NYCC 2014: #WeNeedDiverseComicBooks Panel
Having diversity in books is important for a number of reasons. The obvious reason for many who approach this topic is so that children can grow up reading about heroes and other people that come from the same background or culture or look or think just as they do. All parents want their kids to have that keen sense of pride and confidence that the world is theirs and they can reach for ANY dream.
At NYCC 2014, a panel of librarians and authors held a discussion about other reasons for the importance of diversity not just in books but comics specifically. They ran down a short history of how comic books in particular have come a long way from the Whitewash Jones and racist sidekicks of the early days of comics. They also showed the importance for writers and publishers to recognize the reality of their comic book readership as well. No longer should they hold to the stereotype that their target market is the young Caucasian suburban male. Comic books are a revolutionary stage for social change and acceptance that seems to be migrating moreso into popular culture thanks to recent movie and TV trends these days. In seeing that trend, pushing for libraries, publishers, writers, and stores to bring to light the true diversity on the stories and characters that are portrayed in comics today is vital to stimulation of young and adult minds alike.
(This article will continue to be updated with more suggestions, pictures, and links)
This #WeNeedDiverseComicBooks movement is gaining steam and they want to expose libraries to a variety new comics like the ones below:
El Deafo by Cece Bell – In this charming book, we learn that we all have a little superhero inside us.
Persepolis by MarjneSatrapi – A wise, funny and heartbreaking memoir of a revolution, told through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator.
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang – Funny, action-packed and expertly plotted, this tale of an unlikely hero is Yang at his very best.
Fun House by Alison Bechdel – Certified genius Bechdel takes the graphic novel to its loftiest levels. A literary, haunting masterpiece.
The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks – The stunning story of a WWII squadron that didn’t lose a foot of ground to the enemy.
The Blue Beetle by Tony Bedard – A teen hero turns an alien weapon of mass destruction into a force for good.
Pedro and Me by Judd Winick – A moving portrait of friendship and love by the cast member of the Real World 3.
March by John Lewis – The inspiring story of a sharecropper’s son who helped change the world. Every page of this fast-paced and high-stakes story entertains.
Adventures of a Japanese Businessman by Jose Domingo – How hard is it to reach home after work? This is a funny and sometimes surreal wordless comic that is infused with video game aesthetics.