The New York Times looks at efforts by the two biggest superhero publishers to diversify their fictional universes by adding more minority characters.
The focus is on DC Comics, which, in the wake of Infinite Crisis, has introduced a Mexican-American Blue Beetle, a Chinese Atom, and now a Chinese superhero team and a lesbian Batwoman.
That’s right, The Times has the scoop on the “new” Batwoman, whom some readers thought might be former Gotham police detective Renee Montoya. Instead, the newspaper reports, this Batwoman will be a little of the old mixed with a little of the new: She’s still Kathy Kane — introduced in Detective Comics in 1956 — but now she’s a lesbian socialite who has a history with the hard-drinking Montoya.
Judging from the concept sketch, the new version has abandoned her traditional “utility purse,” charm-bracelet handcuffs and expanding hairnet for a more practical utility belt.
DC’s Dan DiDio said that because readers are often resistant to new characters, the companies are carefully linking fresh faces to “legacy” heroes.
More interesting, I think, is the Chinese government-controlled Great Ten, which has Grant Morrison’s name written all over it. Shaolin Robot, Accomplished Perfect Physician, August General in Iron, and Mother of Champions, “who can give birth to a litter of 25 super-soldiers about every three days”? That has to be Morrison.
The team is set to debut next month. (You can see character designs here.)
The newspaper also speaks to Marvel’s Joe Quesada, who spearheaded the creation of the Latina superhero Araña in 2004: “I do look at the universe with a different set of eyes, but I don’t let race enter or interfere with the story. There’s nothing worse than thinking, ‘We need three more black characters in the Marvel universe.’ ”
Writers Judd Winick and Reginald Hudlin are also interviewed. And Winick has a few words for those who complain about him pushing an agenda in his stories: “When I get gripes for my need to force my social agenda into comics, I always ask: which social agenda are you complaining about? Is it the gay people? Or the black people or the Asian people? After a while, it doesn’t look like a social agenda. This is the world we live in.”
Related: Dan DiDio tells Newsarama about the new Batwoman