Comic books, since their existence have always been the staple way of entertaining a diverse audience. Often stereotypically associated with geeky white boys, the surge of comic books turned TV/ films has encouraged a new audience to discover the magic of this pop-phenomenon. It’s an exciting time in the entertainment industry, as this genre is an avenue with endless possibility!
I have always had a love an admiration for comic books. Sneaking into my older brother’s room at the age of 8, I was obsessed at marveling at their Marvel collections (excuse the pun…lol) The fresh smell of those glossy covers entrenched in vivid, bright illustrations, it was exciting to cast my eyes on pages which stole my imagination and awkwardness from me and placed them into other worldly characters. The stories were always compelling and entertaining but also taught me to embrace my differences, my quirks and celebrate them.
Every child goes through a stage where they feel like they don’t belong, some more than others due to societal prejudices of race, class and financial means. There are people who don’t relate to a western ideal of ‘normal.’
Reading about the X-men, and learning about the constant inner turmoil’s the character’s experienced made me feel like I was a part of something. It was interesting to try to understand why some ‘mutants’ chose to destroy the human race and why some chose to preserve it. I mean, saving a species of people who don’t understand you nor care about you, yet fear you………..for a lot of readers hits home and for me it was not an escapism but a reflection of my reality.
These modern day fables hold a magnify glass to the flaws which make us humans. This is why I love the surge of comic book films and TV shows. It provides us with the reality check and an appreciation of our lives. Most importantly, the beauty of comic book dramas is that they give space and room for casting to be diverse and to go beyond stereotypes, woman can be seen as the protagonists rather than servants to to male story and ethnic actors are not the token sidekick!
On that note I cannot wait to see the Black Panther movie. This is the first time that there is a black male lead in a story which centres from his perspective. Not a slave story with a white messiah, not athlete story of overcoming racism but a story of a brilliant tactician, strategist, scientist, of royal African descendent. The name Black Panther holds so many meanings within history but to me as that awkward black girl, the odd tomboy all those years ago who hid my love for comic books it means a skilled warrior, the King of the most important country on the planet in a marvel universe. A man who despite his challenges and setbacks realised that his love for his heritage and his people is what gives him the power to live another day.