Is Image just a bunch of white dudes? Yes and no…

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BdkEVpACAAA3lXo.jpg large Is Image just a bunch of white dudes? Yes and no...

As soon as the above triumphal tableau from Image Expo was posted, just after Princess Leia presented Scott Snyder with his medal, I knew Twitter would blow up over the mostly white, mostly XY make-up of this tableau. I can’t embed those tweets but I think if you follow twitter you have a pretty good idea what was said–and what needed to be said.

Image has come a long way from being a really almost totally boy’s club at the start to a more diverse publisher. I think Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue and Emma Rios is a big step forward for that, but it would be a shame to forget Colleen Doran’s really long relationship with Image with A Distant Soil, books by Emi Lennox and Natalie Nourigat and a few others. It isn’t a HUGE female line-up but it exists.

On the multi-cultural side, I have to say, I’m sorry Jimmie Robinson isn’t more often included among the core Image creators. Not just because he adds diversity but because, you know, the guy has a 20 year long career as a creator and he’s insanely talented. Bomb Queen wasn’t for everyone, but Five Weapons kinda is. He’s a keeper, and he’s the sort of mid-career creator who deserves to have some attention thrown his way.

Dan Wickline captured a good conversation by Chew’s Rob Guillory which I’ll paraphrase: when Guillory (who is African-American) goes to schools with AfAm kids they are surprised to see him. They didn’t know that people of color were welcome in comics because they didn’t have any role models.

This is all especially depressing to me as a New Yorker, because, as I’ve mentioned many times before, when you go to any comics convention here, it’s OBVIOUS that this is a VERY diverse audience for comics, black brown yellow and white. I’ve brought up the Wu Tang Clan/Marvel Comics relationship of the 90s many times, but it shouldn’t be forgotten.

Andrew Wheeler had a great piece at Comics Alliance about specific goals for greater diversity on the page and behind it and wrote:

It takes a pro-active effort to convince people from marginalized groups that they’re welcome in any industry where their presence isn’t well established. That’s hard to understand if you’re part of the majority and are used to seeing people like you in the business. People in the majority tend to assume that any effort to extend an invitation to minorities – any action that affirms their welcome – is unfair. In fact it’s a fair and equitable corrective to decades of institutional affirmation towards the majority.


Image Comics is still coming from a very “mainstream” comics angle, and the comics that tend to land there in recent years are still mostly genre based in a way that spins out of the earliest “independent” comics publishers. It’s a very successful program and I wouldn’t expect them to turn into Koyama Press tomorrow. I know we’d all like things to be fixed overnight, but it’s going to take a lot longer. The creators spotlighted at yesterday’s Image Expo are the elite of the business—Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, Bill Willingham—and it’s going to take other voices a while to overcome the continuous, institutional marginalization they’ve been subjected to to get to that level.

So praise the good—it’s cool to see an unknown like Leila Del Duca taking part in the announcements and one look at her work shows she’s earned her spot there—but don’t forget how far we have to go.

Everyone needs to try harder. This isn’t about quotas or tokens. It’s about making an industry where new and unique talents can have the same chance to become the next Snyder or Morrison or Willingham. Comics are still a place where everyone can pursue their dreams. Let’s not judge those dreams before they even get started.

Comments

  1. Erik Scott says:

    The comments from Rob Guillory were super eye-opening to me. I think a lot of times we focus to much on the minutiae of the situations in place of the big picture. While it’s definitely true there are things Publishers could be doing to invite more diversity in terms of creators into their ranks, there’s more we all could be doing as readers and fans alike to do that as well. I think Rob Guillory’s comments have fundamentally changed what my grad school focus is going to be now.

  2. Steve Did Go says:

    It’s notable that a company founded by artists is so writer-focused now. One can only imagine what the Erik Larsen who fired off that infamous letter to the Comic Buyer’s Guide would think of the Image of today.

    There is value in Image publishing such notable names, in that the audience who follow their superhero work will then discover some original, creator-owned books. Image used to be the place Marvel drew talent from. Now it seems the tables have turned. Indeed, in 2013 Marvel and DC lost market share, while every other publisher rose: http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/27580.html Readers’ tastes are expanding as creators stretch their muscles.

