Black-Owned Houston Comic Shop Creatively Reflects Its Community


 

KHOU-11 reported a few weeks ago about a new specialty shop opened in Houston, whose African-American managers try to reflect what the community is like in what they sell:

 

Every comic book store is unique in its own way, but co-owners Byron Canady and Sharmane Fury have brought something truly special to one of Houston’s oldest historically Black neighborhoods.

“We pride ourselves on reflecting the community that we are based in,” Canady said. “Being in Third Ward means our vibe is a little different. Our aesthetic is a little different. Even some of the comics and other items that we carry are a little different than other comic book stores in and around Houston.”

The shop is stocked with works starring or written by artists of Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native American heritage. They also promote Houston-area comic book creators, such as ‘Becky’ writer Lane Fobbs.

“If you have been othered in our country, it hits different when you see yourself reflected on the cover of something that has been a part of pop culture for generations,” Canady said. “It feels very empowering and affirming to see yourself as the main character, saving the day, saving the universe, and pushing the narrative.”

Representation, not appropriation, has been a familiar cry in the comic book community for generations. In recent years, publishers have set out to correct decades of marginalized and stereotyped characters of color, creating more opportunities for women and those of diverse backgrounds.

“Creating this space for anyone that’s ever felt othered, that’s incredible,” Canady said.

 

If they believe in creating new characters and series, yes, that’s the ideal way to go, and not to race/gender swap existing white characters, or forcibly change their sexual preferences. However, they also cite somebody who’s worked with the mainstream, and on some politically motivated projects:

 

Gulf Coast Comics also highlights female creators like artist Afua Richardson, who has been recognized by the industry for her work with Marvel and DC. She is most famous for her contributions to the Wonder Woman and Back Panther series, as well as Marvel Black Voices and Marvel Indigenous Voices.

“It’s a true fact that a lot of our Black female artists and comic book readers don’t get enough attention. They just don’t,” Canady said. “For us, this is an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, y’all need to check these sistas out.'”

 

On that, it may do well to consider the MSM really doesn’t care about these SJW-themed products coming out of the mainstream, nor do they give a damn about the people involved, their backgrounds, or their level of talent. So what’s the point of these artists and writers working on books like Indigenous Voices, which was basically a politically motivated concept, especially if they happen to think that’s a great path to follow?

And if merit’s not prioritized, is it any wonder these 15-minute-of-fame stories make no impact? That’s why all involved would do better to avoid working on anything politically motivated if they see it coming miles away. And now that I think of it, complaints of appropriation are actually a more recent problem, stemming from the increasingly politicized direction entertainment’s been taking. So, why do they make it sound like it’s not so new?

 

Originally published here.


Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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