William Satterwhite writes,
“Put some colored girls in the MoMA
Half these broads ain’t got nothing on Willona
Don’t make me bring Thelma in it
Bring Halle, bring Penélope and Salma in it
Back to my Beyoncés”
A little over a year ago friend and fellow comic creator, Greg Anderson-Elysee, wrote an interesting little article focusing on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Black romance representation in comics. I was pleased that my comic Stealth was included in Greg’s article because the entire premise is one that has long been close to my heart as a creator. While Greg’s article is well worth reading on its own, my main concern is keeping you here so I’ll give you a quick Cliff’s Notes version- there’s more bad and ugly than there is good and that is not good. We can do better though and I’d like to give a little insight into my own pursuit at doing just.
When readers finish reading their copy of Stealth #1 they will have been introduced to a wide array of characters but the two who end up getting the most screen time is the titular hero’s alter-ego Allen White, a young school teacher heading up a STEM magnet school program for inner city youth and intrepidly ambitious young reporter, Ashley Belle. While there are cues throughout, I’ll go ahead and spoil it for everyone that the two characters share certain bonds that go back to the original Stealth webcomic (hence my lack of concern over spoiling anything :)).
When first introduced in the original webcomic Ashley is the object of our hero Allen’s affections, the type of bright and beautiful young woman who often catch the eye of young male superhero types with one key difference- she’s a bright and beautiful young black woman who has the eye of a young black male superhero. During the lead up to the Spider-Man: Homecoming there was much made of the fact that the two female leads- Liz and “MJ”- were portrayed by black actresses.
It was, rightfully, considered cool to showcase how a black girl could be the fly girl that the hero chases after (even if every article I read I couldn’t help thinking of Dr. Dre’s “Been There, Done That” :)). Thing is though, as cool as it might be for that hero to be Peter Parker, it would mean even more on so many levels for it to be, say, Miles Morales. Even as we see more black superheroes in comics, movies and on TV, black male-female relationships are still lagging behind – so much so that the relationships shown in the Black Panther movie and Black Lightning TV show seem almost to be exceptions rather than the rule that they statistically are.
Due to the time jump that occurs between where the original Stealth webcomic leaves off and the new comic series picks up, there is much to be revealed about the extent of the relationship between Allen and Ashley but the main thing, now as then, is the relationship itself and it is, quite by intention, a key part of the comic. One of my all-time favorite comics of the past was Sandman Mystery Theatre and the way that Dian Belmont was almost just as much the “star” of the comic as Wesley Dodds and his alter-ego in that her story was just as integral to the book as his. That is the kind of feeling I have always wanted to replicate, or at least come close to replicating, with Stealth.
If you liked what you heard be sure to check out the Stealth Kickstarter right here.
About William Satterwhite: William Satterwhite is a comic creator and designer currently based in Douglasville, Ga. A military brat, William was born in Frankfurt, Germany and bounced around early in his childhood, but beyond that has spent most of his years in and around Atlanta, Ga. Aside from creating Stealth, William has written for BlackSci-fi.com and Blacksuperhero.com. A history buff, William is also an avid wargamer and enjoys crafting his own game designs. His professional website can be found here. You can follow William on Facebook or Twitter.