By giving super powers to those who are usually considered powerless, "Superb" manages to tell a story of a generation that is able to battle evil that is literally right in their own neighborhood.
With offerings such as the television shows "Black Lightning" and "Luke Cage" and "Black Panther", it is clear that Black superheroes are having a bit of a renaissance right now. Not only are there popular Black superheroes in the mainstream, but there are also independent creators like Lion Forge Comics creating their own Black superheroes. In Volume 1 of their comic book series Superb, we have a rising Black female superhero and a superhero with Down's Syndrome teaming up. Set in a fictionalized version of Youngstown, Ohio, the book takes place one year after the event in which five astronauts tried to save the world from an asteroid. The result of the event is a meteor shower that caused a generation to develop enhanced abilities. Since then, the global advanced tech corporation Foresight has been monitoring the town and quarantining enhanced teens for the town's safety.In the midst of all this, two teens named Jonah Watkins and Kayla Tate are trying to live some semblance of a regular life. However, the two soon find themselves caught up in the covert affairs of Jonah's superhero alter ego Cosmosis. In the process, they discover that in Foresight's intentions might not be as good as they appear and must face some hard truths about Foresight, their lives, and each other.One of the most thought-provoking aspects of "Superb" is how writers David F. Walker and Sheena Howard displayed the fictional world by drawing from the real world. The aftermath that the people of Youngstown are dealing with is similar to the aftermath of 9/11. Foresight has installed detectors for enhanced individuals in schools just like how metal detectors were installed in schools. Besides the world-building, the characters were also well-developed. Kayla Tate is a Black girl who wants a regular life despite her parents working for Foresight and her hiding the fact that she is enhanced and hasn't been detected. Her awareness is demonstrated through an online podcast that she uses to discuss the happenings of Foresight, the enhanced teens, and the town's local superhero Cosmosis.
In honor of Women’s History Month, check out the work of these BIWOC comics writers.
As a medium and an industry, comics aren’t always kind to women, especially women of color. Mainstream comic book companies seem to hire them once in
Nerd cred and geek consumerism were created to fuel capitalism and make pop culture an exclusive club.
Since I was a kid, pop culture has always been a huge part of my life. Not only has it been a source of entertainment and escapism, but it has also influenced how I view myself and the world around me. Until this year, I thought I had to compromise my personal values for nerd cred and geek consumerism in order to be seen as a "real nerd".While nerd cred is your credibility as a nerd, geek consumerism is the pressure to constantly spend money on pop products. Both nerd cred and geek consumerism are related to each other in that the more money you spend, the better your nerd cred is perceived to be.In order to spend money on pop culture, you have to have the money to do so. Depending on your financial situation, your exposure to pop culture might vary from being up-to-date on everything to being exposed to movies and comics later than everyone else. In article for The Mary Sue, writer Teresa Justino discusses what it was like to grow up Puerto Rican, female, and broke and how that impacted her exposure to geek culture. Justino writes, "Is it any wonder that many of the trappings of geek culture are only accessible to those who are predominantly white, male, and middle class? White women and people of color are often paid less, yet it feels like one has to constantly spend money in order to effectively participate in the geek community."Although one of my biggest fandoms is comic books, I can't afford to be as active in it as I would like. With comics, one of the few ways I own them is buying digitally with gift cards. I also use the site Humble Bundle and the digital library app Hoopla to either buy them cheap or borrow them.
It is 2017 and there is no excuse for any comics company to not be hiring Black women for any comic.
Mainstream comics companies have a terrible track record when it comes to hiring Black women and other marginalized comic creators. Both Marvel and DC Comics recently announced comics for Storm and Black Lightning, but the only creators involved are Black men. When it comes to who should work on Black characters, comics companies need to hire more Black women. https://twitter.com/heyjenbartel/status/917846708553469954?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnerdist.com%2Fstorm-x-men-marvel-comic-ta-nehisi-coates-jen-bartel%2F Up until now, Black women writers such as Roxanne Gay, Yona Harvey, and Nnedi Okorafor have worked on mainstream comics. Their prominent backgrounds as award-winning literary writers are similar to the writing backgrounds of Black Panther writers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Reginald Hudlin. While these Black male and female writers are talented, Marvel's decision to hire distinguished writers in the arts belies an unfair standard. In an interview for i09, iconic comic book writer Christopher Priest explained that the comic book industry has been polarizing for decades. According to him, comic book companies have white guys choosing people like them to work on comics so they could keep getting the same successful results. As a result, we mainly have the same old white guys popping up on newer titles and expect marginalized creators to have the same accolades they do.Of course, many Black comic creators do not have the same resources and opportunities as a white male. In fact, some of the most talented Black people working in comics are independent and self-published. Many have created webcomics that are available to read for free, using crowdfunding sites like Patreon to support their work. Crowdfunding is also used by small presses that publish Black comic creators, such as Peep Game Comix and Forward Comix.As a result of the synergy between Black comic creators, Black pop culture media, and Black comic creators, victories have been won. Nilah Magruder, a Black female comics writer and artist, won the Dwayne McDuffie comics award for her webcomic M.F.K. She also became the first Black woman to write for Marvel by writing A Year of Marvels: September Infinite Comic.