that I think of it, even Armageddon, Zero Hour and Emerald Twilight should be retconned away. And someday, it may be possible.

There's also something they say here that's not really true:
The previous incarnation of "Blue Beetle" -- which "Vibe" seems to strangely mimic -- was a comic featuring a Hispanic character that had a huge cult following.
How could it have a gigantic cult following if it sold so poorly, well below 20,000? Even those who were vocal in siding with Jaime Reyes and cared little about Ted Kord don't seem so plentiful now. They made the same mistakes as with Hal Jordan, and as the audience dwindles the more DC alienates its audience, the whole notion these Kyle Rayner imitations will gain followings becomes less possible. Marketing a book based on diversity is no substitute for storytelling.

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The old "if you don't support X, you're a racist" saw is way past tired.

Obscure solo heroes have been tough sellers for years.

Badly written and drawn comics have been tough sellers for years.

Comics in general are tough sellers these days.

Funny how no one wrung their hands over hatred of Eastern Europeans when the Silver Sable title went down years ago.

Seems to me the best thing DC can do to boost is give people what the people want, not what some cloistered, left-wing group of NYC-based "creative" types want.

Diverse = another weasel word for "anything but white heterosexual christian* male"

*or jewish at a stretch but it's more an anti-christian thing

The thing is, Vibe wasn't bad. If they had just tried to sell it on the fact that this kid is tied into the forces that keep the parallel worlds apart, it would've sold much better than it did.

Katana suffered from craptacular art.

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