Comic Book Stereotypes Examined in New Documentary “Je Suis Superhero”

There are quite a few stereotypes in comic books. Take, for instance, this:

Or this:

Or this craziness:

Or books that are steeped in both appropriation and stereotype:

Even the best of intentions caused this:

Nowadays, we’re getting a wave of superheroes who are not just non-white and/or non-male, but are also complex and richly-developed beyond racial, cultural, and ethnic tropes. Like these guys:

And we’re even getting fascinating stories interweaving cultural elements into existing characters, like this awesome moment with Groot:

One documentary is aiming on discussing stereotypes in the comic book industry and how the industry is working to become more inclusive. Je Suis Superhero, directed by Harleen Singh, features Eileen Kaur Alden, co-creator of the comic book Super Sikh, Vishavjit Singh, also known as Sikh Captain America, and cartoonist Keith Knight.

Singh told NBC News one of the reasons why comic books are the subject of this project. “Comics are an excellent lens on the society,” he said. “The incorporate storylines that reflect the times, but they also propagate stereotypes for their super heroes. It’s the perfect back drop for getting the message across about how generalization is not the best thing.”

Alden also told NBC News how comic book creators are now empowered to create more diverse stories. “It’s not just about slapping a diverse character into an old trope. I think what people are really craving is really diverse stories, something that’s not quite so focus grouped or old and familiar.” Alden said that comics featuring diversity were once considered “outsiders,” and now these properties are part of the mainstream.

Je Suis Superhero has reached 80 percent of its Kickstarter goal; to lend your support, click here.