Tag Archives: blue beetle

On Its Way Out, Young Justice Does Right By Its Diverse Cast

By Arturo R. García

Aqualad stands at the ready in “Young Justice.”

With just a few days until the series end, we come not only to prepare to bury Young Justice, but to praise this series and its creative team for not just engineering one of the best seasons by an animated series–perhaps one of the top five ever–but for doing so while making full, honest use of a cast of characters that got only more diverse as the series went on.

Spoilers under the cut
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Five DC Comics Characters We’d Rather See On Television Than Deadman

By Arturo R. García

DC Comics’ Deadman brought to television by the folks behind Supernatural? Makes sense, if the story holds up.

Much like SPN’s Winchester brothers, Deadman (aka ghostly acrobat Boston Brand) would give showrunner Eric Kripke another outlet for his horror/comedy stylings. Since Boston has to possess people to do anything in the physical realm, one can only hope a Deadman TV show, if it actually gets past the pilot stage, would actually feature more people who aren’t white.

But we wouldn’t bet on it.

Still, the biggest problem with Deadman is, before recent miniseries like Blackest Night and Brightest Day revived interest in him, DC played Boston as more of a “professional” guest-star, to be called upon for stories involving demons, posession and whatnot, crack wise with the core characters, then shuffle off back to the afterlife. And with DC’s “New 52″ relaunch starting tomorrow, it’s a good time to highlight characters who have come into greater prominence than Deadman over the course of the past decade, only to get passed up for bigger media opportunities.

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Race + Comics: Are DC’s POC Titles Already In Danger?

By Arturo R. García

Apologies in advance: charting the number of POCs working on the DC Comics relaunch is proving to be tougher than anticipated. Best to wait on that column rather than risk factual errors.

However, other data coming in suggests at least one glaring disparity in DC’s “new, diverse” vision, and more potential trouble for some characters.

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New DC Universe Scoreboard, Part II: Rounding out the 52 titles

By Arturo R. García

Now that DC Comics has announced all 52 books for its’ upcoming reboot/relaunch, it can be said that, yes, the company looks to be featuring a more diverse group of characters as protagonists – for now. But what happens after the new DCU debuts in September will be the key.

A round-up of the titles announced after June 6, and further analysis, follows under the cut.
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Race + Comics Notes: Blue Beetle, Aqualad & SDCC documentary hopefuls

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

As if to make up for Ian Sattler’s unfortunate comments last week, DC Comics’ Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns unveiled screen shots from a special-effects test for a possible Blue Beetle live-action series.

The images, posted by Johns at the DC Comics blog, show Jaime Reyes’ transformation into his blue suit of armor, powered by the extraterrestrial scarab on his back.  Johns was quick to point out that this was only a test, without mentioning when it took place. Obviously it couldn’t have happened in the direct wake of Ian Sattler’s unfortunate statements, but the timing’s still a little … interesting.

In any case, Johns did say that the Beetle would be featured in most episodes of the Batman: The Brave And The Bold animated series this coming season, and promised to show the screen test at San Diego Comic-Con, and that’s encouraging. Which is more than I can say for some of the responses on Newsarama:

just because a property is interesting, doesn’t mean it needs a tv show. Bottom line is it could barely support itself as a comic for three years, and though he’s in Brave & Bold … this is the kind of thing that will kill the comic interest in surrounding genres. Halle Barry as Catwoman, Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider, anything about X3 … just because there is an idea and someone is willing to do it, doesn’t mean it should be done.

I think a live-action Ted Kord – Blue Beetle series stands a better chance of catching on. Continue reading

Race + Comic-Book Notes, Part 1: Comics Alliance Speaks Up

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
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Remember when we asked, “Will Jim Lee Take After The Brave And The Bold?”? Apparently the answer is no. But we have to give props to Chris Sims at ComicsAlliance for also noticing this.

