By: Alyssa Torres
While we’re continuously working on pushing for more diversity among all types of popular media, we still have time to appreciate the diverse content that does exist already. I’ve compiled a list of some kick-ass comic recommendations with unique stories that are led by diverse characters that I hope you’ll learn to love. So the next time you decide to visit your local comic shop, consider picking up some of these stories!
Let me start with this — Marvel’s Nighthawk, written by David F. Walker and drawn by Ramon Villalobos, kicks off its first issue with its black protagonist Raymond Kane (Nighthawk) kicking the asses of racist white supremacists while wearing a pair of Yeezys. Nighthawk is extremely conscious of real life issues with racism, which puts the protagonist in a setting where unarmed black men are getting shot by the police and gun violence, as well as gentrification are extremely prevalent issues in his home city of Chicago. This is a dark read, but it’s extremely relevant and worth the time to pick up.
- Paper Girls
You’ve probably seen Stranger Things by now and it ruined your life, but even more than that, it made you crave more of that nostalgic 80s theme of neon bike riding adventures with a dash of pop culture references. Lucky for you, Paper Girls, written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Cliff Chiang, will satisfy those craving while also giving you a unique story led by a diverse team of paper girls. The story follows four characters, two of whom are POC, on their paper route where they encounter issues with neighborhood boys, police, and the inevitable presence of paranormal mystery.
- Snot Girl
Chances are you’re familiar with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics which are enjoyable classics, but with his new story Snot Girl, O’Malley decided to integrate more of his own identity into the narrative. Snot Girl, written by O’Malley and drawn by Leslie Hung, follows Lottie Person, a colorful fashion blogger who behind the screen suffers from self doubt and severe allergies, thus snot girl. Being mixed race himself, O’Malley told NBC News (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/why-scott-pilgrim-creator-bryan-lee-o-malley-s-future-n608821) that “”Every character I write from now on, every protagonist in all my books is going to be mixed,” making Lottie half Japanese and half Swedish. Snot Girl is a fun, unique, and surprisingly dark read and is definitely worth checking out.
- The Wicked + the Divine
The Wicked + the Divine is everything you didn’t know you needed. Co-created by Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen, this story has a unique premise, which simply put by the comic itself is “Every 90 years 12 gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead.” Not stated is that most of these gods are visually probably some of your favorite musicians — Lucifer is a female David Bowie, Kanye West is now Baal, Rihanna is a warrior goddess, Prince symbolizes the goddess of love, fertility and war, and so on. This comic is filled with diversity among race, gender, and sexuality which is much needed within popular media.
To end on a lighter note than most of the plots of my previous recommendations, Lumberjanes is the refreshing, light hearted story we all need to read. Giving off an Adventure Time mixed with The Goonies vibe, Lumberjanes is a female-written and female-led story that follows a diverse group of girls at camp. This is a story about friendship, adventure, and bravery between a group of girls that vary in race, sexuality, gender expression and is led by the extremely well written trans character, Jo. This story is something we rarely see, but is something we really need which is why you should pick it up and go on the adventure yourself!