SDCC Notebook: The Fan Diaspora & Eric Wallace on diversity in DC Comics

By Arturo R. García

Reginald Hudlin summed up a lot of fans’ concerns about DC Comics’ recent storylines during his annual “Black Panel” in his response to a fan’s question: “DC Comics is very much into the nostalgia business,” Hudlin said; later in the hour he called it “bad business.” No one in the room packed full of POC fans disagreed with him.

And make no mistake – POC fans and cosplayers abounded at the convention. From my perspective there were more of us at the convention compared to last year. The sad thing, however, is that heroes of color were under-represented, either in cosplay (Isaiah Bradley there was an exception) or in the news; the biggest announcement regarding a POC superhero – unless you’re counting Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, and that character’s a whole other ball of wax – concerned DC’s kicking off a new Static ongoing series next year, with a black writer, Felicia D. Henderson (Fringe, Teen Titans) at the helm. But Henderson’s run on Titans garnered several negative reviews, prompting an equally bad response on DC’s own website.

With the Teen Titans themselves going through a cast white-washing under Henderson’s replacement, J.T. Krul, the status of most diverse cast in the DCU now falls to Eric Wallace’s Titans For Hire, a series which generated its’ own share of controversy when the Atom, Ryan Choi, was murdered in the first issue. I got the chance to talk to Wallace about Choi’s death, his own experiences as a black comic-book fan, and on diversity in DC’s stories.