Marvel “Diversity” Reading Recommendations

Taking a little bit of a writing break this week while I deal with work and other money-related things. No long or complex posts.

But I had a conversation on Twitter about a really ridiculous comment a Marvel exec made. We had actually been talking about comics in general and how I don’t think it’s dominated by white men anymore, so much of what I see is pushing those boundaries and it seems like those are the ones most writers, companies, and readers get excited about. So I’m over here making my case about how comics are awesome now and you should definitely check out the local shop and give some of these things a try, and then that happens. 😀

Ah well.

There have been a lot of great responses to this, including one from Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson. The guy who said it even backtracked and clarified that some of those newer more diverse characters are incredibly popular and there’s more going on there. I won’t bother to throw in my own arguments, obviously I disagree that people don’t want diversity and Marvel has lots and lots of problems that could more adequately explain their falling sales.

Instead I’m going to recommend some Marvel series that I think are actually doing things right and that are at easy jump-on points right now. Bizarre moments of sexism aside, even Marvel is making changes and gradually becoming a better source, and it’s worth checking these things out before completely giving up on them (if you haven’t already).

Hawkeye #5 and America #2 both come out today, as an email I got this morning reminded me. Hawkeye just wrapped up its first arc and is starting a new one featuring Jessica Jones, so that’s obviously going to be awesome and you can probably pick it up without needing to read the first 4 issues. I’ve been loving this comic so much and expect great things from it.

I’ve seen some criticism that both this and Hulk (also totally amazing and worth picking up in my opinion) are moving slow, but I think it’s more that they’re not “typical” or “traditional” superhero stories and it’s not just “action action fight fight run fight.” Things happen and people do and say things that matter and are real and important and wonderful and it doesn’t have to be all punching all the time to be good. It’s not slow, it’s just more about the person than the superheroics. I happen to like that. If you think that sounds great too, give Hawkeye and Hulk a chance. Great writing, lovable characters, gorgeous artwork. It seems to me like the first arc of Hulk is wrapping up in the next issue or two, so you might want to wait and either pick up the first paperback volume or jump in with the next one (or both).

America is just starting, so you could easily catch up with the first issue before jumping into the new one today. Since it’s so new, it’s hard to describe. But the character is lots of fun and the art is so engaging and I love her energy and bravado and her style and her general all-around awesomeness. This new issue is the comic I’ve been most excited to read ever since I finished the first one and I’m so glad it’s here.

And obviously, Marvel has a lot of other great characters and series worth reading. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read from Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, Black Panther, and any of the recent Captain Marvel series that didn’t just throw her on as a mask over a weird not-at-all-her character for Civil War crossover “fun.” Even All-New All-Different Avengers had some great characters and was a fun way to see what’s going on with all of them, though I had to give it up a few issues in because Mark Waid’s dialogue just rubs me the wrong way somehow and takes me out of the story.

There are a lot of great comics that show Marvel is more than this statement and I want to encourage the good stuff they’re doing. These comics are definitely not the only place to start and won’t be for everyone. I recommend them mostly because they’re so new, so easy to start for new readers, and different enough from traditional go-fight-go superhero comics that I can recommend them to people who think superheroes are silly, immature, or boring.

What are your favorites from Marvel? Other publishers? If you have stopped reading Marvel or left behind any of those “diverse” series they claim, why? What was the breaking point?

Happy reading.

(P.S. It’s Autism Month! Also sometimes called either “Autism Awareness” or “Autism Acceptance” Month, but this year I just dropped the extra words. Acceptance is better, but I’m here to celebrate. Yay autism! I’m doing some writing related to that which I’ll talk about later, but for now I’m going to plug some great shirts that benefit groups I love. They probably have no idea who I am and have definitely not asked me to advertise, but I love the shirts and I want to signal boost. ThinkGeek has a neurodiversity shirt which is usually still available after April but the proceeds go to ASAN during this month. And Real Social Skills is selling my favorite shirt ever on Bonfire for 5 more days. Check them out!)

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