“Come here, You’ve got a head you don’t need,” America Chavez, who is also know as Miss America, tells established Marvel Comics character Loki, the god of mischief.
Wearing short shorts, boots and American-flag-colored jacket, Chavez is yet another Latino moving to the forefront of a Marvel Comics franchise in Young Avengers Vol. Two Issue No. 1.
“People out there reading our comic books are of all sizes, creed and colors and it’s our responsibility to make them feel included,” Axel Alonso, editor in chief of Marvel Comics, told Fox News Latino (http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/sports/2013/02/06/latinos-breaking-into-comic-books/). “This is not some PC initiative, this is capitalism. This is about supply and demand.”
But this is not the first time a Latino has been given top billing. Just last year, the media was in a frenzy over Marvel’s decision to kill of their ultimate version of Spider-Man, Peter Parker, and replace the character with a half black, half Latino character named Miles Morales.
Alonso said, “For us the decision was about many things… One of the things was the joy of knowing that there would be a child out there who would see Spider-Man peel back that mask to see a different face and a face that resembled their own.”
Diversity is making its way into the comic book world, and Marvel Comics has been at the forefront of this change by including scenarios and characters that reflect the changing face of America.
While black characters have evolved over time in comic books – including Luke Cage, from a blaxploitation background to what Alonso calls “hip-hop cool” – Latino characters have usually been relegated to smaller side characters, but that trend has changed in recent years.
“If you took us back 10 years, you see that there has bee a sea change,” said Frederick Aldama, an arts and humanities professor at Ohio State University who has written about Latinos in comics. “These guys are smart. Yes, there are dollars involved but on the other hand they are very attuned to the fact that the Latino demographic is larger.”
The other of the “big two” comic book publishers, DC Comics, had also added Latinos to their roster.
“We should be in all of the different kinds of formats,” said Aldama. “We’re appearing everywhere the superhero books as well as the independent and the biographic.”
Aldama credits a growing number of Latino writers and artists for the new Latino influence, as well as key players in editorial positions in these companies. This includes Alonso, whose father is Mexican. “I think they are very responsible in what they are doing,” said Aldama.
As for change in the comic book landscape and whether or not Latinos will catch up, Alonso says the evolving audience is ultimately responsible. “I think that Latinos have been underrepresented in comic books and I think that’s changing rapidly,” said Alonso.