    But by Image hitching themselves to such name creators one can see the diversity shrinking. Not just gender and racial diversity, but also a loss of diversity in how to approach comics. Under Brandon Graham, PROPHET became a book that showcased many brilliant creators who would not have otherwise had such a platform (although, unlike the creators speaking at Image Expo, none of those creators owned what they did on PROPHET – it’s all owned by Liefeld). I’m pleased to see Graham start a similar project, and I hope shared creator ownership is part of it.

    But projects like PROPHET don’t seem to be where Image is concentrating its efforts. PROPHET was one book of the Extreme Studios relaunch, an ancillary part of Image. Creators like Jimmie Robinson, even though they’ve done years of work for Image, are not being spotlighted. Instead, you see all those creators on that stage and Image doesn’t feel like the future, not for the most part. It feels like a retirement home for people who worked in Fear Itself.

  3. Thomas Wayne says:

    Before I get shelled over the head with whatever sharp object is in any given hand let me clarify a statement…
    I should not have written the following……you will never see the Beat and others truly celebrate diversity.
    That’s harsh and over the top. What I truly mean is that sites like the Beat have the best of intentions…but sometimes they spend to much time pointing out the negative and not embracing the positive. That’s the point I was trying to make in my first post on this topic….at some point you have to chalk it up to the situation….a picture of all white men doesn’t mean a lack of diversity just like a picture of all woman or all black men doesn’t mean a lack of diversity. It just means that at that particular time that’s who was in the pic.
    I do however stand by my comment on this type of thing being a non winnable battle. If you nit pick every group of people for specific diversity you can’t possibly win. Can Image be more diverse…absolutely……should they be called out every time a group of white guys hits the stage….no…at least I don’t think so.

  4. Thomas Wayne says:

    And lest we not forget that two men of Asian background helped give birth to Image in the first place…

  5. Thomas Wayne says:

    On a separate note….Rob Guillory hit the nail on the head. Comic writers and artists are faceless to most people and the assumption of an all white establishment has been accepted as fact because of this .
    Here is what I propose….small pics of the creative team on the inside cover or first or last page of all books by all publishers. This way when someone opens the book they can see what their favorite artist or writer looks like. This would go a long way in showing off just how diverse comics are or aren’t.

  6. Steve Did Go says:

    And while he wasn’t on the stage, let’s not forget a creator Image is getting behind in a big way, Mark Millar. The same Millar who had this to say “The ultimate [act] that would be the taboo, to show how bad some villain is, was to have somebody being raped, you know? I don’t really think it matters. It’s the same as, like, a decapitation. It’s just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy.” (http://comicsalliance.com/mark-millar-rape-kick-ass-2/?trackback=tsmclip).

    So maybe there is diversity at Image. There are people who think rape is a concept of terrible tragedy and should be depicted carefully, if at all…and then there’s THAT guy! What a diverse bunch!

  7. Who else could have been on that stage? Can we name 10 minority/female/lgbt creators who have similar resumes and name recognition as the A-list creators on that stage? It would be difficult.

    This event was about showcasing an all star team. Should they have put some more of their rising stars in with that group? Sure. Should they have bought some plane tickets to bring out minority creators to showcase the diversity of their publishing house? Absolutely. Presentation is everything.

  8. I really think this is an awareness issue. A lot of the black kids I run across at cons or while teaching comic classes aren’t even aware that “comic creator” is a job they can aspire to. Jamal Igle summed it up perfectly “it’s hard to walk through a door you don’t know is open.”

    Now, that may change as comics become more mainstream with movie adaptations. Unless they screw up the Black Panther movie, in which case, we’re all screwed.

  9. Charles says:

    I think that the reason people don’t know the door is open is because of things like 16 white people stood on stage like that though. I guess out of the big 3, Image overwhelmingly have the PR image as the “good guys”, but let’s not let them off the hook so easy in regards to race

  10. Image is also between a rock and a hard place. They have no editorial staff. They are 100% dependent on creators pitching them high quality projects. You can’t force it. Maybe these conversations will draw more diverse voices into comics, which means we are years away from seeing them earning a spot on that stage.

  11. I think Charles is right. 16 white people on the stage at one time is WAY past the quota! That’s a fire hazard, for cryin’ out loud!

    Chris, you are right. This IS an incremental thing. And the numbers are already growing. And, last time I checked, when Image accepts submissions (mostly through mail), they don’t require creators that submit to specify what ethnicity they are. They review blindly, based on quality of the submission.

