Webcomic Beacon #64: Cast Diversity In Your Comic

C.J. (Steal This Comic), Swankivy (Negative One), and Jinx Tigr (Tally Road) call in to talk with Fes, Tanya, and Mark about cast diversity.


Julie Sydor of Song of Straygo drew the cover for the show.

Milestones: ETI PI (100 updates), Eros Inc (100 comics), Faulty logic (100 updates), and House Pets (100 comics).

Thanks to George for recording the sites mentioned on the show:
The Webcomic List Forum DiscussionCooties, Webcomic Overlook, Sam and Lilah, Cheap Thrills, Furry MUCK, Zerbra Girl, Webcomic Wallpapers, Death Rythym Blues, A Year of Living Biblically

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Well, Fes IS from Minnesota. State Motto: “If We Were Any Whiter, We’d Have To Be A Canadian Province.” 😉

Like I should talk, though. I’m from Indiana! Although unless Minneapolis has changed drastically in the 12 years since I’ve visited, it’s still way whiter than Indy.

Yep, I afraid so.

There’s a lot of snow in Minnesota, New England, and Colorado… including us three flakes!


I think there were some good comments from the callers/chatroom, though.

I have to say I thought the show was very good and insightful, even from “three flakes”, this is coming from a black woman from Chicago who lives in a Mexican neighborhood and is having a black/swedish baby and has a best friend who is Chinese American. I think webcomics is a perfect medium to explore diversity because an artist is not bound by an editor or a publisher so an artist can dive deep into issues of diversity or not at all.

Well, while I tried to keep “diversity” as general as possible, it ended up going right to race… inevitable, I’m sure.

We had some good talk about male/female ratio too.

We’ll talk about other cultures and stuff (in webcomics) on the show again, for sure, but it will vary in approach and topic.

I’m not sure if I’d wanna do another “general” show again, though.

You guys did a good job with a pretty difficult topic. Like politics and religion, this is one of those areas where you’re inevitably going to offend SOMEBODY, no matter how hard you try not to, and no matter how general you try to keep it. (Like that TWCL forum thread…sheesh!)

Totally changing the subject here, but were you guys still thinking of doing a show about comics that are done by more than one person? I might try to call in on that one, if possible, with my thoughts on herding cats…er, I mean, working with an artist and a webmaster/editor. 😉

To sum up the topic, I can’t help thinking that the key point that has to be made, is that as artists and writers, it is our responsibility to do our characters justice, not just in their behaviors and manners, but to give them wholesome spirits, cultures and meanings to their actions. I don’t feel there’s a need to make a “power rangers”-style ethnic or cultural mixup, but casts that have characters that contrast or clash in some way that are written well can be most the most dramatic and exciting. (I should aim to do that!)

As an example from my own life, try writing a story set in a science lab with a 50 year old perverted biker, a goth who loves transformers, a materialistic Muslim girl, a strongly religious Jamaican girl, a lesbian bodybuilder and a guy called Ed who keeps breaking things!

Wow, I can’t believe I missed this one. As a half black/half hispanic webcomic creator (some of my readers were surprised to find out I was black! lol) when I created my comic one of the main things I wanted to put forward was cast diversity.

If you look at my lead cast you will see black, asian, native american and hispanic characters…set in a sci-fi/fantasy story with aliens, ghosts, werewolves, vampires and all sorts of supernatural and paranormal quirkiness… That’s just different. And it was a point I wanted to get across in my work. We’re all used to seeing the “status quo” of characters take on these types of situations but so long as I can work in the realm of fiction writing I want to give the world new, diverse heroes.

I can read into your comic nad say that “The Man in Black” represents “Whitey” and is clearly an antagonist 😛

Also, I’ll say that the comic look pretty good fo far… though I would probably have your actors open their mouths for speech 😛 It’s weird seeing closed mouths for 3 baloons of text 😛

I’ll add it to my “to read” list 😉

Hey! Thanks for the constructive criticism, I do understand where you are coming from — one of the quirks of the medium for sure.

And yes, the Men in Black being the bad guys cause they are white is one of the bad jokes that goes on between the cast behind the scenes. It’s funny because it was totally unintentional — I needed the MiB to be ambiguous for story purposes — but since the cast wasn’t white it looked like they just represented “The Man” trying to oppress them all. Sadness. Funny sadness.

But the cast are all a good fun bunch of folks. You can see them in this video talking about the comic and being in it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UwCcErzgH8

Have a great, safe week! And keep doing a great show!

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