5 Black comic book creators, 5 views of this superhero age

Writer on “Judge Dredd,” “Transformers” and “Mr. Miracle”

Brandon Easton stands behind a bookcase. Comics atop the case include "Truth & Justice" and "Transformers Galaxies."

Comic book and TV writer Brandon Easton, at the Comics Factory in Pasadena, says a renaissance is underway for Black independent creators.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

On the industry: There’s less reluctance now to hiring proven creators of color in this industry. It wasn’t always that way. There was a time when only TV writers and film writers like Reginald Hudlin and Dwayne McDuffie were even able to get close.

The indie scene has always had a lot of Black creators. It’s just that they don’t have the marketing budget that Marvel or DC or any of the other bigger companies have. So, right now, there’s a continuing renaissance that’s been going on since the early 2000s of Black independent creators. That’s where a lot of the creativity and a lot of the excitement can be found.

There’s been significant movement forward pretty much since the release of the “Black Panther” movie. It was a watershed moment for Black creators specifically. It showed the powers-that-be that having characters of color, specifically Black characters, can be financially profitable. Really the only thing that makes a difference in the world is money. Nobody cares about social responsibility and social justice. What they care about is the bottom line.

The evolution of Black superheroes: There’s a move to push Black superheroes away from crime. In the past, a lot of Black heroes were reformed pimps and reformed criminals. People like Luke Cage and even the Falcon, in the past, they were not decent human beings overall — they became heroes later. Now they can be just people who have powers. Regular people or a scientist — someone who wasn’t on the wrong side of the law. It’s a societal shift, not just in comic books, where characters aren’t just crime-based anymore. Overall, when you get away from cop shows, you see a broader representation of Black people, and that’s filtered down to comics.

Influences: Guys like Dwayne McDuffie. Christopher Priest. People like Spike Lee and John Singleton. Bill Duke. Folks like that have been tremendously inspiring to meet because they were Black men telling Black stories that were not always rooted in Black pain and hostility.

Favorite character of color: Night Thrasher.



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