So right, but so gross.
This week, Garth posted a tweet that read as follows:
“Has a comic about a non-white woman in a STEM career who kicks ass. Why do I feel so gross even thinking of promoting it like that?”
To be clear, Garth is not saying he finds the idea of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers gross. If he did, he would not be working on STAR POWER. What he dislikes is the idea of promoting our comic like that, and I totally agree with him.
Yes, Danica Maris is a non-white woman (if United Earth still had borders and separate nations, she would be from South America*) with a career in astronomy, but STAR POWER isn’t about that. It’s about space and science fiction adventure and heroism, and it just happens to have those other elements. Going out of our way to emphasize those elements, to make it seem like our decisions to be progressive in our storytelling are the major draw of the comic, would make us feel gross.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re very proud of the decisions we made with our Human cast members. We’re proud to have a superhero comic featuring non-white women characters in lead roles (Danica and Dr. Brightman) who also have successful STEM careers, and many people have expressed their gratitude to us for doing so. But if we were to repeatedly point out those choices it would make us feel like we were bragging or pandering. In my mind, no matter what words we actually used, it would only sound like this: “Check us out! We’re two white men writing a superhero comic and look how progressive and open-minded we are! Our superheroine is a non-white woman in a STEM career who kicks ass! You should totally be impressed by our storytelling choices.”
We believe in showing, not telling. We made those choices, put the story in motion, and hoped people would notice those choices and appreciate them. We want you to notice, but we don’t want to point them out. The fact that they are there should be enough. Hell, there’s a large part of me that feels dirty even writing a blog post about all this, like I’m doing exactly what I swore I would never do! But Garth’s tweet struck a chord with me and I wanted to share my feelings on the matter.
This was something we very much wanted to see in STAR POWER, but we very much did not want to make a big deal about it. We would feel like we were making this all about ourselves as opposed to our characters and our story, or like we added those elements not because we believed in them but because we were trying to impress people, and that would make us feel gross.
*Danica’s birthplace was revealed in bonus content in the print version of Star Power & The Search for Black Hole Bill.