Topic Review: Racism in Comics

DISCLAIMER: The characters and stories are owned by Marvel Comics, the thoughts are mine.



Written by: Christopher Johnson


Racism has been the bane of existence in the world for as long as history can remember, and it continues to damage us today. Just as it prevents us from being united,  it haunts the Marvel universe as well.  In this article,  we will take a look at the racism present in the “Extraordinary X-Men” series by Jeff Lemire and “Avengers A.I.”  by Sam Humphries,  and how they can be related to the racism in our world.

Avengers A.I.:

A. What Happened?:

In this series, we see the androids Victor Mancha and Vision are harassed by crowds in several panels throughout the series.  This is because of a looming A.I. threat that made the crowds angry towards all A.I.s.

B. Real World Connection:

This can clearly be linked to what is happening now with Muslims. ISIS has shaken us to the core and a large population of Americans outright hate all Muslims, but this is not the only example. There are many war veterans from WWII who have very ill or racist feelings about German and/or Japanese people. It’s not right, but that is how some people feel.

C. My Thoughts:

Personally, I feel this was a good way to handle the book. It felt political enough to be relatable without feeling like you were being drowned in unnecessary political dribble. The way the writer handled the situation felt natural, something that would realistically happen if our world was faced with this situation

Extraordinary X-Men

A. What Happened?

In the Marvel Universe, there is currently a struggle between mutants and Inhumans. In the opening pages of issue 1, this struggle had become too much for the X-Men. Terrigen Mist had begun to basically cause no more mutants to be created and the remaining mutants would slowly be killed by the mist. After Scott Summers tried to reverse the effects of the mist, the world once again began hating and bullying Mutants.

B. Real World Connection:

It goes without a doubt the clearest connection is segregation. The way mutants have always been treated is similar to the violent ways blacks were treated by whites.Humans are once again rallying against Mutants and publicly attacking them both verbally and physically simply because they are different. This is a clear connection.that I felt needed to be addressed. Now, let’s dig into my thoughts on the matter.

C. My Thoughts:

The negative way blacks were treated at that time was an absolute tragedy and a stain that will never be removed. The way the X-Men have been treated also is not right, but to me, is incomparable to this situation. The X-Men’s biggest foe is a fellow Mutant whom they disagree with on how to react to being treated by humans, sure Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr both handled the situation in two different ways, but they both fought for the same cause and never each other.  I see no problem with this symbolism with how it was used in the past, but it annoys me that this connection was brought back in the newer series as the “cause” of this is lackluster. I feel more unique stories could have been told than rehashing a concept we have seen many times.


Racism is a serious matter that is important for comics to cover to help express the ways of how we should handle this situation using a strong story. I do not think racism should be used as an afterthought or to promote a writer’s political view, but rather be used in parallel with a strong story. I have more thoughts that I want to share concerning the comic series “Champions”, but as the book is still on-going, I will hold those thoughts till a later date. If you would like to know when the follow-up article is posted, simply “like” Comic Conversations on Facebook or just follow @Cjohnson0545 on Twitter to know when the article is posted.

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