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.