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Friday, January 23, 2015 

Denys Cowan has the right argument about how to diversify

Milestone Comics, the line co-founded by artist Cowan with Dwayne McDuffie in the early 90s, is being revived, and the Washington Post spoke with Cowan about his new plans, and it looks like they're no longer affiliated with DC:
Milestone originally had a partnership with DC Comics, and in the early ’90s, DC and Milestone collaborated on a crossover, called “Worlds Collide,” that introduced heroes from the DC universe to heroes from the Milestone universe.

The triumvirate behind the new Milestone Media says that there are many things to sort out on the company’s business side, including potential partnerships. The L.A.-based Milestone Media “will be working with a wide array of companies — both different publishers as well as other media companies,” Hudlin tells The Post.
Yes, it sounds like they acquired the rights back to their creations, and after the way Dan DiDio mistreated McDuffie, they're doing the right thing to take their business elsewhere. Now, here's where Cowan stresses how diversity should be handled:
In recent years, major comics publishers have aimed to make real strides in character diversity. Marvel, for example, has introduced a half-black/half-Puerto Rican Spider-Man (Miles Morales); a black Captain America (formerly the Falcon/Sam Wilson); and a female Thor. DC Comics has made similar advances with such existing characters as Green Lantern John Stewart, and by introducing Batwing (a black member of Batman’s team of crimefighters) during the debut of the New 52, and announcing that there will be a black Power Girl (Tanya Spears).

Yet Cowan says that putting a character of color in a well-known, previously white mantle doesn’t hold the same impact as creating a new wave of heroes for an ever-diverse readership and new generations of fans.

“There are all kinds of challenges that are facing people of color — that part hasn’t changed,” Cowan tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “What has changed is, there are a lot more characters of color in comics. What we feel is now, Milestone is necessary because of the types of characters that we do, and the viewpoint that we come from.”

“We’ve never just done black characters just to do black characters,” he continues. “It’s always come from a specific point of view, which is what made our books work. What we also didn’t do, which is the trend now, is [to] have characters that are, not blackface, but they’re the black versions of the already established white characters — as if it gives legitimacy to these black characters in some kind of way — [that] these characters are legitimate because now there’s a black Captain America.

“Having been a creator of these characters and a consumer, I always looked at it like, ‘Well, geez, couldn’t you give me an original character?’ ” Cowan adds. “Black Panther worked because he was original. Static Shock worked because it was an original concept. It’s a good time to come back and reintroduce original characters, as well as some new ones.”
Cowan's nailed it. If diversity is so important, then it should be developed using superheroes with their own original codenames. Even more important, IMHO, is creating new co-stars and recurring cast members. Why must every single racial group member in superhero comics be introduced as a costume-clad protagonist? Can't they also serve well as co-stars? They might even work better that way. And if you can introduce a character of color, surely it's also possible to create one of specific ethnicity and nationality, like a native of Ghana, Portugal, Chad and Croatia?

And it's the characters audiences should be asked to care about, not the costumes. So if Cowan and company base their approach along all those crucial ideas, they'll be getting right what DC and Marvel are getting wrong.

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How sad that only one person has figured that kind of argument out, yet better than nothing.

Had a long and unforeseen online hiatus last year, but I am back or trying to be back and I have much to catch up with, starting with this blog.

Either way, the latest entry just made my day.

Cowyn is right about creating original characters instead of replacing White ones with "people of color," but that term is idiotic and offensive. Colored people is "offensive" but people of color isn't? It also insinuates that the only people without color or physical diversity are White, which makes absolutely no sense.

Creating a comics line of original Black characters was a good idea and I hope he and McDuffie create more, including characters of other races, ethnicities and nationalities, as long as they aren't defined by them. The same leftwing freaks who like to replace White characters with Black or female versions would scream bloody murder if the opposite were suggested. That's all I need to know about them.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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