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The War Cry comments on comics

The media has a responsibility to portray all ethnicities and genders fairly and responsibly

THOUSANDS of superhero fans will gather this weekend at London’s Excel centre for MCM London Comic Con.

In this week’s issue of The War Cry, Sergio Cariello talks about his career as a comic illustrator and his experiences at comic conventions. One observation he makes is the way the events have changed in the past half-century.

He explains how the conventions, which originally featured only comic books, now include films, video games and other entertainment-type businesses and how this change reflects popular culture.

There is another significant difference between the first comic cons and those being staged in 2018. The majority of the superheroes featured in the early days would have been white, western men. Slowly the superhero world is changing to include different genders and ethnicities, which was highlighted in this year’s box-office hit Black Panther.

Last week, Marvel announced plans to introduce a Muslim superhero, Ms Marvel, whose alter ego is Kamala Khan. The announcement prompted columnist Coco Khan to write on The Guardian’s website: ‘The world needs this movie. For far too long Muslims have been portrayed with suspicion … much-maligned and misunderstood.’

The media has a responsibility to portray all ethnicities and genders fairly and responsibly. Many of the fractures within our society are a result of suspicion born of one group of people not understanding another. It is not helpful if our media and entertainment industry perpetuate such problems.

We do not have to share someone’s faith or cultural practices – nor they ours – for us to be able to take steps to get to know them better and live in community with them. As surely as any superhero, we have the ability to save the world – or at least the part of it in which we live – from fear and suspicion. We can do so if we use our powers of understanding, tolerance and a willingness to see value in everyone.

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