    Plus, Image is LITERALLY a dozen people in an office that receives God knows how many submissions per day. It is ludicrous (and ill-informed) to think that they even have the time or inclination to research the race of every creator that submits. That is INSANE.

  12. Charles says:

    Is there no one at Image who keeps an ear to the ground, looks out for new creators and gives them a nudge to pitch something? Comics is too much of a cluster of nepotism for me to believe that there isn’t someone in at least an unofficial capacity doing that kind of thing over at Image, maybe they just have no non-white friends.

  13. Charles says:

    Eh, jokes aside Rob, you must be able to see a connection between there being very few visible non-white creators and the kids you talking to having no idea that they could even enter that world. They’re not unrelated incidents.

  14. Charles, listen to me. Image has LITERALLY a dozen people on staff. Do you seriously think they have the time (in between publishing a couple hundred comics a month) to go out and go sniffing for non-white creators? And how would they find out what creators are what ethnicity? Is there a database?

    No, Image doesn’t have a race-whisperer. Though that is a good comic idea. It is not their job to go recruit creators. Creators come to them. Marvel has a talent scout that travels the world, finding talent. Image is a VERY small operation in comparison.

  15. usaftr464 says:

    the excuse making from The Fan knows no boundaries, apparently.

  16. It is unrelated, Charles. At least in my experience. The kids I’ve dealt with had never even read comics before, period. They’re not exposed to them. Wasn’t even a visual medium they were familiar with. Which is why I think making comics more available in school libraries (and even curriculums) is key.

  17. Mikael says:

    Image goes to every major con in America. And some of the medium sized ones. All of those cons have artist alleys. A simple walk through, grabbing up printed comics, or an announcement saying “bring your comics to our table”, doesn’t take manpower. It takes initiative.

  18. Mikael, Image DOES say “bring your comics to our table”. They haven’t had an ad campaign that DIDN’T focus on welcoming creators. And since when is it Image’s job to go hunt down new talent? Image was FOUNDED on creators that went out and made shit happen. McFarlane didn’t wait for someone to give him an opportunity. He took that shit.

    Look, if you want your big break to come to you, you’ll always be waiting. While you’re waiting on Image to come to your table and recognize how brilliant you are, there’s a dozen hungry guys jumping in front of you, reaching out and seizing the opportunity. Good luck.

  19. Charles says:

    It’s weird, I’m probably quite close in age to the kids you’re talking about and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t know comics even existed as a medium.

    That’s a very odd phenomenon indeed, but it doesn’t preclude the fact that people feel more inclined to enter areas where they see people like them, for the people of colour there are out there that do know what comics are and are making comics, seeing that an industry is majority white might is going to be disconcerting at the very least.

    You might have had a different experience coming in to the world of comics, as might have the kids you’ve reached out to – those are valid experiences that I’m not going to dismiss or deny – but that doesn’t mean that a dearth of visible creators of colour and a lack of POC up and comers pitching to Image and whoeverelse is unrelated

  20. Charles says:

    And dude, please don’t make this about wanting hand outs or waiting for people to come to you, that;s such an old line.

  21. Nah, Charles, it’s a line that happens to be true. You can wait on your dreams all you want. I’m running after mine.

  22. Charles says:

    Ugh, what I’m, saying is that it’s a line that’s often trotted out as a way to dismiss how much harder/daunting/nigh impossible it is for some people to chase their dreams. If you want to act like there are less people of colour/women in comics because they just don’t know comics exist or they just don’t want it bad enough then a’wright then

  23. I feel like Image should only really be singled out if they had a headhunter seeking out talent and kept picking white guys. If their content is 100% submission driven then this is more an institutional issue and can hardly be put at their feet.

    Maybe they NEED to get a headhunter/talent scout and start looking at the Kickstarter projects and all the other comics outlets across the internet to diversify their roster.

    Though, they seem to be doing fine money-wise and we all know that means “don’t change a thing” in Capitalism! But that’s another institutional discussion to be had elsewhere…

  24. I hear ya. I’m not dismissing anything. A lotta folks have it hard. What I’m saying is that our job is to raise a flag and say “Hey, you CAN chase this. This is an option.” Because a lotta folks have been told “This is not for you. You can’t do this.”

