January 6, 2013

DC Comics Diversity: Katana and Vibe

With two new series that are set to debut in February, DC Comics shines the spotlight on two ethnic characters. Popular heroes Katana and Vibe lead the charge for diversity in 2013. [UPDATE]

[Article has been updated: October 2013]

The rumblings have always been there regarding diversity among comics and the various characters that fill their respective universes, some say not enough is being done and others say, give it time, change is coming. In my 20 years of reading comics, the latter has certainly rang true. Following the creation and debut of the first Arab-American Green Lantern, DC Comics will launch two new series, Katana and Vibe, which are being headlined by two ethnic characters. Both had their debuts and heydays in the 1980s and though Katana has had some recent adventures, the characters have their impact in the animated/cartoon arena as well.

Long a member of Batman's unique family of characters such as The Outsiders and Birds of Prey, Katana's new series will be helmed by none other than acclaimed writer Ann Nocenti (Green Arrow, Daredevil).  Katana is also a founding member of the upcoming Justice League of America series as well. Joining her will be Vibe as part of this new team as well. Vibe's own series will be written by Andrew Kreisberg with contributions by Geoff Johns.

Both characters have also landed impressive appearances on Saturday mornings as part of the DC Nation programming.  Vibe was seen in his own short animated stints while Katana is expected to be part of the upcoming Beware The Batman animated series. Having these characters starring in their own series, was inevitable and DC Comics deserves some recognition for this effort.  While the number of books published featuring ethnically diverse characters starring in their own series has been relatively minor, the double dose of diversity heralded by these books is a welcome start.

[UPDATE: October 2013]

Both series were cancelled in 2013.

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