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Comic-Con: Shaquille O’Neal, ‘The Black Panel’ Take On Lack of Diversity Among Comic Book Artists

“Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

That was probably the most intriguing thought to surface on Friday morning during a session that was bluntly titled “The Black Panel” at Comic-Con International.

Oddly enough, the maxim was attributed to Laura Ziskin, the now-deceased film producer who made a hit of the “Spider-Man” series. Ms. Ziskin’s words — in actuality a well-known business aphorism — were recalled by a panel member who said she used them to describe the behavior of people locked into a closed business culture like that of Hollywood. Her meaning: They tend to get involved with like-minded people with whom they are having lunch, no matter what their conscious strategy may be.

During Friday’s discussion, the Ziskin maxim became a way of explaining why black artists don’t get more traction in the comics and fantasy world. Still, there were no shortage of black creators and entrepreneurs in the room on Friday, including Shaquille O’Neal, who is now a media baron, with his own Shaq Entertainment.

If Ms. Ziskin delivered a message in absentia, AT&T, a sponsor of the panel, inadvertently delivered another: Twitter is no friend to gatherings like this.

Courtesy of an AT&T promotion, the discussion was conducted alongside a giant screen on which tweets popped up as the panelists held forth. It was like having informational mosquitoes buzz past your head at a media picnic. And there was no repellent.

Source: NY Times

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