Tag Archives: dc comics

Race + Comics: A Good Conversation With A Creator

Courtesy: DC Comics.

By Arturo R. García

Longtime readers will remember the infamous Twitter discussion between Son of Baldwin and Marvel Comics editor Tom Breevort, where Breevort proceeded to demonstrate how limited the comics industry’s thinking can be when it comes to race.

Not that things have gotten markedly better all of a sudden, but it was pleasant to have a good conversation on the subject vis-a-vis DC Comics’ Superman last night with one of the more notable writers in the industry, Mark Waid, who tackled the character in the Superman: Birthright miniseries, and more recently has earned praise for his work on titles like Irredeemable, Insufferable and Marvel’s Daredevil.

I put together a Storify for the chat, which can be seen under the cut. One note, however: the discussion centers around the representations of the character prior to DC’s reboot last year. So, no short cape and jeans talk here.
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Race + Comics: R.I.P. Tony DeZuniga

By Arturo R. García

Courtesy: Examiner.com

The comics world lost a pioneer last week with the passing of artist Tony DeZuniga, who died in the Philippines from complications from a stroke. DeZuniga is best known for being the co-creator of DC Comics characters Black Orchid and Jonah Hex.

DeZuniga’s association with Hex would span almost four decades: 38 years after introducing the character in All-Star Western in 1972, DeZuniga returned to draw Hex for a stand-alone graphic novel, Jonah Hex: No Way Back.

DeZuniga began working as an artist in his native Philippines as a teenager in the 1950s, during the country’s boom period for comics (or Komics, as they were called). In the early 1960s he moved to New York to study graphic design and advertising, a career he would pursue for a few years before returning to the U.S. toward the end of the decade and earning art assignments from DC editor Joe Orlando. DeZuniga became the first Filipino artist to break into the American comics market.

But more importantly, DeZuniga made sure he wasn’t the last to do so, as Comic Book Resources’ Kevin Melrose noted:

He used the opportunity to open the door for other Filipino creators, convincing Orlando and DC Editor-in-Chief Carmine Infantino to visit the Philippines in 1971 to recruit such artists as Alex Niño, Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, Fred Carrillo, Vicatan and Gerry Talaoc.

That same year DeZuniga collaborated with writer John Albano to create Jonah Hex, the disfigured Western antihero with whom the artist is so closely associated. “[John] asked me to draw the concept for the character, and one day I was at the doctor’s office and I saw this chart with a man, showing him half muscle and half skeleton,” DeZuniga recalled in a 2010 interview with Comic Book Resources. “I thought to myself, ‘This is neat,’ and I got the concept. When John Albano saw it, he was very happy.”

Under the cut you can find just a few examples of DeZuniga’s work with a variety of characters.
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Open Thread: Is It Time For A Geeks Of Color Convention?

By Arturo R. García

This is just an idea that’s been kicking around my head for a few days, but I’d like to get everyone’s early take on it. Let me begin by listing reasons a POC-centric geek gathering should happen:

  • Because we’ve already seen Geek Girl Con and and Bent-Con step up for communities typically marginalized or exploited by genre-related industries.
  • Because Christina Xu’s GGC wrap-up raises questions that still need to be addressed:

in an age when superstar rapper Nicki Minaj name-checks Street Fighter characters and streetwear brands team up with comic-book companies like Marvel and DC, who exactly is the geek referred to in GeekGirlCon? To be a geek, do you have to prefer filk over bounce? Is it a self-identification?

I ask these questions because I’m legitimately curious; if fandom is the uniting factor, then the increasingly diverse audiences for all of our favorite geek media (video games, sci-fi, comics, etc.) should be offered a place at conventions like GGC. If, in fact, geekdom here is actually defined by a set of social norms and practices (or the lack thereof) that just happens to coincide with fandom, then geek communities need to have some serious internal conversations and own up to that.

  • Because, while San Diego Comic-Con and other conventions featured race-positive programming this year, that still doesn’t make them safe spaces.
  • Because you can still say the same about any number of fandoms.
  • Because in spite of this fact, there’s still members of fandom – consumers, creators and executives alike – who still won’t own up to the fact that there’s geeks out there who react with hostility whenever somebody points out a problematic portrayal of race.
  • Because there’s got to be creators and aspiring creators of color out there who need a place in which to meet and network outside of the “general population.”
  • Because, while it was great to read about DC Comics getting called out on the carpet at SDCC with regards to gender issues, I shouldn’t have to doubt that raising the same questions about race would get half as much discussion outside of sites like this one or Racebending.
  • Because the Akira adaptation is still happening, proving Hollywood didn’t get the message about The Last Airbender.
  • Because this might be the best way left to get those same industry forces to listen to our concerns, in a place where we can set the terms of discussion.

Again, this is just a kernel of a concept right now, but … what do you think, Racializens? Would you be up for a full-scale gathering?

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Choosing between Race and Gender in Comics

By Guest Contributor Cheryl Lynn Eaton, cross-posted from Digital Femme

Comics, completely consumed by superheroes, has only two active fandoms—Marvel and DC. Given that my budget allows for only one ongoing series and I don’t feel right illegally downloading comics, I’ll have to pick one fandom in which to participate.

