There’s been a great deal of debate about the comic industry’s handling of diversity in its comics and characters, and a new study indicates how important that issue is to readers.
Superhero fans in recent years have seen an uptick in female heroes and heroes of color spotlighted in more comics, but there is opposition from some circles that say things are changing too much. In a new survey from GeekWrapped, 990 superhero comic and film fans were asked about their sentiment towards superheroes’ races and ethnicities, as well as how well they believed those heroes reflected them and what they preferred they look like. The results were interesting, to say the least.
Take for instance the first poll, which shows what percentage of that surveyd want superheroes (by character) to stay the same ethnicity or race. At the top of the list is Black Panther, with 60.3% not wanting him to change, followed by Thor at 51.7%. After that, though it drops sizably, with characters like Superman (41.5%), Captain America (40.1%), Iron Man (35.4%), and Wonder Woman (34.6%) showing fans aren’t necessarily tied to their current ethnicity or race.
Another chart shows that of four character categories (Races or Ethnicities, Histories, Story Arcs, and Behaviors), Races or Ethnicities is the least important in terms of consistent comic book screen adaptations, while Behaviors leads the pack. When adapting from the source material, that stat suggests that a variety of fans don’t really care if the character’s race is different, but want to make sure their personality still rings true from the comics.
As for representation, of the 990 surveyed only Caucasian fans seem to feel well represented by superheroes with a 4.3 score (out of 5). Black or African-American (2.4), Multiracial or Biracial (2.3), and Hispanic (2.2) all feel much less represented, while Asian or Asian-American fans feel the least represented at 1.7.