The Year in Comics Wasn’t Black Enough, But Still Beautiful

The industry may have had a rough year, but there was plenty to celebrate

LEVEL Editors
LEVEL
Published in
13 min readDec 17, 2020

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Photo illustration; sources: Rouzes/Getty Images, DC Comics, Marvel Comics

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As with most things in 2020, comics got weird this year. The industry nearly became another casualty of the pandemic, with most series beset by months-long shipping delays. The world of sequential art faced its own #MeToo reckoning this summer as multiple prominent men were accused of sexual misconduct. All the while, creatives and publishers alike tried to more accurately reflect the diverse consumers the big companies have always said they’re trying to reach. Yet, despite the many obstacles, there have been some truly remarkable achievements worth celebrating. As the resident comics heads at LEVEL, we convened over Zoom to discuss N.K. Jemisin’s brilliant Far Sector, how Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men grapples with race, Marvel’s Miles Morales, and the rest of this wild, unforgettable year in comics.

Tirhakah Love and David Dennis, Jr.

Tirhakah Love, staff writer: This year in comics was kind of weird, man.

David Dennis Jr., senior staff writer: Yeah. It was a weird one. I was reading a wide swath of stuff, and in the last couple years I trimmed down for a lot of reasons. One, my wife made me stop collecting physical comics around the house, so I’m on, like, ComiXology; reading on the screen has been a little bit more difficult. Some of it has gotten stale. And I’m just more cognizant of where the Black voices are in these things. Like who’s actually talking to me and why am I reading this? Then, they had their #MeToo moments, you know? Warren Ellis, who was my favorite, is now persona non grata.

TL: Bro. That broke my heart. Maybe the comic world is a little different in publicity around this type of stuff, but I did not know that at all until you told me recently. I was just like, the coldest one alive? The coldest comic book writer alive right now turns out to be a complete asshole?

DD: A lot of the comic book places are tied into the media companies. So it was mostly a Twitter thing and a lot of people coming forward on social media. There…

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