When the word "superhero" comes into most people's minds, we've traditionally pictured a white, able-bodied man in a spandex costume, saving his city. That norm is quickly changing and here are some examples of that change.
1. The increase of superheroes of color
While their movie counterparts are still dominated by white people, comic books have become more and more racially diverse. There has been a small percentage of POC superheroes for quote sometime now, but comic book makers are coming out with a whole slew of new characters who are racially diverse. As a Filipina, I was over the moon when I heard about Marvels newest superhero, Wave. There are almost no Filipino superheroes in mainstream comic books, so I hope that Wave will eventually make her way to the MCU!
2. Disabled superheroes exist
This isn't a well-known fact, but some of your favorite superheroes are disabled. There are superheroes who are blind, paralyzed, deaf, have learning disabilities, etc., but it doesn't stop them from fighting the bad guys! A good number of disabled superheroes rely on their disabilities as their superpower or to increase their abilities. I think that it's important to show that being a superhero isn't just something that is exclusive to able-bodied people.
3. Move over princesses, little girls are now looking up to superheroes
I'm not saying princesses are being abandoned entirely, but I've seen more little girls running around the toy section of Target, waving around action figures and superhero masks. I'm kind of jealous because I certainly didn't get to do that when I was their age. With the increase of women in crime-fighting roles, it's easy to see why a younger generation of girls is becoming more interested in superheroes. It's empowering to see that these female characters can be confident leaders with the ability to defend themselves from danger, not waiting for a guy to save them.
4. The new age of superheroes is LGBTQA+ and proud!
Alongside the rise of new POC superheroes also comes the rise in openly queer superheroes. There has been a history of queer superheroes, but almost none of them are mainstream or their queer identity is not widely known. Many younger superheroes are being written as queer and maybe it's a reflection of how younger generations are more open about their sexuality?
I think that this increase in diversity across all matters is something that our society needs and has needed for a long time. Being able to see a strong character who also shares a similar background to you is inspiring and is a reminder that you can be just as strong and confident as your favorite superhero!
- Comics in Culture: The Shaping of Diversity in DC Comics ›
- 5 LGBTQ Web Comics For Beginners ›
- How Black Panther Got The Strong Female Character Right ›