By Sarah Vale @SarahValephotos
When we think about diversity in comics there are a few, like Ultimate’s Spider-man Miles Morales and the newest Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan that come readily to mind. But while comics are nowhere near where they need to be when it comes to reflecting what the world actually looks like there are more kick ass characters than ever before. Here’s a list of five titles that are doing something right when it comes to representation.
Silk, written by Robbie Thompson, art by Stacy Lee- Cindy Moon may have spent the last ten years locked in a bunker in an effort to protect her family from her radioactive spider bite abilities but she’s just as capable in the field as white cis male counterpart Spider-man. The combination of trying to reintegrate into the world while also finding her missing family and of course fighting supervillains makes this a compelling read. This comic was also the first time I ever liked J. Jonah Jamison so that’s something.
Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples- So choosing a space series where technically no one is really human may seem like cheating but hear me out. One of the problems people of color often have with fantasy and science fiction is that while there always seem to be white human looking characters (cough elves cough) there are rarely humanoid characters with darker skin tones. Saga is one of the first titles I’ve read where everyone maybe an alien but there are still aliens that look like Black and non-white Hispanic people and they’re major players.
Giant Days, written by John Allison, art by Lissa Treiman- From Boom Studios this comic originally slated for 6 issues was just extended to twelve. While this coming of age, three girls go to college tale isn’t much for having POC it does feature Daisy an adorkable lesbian. What I enjoy about this comic aside from Wedon level snark is that Daisy isn’t just automatically hooked up with the first lesbian she encounters. Because while it’s always great to see queer characters not banished to Forever Alone Land it’s nice when they have more of a dating selection than just the only other queer person in that universe.
Air, written by G. Willow Wilson, art by M. K. Perker- If you’re a fan of G. Willow Wilson you’re going to want to track this series down. Running from 2008 to 2010 Wilson introduced us to a cast of characters ranging from Amelia Earhart to the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. It gets off to a bit of a clunky start but once it gets going this dimension hopping comic will leave you wishing you could go back in time and help keep it from getting cancelled due to low sales. The comic, which opens with a reference to The Satanic Verses, is best read by a more literary audience than your average capes and punches reader.
Batgirl, written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, art by Babs Tarr- With a heavy sigh I add the latest iteration of Batgirl to this list. Sure her supporting cast is one of the most diverse that I’ve seen in any comic but the series mishandling of trans characters makes me deduct a couple awesome points. Alysia, Barbara Gordon’s transwoman roommate sure did make comic waves when she was introduced but she’s been all but forgotten in the newest run. The inclusion of the villain Dagger Type, who while not explicitly trans did seem to play to transphobic fears, didn’t do the comic any favors. However the comics creative team did issue an apology for the offensive issue. Their willingness to hear their readers does give me hope.