in which I throw up my hands

My mother works in elementary schools coordinating efforts to help struggling readers. She was speaking to a coworker about comics, who then sent her this email: “I realized that I would like to get some information from your son on comic books (graphic novels) for elementary level students with African American or Hispanic male characters.”

I honestly don’t know what to tell her. I can’t think of a single book.

Runaways, in which the only black male character is revealed to be an evil traitor and immediately killed?
–Kyle Baker? Am I supposed to ask struggling readers to wade through the often dense and flowery text in Nat Turner?
–The animated Justice League books? And just hope there are some stories with lots of Green Lantern in them?
–JP Stassen’s Deogratias? Waaaaay too intense.
–Will Eisner’s The Last Knight: An Introduction to Don Quixote? I don’t think so.
–Old Generation X, if it were in print and if it weren’t of wildly unreliable quality.
–I don’t think the hero of Rocketo is meant to be Hispanic, though its creator Frank Espinosa certainly is. Unfortunately, his writing is not easy to read.

This is terrible. I wish I could ask Joe Quesada why his company provides nothing for an eight-year-old boy who wants to see somebody with dark skin like himself.

Of course, hardly anybody is providing anything for eight-year-olds at all…

EDIT: Some research has turned up Satchel Paige, about the baseball player. But it’s labeled “10 and up,” I think.

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Leigh Walton talks comics and maybe other arts. (RSS)
He also works for the very excellent publisher Top Shelf Productions (which does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions, etc, herein).

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Header by me. Contains an interpolation of the final panel from All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Speaking of which.

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