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Will (more) change come to superhero comics?

by  in Comic News Comment
Will (more) change come to superhero comics?

If you thought superhero comics were finished with President Obama, you’d be wrong. The covers of Savage Dragon and The Amazing Spider-Man, and a shadowy cameo in Thunderbolts were only the beginning.

Readers of this week’s Final Crisis #7 were introduced to an alternate Earth with a black U.S. president … who’s also that universe’s Superman. It’s writer Grant Morrison’s nod to then-candidate Obama’s October speech at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

“I wanted to do something special for the last part of this huge comic book series,” Morrison told Scotland’s Daily Record. “As I was writing it, I heard Obama making a joke about being born on the planet Krypton and being sent to Earth by his father Jor-El to save the world. I thought it would be a fitting end to all the darkness in America recently. All the comics have been dealing with darkness recently and, having defeated evil, it’s now time to celebrate.”

Morrison says he would like to do more with “the Obama character” next year. I presume he means President Superman, not the actual president.

That should please to no end. No, really.

Writing apparently from sometime in the 1960s, the website asks whether it’s now time for a black comic-book superhero (while noting there already have been black superheroes, just none that can be considered top-tier).

So, what accounts for the dearth of black superheroes in pop culture?

“I think part of that is that there hasn’t been a breakout character that transcends race the way actors Will Smith and Eddie Murphy have, or the Cosby Show did, or, frankly, Barack Obama has,” Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen tells FOXNews. “The characters in comics are often too ethnic for a white audience and too embarrassing for a black one.”

At, Graeme McMillan turns to blogger David Brothers for his views on the efforts by DC and Marvel to address ethnic diversity.

“The problem with both companies,” Brothers writes, “and one which DC will fix if they can stick the landing of the Milestone relaunch, is that 99% of their black characters fit into a certain character type. There’s not really a range of black characters.”

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