Alison Baker is co-publisher of Monkeybrain Comics and I think it’s no secret that her super-power is bering super smart: when she isn’t promoting and publishing comics, she’s working as a political operative, making political ads for campaigns. Thus the debut of her new column “ALLISON TYPES
” for CBR is good news all around. And for her first topic, she doesn’t mince words, but wades into the Image Expo diversity issue full throttle.
Baker’s take is a smart one, pointing out that the overly white male presence on stage does not reflect the goals or make-up of Image Comics behind the scenes, where Jennifer deGuzman and David Brothers (to name but two) are on staff, and a diverse line-up of creators are making comics. However, it does send a message:
The whole event is essentially a giant ad for Image, spotlighting the people who make the books to help sell them and promote the Image brand. Shouldn’t we see a more realistic snapshot of what that Image family looks like? And shouldn’t that family look like ALL of us? Shouldn’t it be that way at every publisher?
I don’t have to explain this is not a single publisher issue. It’s an industry-wide issue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at convention photos in disgust because everyone one on the panel was a white man and the panel topic wasn’t “How it Feels to be a White Man.” It’s really not hard to find someone of another gender or race to talk about any subject in comics with authority and put them on a panel.
Baker ends with the call for action I’ve often tagged as “if you want to be inclusive you need to include people:”
Until we can actually SEE a diverse group of creators, put them out front and center, the perception of a comics as a sea of vanilla-flavored men will persist, reinforcing the existing problem. Keeping it from changing. We will continue to be deprived of art coming from a broader base of experience. We will continue to be small.
It’s EVERYONE’S business. And we can ALL do better.
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.