[Matt Hawkins, President at Top Cow Productions and President & COO at Top Cow Productions, Inc., is an industry veteran who has seen it all, from the highest booms to the lowest busts, He recently posted the following essay on how diversity makes economic sense for comics on his FB page, and with his permission, we are reprinting it here.]
by Matt Hawkins
Why do we need more diversity of creators in comics? The simple answer is money. The only color in business that matters is green and gender-bias only hurts sales. Cut out any of the moral, political and affirmative action type reasons and just focus on reality. People buy stuff made by people like them…and that’s okay. Not in EVERY case, I’m not making unilateral statements.
Let’s start with women; women read far more than men. There are TONS of very successful female novel writers; one of my favorites is Barbara Kingsolver. If you’ve never heard of her, check out Poisonwood Bible or Flight Behavior. She’s a Biologist who writes, so I’m partial to her. And that kind of makes my point. I’m an amateur scientist, never practiced, but always stayed current. I LOVE fiction written by scientifically knowledgeable people…see where I’m going?
There are a lot of female artists. We’re currently working with three, not including colorists, and we only publish 4-6 titles a month. Rise of the Magi is drawn by Sumeyye Kesgin, Wildfire by Linda Sejic and Control the Clock by Colleen Doran.
We need more female writers. Why? Because female writers = more female readers. That’s all that matters. More female readers = more industry sales = more stores = more everything. People gravitate towards their own and women write stuff from a woman’s perspective about things women care about…and that’s okay! I don’t really understand why people get so upset by this.
When I announced that 1 of the 4 Talent Hunt winners for 2013 would be a female team, I got a lot of shit for it. Guys telling me it shouldn’t matter what genitalia someone has, the better “man” should win. Heh, pun there.
There are a lot of non-white artists out there, a lot of Asians. Can you name 10 non-white regularly working comic writers in this business? I can, but this is my livelihood. I bet a lot of you can’t. Why is that? Look at novels, films and TV. There is content made for blacks, Latins, Asians…usually by people of the same ethnicity. I’ve never seen a Tyler Perry film and I’ve heard plenty of people make fun of them, but they make BANK! SERIOUS BANK. Why? Because black people go see them. And guess what? That’s okay. In fact, it’s fucking great!
We need more black, Asian, Latin writers in comics. Circling back to my premise, this industry needs to grow its readership. The easiest way is to reach new demographics. So new demos = money.
I, for one, never want to limit my knowledge by surrounding myself with people like me and consuming media and content tailor made for me. How fucking boring is that?
I know I’m a whack-a-do, but to restate the premise of this, the only color in business that matters is green and gender-bias only hurts sales.
[Photo via Tucson Comic Con.]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.