Welcome to the sixth month of March, formerly known as August! This week’s Afternoon Snack features reporting on racial issues within the comics industry, and some protest news from around the country.
This week, we learned about Black August, “a call for reflection, study, and action to promote Black liberation… ignited by the deaths of Jonathan and George Jackson in August 1970 and August 1971. Click through on the link for more history, and an expansive Black August reading list!
Last week, Bianca Xunise, longtime POME fave and the second Black woman to have nationally syndicated comic strip in the US, suffered immense backlash and censorship for her recent Six Chix cartoon, which jokingly called attention to the way that systemic issues affecting Black people are treated as personal problems. Xunise has mentioned on Twitter that she has several strips coming up dealing with race issues; we’d like encourage our POMEs to support Xunise’s work during what could become an especially trying time.
On Friday, Graeme McMillan reported on the response of the comics industry to the massive wave of abuse allegations that has recently taken place. Though steps have been taken to cut ties with the named abusers, the industry overall is still struggling with the difficulties of changing its predatory culture.
Business Insider reported on new diversity initiatives within Marvel Comics as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to demand progress not only in public life, but in all aspects of culture. (The article is behind a paywall, but you can read an Outline of it here.) The article extensively quotes Gabriel Beacham, who worked as an assistant editor for Marvel for three years on a $38,000 salary, without any promotions or raises. Though the article discusses how Marvel’s sales dipped during the late Alonso era, and picked back up after returning to a more white-centric character lineup, it does not elaborate on the LCBS pre-order system, which essentially makes retailers, not comics buyers, the main “customers” and drivers of sales.
In protest news, Seattle City Council votes today on proposals to cut the Seattle Police Department budget. This comes just a few days after Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed city council’s COVID relief spending plan, using the city’s emergency and “rainy day” funds. Portland protests continue, as federal agents have moved operations to other parts of the city, and protestors resume facing off against local police. In Austin on Saturday, 35 people were arrested without clear charges while demanding the release of protestors at the Travis County Jail and the Garrett Foster memorial.
To finish off with some good news: POME fave Power & Magic Press’s most recent Kickstarter campaign, MAÑANA: Latinx Comics from the 25th Century, is 93% funded, with over a thousand backers, giving us hope for the future of comics!