The all-New, all-different run of Marvel Comics is the present and future of the brand. So when comic book greats Afua Richardson (Black Panther: World of Wakanda), Sanford Greene (Power Man & Iron First), and Peter David (Amazing Fantastic Incredible) came together at DragonCon, I had to go. A promo artist named Alex who worked on Marvel's Netflix shows and movies came too. The group talked shop about everything. There was discussion about specific runs of Hulk, the death of the X-Men and the concept in general, and who would win imaginary match-ups in the panels. But one conversation served as the thread that held the panel together – diversity. 

And the ANAD Marvel universe has more than what's usual.



Photo: Marvel
Photo: Marvel


There's been a big discussion since the beginning of this Marvel Comics era, especially amongst the true fanboys/girls. There are some new-gen stories that have black and brown people in costumes that traditionally belonged to white folks. And we all know how much of a problem that is – even though white characters have been trading them back and forth for decades. But I digress



The most poignant thing said during our time in that room came from my favorite comic book artist of all-time, Afua Richardson. She said, "There have been lots of cries for diversity in the character and in the creators. And I think what people are really calling for is just...reality."

There it was. All of my (and many other comic book fans) feelings wrapped up carefully into two perfect sentences. That's exactly what I want from my comics – an accurate depiction of what life really looks like. Is everyone in real life white? No, although from most media you wouldn't be able to tell. There are people of all colors, creeds, occupations passing each other on the street everyday. It stands to reason that at least a few of the darker ones might have powers, too (if we live in a world with superpowers, that is). And there doesn't even have to be a deep discussion about it. You don't have to explain why this person is black, or Muslim, or gay, lesbian, transgender. They just are, just like people in the world we live in just are



Peter David spoke about his time working with the legend Dwayne McDuffie on Ben 10. He told us, "Am I aware of race? Yes, I have eyes...All I care about are the ideas." He expressed his support of creators who have similar cultural experiences as specific characters writing the comics. But, "on the other hand, if you're black and want to write the Silver Surfer – fantastic!"

Once it became very apparent that we all were at least woke enough to be on the same page – we had fun. Sanford Greene talked about the connection he feels between hip-hop and comic books, and how his son thought he was Mike Colter playing Luke Cage. We even talked about some DC Comics theories on how they can get their cinematic universe in gear. The idea was so good I won't give it away here. All in all, I was glad to be there. That panel made me proud to be a black Marvel fanboy



Photo: Giphy
Photo: Giphy


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