  25. Charles says:

    ““Hey, you CAN chase this. This is an option.” Yeah, I think with that quote we’re on the same page, more or less!

  26. Rob , thanks for taking the time to come here and talk more on this subject. I know Image DOESN’T have an acquisitions team, but that means getting the word out that it is an open shop makes it even more important. And that’s something we can all try to promote.

  27. I think your comments are quite foul, Rob. I get that you feel proud of your work and defensive of your home team but every comic publisher could stand to be aggressive in seeking out new talent. That goes beyond race and gender. Simply seeking talent is a high priority for everybody. Not just having an open door policy.

    And it was really disheartening to see you say that black people don’t like comics very much. Come to New York City on a Wednesday afternoon.

    A lot of what you’ve been saying here and on twitter isn’t “wrong” per se. But it isn’t the whole picture of how things really function both in the industry and in society. Nobody who I know is talking about quotas but we are talking about how the field seems to favor one sector of people over every other group. Change is incremental and nobody who is serious about comics was condemning Image Comics as an institution. But people did look at that photograph and think “something is missing.”

    Anyway, I just used up my midday drawing time to respond to this so I hope this comment was worth it.

  28. Oh, ps great line:

    “I think that the reason people don’t know the door is open is because of things like 16 white people stood on stage like that though.”

  29. Ayo, I said “black people don’t like comics very much”? Nope, sure didn’t. I said that the audience and creator presence is smaller in proportion to other races, namely whites. Which is not new news. Though a lotta people seem to think it is. I’ve been doing cons all over the world, and it’s always been that way.

    What I’m pointing out is a larger issue that I’ve encountered directly that I don’t see many people talking about: That there is a segment of the black community that has had no exposure to the medium, or views it as a “white” medium. I’m not speaking universally. I’m talking about a segment that exists. And there are urban shows like PocketCon that were solely created to expose urban kids to comics. I’m not imagining this. This is a real thing.

    Whether or not we feel Image’s duty is to go hunting for talent is just personal opinion that we can argue about all day. And that may be something they do more of in the future. Who knows. These days, I don’t think they have to go hunting. They’re successful enough that people come to them.

  30. I promise you that everybody doesn’t approach companies. People get scouted all the time. It’s a big part of how things function. Oftentimes, artists or writers do not realize that they have an opportunity at certain companies until they are scouted. This is part of how all companies remain competitive and continue to find new talent.

    People are asked to pitch as well, which is a kind of scouting.

    And regarding how much black people read comics, vs whites and other racial groups: regardless of your specific phrasing, you come across as though you legitimately don’t see how many of us are out here. New York City on a Wednesday.

  31. Yep, like I said, some comic companies have official scouts. Image isn’t one of them. As for how many people get in via the methods you pointed out, of course there’s a network within comics. It’s like any other job. People work with other people, and when an opportunity comes up, they refer their friends. That’s life in any industry.

    As for my phrasing, that’s your reading. All I said was, “In terms of numbers, there’s a gap”. Yeah, there are a lotta blacks that read comics. I just did NYCC, and I saw it firsthand. But of the portfolio reviews I did there (and I did a LOT), it was overwhelmingly white. I only reviewed one black kid (from Jamaica), and he was 16. If that hurts you, I dunno what to tell you. I’m just telling you what I’m seeing.

  32. First off, let me be clear. I really like Image. Over 20 years they’ve changed the game more than once in the comic industry. I’ve been with Image for about 15 years and I hope to continue that relationship in the future.

    I was at Image then I did a little work at Marvel. I had my foot in the door and I could have pursued the *big two*, but I went back to Jim Valentino at Shadowline because I like having full creativity and he’s good guy at a good company. That was (is) the “open door” that I spoke about on Twitter. This is not a problem with Image, this is… as Rob and a few others have noted… more of an industry wide situation that, frankly speaking, I believe falls at the feet of the creators *more than* the various publishers. Everyone has a role to play… what that is I dunno and I leave that to you folks to debate.

