Scott McCloud’s chapter Big World the Battle for Diversity from his book, Reinventing Comics, concentrates on three of the twelve revolutions. These revolutions in comics are gender balance, minority representation, and diversity of genre. First, McCloud discusses females in the comic world. He claims, “The history of gender imbalance in comics is one of the most striking examples of comic’s squandered potential” (100). It is difficult for females to break out into the comic industry, and they usually work way more and harder than everyone else. What many do not know is that females have been a part of comics for a long time, but they were not mainstream. For example, women created comics during the 50s when the men went to fight in World War II. McCloud believes that in order to achieve gender balance there must be more female comic creators, more comics read by females, and more female comic characters. Second, McCloud discusses ethnicity, class, religion, and sexual orientation. McCloud claims, “Clearly it’s foolish to say that no member of one “group” should ever write about another. Fiction positively requires us to venture beyond the world of our experiences” (106). Most creators and characters in comics are white males. Writing about other ethnicity's or sexual orientation’s is not common because the creator does not have appropriate credibility and experience. Minority representation is in worse shape than gender balance. Third, McCloud discusses the over popularity of superhero comics over other genres. Crime fiction comics have outstanding work, but they just do not gain market presence. Romance comics face hostile market presence and have a difficult time to reach the audience. The impact World War II made on comics is still going strong. Since then, superhero comics remain the dominate genre. Also, the sales in superhero comics are higher than any other genre, which keeps them popular to the public. McCloud claims, “A conscious examination of these tendencies can help artists break out of their box, but the greatest progress will come from the same sources it always has; the individuals efforts of artists with a vision too strong to be contained” (124). A solution for the diversity of genre in comics will be up to the creators and artists solve.
I very much enjoyed reading this chapter. Realizing how much discrimination against genders and prejudice towards other ethnicity's are involved in comics is just shocking! As a female, I consider it extremely offensive for women to not be given equal rights as men in the comic work place. World War II portrays that females are fully capable being creatively successful in the comic industry. Seeing more color in comics would be more appealing, there are just as much people of color than average white males in the world. I truthfully feel that solving diversity of genre is too far in the future, I once had this perception that comics and superhero’s go together. So, when comics can expect other one for who they are, then maybe the public will openly welcome comics a whole lot more.
29 March 2011
There are three big topics here in this reading. These three range from Diversity of Genre to Minority Representation and Gender Balance. For starters, Minority Representation talks about all the different races that help to influence comics. When comics first came out a lot of the white writers would try to come up with interesting storylines for their characters but found it rather difficult. So, they looked into the current "problems" that diverse groups like minorities were having because it seemed to be something that more people could connect with. Gender Balance is what the different genders have brought to the world of comics. It first started as something that only the men or boys would do and very often, people didn't talk or even mention women comic artists. And now, they're bringing a whole different perspective on their work which allows for complete different audience. More women can now read comics than before due to the fact that they can have similar ways of thinking, situations, interests etc. Women help to bring the female readers out of the shadows and into the light. Diversity of Genre is pretty self explanatory. Different types of Genres sell better than other types. Some people may like one more type than another and therefore that genre will sell more than the others.
It seems like McCloud keeps bringing in new subjects to talk about when discussing comics. Nothing really seems to get past him like everyone else. I would never really even thought of women being comic book writers. This isn't because I'm sexist or I discriminate against a different type of people but because its something that really isn't what I've come to think about. And this is what McCloud wants to do. He wants to show the world that everyone can become part of the comic industry and part of a comic themselves. One thing about this, it has lead me to want to research the women behind the scenes of comics.
Big World The Battle for Diversity one of the many chapters in Scott McClouds book Reinventing Comics The Twelve Revolutions. In this chapter three of revolutions are the main focus, and they all have the same theme; diversity. Diversity is one of the main focuses in this chapter. It talks about diversity within comics. And how it expands the boundaries of comics. The three revolutions discussed are Gender Balance, Minority Representation, and Diversity of Genre. The first one is all about women and how they have changed comics. McCloud talks about when he was younger he didn't even know about women comic artists. He also discusses the fact that the comic world was like an all boys club. But now and then woman have changed comics by adding different styles and also come out with some common traits of comics. Gender balance also goes with the consumer. The balance of men and women reading comics. If both sexes read comics, then that means that comics will expand and become more popular.
