My Advice To Aspiring Comic Creators, Part 5

by Tito W. James

My previous articles covered the preliminary research, short exercises, the do’s and don’ts, and indie comic cliches.
For my final article, I’ll be exploring diversity in comic book storytelling.
Writing diverse characters is important because…

It gives minorities a chance to see their faces in the medium we all love.
I’ve made friends from many different backgrounds and walks of life. Black, White, Asian, Straight, Queer, young, and old–we all love comics.
The fact that comics can be a unifying force should be celebrated. We should take pride in our work and in our community.

It allows people to empathize with a race, gender, or sexual orientation that is not their own.
Ultimately, at our core we are human. Society may be structured in biased ways, but regardless of one’s identity, we have similar drives, and experience common pitfalls. Building empathy through fiction is the first step toward building closer relationships in real life.
Being a guy who likes Wonder Woman comics may not mean that I fully understand what it’s like to be female. However, enjoying comics with female protagonists gives me something to talk about with my female friends that we both enjoy.

It allows for original stories to be told.
For me as a writer, this is the most important point. Writing diverse characters leads to more interesting and varied character designs. Writing about characters in new settings forces us to be creative and not derivative. If you think it’s all been said before, you haven’t looked broadly enough. There are stories from across time and space that are waiting to be told.

Original franchises like Overwatch and The Legend of Korra have proven that audiences will accept and embrace diverse characters provided the core story is strong. It’s never easy to come up with an original idea but it’s what you will need if you want to stand out in the medium of comics.
I hope that these articles have proved to be helpful and I look forward to seeing the next generation of comic creators!

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