    But is it an issue? Sure. Is it Image’s issue? I don’t think so. We’re experiencing a great revival (again) in the comic book medium. If more people of color, or gender, want to step up to the plate, then I welcome it. But they need the desire and they need to believe the potential. Sometimes that comes from iconic people, sometimes that comes from inclusion in specific regions. But it’s not like the comic industry is a hidden city up on a mountain top. I say c’mon on over and play. It’s NOT easy. Nobody is saying that. And I guarantee women and people of color will stick out for a bit. You WILL have to get used to being the token black creator on a panel, or in a line up on a stage. You’ll have to be the black Hockey player, or the lone woman in the executive boardroom, etc. No magic bullets here.

    For folks with a different set of social experiences and conceptions, it will take more than just talent. It will take a strong desire. That desire doesn’t come easy and it will thin the number of diverse people who DO try to break in. Personally speaking… I think it’ll be like this for a long time. Does that upset me? Not really. At this point we need the strongest creators to step up and represent themselves. We don’t need quotas from the publishers, we need new talent (good talent) to realize the door is open. Hell, they don’t even need to play in our particular sandbox. Kickstarter, print-on-demand, Comixology Submit, Indigogo, whatever. The avenues to create something are out there. The awareness that they CAN and are welcomed… isn’t as much.

    As for Image, specifically… they DID seek me out. Back in 1997 Jim Valentino not only contact me, but also he did so based on my self-published comics — which featured a black female lead. It was the *first* Image comic that I created with the company (Amanda & Gunn). It was on the cover of Diamond Previews, they took it around to the Diamond Summit meetings, they promoted it with vigor using the clout of the Image brand. You don’t forget stuff like that easily. I’m sure I’m not the only story of a creator of color being treated well at Image. If you ask me… Image gets it.

  33. As Rob said, sometimes you have to ‘take that shit’ in regards to your dreams. Every day this site reports on brand-new indies popping up, digital and all, and we don’t know the race of half of the people creating these until they pop out of the studio. Black Mask, Action Lab, New Paradigm, etc. all instantly come to mind as places that are coming from diverse perspectives from people that didn’t wait for others to give them an opportunity. They took it. And no, they didn’t do it at Image, but that doesn’t mean they COULDN’T have, they just chose to go ultimate 100% independent, just like how Image itself was formed.

    I think people are being unnecessarily hard on Image. They are pushing the big creators at their expo. Not saying others aren’t on the up, or don’t have fanbases, but getting a Scott Snyder, for example, is a big coup. It’d be shame on them if they DIDN’T have him up there. Image is a company, but it’s also an idea, and the idea of owning your own stuff can exist outside of Image in many of these upstart independents.

  34. johnrobiethecat says:

    Have to say I find Image a bit fascinating as a company, There is something pretty cool about what they are trying to do. Maybe some light needs to be cast on their business model and aspirations to figure out their reasoning for the projects and creators they greenlight, From what I understand, the creator pays for the print run, all creative expenses , the ad in Prevues and then Image gets a flat fee to cover their expenses before the profits get doled out, if the book is at all profitable. I may be wrong but my best understanding to this point.

    But I’ve argued this out this before in many posts past, there seems to be a club mentality at work. And its a professional set of the same white guys who do a lot of work for Marvel & DC or just really well established.In some cases, get 3 books or more. Since they are showing themselves lined up and trotted out on stage in an event, what kind of club it is becomes more evident. From what I gather from next year’s book annnouncements. chances are if your pitch doesn’t appeal to the cast of Portlandiia or not set in a trippy Hunter S.Thompson apocolypse drama , it goes back into the slush pile. Unless it’s just indulgent horror or gore with some wordsmith attached (Welcome Scott Snyder!). They may not have an active editorial input but they can probrably recognize like-minded tastes pretty easily, the same way it works for most job applicants in our fair country. For example, would Matt Fraction invite the guy who did “Blastosaurus” (from the Comixology Submit article before this) for a drink at the bar to talk shop. Maybe, maybe not. The only Blastosaurus or even traditional, un-edgy superhero type comic Image would allow post 90’s is that of a founder or if Robert Kirkman wants a fun project for his kids. They have a certain taste and set of interests at work that shut out many others who may not be of their culture by default—be it black, women, spanish, asian etc . Do they still like superheroes without an Alan Moore twist? Or thats what Marvel & DC do, we’re better than that. But these events show who’s in and who’s out. Be nice if next year, there’s more of a mix of ages, class and gender. Maybe the comics will be better too. It is creator-owned but the energy of a raw indepedent scene seems lacking to me. Its doesn’t look like Image takes much of hit for trying, What’s it matter who has the 2k-4k book that month? Matt Fraction’s 3rd project or the new guy.

