During a #Bizzarochat Twitter Q & A last Friday celebrating the release of Heath Corson’s Bizarro #1, geek feminist account Femmes in the Fridge asked if the six-issue, all-ages series would prominently feature characters of color, to which the account replied “Bizarro is grey, so I hope you’re counting him.”
Corson was answering a large portion of the questions “in character” as Bizarro, the grey-skinned duplicate of Superboy, and he later replied to Femmes in the Fridge with a sincere clarification:
Although I appreciate Corson eventually answering seriously and understand that the initial tweet was “just as a joke” (and that the pressure of Twitter Q&As doesn’t necessarily foster thoughtful responses from creators), equating Bizarro with people of color does not reflect well on DC’s recent self-proclaimed diversity.
Earlier this month DC launched DCYou, an ad campaign with an emphasis on diversity in post-Convergence titles; and although simple acknowledgement of the need for representation was refreshing, critics pointed out that the creators and characters highlighted by DCYou were still overwhelmingly white and male.
For many, the campaign seemed to be DC touting itself as diverse without really considering why representation is important or how to diversify characters positively, and the “what about Bizarro??!!!” joke just lends weight to those concerns–promising “a story for every kind of DC Comics fan” in one breath loses weight when you jokingly dismiss a legitimate and specific question about diversity with the other.
It’s especially upsetting that the writer behind an all-ages comic series appears to not grasp the importance of young readers being able to see themselves on a page (and that DC might not understand the implications of equating people of color with a character created to exemplify freakishness).
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