A Must-Read Visual Essay On Ethnicity, Color, And Colorism In Comics

Illustration for article titled A Must-Read Visual Essay On Ethnicity, Color, And Colorism In Comics

If you read one comic today, make it "Lighten Up," Ronald Wimberly's short essay about an interaction with an editor who asked Wimberly to lighten the skin tone of a comic book character, which left him with a single, frustrating question: Why?


Wimberly delivers a powerful message in "Lighten Up," that we should consider how something as seemingly simple as the color on a page ties identity and colorism. On top of that, it's a beautifully composed essay. Wimberly uses hexadecimal color IDs to give his essay even greater visual impact and make us ponder color choice as an integral part of the artistic process.

As he veers visually from comics and into other parts of Western art, Wimberly reminds us that colorism isn't just an issue in comics. How we portray humanity is important in all media, and Wimberly asks that we all move forward with our artistic endeavors with thoughtfulness and "social literacy."


Read the entire essay at The Nib.

[Lighten Up]

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Great lovely essay! All essays should be accompanied with arts.

I always see characters get lightened to the point the creators forget that they aren't white characters. Not sure if I have seen anyone get their skin darkened ever unless it was some fantastical color like blue in which case has no real bearing on our real world issue of race and colorism.