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Sunday, July 25, 2021 

Crown Heights convention celebrates diversity, but what about story and art merit?

The Brooklyn Paper reported about the upcoming Access Guide Black Comic Book Fair on the last day of July in New York, which is built on diversity themes:
“The whole point of Anyone Comics, the Access Guide Black Comic Book Fair and the access guide is to get people comfortable with reading comics,” he said. “For a lot of people that comfort might come from seeing someone that closely resembles them or their experiences, which is something people may not have had in comic books prior to recently or at all, so I want to make sure the focus is on the creators and their content.”
Here's the challenging query: is the content offered based on merit? Let's remember, it's been rather lacking in emphasis for goodness knows how long. Does resemblance and experience alone provide comfort? If the following tells something:
While Fragiskatos hopes the fair will gain more comic book readership, he also wants people to see that “there are books out there that are more original and more representative of their experiences.”

“All these ideas in movies and TV shows — they have been in comic books for a long time,” Fragiskatos said. “Two years ago we had Miles Morales enter the Spider-Verse but that’s a story that has been around for 20 years. People were also excited for Black Panther and that story has been around for even longer, so imagine what stories people will be excited for 30 years from now.”

“This is all about representation in a print medium,” added Jamal Igle, award-winning artist and creator of Molly Danger, and one of the featured artists in the guide. “People don’t always know who the creators are behind [these works] and it’s good for the community to see there are people of color working on these projects.”
Spoken as though there'd never, not once been representation for POC in the medium. And why is Miles Morales such a big deal, given his racial background is largely what defines him as yet another Spidey costume wearer, not whether there's real merit to the stories? It's also confusing how they tell that Morales has been around for 2 decades, even though he only came about over 10 years ago, and it was the awful Brian Bendis who developed that idea, telling the press that while he was at his writing desk, he sobbed like a big baby since they were going to get rid of Ultimate Peter Parker to achieve their goal. With that kind of annoying promotion, why should we take what's being promoted seriously?
“This increase in visibility not just for BIPOC creators but for LGBTQ and women creators has been monumental,” Igle said. “There is still a ton of work that has to be done but we’re getting there slowly. People are making strides and more people are seeing that there is an opportunity for them.”
I just hope they're promoting all this in independent productions, and not exploiting mainstream/corporate owned brands in which to channel their ideologies. If nothing else, this does make clear the indie market is building up, as some crowds are hopefully realizing why it doesn't pay to turn famous creations into soapboxes for heavy handed ideologies like LGBT beliefs.

But again, why doesn't emphasis on merit factor into these discussions? Failure to do so doesn't give the reader much reason to assume there's reason to try out what's promoted.

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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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