Race + Comics: Are DC’s POC Titles Already In Danger?

By Arturo R. García

Apologies in advance: charting the number of POCs working on the DC Comics relaunch is proving to be tougher than anticipated. Best to wait on that column rather than risk factual errors.

However, other data coming in suggests at least one glaring disparity in DC’s “new, diverse” vision, and more potential trouble for some characters.

When looking at the pool of writers and artists who will be working on the “DCnU” when it debuts in September, the first number to stand out is two. That’s how many of them are women: writer Gail Simone, who will co-write The Fury of Firestorm and write Batgirl on her own, and Amy Reeder, who will be a rotating artist on Batwoman. Two other writers, Marjorie M. Liu and Kelly Sue DeConnick, subsequently posted that they were approached by DC to work on unspecified titles, but could not take part.

There’s no telling how many other creators had experiences like DeConnick’s and Liu’s, but, as Simone herself has argued online, that number doesn’t square with the profile of a company supposedly seeking to expand its’ readership. By comparison, Marvel’s list of previews for September contains at least four different female writers, including Liu and DeConnick.

Meanwhile, Comic Book Resources posted the findings from a survey it ran of its’ readership, to find out which of the 52 series fans were looking forward to most. Though CBR asserted this was “by no means a scientific survey,” the results – as well as subsequent number-crunching from both a CBR reader and Bleeding Cool – don’t seem to bode well for Static Shock, Mr. Terrific and Batwing – three of the four series starring black characters. According to the original survey, which CBR said collected 10,181 responses:

  • Less than 700 readers stated they would “Absolutely” pick up each of the three titles. Batwing fared best, picking up 682 votes; Mr. Terrific received 669 votes, and Static Shock got 606, ranking them in the bottom 11 books in that category. The fourth, Fury of Firestorm, got 1,542 votes, nearly 400 more than Blue Beetle, placing them in the middle of the pack. By comparison, the overall leader, Jim  Lee and Geoff Johns’ Justice League relaunch, picked up 5,870 “Absolutely” votes.
  • Each of the three solo titles ranked lowest for 2,000 readers. The low end of the CBR scale was marked “No Way,” and each received more than 2,000 votes in that category – in fact, there’s almost no disparity between their individual totals, suggesting they’re each being passed up by many of the same respondents. But when you add in their “high” ranking in Bleeding Cool’s own “deadpool” thread, the results suggest the best hope for these series is to either be featured in specific initiatives to attract new readers, or to be allowed time to build up their respective audiences amid the flurry of new series coming in September.