As you can probably guess from the title, today is another “very special” post. The main drawing/sketch from this week was that of Allison Morrison, a character that will be coming to in the pages of Code Basis down the pipleline.
I posted about this before but Allison will be the first black character that I wholeheartedly add to one of my comics. Why is this important you ask? It’s because as a Black creator it’s ludicrous that the idea of having a Black character being one of my main lead characters isn’t the first lightbulb that fires off in my head. Now for some it’s a given, I see these stories at cons all the time.
Most times they fall into the cliched, “uber-Black” stereotype character that comes from the hood and usually has powers of either a DragonBall Z character or those of other popular heroes like Iron-Man or Green Lantern. Or it comes off as a poor carbon copy of V.I.P. (Pam Anderson’s old 90s show after Baywatch for the youngins). I don’t run into many stories that give Black characters an every person vibe. Oh they exist, I know, but usually you got to dig for them and by the time you do they’re in the aether.
In my case, most of the main leads for my stories are white or Asian based, and if I did get to a black character it would be waaaayyyyy late in the story. At first, I innocently believed that it was just because of the story I would tell, but now that I’m older I’m realizing that my younger self was just blind to the fact that they were just following the “norm”. That is to say the European standard of normal where your typical Caucasian would be the lead OR since I draw manga that your typical Japanese would be the lead character.
Now before you get super pissed dear reader, please understand that this is not a 100% wrong way of thinking, IF your story calls for a specific ethnicity or character type. Let’s say I’m drawing a story that pulls heavily from Japanese ideas then yes, of course, my main leads would be Japanese or Japanese-inspired and vice-versa if the story I wanted to tell was to have the POV of a Caucasian character. The problem comes in when you default to one of these who ethnicities all the time and usually in Western comic books we see a lot of creators default to white, sometimes by choice other times subconsciously.
With Allison (and down the road Daphne) though, I needed to begin adding not only Black characters, but Black WOMEN to my work. I think it’s pretty well known that in this current social atmosphere it’s tough being not only a Black male but a Black female to boot. And not only that, all of the images representing a strong/interesting version of yourself are either non-existent or limited.
And the only way it’s going to change is by doing it ourselves!
Allison is a pivotal character in the coming stories of Code Basis and not just someone like the Oracle from the Matrix or all the Black characters in the CW DCU, Allison will be that character that has a hand in shaping the outcome of fights and assists in solving the problems.
All of this may seem like a “duuuhhhh” kind of thing but as a creator (especially an up-and-coming one) that wants to help add diversity to the comics sphere I think it speaks volumes and I think if more creators had an interest of wanting to add many characters of varied backgrounds or inspired backgrounds I think we would begin to see a larger landscape of characters for any and everybody to enjoy.
‘Til Next Time,