Minority representation is all about the different races that are getting involved in comics. And how all races are represented in comics. This part of the chapter is about how back in the day white writers would try and make comics that had to do with issues in the black community. In this time they also started coming out with superhero's that were of different ethnicity's. This isn't only about race...but about sexuality. Back when comics were first being established it was not really common for people to write about people of color or about someone who was gay. McCloud writes "when writing about a social or physical condition which is a minority experience, members of that minority will have an advantage to portraying it." By writing comics about problems within a minority it makes things easier for other people to understand. It also gives comics a more diverse group of readers.
Diversity of Genre is the key to the other previous revolutions discussed. In this definition McCloud uses genre to define a broad category of fiction or nonfiction. He discusses the different genres that can be established through comics. He also discusses how some genres sell better than others or how they are more popular. Genres are all different when it comes to comics. This is why the potential for comics is limitless. These three revolutions show how comics can expand and become big! They all go hand and hand. And with one another they allow expansion of the comic community. Their are so many possibilities.
I think that this chapter in Reinventing Comics was very informative. It really made me see how the involvement of everyone and anyone is important to the expansion of comics. Without getting noticed by different people then comics will stay sheltered. Diversity allows comics to expand in all directions. I also liked this chapter because, it is important to recognize woman and their contribution to comics. It isn't just an "boys club"! Woman have different ideas and able to throw out some new ideas about styles of comics. They change things up. Without diversity comics will never become popular. I think that is why McCloud makes it the main theme of this chapter.
28 March 2011
It is all about variance in Scott McCloud's Big World: The Battle for Diversity. McCloud focuses on three of the "twelve revolutions" in which he sees have the most potential to expand comics. These three revolutions are: 7) Gender Balance, 8) Minority Representation, and 9) Diversity of genre. These revolutions stem from the similar idea of trying develop comics to reach out to more readers. Broadening comics using these three revolutions would "Expand the boundaries of the medium in all directions"(McCloud 96). Diversity is hard for comics to obtain because "active readers of comics in North America is below 500,000 people"(McCloud 97). McCloud assumes that diversity will change this issue. McCloud believes that "if comics could successfully deliver a more diverse product, then its chances of earning a more diverse audience would be improved"(98). McCloud then goes on the to explain what issues are holding back his revolutions. McCloud begins by explaining the issues facing revolution number seven (Gender Balance). The comic industry has an imbalance in gender because females have had limited job opportunity. Even if females did get an opportunity to write comics, there opportunities stayed small. Also, in order for women to make a leap in comics, peoples mind set has to change. In the 70's, the idea of a female making comics was bizarre. Even comics made for girls were produced by men. Even though when have been oppressed, females have been making comics for a long time. Women made comics during World War II, but when soldiers came back home, women lost their jobs. Even by this oppression, women have been able to pass on their traditional ideas to future generations of female writers. The eighth revolution McCloud assumes will lead to diversity is minority representation. A big issue surrounding this topic is prejudice. McCloud explains that "white men" have been trying to represent minorities in comics, but McCloud feels that minority writers have an advantage in portraying their own experiences. Through the 70's, white writers have tried to give a voice to African-Americans, but have come up with mixed results. McCloud explains how minority writers broke past the "Superhero" stereotype of comics and introduced works such as Ho Che Anderson's King, Love and Rockets by The Hernandez Brothers, and Maus by Art Spiegelman. McCloud then explains the ninth revolution which he says is the "key result of our two previous revolutions" (111). The ninth revolution is the diversity of genre. McCloud explains that the only way to get diversity of genre is to have diversity of gender and minority. One of the main issues holding back diversity of genre are writers dwelling on superheros. This has changed in the early 90's when genres such as autobiographical and naturalistic fiction became popular. Even genres including erotic comics, crime fiction, and romance fly under the radar. McCloud then uses the example of Batman in 1939 to show how popular genres change because in 1939, the detective genre Batman represented was popular. McCloud does a good job of explaining how these three revolutions are key to diversity. McCloud also give a good interpretation of how selling comics works. McCloud explains that "Only buyers of comic A will see comic B, thus this is when the market for comic B begins"(116). The only warning he says that comic B should not try to mimic comic A. McCloud also gives his opinion on how comics seem destined to write about superheros. McCloud gives a good example of how superheros are already represented better in movies and video games, so comics need to move to different genres to "move forward." McCloud has good reasoning to believe that diversity is the key for comics to grow.