Okay, it took me a minute to get all the categories together, but there are definitely more superheroes out there than the vast white, male landscape that we are accustomed to. These are just the heroes that we are accustomed to, the stories we’ve heard, and the heroes we’ve followed for a long time. But watch out! There are new and diverse heroes coming on the seen all the time, as this list hopes to show.
Lets highlight, showcase, and popularize some of the not so mainstream heroes! Okay, except Kamala Khan and Storm, who are already (or have been for some time) popular characters within Marvel. Here are some characters and comics that you may not even realize are out there and totally fit these categories.
(If you have despute with the fit of one or another, point it out respectfully and I’ll take a look and possibly replace it.)
Find a book starring a Lesbian Character
I know there are several openly gay characters in comics these days, but she was the first that I knew of. My brother was doing one of those challenges when you have to come up with a character who is similar to someone personality and when mine was Batwoman. He had said the biggest difference between us was that she was a lesbian and I am not. Not sure how true that is when it comes to her other characteristics, like I don’t fight crime, like at all, I’m not even a cop or anything.
You don’t get the Bat-anything without being a badass, though, so I’m sure I will love her to pieces once I read one of her comics.
Find a book with a Muslim protagonist
Um, I already love her to pieces. I was in love at the very concept of her and then she came out and has been so awesome ever since. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a negative review yet. I have seen some pretty awesome stuff about how her character has effected people and culture. I love the Mary Sue article, Why Kamala Khan Is The Most Important Superhero In The World and the whole Kamala Korps fandom as represented by the linked tumblr. I’ve thought about cosplaying her for Halloween or one of the Cons because I can get away with her complexion but I’m more than twice her age, soooo maybe no. Nevertheless, she’s a great character and revolutionizing Marvel.
Find a book set in Latin America
Okay, I may have cheated a little. I don’t know how much of this one actually takes place in Latin America, but one of the settings listed (according to this site) is Bogota, Columbia.
The volume doesn’t have the best reviews, but it’s worth a shot.
Find a book about a person with a disability
Oracle has been paralyzed in a prior issue after a fight with Joker when she was Batgirl and remains in a wheelchair. Not to be put out of the fight, she continues in this new persona to provide hacking and investigation behind the scenes to all the DC superheroes. This issue is after her disability and as she rises back to prominence in the universe as a new kind of hero.
Find a science fiction or a fantasy book with a POC protagonist:
Could there really be anyone else? Yeah, there are actually lots of female POC’s (and male) in the comic world. I wanted to pick a Marvel or DC character to remind everyone that these characters are in the major comics. This is one that most comic readers might say “yeah, obviously” and yeah, obviously. Why? Because she’s almost as big as the major characters that get all of their own movies and has rarely been excluded from an X-Men movie since it’s inception. That means she’s just as important as all the men and one of the few to get their own title series later on. That’s something that most of the X-Men never got, so don’t belittle her as character for her prominence in the genre. So, yeah, obivously and of course.
Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa
So I did consider just using a comic from one of the big publishers in the US that happens to have scenes in the US, but I had found Kwezi and am intrigued, and why use an American comic for this when I can highlight one that is actually produced by Africans, set in Africa and has an African protagonist? So, check out Kwezi!
(If you think I just didn’t find one from the two main comics producers in the States, you’re wrong. I had thought about using Super Friends #25 where Wonder Woman tries to liberate the women of Africa but Nubia steps in presumably to point out they don’t need Wonder Woman to save them, they can handle it.)
Find a book written by an Aboriginal or American Indian author
There may have been some other options, but I really had to stop on this one. Yes, it’s almost 20 years old and no longer available, but there is a reboot in the works, and that’s was why I this was definitely the one to showcase here.
For details on the reboot, check out their Facebook page: Tribal Force: America’s First All-Native Super Hero Comic
Find a book set in south Asia (India, Pakistan etc)
I originally had X-Men Unlimited #27 picked for this, but had a hard time confirming the location. Then I saw this! It’s a completed adaptation of Spider-Man to an Indian character. It’s intriguing.
There’s also a history of Indian comics that goes back to the 1960’s according to the Wikipedia page here.
Find a book with a Biracial protagonist
Quake is Chinese and American, which should not be confused with Chinese American. Her father is American, her mother is Chinese. It’s a little hard to find in the comic, and it’s not exactly corroborated, but the characters listed as her parents are Chinese and American. This was the same way her being biracial became apparent in the television show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It was a little annoying, having to find it this way, but it was great too, because they don’t make a big deal out of it. They just have a biracial character doing her thing, being on the team, kicking butt and occassionally joining the Avengers.
Find a book starring a transgender character about transgender issues
Okay, so this one is not so easy. There have been a string of sort-of trans characters in the major comic publishers, I believe the most notable is Xavin of the Runaways for Marvel Comics. However, changes is happening and more trans characters are coming about, they just aren’t heroes or starring in their own comics, not in the major publishers. However, I would like to take a moment to highligh this coming series where the title character is trans and mid-transition.
Given that the comic won’t be released until September, there’s no telling how well the character will be written, but according to this New York Times article it won’t fall into any of the faux pas that this Mary Sue article points out about the trans characters of the past.
I really enjoyed putting this tag together, even though it took far longer and more twists and turns than I anticipated. There are lots of superheroes, lots of kinds of heroes, and more coming out all the time. There are also way more companies making comics than Marvel and DC who start up and collapse, perhaps because we aren’t paying near enough attention to them. Perhaps. Maybe some have been leadership too. The point is that comic readers can look further Marvel and DC to see some read diversity. There are also far more countries making comics than the US, so check out a product from another country and maybe you’ll find something new and amazing. Seriously, how many times do we have to go through Batman and Spider-Man’s origin stories? Gag.