  35. Just guessing, but Matt probably wouldn’t have a drink at the bar with him (he’s sober), but there’s no reason he wouldn’t chat him up at the coffee shop. Just a FYI. :D

  36. And, FWIW, there was someone that commented in these very comments who is actually writing a ‘fun’ book at Image.

  37. Snikt Snakt says:

    The lack of diversity in comics creator is simply explained, IMO; Why would *any* minority (women, blacks, asian etc.) be interested in writing adventures of super-heroes, the majority of them being white characters?!?

  38. Mikael says:

    Definitely a club mentality. Started by Kirkman’s Manifesto and made evident in the past two ImageExpos. They want creators who have audiences to come to Image. Sure – that’s how Image was founded – but along the way, those original seven mentored and brought up the new guys. So to say that’s not the way it should be done, that’s wrongheaded.

    Also – if Kelly Sue was Smurfette on that Marvel Avenger’s panel, does that mean Del Duca is Sassette at the ImageExpo announcements? And no – before anyone wants to try and derail the point behind the comment – just listing off female creators doesn’t count. Kelly Sue clearly stated that being the ONLY female panelist on the Avengers panel was “not good enough”. There are other female creators working on Avengers books – that wasn’t her point: the outward perception was one female. The ImageExpo outward perception was two females. Thankfully Del Duca is an unknown at this point. How did she get there ? By being BROUGHT THERE by Keatinge to work WITH him.

    That’s the point people are missing.

  39. Snickt snakt: that argument falls apart because of

    1) non-whites and women read those comics too. Contrary to popular belief. So naturally, some who become creators would like to work with those characters.

    2) in this case, preexisting superheroes are not a factor because we are discussing a creator-driven section of the comic business

  40. Personally I find listening to Kirkman speak absolutely painful. i generally try to avoid so it doesn’t contaminate my enjoyment of invincible and walking dead (I don’t have much time for his other books)

  41. Alex C says:

    This stuff blows my mind. Unless there is actually evidence of Image (or any other company) turning away a disproportionate number of submissions from females and minorities, then there is NO PROBLEM. Period! A company has no obligation to headhunt females and minorities just to please paranoid people who feel burning white hot self-hating bizarro indigence every time they see a photo composed of white men.

    Basically, none of these quasi-scandals have any point or remedy. They aren’t about helping or encouraging anyone (females or minorities) in any way. They’re all about liberal white people roiling in a sort of masochistic guilt that has no end or point to it.

    Should Image be FORCED to employ a significant number of females and minorities? Should we have some sort of a token system?

    On the other hand, does anyone really believe that Image would turn away great projects from females or minorities if they actually got such submissions sent their way? Is there actually evidence of them turning such submissions away? If there is, by all means, show us. If five top-flight female/minority creators can show us that in the last year Image rejected several stunning proposals by them, then that IS news and it is cause for concern.

    But, otherwise? Otherwise this is all just more pointless self-hate from liberal whites. That’s ALL it is. Because, you know these same people wouldn’t feel bad if they saw a hugely successful video game company full of Asian people. Or an awesome pro sports team full of millionaire African-Americans. Or a great fashion company founded by two gay men. There’d be no reason to feel bad about any of those things unless active discrimination was going on. But somehow some people feel weirdly and pointlessly outraged whenever there’s some organization somewhere that has a majority of white males in it. That’s their religion, to feel pointlessly outraged. And it’s based on misandry and self-hate. That’s all it is.

    I don’t even like Image that much. But it’s obvious to me that projects from people like Scott Snyder and “Jock” (both of whose work I dislike) would be a lot more appealing to the public than, say, something by Jamal Igle and Becky Cloonan (both of whose work I enjoy tremendously). Would it be awesome for Image to publish something from Jamal Igle and Becky Cloonan? Of course. Am I going to scream and pout because that isn’t happening? No, because there’s absolutely no evidence that Image has gone out of their way to discriminate against anyone. All we have here is the indignant paranoia of (mostly) over-privileged whites who have nothing else to complain about in life so they have to invent problems where there are none. You guys are like the new Christian missionaries or something. Just as overbearing and just as zealous.

