It’s safe to say we’ve passed the era where white dudes in tighty-whities dominate the comic scene. The industry’s been simply gushing over the word diversity and we’re all on board. Not only have scores of fem heroes recently hit the scene (cue Ms. Marvel and Wonder Woman flying overhead), but renowned female authors like Margaret Atwood are also stepping up to the plate to deliver debut graphic novels. Dovetailing this call for increased female presence, we’re also seeing an increased mindfulness when it comes to racial diversity. This week Mark Millar announced that Kick-Ass and Hit Girl will be getting a 2017 reboot, both championing increased degrees of diversity.
Image courtesy of Galley Cat
Kick-Ass, originally centered on male character Dave Lizewski, will return with an African American woman as the protagonist. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Millar relayed a sense of tedium, not too different from ours, with the default of white male characters:
“I don’t think many blonde white guys around 30 feel under-represented when they pick up comic or watch a movie. Being older or younger or female or African-American just seems more interesting to me as a writer because this character is quite unique and opens up story possibilities that haven’t been tried in almost eighty years of superhero fiction. This woman has a completely different take on Kick-Ass.”
This latest volume of Kick-Ass is only the beginning of Millar’s plans for the series. Hoping to keep the story relevant and exciting, Millar is focusing on what he calls legacy characters, protagonists that gain intrigue from personality and story development rather than bodily form. The goal is to create stories driven by characterization and narrative mastery, not the sex or race of the character that slips into mask and matching spandex. The same aim holds for Millar’s second reboot, Hit-Girl, the Kick-Ass spin-off that weaves in and out of its predecessor series.
Image courtesy of Gunaxin.
It’s wonderful to see character diversity blooming in the world of comic books. Its’ even more wonderful to see that these characters are so positively received by the audience at large, not merely catering to niche demographics. Even so, race and gender politics have always held roots in literature, and comic books are no exception. We’re eager to latch onto the recent comic news and uphold these left-leaning upgrades as champions of diversity, but how these ‘diverse’ characters and story lines unfold is of greater importance. Ms. Marvel, after all, is still a blue-eyed blonde-haired bombshell with legs for days in the upcoming movie, despite there being a best-selling edition that upholds gender and racial diversity, featuring a first-generation Muslim teen.
A woman we can all relate to (image courtesy of Comicvine)
Although Millar’s latest editions feature gender and racial diversity, it’s hard to not ask – is it enough? Beyond surface appearances, will these characters support the feminist ideologies we’re eager to invest in them, or is the trend to commoditize fem-ideology the trumping force in recent news? Millar has yet to reveal character details or plot, but we’re hoping new developments will uphold and embolden the resurgence of girl-power in comic books.
What are your thoughts on the reboots? Share them with us in the comments!
Featured image courtesy of Pinterest.