Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Comic Books for a Diverse Audience

Meltingpot readers,

My boys love comic books. Thankfully, they are both avid readers. The older kid tore through the entire Harry Potter series in one summer. The little one reads everything from picture books to Captain Underpants (which I had to ban temporarily because he can't seem to stop talking about the evil villan Mr. Poopy Pants in the middle of class.) to the Children's Bible my mother gave him for Christmas a few years back. But hands down, their favorite thing to read is comics.

I've written here before about the dearth of comics featuring characters of color. I don't want to prevent the kids from reading about Superman unless he has a handsome Black sidekick, but I do want them to have the kind of hero worship experience of a hero that kind of looks like them. As far as my kids know, the only Black superheroes are The Green Lantern and Storm from The X-Men. However, according to Wikipedia there are far more.

Currently their favorite animated cartoons/superheroes to watch are Avatar, which are Asian-esque characters. I've watched a few of them and even bought a couple Avatar graphic novels for the older kid because I think the story lines are pretty cool. But since my boys literally devour books, I need to have more books at the ready. So, I was thrilled when somebody tipped me off to a comic/graphic novel publisher I've never heard of. It's called Bluewater Productions. Now, their newest title is a unauthorized comic biography of (wait for it) Beyonce but they also have a comic bio on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Barack Obama among many others.

And the multicultural characters are not only relegated to non-fiction titles. They have a series called Violet Rose about a super-sleuth sixth grader, who happens to be a foster child. The titles are endless. Some might not be your cup of tea, but they truly seem to have something for everyone. I will definitely be checking them out and looking for some of their offerings at our local comic book store.

So do you have any favorite multi-culti comic book heroes or stories? Please share.



Anonymous said...

little rufus via John P kee, though he's not a superhero. i always loved fat albert growing up, but can't offhand think of any superheros..shame. does will smith count. i mean he was an alcoholic in the movie tho-

Anonymous said...

this is a shame but when i was little my mind was so brainwashed to think the superheros had to look like clark kent and if they were black or african looking they were'nt acceptable, that is so terrible. But it was all you knew, i mean growing up all the images were of a tall white guy with blue eyes, i mean there was franklin on charlie brown, but that's about it! I have to b deprogrammed.

LT said...

Anon #1,
Ha! I wanted to show my kids that movie with Will Smith, but I think they have to get a little older...but I loved it.

Anon #2
Thanks for your honesty, here. It's true though, if you only see Superman and other White superheroes, then the assumption is all superheroes are White. (sigh). For children of color this is a very sobering and unfair thought.