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Monday, July 19, 2004

The comics have a lot of catching up to do?

(No link, as it will expire)

The July 18th Baldo comic strip features the father character saying that by 2050, the majority of Americans will be people of color. Gracie responds "Looks like the comics have a lot of catching up to do."

Let me do a quick summary of the topics that are overrepresented and underrepresented in the comics today.

  • Business Life: Underrepresented.
Everyone works, but where are the comic strips dealing with humor in the office? Dilbert is a huge presence, but few other strips deal primarily with the workforce (On the Fastrack comes to mind). Cathy and Sally Forth, among others, address work life along with other topics.

  • Ethnic groups: Underrepresented.
I agree. There are few comics focusing on a group of minority characters as the main focus, although there are minority characters in most strips. There's a big dearth of any non-minority ethnicities: I can't think of any strips focusing on a white family for whom their Irish or Swedish or German heritage is a main theme.

  • Families: Represented.
A large number of comic strips deal with families. Many people are part of families now, and almost everyone grew up in one

  • Historical Times: Overrepresented.
We all live in the present, but strips set in past times, such as Hagar the Horrible and Prince Valiant, are still on the comics page.

  • Kids: Represented.
Like families, many people have kids, and we all were kids once. We can all relate to these strips.

  • Special Interests: Way Underrepresented.

In the world of webcomics, you can find techies, gamers, and many other special interests. On the main comics page? The closest thing is the obsessions of Jason Fox and friends. Why, in a world with thousands of interests, don't we see any on the comics pages?
  • Talking/Intelligent Animals: Way overrepresented.
In the real world, there are no talking animals, or animals displaying human levels of intelligence. Yet they're all over the comics page! What's up with that?

..........

I hope this discussion will lead you to consider how silly the issue raised my Mr. Cantu and Mr. Castellanos is. I would prefer the comics be funny, more than they be an accurate reflection of America. I bet most people agree. That's why comics are focused on entertaining large audiences!

On the other hand, if you really want to do something about the lack of diversity on the comics page, why don't you question the inability of editors to retire comic strips? Even if the creator quits or dies, the strip continues with a new artist. Blondie will go on forever, at this rate, preventing a new strip with a diverse view from taking its place.

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