Wait, What?: Racist Comics Edition (There’s No Way Aquaman Is More Popular than John Stewart)

This post is from 2012.  A lot has changed since then.  If you’re landing here post-2018, Aquaman is very likely more popular than John Stewart in your current timeline.

John Stewart should be the JLA’s Green Lantern and the iconic alpha Lantern of the DCU.  Put Hal back in the Corps and promote John back to the place of leadership and mainstream iconography he earned in the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series.  In those vehicles, DC built a perfect platform for enfranchising the character with the kind of exposure the New 52 would have brought him.

The overwhelming whiteness of the image above, taken from the new DC home page, is staggering.   And is the Mentalist Aquaman really one of the most popular heroes in the the new 52?  Vic Stone (Cyborg), the lone African-American on the League, isn’t even pictured here.  Vic’s still paying grown-up dues as a recent grad of the Titans, and that’s fine.  But Stewart has immediate traction with readers and across popular media.  He’d be a great mentor to Cyborg, and he could bring gravity and leadership to the rest of the team.

Static Shock just got cancelled.  A Static/Stewart book would be great.  Even better would be a League with Cyborg, Static, and Stewart.

In 2012, can a group with one black character really be called the  Justice League? Please.  Oh, by the way:  in current continuity, John Stewart isn’t only off the League, he’s also on trial for murder.

16 thoughts on “Wait, What?: Racist Comics Edition (There’s No Way Aquaman Is More Popular than John Stewart)

  1. Things I learned today: there is a John Stewart other than the host of the Daily Show. (Lots of them, probably, but that’s not the point.) For someone who has never read a comic book, this was the most confusing post ever.

    1. If John Stewart (and not Jon Stewart) hosted The Daily Show, I wonder if they’d rename it “The Daily Planet.” (The Daily Planet is the media outlet where Superman works.)

  2. Hell yes he is. His current book is a top 10 bestseller beating out Avengers, Xmen and most other books. Oh, and it rocks. GL Corps -meh sales and meh characters like Stewart. #AQUAMAN

    1. I hear that. And that speaks to the point I’m making below: none of these characters exist in a vacuum. Editorial decides who gets the heat, and they’ve opted to give it to Aquaman and they’ve executed his push very well. They haven’t done the same for Stewart or for any black characters, really. Static? Static hasn’t had anywhere near the invest that DC has made in Aquaman over the last decade. At least with Stewart, you have mainstream recognition and a generation of potential comic book buyers who know him has the JL’s heavy from cartoons. It’s a missed opportunity, and it’s socially irresponsible.

      1. All valid points and I’m sorry if my initial post was cocky. We Sea King fans tend to still fall into overcompensation mode when defending our hero and I honestly don’t think the issue you are trying to articulate is an Aquaman vs. Stewart thing. DC has reverted all 6 iconic character franchises back to their most successful publication period (i.e. Silver Age) across the board and doesn’t appear to be discriminating against GL in my mind. There is more diversity across the board at DC than there ever has been, and despite the awful Mr. Terrific & Static books being canceled, Batwing is continuing on with a new original African-American character. And Stewart is getting a big push in the next GL storyline as well…

        1. Love this conversation. No worries, I don’t think you were cocky. And I certainly respect your trials as a Sea King fan. Why I can’t quite that lineage, I’ve always rooted for him. You’re right that this isn’t really about Aquaman vs.Stewart, though. I just wanted to use Aquaman as an example, and I’m glad you pointed out how successful the new run is. I didn’t mean to take that away from anyone.

          BTW: I’ve always thought that to beef him up on land a bit, Aquaman should be able to control the creatures swimming around in our bodies, too. That would be awesome.

  3. You sound like someone who is not reading the New 52 and is just jumping on a popular (although slanted) angle to write a post. Aquaman by Geoff Johns has been kicking ass since Blackest Night. What’s John Stewart been up to??? Yeah nobody knows…or i mean cares.

    1. I’m not reading Aquaman, and I know there’s been a lot of effort and talent put into to bringing him to the level of Superman et al as far as popularity and sales and mainstream exposure. And good for him. Finally. But that makes the point for me: if DC is willing (nay, committed) to making Aquaman work, why not Stewart? If people don’t know or care what Stewart is up to, that’s the fault of Editorial and Talent. Why didn’t they use the New 52 to elevate him more? Why isn’t the team more diverse in general?

  4. I think African-American characters, do need bigger and better venues in the new 52. John Stewart is a character with which DC could get a lot of traction, my non-comic-book-fan friends are still confused as to why he wasn’t used in last years “Green Lantern” film. He is the only Green Lantern they ever knew, and though Jordan is the original (besides Alan Scott), his absence from the “Justice League Unlimited” cartoons ruined his popular recognition. DC should take more advantage of John Stewart’s popularity. That said, the Aquaman books are incredible and I’m looking forward to the debut of Aqualad into modern new 52 continuity. Hopefully they will stick with the most recent Jackson Hyde or Kaldur’ahm version, who would be another great example of diversity in the DC comics universe.

    1. You’re right about this much: we still can’t protect black children from getting gunned down for no reason, and here I am bitching about the Justice League.

      Institutional racism is deadly.

  5. I actually think Aquaman is more popular then John but that was your opinion I wouldn’t have a problem with Hal being switched with John, but cyborg wool have to go maybe replaced with Vixen who is a female and minority character or fire even though they already have a elemental character.

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