Marvel Comics has a history of supporting some of the most iconic moments in comic diversity.
In 2018, Marvel added Angélique Roché’s blog Marvel’s Voices to the mix. This February, Roché’s blog has been expanded into a series of essays that are available on the Marvel Comics website, as well as an anthology that will be released in your favorite local comic shop on February 19.
There is an artistry to comics that was and is not now truly appreciated. When done right, comics enables the artist to put the reader into situations and conditions outside of their own experience. This has allowed the exploration of racism through the mutant hate in the X-Men titles, as well as the acceptance of LGBTQI+ relationships through Northstar, America Chavez, Angela’s paramour Sera, and the re-imagined Bobby Drake.
The anthology explores various aspects of people of color’s relationship with and love for comics. The perspectives reflect the diversity of the community, and the accompanying one-shots seem to shotgun that experience all in one place. The one-shots run the gamut from reintroducing lesser known heroes of color like Blue Marvel to some nice frames from legends like Brian Steelfreeze or an introduction to the technical origins of some awesome comic tech.
There was a time when many industries, including the comic industry, starting censoring content. Despite the current campaign against censorship, the idea of promoting decency is not a bad one. What was a problem was the whitewashing of some things under the veil of decency. While some of us long for a conversation about everyday things that doesn’t include nine expletives, there is the question of right to individual exploration that is a hallmark of art. The recognition of the contributions of and by people of color and the enjoyment of that artistry is the benefit of the removal of those overbearing prescriptive requirements. Inherent to an appreciation of art is that not every piece of art speaks to every person. The anthology provides the opportunity to explore a range of experiences and stories, which may not appeal to all but there is enough content for most people to find some piece of themselves in it.
As we bring the only month dedicated to people of color and the shortest month in the Roman calendar, there is an opportunity to explore a little. Marvel Voices, both the podcast the anthology, is one of the most recent ways to honor the work of Black artists, writers, and even scientists. While we are not at the mountaintop yet, this offering moves us up the slopes a little more. The last essay by David Betancourt about “seeing Ourselves” will be posted on the Marvel website on February 19, the same day the anthology is released.
E.Angel is an engineer and holds a BS in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. In her spare time, she works at her comic book stores — Brainstorm Comics and Gaming — when she is not writing. She’s a real nerd who loves all things Star Wars and Star Trek and is an avid gamer. E.Angel can be reached at email@example.com or on either game platform as Bunnehs Sister.