While there are many American's of African heritage publishing cartoon content, a lot of it's not very good. The creators before now that worked in the industry aren't leading the charge by establishing studios or publishing endeavors where they get to train the next generation of African American creators in the standards of professionalism, work ethic and the study of the comic content field. They're not doing any consistent outreach like we do at ScriptGraphics: http://is.gd/TY0Q51, (and yes, it's a promotional plug for what we do) and they're not constantly or consistently in the public arena so people are aware of what they're producing and that they're of African heritage.
Contrastingly, the ones that are publishing independently lack the financial stake to do it consistantly and as a result can do it quarterly at best (3 times a year) or less. Most opt for less and that won't gain the readership necessary to make it a viable concern or make it attractive for retailers to carry it. Very few seem to see this as a ‘business’ and treat it more like a hobby. I did an informal poll at a FB site and asked the visitors there, most of whom were always posting about what they were doing, which ones actually produced a real comic book and after a week of survey the numbers were less than six percent on 4,200 people that visited the site. True, this was an informal poll but it sort of gives you an idea that for most people the producing of comics is more of a hobby than an actual profession.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but as a hobby there’s no incentive to produce consistently over time which is the hallmark of being a comic content producer and professional comic creating artist or writer. You wake up tired or not in the mood to produce, there’s no consequence if you don’t so it falls by the wayside.
Most creators, except for those dedicated to ‘getting in’ at the big two, will probably not make a big splash in this industry except by accident. You’ll get a bit of a following and be a bit of a celebrity for a hot minute until the next creator stabbing at their 15 minutes of fame comes along. You’ll hit the ‘pay for it’ show circuit and once you realize your time for setup, cost of travel and time for getting back isn’t getting you the ROI (return on investment) you’d hoped for, you’ll let it go and that will be that. Of course those that do it for the love of it will last a bit longer but even those will realize soon enough that a money pit is still a money pit no matter how many fans stroke your ego if they’re not buying your product.
As for getting the African American audience to by Black created and produced products instead of white washed ones or even worse, ones that were white being converted to Black ones, means producing GOOD Black content that isn’t a thinly veiled rip off of already established white ones. This is why it makes sense for the comic companies to do the conversions. It staves off the independent producers doing that very same thing even though they’re not calling it that. Start by taking a good look at the character you’ve produced. Analyze it based on what’s been in the market to see how it stacks up. Here’s a great example: a start up publisher wanted to create a character that could heal fast, had claws and when he got mad was hard to beat. Remind you of anyone? I mentioned it to him and his statement to me was that because his character’s claws were only three inches, it couldn’t be Wolverine. This kind of thinking pervades the independent market and makes it hard for people, both Black and white, to support what’s being done when they can just as well buy the original and get it on a far more consistent basis from the already established comic companies.
I hope this sheds a bit of light on the reasoning of why anyone would buy a comic content product and even more importantly why not. Telling people to buy Black for Black’s sake will never sell a product. That’s not who we are as a people. We’ve always had to have an eye on value for dollar (and don’t get me started on that one. I worked in advertising for nearly 20 years and saw how to fool people with perceived value as opposed to real value) because we always had to work six times as hard to make or get as much as other American’s in this country. Not a gripe, just the reality of it.
If you have a good product and can produce it on a fairly consistent basis you’ll do O.K. If you have a good product and can produce it on a fairly consistent basis and have a really well thought out plan for delivery and promotion for it you’ll do better than that. If you have a good product and can produce it on a fairly consistent basis and have a really well thought out plan for delivery and promotion as well as a commitment and strategy for creation over time, you’ll do better still.
Pushing the 'buy Black' for Black’s sake hot button will get you exactly that. A Black hole of nothing in your pocket and a lot of wasted days and worthless product. You push the 'buy Black' because this Black product is GOOD button… now you’re on to something.