Late last week, Sims published a column calling out DC Comics after another round of white-washing its’ primary cast – in this instance the most recent Atom, Dr. Ryan Choi, was killed off, allowing his Silver Age predecessor, Ray Palmer, to don the red-and-blue mask – another nod to the penchant for nostalgia Lee and Geoff Johns are overseeing at the company:

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing — I’m certainly not an exception to fan culture, and there are stories that push my “Oh hey, I remember that” buttons as hard as anyone else’s — except that the form it takes ignores that much of what made Jack Kirby or Cary Bates or Alan Moore or Frank Miller so exciting wasn’t what they were doing, but that they were doing things that hadn’t been done before. Instead, we’re in an industry right now that wants to constantly reset itself, running on nostalgia rather than innovation, moving backwards instead of moving forwards, and while I complain about it both often and at length, it seems to be what the majority of comics readers want, no matter how wrong-headed I think it is.

The switch of Palmer for Choi comes on the heels of the company’s latest event, Blackest Night, and another change, involving Firestorm. For the past few years, the character’s primary alter ego was Jason Rusch, a young black character who went from his own short-lived solo series to being included in the Justice League of America. (Indeed, there was a brief stretch during Dwayne McDuffie’s run writing JLA where the team included not only Rusch, but Vixen; Kimiyo Hoshi as Doctor Light; and Green Lantern John Stewart. Compare that line-up to this somewhat less diverse team.) At the conclusion of Blackest Night, though, we learned that Rusch and his own white predecessor, Ronnie Raymond, would have to bond to form the flame-headed hero – but that it was Raymond providing their shared body’s “default setting.” These decisions look even more questionable when you factor in the following:

* The heavy promotion given to problematic “retro” stories like First Wave.
* The replacement of Cassandra Cain as Batgirl for Stephanie Brown.
* The “off-camera” killing-off of a half-Asian child character, Lian Harper, in the critically-reviled Cry For Justice miniseries. When questioned at a convention about the decision to kill Harper off, DC Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler said, “I’m happy it upset people because it means that the story had some weight and emotion.”
* The lack of attention given to the Milestone Universe characters aside from Static, and issues with McDuffie’s Milestone Forever mini-series.
* The cancellation of the Great Ten mini-series before its’ conclusion.

batb1Add these developments up, and DC Entertainment’s animated offerings almost look like products of a rogue operation: the Brave And The Bold cartoon actually played out a Raymond/Rusch union first – but with Rusch supplying Firestorm’s skin color – and has consistently featured Choi as The Atom and Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle (the series’ only misstep has been re-imagining Katana as a Silent But Deadly Asian character type). Also, the company’s newest animated offering, the soon-to-debut Young Justice, features a new Aqualad, a black character, at the very forefront of its’ promo photo:

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And as Sims notes, these revisions extend beyond the heroes themselves:

Even the regressions of ostensibly white characters often have racially charged consequences: Wally West’s interracial marriage to Linda Park has been sidelined in favor of on-the-go suburbanites Barry Allen and Iris West, and Kyle Rayner (who was created as an Irish-American but later “revealed” to be the son of a Mexican-American CIA agent) has suffered the strange fate-worse-than-death of a fictional character who gets demoted from a starring role to a supporting one. He’s still a Green Lantern, but he’s not the Green Lantern.

Most damningly, Sims illustrates his point with a team portrait of Johns’ take on the “classic” Legion of Super-Heroes, a group which ostensibly represents a more united humanity as part of a larger group of worlds in the 31st Century:

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Damn, I guess we didn’t make it to space after all!

There’s a disappointing epilogue to Sims’ story over at Comic Book Resources: In previewing Titans For Hire, where the people who killed Choi get to star in their own series, Jeffrey Renaud brought up the question of Choi’s death with writer Chris Wallace:

Renaud: Do you have a message for the twitterati and fans of the character that are angered/saddened/upset by his death, because some are even saying this death was racially motivated?

Wallace: Only that I, too, will miss Ryan. He was a great hero all the way until the end, and that’s how I’ll always remember him. I hope others will, too.

In this characterization, anyone who objects to Choi getting killed off for the sake of boosting Slade Wilson – yet another white character – is some Other on Twitter, i.e. “not a Real Fan,” and wondering about the racial implications here is clearly the work of a conspiracy theorist. Meanwhile, Wallace ducks the question entirely with a homogenized “eulogy.”

In his conclusion, Sims notes possibly the best part of Choi’s character: his super-hero ID wasn’t derived from his ethnicity. In part two, we’ll look at some of Marvel’s newest characters; some fit that description, and some most assuredly do not.