    The last time I checked, the Children’s and Young Adult sections of bookstores were dominated by female authors. That quadrant of our culture is a lot more profitable than the comics industry. No one seems to have a problem with that, as well they shouldn’t. But, oh god, I guess tiny little Image Comics must represent and prove the existence of mass suppression of women and minorities.

  42. johnrobiethecat, I think Matt Fraction would have a drink with me…well, not a drink, but you know. Comics people are usually pretty friendly like that. Also, Blastosaurus really isn’t a superhero book, but thanks for the mention.

  43. johnrobiethecat says:

    @Richard
    Indeed, I think a lot of them are friendly even MF. I’m rooting for you Submit guys. Keep it up, I like the whole idea of it all.

    It’s true. Image is a private company. It can hire or sponsor who it likes but you gotta admit, they have a certain kind of taste for a certain kind of comic made by a certain group of creators most of the time. With a strong apetite for horror and sex adventures of hero or eclectic types, I feel like I’ve seen these “new “books before , over and over again…The reason I mentioned Images’s business model is taht I can’t understand why are they in the hunt for top Marvel & DC guys if they get a flat fee or certain costs no mater what the book. If Walking Dead pays the same as their lowest book in relative Image fee costs, can’t they allocate maybe a 1/4 of their year’s new titles to unknowns, new talent or those who are together with a solid pitch and not take a loss since that is mostly on the creators anyway. The window of their time to change the market via the impact of its brand company’s name isn’t infinite, They could do a lot of good now to see if there are more Fiona Staples , or unusual creative types out there who tell a story clearly and have another point of view that translates to the non-regular reader of their alternative fare, (It looks like the star ladies there have paid dividends btw) But Image still clamors to host some well known Big Two writer’s fourth trip-World-inspace-or-sea book . Its like they are pouring them out of a faucet now.

  44. I dont understand these types of articles from guilty white people. Im sure if you went to any art school it is overwhelmingly white. Thats just who goes into most of the arts.

  45. I’m willing to take Fraction’s drink for you, Richard.

  46. johnrobiethecat says:

    ”No, Image doesn’t have a race-whisperer. Though that is a good comic idea. It is not their job to go recruit creators. Creators come to them. Marvel has a talent scout that travels the world, finding talent. Image is a VERY small operation in comparison.”

    Is that the guy with the food blog? That keeps saying what Marvel likes and doesn’t like, what to do and what not to do if you want to be noticed by Marvel. That we’ll find you. Marvel no longer takes applications, don’t bother us by email, twitter, etc.. I wonder if traveling the world is their insurance against artists here forming some kind of union or demanding industry standards on them with Twitter and Tumblr (and the comments areas ) connecting the community even closer. Which is something I reccommend, a union or a trade standard of wages and contracts just like actors have. Artists and writers being split up as a community relying on the largesse of the big two or maybe the big three doesn’t seem to be panning out as a stable for everyone. The work is so labor intensive their should be some industry standards in place. Nothing against the guys and gals they are finding all over the world. Some of them are quite amazing and work just as hard as the people here but I can’t help but wonder if the big companies pay them the same to keep the big machine rolling. The non-superstar ones Much like the big tech companies do.

    My impression is that Image got tired of being a free farm team for Marvel and now its reversing the play on them. And now it looking a bit inbred as a result.

    —–

    “But, otherwise? Otherwise this is all just more pointless self-hate from liberal whites. That’s ALL it is.”

    Not really. Advantage matters. Especially in a age where companies have Orwellian tools to screen out employees and potential work for hires and off shore as a standrad business practice . Image doesn’t sound like that company but its out there, I am pretty liberal and white if you must know but in the sense that I prefer a more fair society with decent standards, universal health care and the ability to have a fair shot of employment and get a decent living at something they like, It makes a healthy society and maybe even a happy one that doesn’t hate their jobs and watching zombie shows on their off times. To keeo rewarding the over-rewarded doesn’t seem the best path to that place. When I see the same kind of people at the top for over 10 yrs, maybe more it makes you wonder. Many people in comics, movies tech and so on are fair and decent but when it comes to business, exploitation and getting the lowest wage orbest advantage over workers is a badge of honor. Its the American mentality when it comes to money. So its something to be addressesed, White people at top are basically oblivious to their advantage because perhaps they believe they all work hard and others don’t and can’t see the the things that people of gender and race can in what’s an advantage. But its own difficult problem on how to make things more fair but it should prompt discussion because numbers don’t lie. Look at the stage. But its easy to pick on that photo, a lot of big creators are more varied than that but thats always been a issue too. Do you always have to be on the level of Jim Lee to be accepted or have a shot in that world. Should there be a balance or thats how it is, that’s the question.

