Representation is becoming more and more important in storytelling and comics these days, and I welcome it. Characters of all types belong in the spotlight. But like I said in Tuesday’s blog post, “Stereotypical,” doing so in science fiction can be tricky. Well, there’s not much of a trick to it. You just do it. The trick is how to do it without being heavy-handed or coming off like you’re oh-so-tolerant-and-progressive and you should be congratulated for including a gay character in your cast.
It all depends on the type of science fiction story you’re writing. In an apocalypse or tyrannical society, you probably need to be heavy-handed to get your point across. In a setting where humanity has transcended its intolerance (i.e. Star Trek) you can just go ahead and include whoever you want in your cast of characters without having to point it out. The Millennium Federation is the latter, so representation for us is just a matter of putting characters in panels. We feel we’ve done well so far. Men and women (whether they’re human or not) have been equally represented in the comic so far, but there have been some tricky aspects.
Race and/or nationality among Humans in STAR POWER is irrelevant. United Earth is just as the name says it is: united. There are no more borders or countries. Humans got their act together and came together as one people. So, while Danica was born in the area of the world we know as Brazil (info you can find in the bonus lore section of THE SEARCH FOR BLACK HOLE BILL), she’s not really South American in our setting because South America doesn’t exist on United Earth. It’s just United Earth. Dr. Brightman isn’t technically African-American, nor is Commander Landon Chinese, nor is Dr. Venit Japanese, because there are no such countries on United Earth. You get the idea.
There hasn’t been much romance(!) in STAR POWER yet, so sexuality hasn’t been an aspect of our stories. Garth doesn’t even know this yet, but in my notes there are members of the cast who are gay and asexual, but since love and attraction haven’t been huge story elements, it simply hasn’t come up yet! Being transgender isn’t a big deal in our future either, because in my mind the science and medicine of transitioning is so good that it’s practically seamless. Gender is a whole other issue (for Humans, anyway), but it’s not difficult to include a gender-fluid character.
Representation is important to us, but we want to do it in a way that 1) is not heavy-handed, 2) is not patting ourselves on the back for being oh-so-progressive-and-tolerant, and 3) fits into our setting. Thankfully, here in the blog and the bonus lore sections of our books, we can be as heavy-handed and full of clumsy exposition as we please.