Sorry I should have phrased that better. By second string I didn’t necessarily mean untalented.
I mean creators who aren’t the bigs guns. Creators with a combination of fame and talent. When Marvel makes one of their ‘Events’ they put their most well known creators who are at the top of their game. Because thats what sells.
Al Ewing may be talented, but he is not famous. Greg Land is famously untalented.
I know this seems nitpicky. I should be (and I am) glad that the Mighty Avengers exists.
Mighty Avengers is cool and all but why is it the BIG TWO almost never put their top creators on a diverse book?
Bendis, Hickman and Remender are all working on books with predominantly white (and male) casts. Those books sell pretty well.
But 9 out of 10 times books with non-white male leads end up with second string creators… or Greg Land. And then we wonder why those books don’t sell.
Good creators = Good comics = Good sales.
It’s a simple formula really. At least Marvel got it right with Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel on an all female X-Men team.
EDIT: I should add that Bendis has done good work on Luke Cage and Miles Morales and other non-white male characters. Hickman and Remender have probably done good work too. But with the exception of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man these guys haven’t exactly been on books whose implicit goal is to increase diversity in the superhero genre.
In April of 2001 Tom Brevoort gave an interview to CBR - here is an excerpt:
“an idea that never got as far as an official title, but it was essentially “Black Avengers.” It was “Let’s put all the African or African-American heroes together on a team for an adventure,” and in those cases too, there was nothing about the idea beyond “It’s a bunch of super heroes together” that said “Avengers” beyond the fact that “Avengers” is a term that’s salable. I think there’s something very specific about what “Avengers” means to the Marvel Universe. They’re the varsity. They’re the A-list. They’re the Man. They’re not about being super heroes because of demographics or ethnicity. They stand for something specific and occupy a certain role. If you don’t have some degree of that, then it doesn’t feel like Avengers.”
Following those statements he furthered expounded on this topic on Twitter:
I said at the time that watching this conversation on Twitter was one of the most disheartening things I’ve experienced during my time in comics fandom.
Today Marvel announced a new Avengers book, Mighty Avengers.
Starting in September, it’s Mighty Avengers, by Al Ewing and Greg Land, featuring the likes of Luke Cage, Spider-Man, She-Hulk, White Tiger, Blue Marvel, Power Man…and more!
Note, yes that is Monica Rambeau. She is the field leader and her name is now Spectrum.
Here is what Brevoort said about Mighty Avengers:
“The racial diversity of the line-up is no accident, really. I’ve always responded to people asking why we don’t have a black Avengers or Latino Avengers that it feels artificial. But, the reality is that people who want to see characters in comics representing them have a point. We first started conceptualizing this book in February around Black History Month and the anniversary of the death of my friend Dwayne McDuffie. So I set out no to do ‘Black Avengers’ but more Dwayne McDuffie Avengers. I wanted to have a minimum of non-white characters but not have that necessarily be the point, then a lot of the characters who fit into what we wanted to do ended up being minorities. It’s not a ‘solution’ to lack of diversity elsewhere, but it’s something we considered.”
Earlier today I quoted Dwayne McDuffie in another post. I’m going to include it in this one as well.
“You don’t feel as real if you don’t see yourself reflected in the media … There’s something very powerful about seeing yourself represented.”
I’m glad Marvel and Tom Brevoort finally realized this important point.