  47. Serhend Sirkecioglu says:

    The core of this problem really lies within the behavior of the industry and the behavior of the groups who are less represented. The comics industry has been since the 80’s a middle class industry comic shops dotted suburban neighborhoods and were fueled by the disposable income of kid’s and teen’s allowances. during this time comics were a seething pool of testosterone, comics for girls were around but didn’t hold a candle to boyish demand.

    Were there female fans? yeah of course, but this was the minority and it was not until years later primarily with the manga boom girls stampeded into comics and made a changing impact. But right here is where we see the divide, where most of the girls in comics tastes lie, manga or nowadays post-disney-90s-animation-manga. the outcry of demand for more women in comics is often aimed at mainstream establishments, when the vast majority of these girls want to make manga-esque and these publishers don’t present themselves as wanting that material. Viz recently had a manga competition but this went under the radar of comics mainstream also it was geared towards shonen manga. coupled with the current half-empty narrative of comics are a sexist environment. this often without reassurance, so the two factors for the lack women in comics are their taste are different, were excluded on the grounds of aesthetic differences, and they been scared away by sexism and the idea of sexism in the industry. as a result young women entrenched themselves on tumblr and deviant art and are happy where they are even though they aspire to do better.

    On African Americans the heart of the lack of inclusion lies in their families. put your self in the shoes of a African American mother whose been busting her ass to ensure her kids become the first to go to college. you see a better future, better opportunities for the family, your blood sweat and tears paying off for your kids…now what do you think you’ll say to your first daughter/son to go to college who want to go to art school? you would be a little outraged that an opportunity you worked so hard for them to have is going to be squandered and you will do everything in your power to convince them to do it as a hobby. the wealth gap between the races will inevitably close(if unimpeded) but the option to be an artist is not on the table of alot of African American families. most kids are raised with a mentality of “for the greater good of the family” so they will all aim to be Dr.Lawyer-Engineers to a greater degree than White families who are more likely to have had a generation or more of family going college. personal expression is fostered more in more middle and middle upper class families, the few African Americans you do see in the industry came from families that not only valued personal expression but in the visual arts. if anything what should be done is encouraging black parents that a career in the visual arts is a worthwhile education.

    For me the ultimate remedy to the illusion of discrimination is more competition, more anthologies and magazines(which have been going under more recently like Yen+), and more opportunities to become a professional cartoonist. Do I think Image, Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc. are deliberately marginalizing women, LGBTs, and Minorities…no they know what want and are only concerned with looking for that. Publishers like First Second welcome these groups and can do a better job of promoting that. waiting for the mainstream to do something is a fool’s errand. Sort of like how Bender Rodriguez says, start your publishing company…with blackjack and hookers. you’ll do more for people that way.

  48. As a white dude with a new Image book about to debut, I find this a fascinating debate. One thing I’ll note: A lot of the name writers mentioned here had Image books—and certainly small press books—before they ever worked at Marvel. Nick Spencer and Jonathan Hickman virtually started at Image; Matt Fraction had CASABLANCA before he took off at Marvel. These creators’ association with Image isn’t a new thing, and Image certainly didn’t take on NIGHTLY NEWS or MORNING GLORIES because they were hoping to piggyback on Marvel sales.

  49. Tom Spurgeon says:

    dibs on pitching “the race whisperer”

  50. I think this is a great subject to discuss, I’m glad people here can generally talk about it in a mature way. I don’t know where I stand on this, I like all the creators shown in that picture, they all do great work. I would never pick up a comic book just because the creator was a different sex/race than the norm, I pick up my comics depending on the content. Good Content = I will buy it.

    Thank you Heidi for running this website and getting discussions like this going, and thank you Rob, Jimmie and Stuart for letting us know how you guys feel on the topic, all you guys are producing great comics right now.

    And Stuart I think you meant to say CASANOVA when talking about Fractions book.

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