Growing up, it always felt like the things I was deeply interested in and the things that had that good-good representation were always on two separate planes. Now, I wasn’t up here being one of those Black people who love to say they weren’t like other Black people. I’m pretty sure I happily consumed like 85 percent of the UPN sitcom lineup, and my family made it a point to see every Black movie in theaters because “we have to support.” In retrospect, I don’t know if we really needed to support Soul Plane like that, but dammit, we did.
Yet, I can’t deny there was always a lingering desire to be able to pick up a comic book, or watch a big-budget spectacle and see someone who looked like me. Well, to be specific, to see someone who looked like me make it to the end, and not get turned to fucking ash the first time the bad guy shows up. (Yes, I’m still mad 10 years later over how dirty X-Men: First Class did Edi Gathegi.)
As a grown-ass man in the year 2021 though, I don’t really have that problem at the moment. In fact, if you’re a Blerd like me, we’ve got more options than ever before.
When it comes to comics, I can’t remember any time that’s been as good as now when it comes to representation. Straight up, every week or at least every other week I have one or two books written by a Black author or featuring a predominately Black and brown cast.
One thing I was lowkey concerned about when reading N.K Jemisin and Jamal Campbell’s Far Sector, was that the Lantern they created, a Black woman by the name of Sojourner “Jo” Mullein, was going to be relegated to outside the mainstream. Turns out, that wouldn’t be the case at all.
In fact, the current ongoing Green Lantern series is written by Geoffrey Thorne, a Black man, and anchored primarily by all the Black and brown Green Lanterns. Jo’s already pulled up into the main series, John Stewart is the lead, with Keli “The Teen Lantern,” Quintela and Simon Baz all in the mix. It didn’t really hit me until reading this week’s issue where I realized: “Wow, the majority of this book’s cast is all Black and brown people.”
It’s really struck me in recent weeks just how much cool shit from Black creators I’ve been consuming. Just last week we had the final issue of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther run, a new issue of John Ridley’s The Other History of the DC Universe and The Next Batman: Second Son, and the phenomenal Bitter Root all drop. If those aren’t your bag, well luckily there’s Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom, Excellence, Black, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, and more that I’m probably not going to remember until you’re reading this.
Shoot, even freaking Milestone Comics is relaunching this month!
Comics ain’t your bag? Well luckily, we’re also seeing continued improvements in the aforementioned big budget spectacles. WandaVision lowkey was the origin story of Monica Rambeau’s (played by Teyonah Parris) evolution from soldier to superhero. Not only that, we’re gonna get to see her in all her super-powered glory in a Captain Marvel movie directed by Nia DaCosta, a Black woman.
If you followed my recaps, then you know that I mostly enjoyed what Falcon and the Winter Soldier did. Not only did we get a Black Captain America, it was very honest about how a Black Captain America would play to our very divided society. Also, let me say it again: We got a Black Captain America.
Loki is about to drop next week, and I know you’re like “But Joe, Loki is white.” Sure, but Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wunmi Mosaku ain’t, and signs are pointing to them being integral parts of that show, and if we’re lucky, the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large.
Not into movies? Well then how about anime? LeSean Thomas’s Yasuke launched on Netflix last month and goddamn does that show go hard. It’s a show that feels designed to scratch every Blerd itch possible. We got Black samurais, magical girls, and mech suits all colliding in Feudal Japan.
It may not be historically accurate, but goddamn does it kick all kinds of ass.
In addition to having all this great content, we also have a place like this where we can talk about it. Watching Falcon and the Winter Soldier was great, but talking with y’all in the comments about it, and seeing the side conversations you all would have made my little heart so happy. It was so cool seeing different generations of Blerds argue about the merits of Black Captain America, and how well the show did Isaiah Bradley compared to his comics interpretation.
We’re getting incredible stories from our perspectives across a multitude, and we have a place that just for us to talk about that content. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a blerd since I was 3-years-old with a towel on my neck, talking about “I’m Batman!” In the 28 years I’ve been in the game, I have to say, it’s never been better than now.