My name is E. Ross Ura. I’ve been a comics fan since Avengers blew up the big screen. That summer I picked up my very first single issue (Hawkeye #1, 3rd printing) and now have a fairly robust pull list from Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and Valiant. I started writing my own comics in the middle of last year, and began writing and “illustrating” 5 x 3 around that same time.
In the pages of comics we find heroes whose values we’re meant to aspire to and admire. There are characters who share our struggles and help us through them. Possibly most importantly, comics provide an escape when the concerns of the real world seem overwhelming. Why then would we deny those opportunities to anyone?
I have the great privilege of being able to open a comic and see someone who looks like me. I have the great privilege of being able to walk into a comic shop and have people be immediately helpful and courteous. I have the great privilege of never having my love of the medium questioned.
Not all comic fans have those privileges and many are treated with open hostility. As a community that embraces the ideals of heroes, how can we tolerate that kind of behavior? Most of my friends are women, people in the LGBTQ community, or both, and many are unlikely to be drawn into this world I love so much because our community is so toxic towards them. This is not right and I will not tolerate it.
I want to make my living in comics, but I refuse to do it in an environment that excludes people who don’t look like me. I Am Comics and I will not allow anyone to deny that opportunity to anyone else.
We Are Comics is a campaign that blew up over night in response to the vitriolic harassment of comics journalist Janelle Asselin and to the general ill treatment of women and other marginalized groups in the comic book industry. For members of these marginalized groups, it grants the opportunity for their voices to be heard and their faces to be seen. For white males 18-39, it gives us the opportunity to stand in solidarity and speak out against the misogyny, racism, and homophobia that plagues our industry.
From their website:
"We are comics: creators, publishers, retailers, readers; professionals and fans. And we are a lot more diverse than you might think.
We Are Comics is a campaign to show—and celebrate—the faces of our community, our industry, and our culture; to promote the visibility of marginalized members of our population; and to stand in solidarity against harassment and abuse."
E. Ross Ura is a writer, letterer, artist, composer, and blogger active in the Metro Detroit Area.