Feb 8 2016
BlackComicsMonth: Hi Allen, I have to thank you so much for being such an important voice in the black comics community. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Allen Thomas: I recently graduated with my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, and part of my research through the years has been on comics. I’m a big fan of superheroes, which is why I advocate so strongly about cape comics becoming more representative of marginalized people. I love to play video games, watch anime, cook, write, draw, and am a major introvert.
BCM: Nothing wrong with that. How old were you when you got into comics?
AT: I was 16 and had decided to read more about the Teen Titans after seeing the animated series. My first full arc was Trigon’s return in the New Teen Titans, which I found going through longboxes at my LCS, and I’ve been collecting ever since.
BCM:You’re a pretty amazing writer, btw. When did you start writing for Comicosity? Where else can we find your work?
AT: Thank you! I started writing for Comicosity in August 2015 after approaching Senior Editor Matt Santori-Griffith. Most of my comic-related work is on the site, though I write infrequently about comics and other things in my personal blog.
BCM:Who is your favorite black comic character, creator and book?
AT: Monica Rambeau is my favorite character. Her powerset is off the wall amazing and she truly deserves more shine. Eric Wallace is one of my favorite creators, largely due to his run on Mister Terrific in New 52. That series was way shorter than it needed to be. I have a lot of respect for Wallace for creating some real depth for the character, but also his inclusion of a trans narrative toward the end of the series. My favorite Black comic book is actually from New 52, too. I was a big fan of Static Shock. I loved every issue and had really high hopes for him and the book. It would’ve been nice to see it continue.
BCM: What does diversity in comics mean to you?
AT: Diversity means demographics that more closely reflect our current national and global society. It means real and human stories about people who hold marginalized identities, and not just narratives about suffering. I also think diversity needs to go beyond giving a character ONE unrepresented identity and calling it a day. We need more stories about people who are at the intersection of identities, because we exist and we deserve to be seen and heard, too. Beyond characters, we also need more diverse creators, and to develop an atmosphere in which marginalized people can be heard behind the pen and on the page. In essence, we need better stories, more creators, and a more affirming industry. And all of that is just to start.
BCM:I know that’s right, Allen! Thank you so much for your Representation and Health 101 series. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it. Do you have any other series on the way?
AT: This is the big one so far! After February, I’m going to continue the Representation and Health column at my normal biweekly schedule. Suggestions for characters are always welcome!
BCM: Where can people find you online?
AT: The best place to get at me is on Twitter at @80Grey.