Illustration: Freddy Carrasco

Black Nerds Need a Producer Credit. Who Can Set That Up?

After a decade that saw comic-book movies and fantasy shows take over pop culture, we’re the ones calling the shots

David Dennis, Jr.
Published in
9 min readDec 27, 2019


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I was lucky to grow up a comic book fan.

My parents saw my early love of comic books — the way I’d hide out at the Waldenbooks in the first floor of West Jackson’s Metrocenter Mall while they shopped, the way I talked endlessly about storylines I’d written myself — and indulged it. Maybe one day they thought I’d eventually write comics for a living, or write about them, or something. Every Wednesday when new issues dropped, they would drive me to the comic book store in a neighboring town, and sit patiently in the car while I went inside and thumbed through the newest issues of X-Men and Batman. I went to that comic book store hundreds of times as a kid.

And I rarely, if ever, saw any Black people there.

This isn’t a unique story. Most Black nerds could tell you about how they felt like the only kids who had comic book collections — but not a lot of friends their age to talk about the books with. But this also isn’t one of those things about how…



David Dennis, Jr.

Level Sr. Writer covering Race, Culture, Politics, TV, Music. Previously: The Undefeated, The Atlantic, Washington Post. Forthcoming book: The Movement Made Us