I have never been a comic book person. Sure I’ve picked up an issue here and there, but overall the medium isn’t something that I’m really into. A lot of the time when I am clicking around the internet I come across random news from the comic book world. The other day, through a string of Wikipedia articles I came across a character I had never heard of, Jessica Jones. Jones is a character from a strip called Alias and she’s and in and out member of the Avengers from time to time. Jones has had a pretty rough life, like most comic book heroes and she’s been dealt a fair bit of heartache, including apparently getting beat nearly to death by Iron Man.
But the thing that made Jones stand out to me from other characters I see a lot of in other media is that Jones has a bi-racial child with Luke Cage. That’s just something you don’t see often in movies and shows, at least not ones where the whole plot isn’t centered around it. Bi-racial people are everywhere. We’ve got one for President here in this country and many celebrities: Lenny Kravitz, Derek Jeter, Freddie Prince Jr—are bi-racial. But it seems that a lot of mixed race couples are absent from most television shows and movies.
That got me thinking: Comic books have been a pretty progressive art form for a while now. Stan Lee and Marvel’s X-Men is basically a giant allegory for the Civil Rights movement. There are many gay characters, in fact DC plans to bring one of their long time heroes out of the closet here soon, and many things that are seen as too taboo are handled rather well in comic books from what I know of them.
While women haven’t always been presented in the best light, there have been chances for them to shine early on with them coming up to take center stage later on. There’s such a diverse array of heroes from diverse backgrounds that there’s enough there for anyone to find someone identify with in more than one way.
As someone trying to make a book that accurately depicts a diverse group of women working to fight…well the forces of evil in general…it’s interesting to me to see how someone else is doing it. Though it’s not always handled perfectly, you have to applaud them for trying to be progressive in a way that most people shy away from.