If you've been keeping up with X-Men comics in the past couple of years, it may surprise you to learn that Marvel has even bigger plans for its multitude of mutants. They've already been to Mars, becomoe immortal, and established their own nation, but now the X-Folks are taking on an even bigger role: Marvel's biggest brand. And with more focus than ever on the X-titles, there's one issue that their commander-in-chief feels should be addressed: a lack of "viable black male characters."
Alright, let's back up for some context. The person making this statement is longtime Marvel shot-caller Tom Brevoort, whose time editing Avengers titles like Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Secret War made him a notable actor in the history of the publisher and at least partially responsible for some key storylines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In August, Brevoort announced on his Facebook page that his attention was turning from the Earth's Mightiest Heroes to the Uncanny X-Men, saying:
"[...]after a quarter of a century editing Avengers and its associated titles, I am going to be moving away from those characters and titles and instead stepping into the world of mutants."
Today, Brevoort answered questions on his substack about that world of mutants, at one point touching on the topic of diversity in the X-team rosters. Specifically, Brevoort was asked, "How do you find that balance of wanting more diversity but making sure it doesnt come off forced?"
Admitting that the question was a complex one and that he's "not sure that I’m going to be able to do it justice here," Brevoort spoke about the balancing act of using fan-favorite X-characters while also long-standing addressing gaps in representation.
"[...]just because there are some particular types of characters that I see a deficit of in the X-Line (I wish there were more viable black male characters, for example) that doesn’t mean that those deficits are going to be immediately addressed. They become more of a general guidepost for development as we go."
So how are those guideposts followed? Earlier in Brevoort's message, he says it comes down to the creative teams. Specifically, he says "[...] this typically comes down to which characters the writers that you bring on board want to write about—which ones speak to them, which ones they want to tell stories about."
As of this writing, we are still waiting to hear who the new creatives behind the X-Men books will be. And now that we've heard what's on the mind of the editor behind the stories, it will be interesting to see if and how they address a demographic he considers lacking.
Whatever the answer, Brevoort also admits that inclusion is a process that doesn't come to an overnight solution, that whatever progress is made, there will still be more to make. "There’ll always be more work to do," he says, "but you can only do so much at any one time."