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DC Superhero Profiles: Cyborg
I realized something this summer at a DuPage County Mighty Con event. I was approached by a young man who flipped through my book, expressing admiration for the DC Superhero Profiles series. "Are you ever going to add Martian Manhunter to this series?" he asked me. "I'd love to create a Martian Manhunter piece," I responded. "You know..." he said, "because if there was a founding Justice League member who was... black... it'd be him." The statement blindsided me like a punch to the gut. I looked up at the young African-American man and it hit me... white privilege is drawing an entire series of superheroes and never once considering that they all share your racial background. Ugh. The moment burned itself into my conscience.

Months later, at another Mighty Con event, this memory resurfaced in an embarrassing way when repeat customers of mine—an african-american couple—were visiting my table. "Who would YOU like to see added to the Superhero Profiles series?" I asked. "Hmmm," thought the husband, "...probably Cyborg." I frowned on the inside, reminded of the young man from months before. "Yeah," I said guiltily, "I need to bring more diversity into the series." Suddenly our conversation stopped. Awkwardly and inadvertently, I had drawn attention to the couple's race. As though that were his motivation for liking Cyborg. I wanted to crawl under my table and die. I felt like such an idiot. We passed over the awkwardness and I mentioned that Cyborg was, in fact, a great idea for an addition to the series. I made the promise to myself then and there, that he would be the next hero added. Perhaps this conviction came from white guilt. More likely, it came from a deep desire to make ammends with a wonderful couple who I look forward to seeing at local conventions.

Embarrassing story aside, I am really excited about how this piece turned out. Furthermore, it serves as a reminder for me that we all come from different backgrounds with different stories to tell. No one story is more important than another. I want my art to be a celebratory experience that brings people together. To do that, and through this piece, I'm reminded to think beyond my own experience and include those who think, act, and look different than me.

Thanks for your support, guys! I am grateful for you all.