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Monday, October 16, 2006 

Diversity = exploitation

Everyone be forewarned that the next time you hear a comics company say that they're going to "diversify" their universe, what they really mean is that they're going to go the exploitation route with gays and lesbians in comics. In Outsiders #41 vol. 2, written by the overrated Judd Winick, he turns two characters that he himself created for this series, Grace Choi and Anissa Pierce (Thunder), into lesbians. Rokk's Comic Book Revolution says:

...this is kind of a lame move by DC to claim they are trying to make the DCU more “diverse.” DC wants to pump up the number of gay characters to try and make their universe more “diverse.”
Or, put another way, something akin to multiculturalism, already fast becoming a negative word in some circles. It's so insulting by now that it's not even funny.

In contrast to DC's publicity stunt with Batwoman, they don't seem to have done the same here. But that doesn't make it any better, and I can see nothing of educational value here either.

Winick may have come up with Choi and Thunder himself as cast members for this series, but if there wasn't any indication before that they were ever lesbians before, then his actions are contrived, doing something not because it's consistent with past characterization (assuming any exists in this series, knowing how some people have written it off as weak), but rather, because it suits his own biased stances. It reeks of poor fanfic writing and is so insulting by now that it's not even funny. And it's downright filthy. And worst is that Winick, of all the "hot" writers at DC, has been one of the most successful in getting away with it.

Worst of all is the possibility that, if minor characters could be exploited for this kind of marketing that aims mainly for the juvenile male mind, then major characters could be next in line. It's uncalled for, and supplants creativity with exploitation.

In Minneapolis, some mothers are protesting a similar case involving a "diversity curriculum" (H/T: Joanne Jacobs). Readers who want real storytelling that's not smutty (to say nothing of exploiting women) should do the same by protesting to DC.

I have zero interest in Winick's work, and I'm not wasting my time on his Outsiders either. There have been people who've dropped it in the past three years of its running, and this only warrents a further bailing out. Winick, IMO, is further proof of why the "hot" writers trend needs to cease, ditto series that are just launched as playthings for said writers.

And to all those who'll apologize for this smut being produced - you can think and say what you will, but just so that you know, this is exactly why comics are floundering now, just like Hollywood box office. It's why they may never again find a wider audience, because all these themes that aren't appropriate for children or even family audiences are keeping them away, once they realize that something's wrong. It doesn't just make series like Outsiders an adults only title, it rubs off on the reputation of even whatever titles do still exist that are appropriate for the younger crowd ("Johnny DC", in example). When DC and Marvel go the dirty route, it can only lead to a bad reputation that affects even the better stuff they have. So think what you will, but, I'd think it better to say clearly that this is exactly what comics need to be moving away from, if they're to get any better.

Update: hmm, this review of Outsiders #41 from Major Spoilers has something interesting about Brian Bendis. They say he's got a
recurring tendency to have his female characters end up naked/in a subservient position
Good that I never cared for Bendis' work. He's clearly another overrated writer, and it's a shame that he's number one on the charts virtually every month.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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