The Associated Press talks to Joe Quesada and several other comics folks about the Santerians, a Latino comic book team whose powers are derived from the Afro-Caribbean religion of santeria. The group made an appearance in Daredevil:Father and are currently the subject of an exhibit at the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in Manhattan. Next year, they’ll be getting their own series:
Quesada writes of the Santerians in a statement for the exhibit that he hoped they would reflect “a more modern and accurate representation of the contributions Latinos from across the spectrum are making in our world today.”
The idea of representing diversity has had a contentious history in comics. “Superhero fans are very conservative in their likes and dislikes,” said Matt Brady, editor-in-chief of Newsarama.com, a popular comic book Web site. He said attempts to bring greater diversity to comics have often been met with skepticism.
When the modern-day superhero comic book was invented in the 1930s, the characters were white, reflecting the ethnicity of their creators.
By the early 1970s, comics were reacting to the civil rights movements and other changes in society by introducing characters more reflective of a pluralistic society. For instance, Marvel comics introduced Hector Ayala as the White Tiger and T’Challa, the heir to an African dynasty, as the Black Panther.
In addition to Quesada and that Brady guy, they also spoke with Midtown Comics co-owner Gerry Gladston and Marvel executive editor Axel Alonso. Read more about the exhibit, which runs through July 30, here.