Black Panther broke down barriers last year when it hit theaters, earning a billion dollars at the box office and landing a best picture nomination for the 2019 Oscars. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was another film that received critical praise after successfully introducing a Black Spider-Man to the masses. However, despite all the recent success of these two Black-led superhero films, comic book writers of color are still scarce across the medium.
While representation within the comic book world at large has improved, there’s still a lot of room for growth within the industry. Just three years ago, Marvel Comics credits were overwhelmingly white-only 6% of their loans were Black. The same circumstances go for DC Comics (1%) and Image Comics (4.6%) as well.
Since there are still very few Black comic book creators, it’s important to highlight those who have made it. Check out a few of the successful Black comic book creators who have made a name for themselves within the industry.
Priest was the first Black editor and writer in the comic book industry. Throughout his prolific career, one which spans over three decades, he has written for Marvel, DC, and Valiant Entertainment. Priest has scribed for iconic characters like Black Panther, Deathstroke, Green Lantern, and the Justice League. He continues to be a significant voice in the comic book industry today, consistently pushing for more diversity.
Before entering the comic book industry, Coates was already a well-known journalist and best-selling author. Coates would later add comic book writer to his resume when he took over Marvel Comics’ Black Panther in 2016. Since then, Coates has scripted various Black Panther spin-off titles and recently tackled Captain America.
In 1993, McDuffie founded Milestone Media with other African-American writers; they would go on to become one of the most successful minority-owned comic book companies. Under Milestone, McDuffie helped create Black superheroes such as Static, Icon, and Hardware. McDuffie also created the animated Static Shock television series and wrote several other animated superhero shows during his career. McDuffie will forever be considered one of the most successful black comic book creators in history thanks to his dedication to bringing diversity into the world of comic books.