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Comic books: more than just heroes and villains?

What comes to mind when you think about comic books?

In today's changing society, some may see the comic book industry (and the "superhero industry" in general) as pretty stagnant: macho white guys, tight outfits, pretty girls...

But thanks to a group of Milwaukee comic book lovers, that stigma is trying to be changed.

They call themselves the Comic Book Panel, and the group meets once a month at Anodyne Coffee in Walkers Point to not only discuss comics, but comic book industry itself.

I sat in on a meeting a few weeks back and had the opportunity to chat with co-founders Troy Freund and Don Leibold.

"Some months we talk about just 'comic book-y' things like your favorite superheroes, but other months we talk about more serious topics like diversity in comics, or historically-based comics...."

The particular day I stopped by the topic was diversity: so each attendee brought in their most diverse comic book. And, to my surprise, the books actually spanned pretty wide; with comics ranging from Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, which tells a young woman's coming-out story, to Cook Korean! A Comic Book with Recipes which, as the title explains, explores Korean cuisine.

And, being completely transparent, I'm not a huge comic-book reader.

But listening in on the conversations discussing diversity and representation of race, gender and age... maybe the comic industry is growing more than I thought?


gets a bunch of people that might not have known each other together to talk about something that they're all excited about and passionate about; and they're all excited and passionate about it in different ways."

Want to add to their conversation? Listen to the complete piece on the Comic Book Panel above and check them out on Facebook