I’ve chosen my comic. It’s Wonder Woman. I’ve chose my fandom. It’s DC.

I feel horrible. I feel like I’ve just chosen my gender over my race.

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Will DC Comics’ New Gay POC Hero Go Over The Top?

By Arturo R. García

DC Comics has added to the buzz surrounding its’ relaunch with the announcement that Teen Titans will feature a gay POC character starting with the series’ third issue.

On one hand, this is something to be happy for, and Titans artist Brett Booth has already expressed his support for gay marriage and gay rights in discussing the new character, Miguel Jose Barragan, a.k.a. Bunker. But, as Booth wrote on his blog, he’s aware that he and series writer Scott Lobdell are wading into a complicated issue.

We wanted to show an interesting character who’s [sic] homosexuality is part of him, not something that’s hidden. Sure they are gay people who you wouldn’t know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are a more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics. Did we go over the top, I don’t think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him. Our TT is partly about diversity of ANY kind, its about all kinds of teens getting together to help each other. It is a very difficult line to walk, will he be as I’ve read in some of the comments ‘fruity’? Not that I’m aware of. Will he be more effeminate than what we’ve seen before, the ‘typical’ gay male comic character, yes. Does it scare the shit out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you’re damn straight (pun intended!)

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Epic Fail Of The Week: DC Comics Drops The Ball On ‘The Wall’ in Suicide Squad

By Arturo R. García

The image above is the last page of DC Comics’ new Suicide Squad #1, which debuted yesterday. And to the chagrin of many fans thus far, the woman in the panel on the left is writer Adam Glass and penciller Marco Rudy’s “reimagined” take on Amanda Waller.

In her original incarnation, seen at right, the woman known as “The Wall” was notable not only for being a non-superpowered human with the confidence and cunning to stand up to the likes of Batman, but to be consistently presented as DC’s resident spymaster (she was frequently involved with prior incarnations of the Dirty Dozen-like Squad), but for being depicted as powerful without looking like the “superhuman ideal.”

The character has also emigrated onto other media platforms. CCH Pounder voiced an animated version of Waller in the Justice League Unlimited animated series; Pam Grier played her on television during the final season of Smallville; and earlier this year, Amanda Bassett stepped into the character for the movie Green Lantern. That said, Waller’s involvement as a “star” in the comics has primarily been restricted to espionage-type titles like Suicide Squad or Checkmate, where she was part of an ensemble. She’s never been called upon to carry a title on her own.

Which makes the decision to revamp the character – whether it was Glass and Rudy’s choice, or something dictated to them by DC head honchos Dan DiDio, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns – even more ill-considered than their decision to draw up a Suicide Girls-like character (seen at left) and call her Harley Quinn. What made Waller unique was that she really did look like a regular person – she just had enough of an iron will to maneuver herself into a position of power. For DC to seemingly transform her into one more skinny gal seems to be a particularly arbitrary choice in a company-wide relaunch that has already divided its’ existing fanbase. Or, if this move was made in order to entice new readers to give the new Squad a shot, then who does this company exactly want to attract? This guy?

Update: Glass was quoted by Bleeding Cool as saying, “Amanda Waller is not defined by her size but by her attitude and she still has plenty of that.” Which doesn’t explain the change at all, of course. Bleeding Cool also reported that Rudy has been replaced as the penciller for the series in favor of Federico Dellocchio.

S.D. Comic-Con News: The Dwayne McDuffie Tribute That Wasn’t

By Arturo R. García

The program for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con will include a group of tributes to famed comic-book and cartoon writer Dwayne McDuffie, who passed away earlier this year. But Matt Wayne’s tribute piece will not be included, and Wayne, a frequent collaborator of the Milestone Media co-founder, took to the internet to publish it instead.

Wayne posted his intended tribute piece on the forums of McDuffie’s website late last week, saying he wrote it after being approached by SDCC to do so, and McDuffie’s wife had “dubbed it ‘perfect.’” But, Wayne said he was asked to change it, an option he declined.

“I decided to just let it go.,” he wrote. “I’m worried that Dwayne is going to be the industry’s “proof” that we’re all post-racial and chummy, now that they can’t be embarrassed into hiring him anymore. And I don’t want to contribute to that absurd but inevitable narrative.”

SDCC marketing and public relations director David Glanzer confirmed that Wayne was asked to change his submission, not because of any specific content, but because it didn’t match the more celebratory tone of other tribute pieces written for the program.

Glanzer also said that in light of what happened with Wayne’s piece, the editorial process for the program will be “opened up” in the future.

Besides the tributes to McDuffie planned for the SDCC program, which is given to all attendees of the four-day convention, it has been announced that “The Black Panel,” scheduled for July 22 at 10 a.m. in Room 5AB, will celebrate the Milestone co-founder’s life, featuring his other partners in the company, Derrick Dingle, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis.

A transcript of Wayne’s original tribute piece is under the cut.

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Quoted: Comics Alliance on DC Comics Benching A Muslim Superhero


Reached for comment, a spokesperson for DC Comics gave the official reason for the switch as follows:

“This fill in issue contains a lost classic, Lost Boy: A Tale of Krypto the Superdog, set shortly after Superboy died in Infinite Crisis and Superman went missing.

DC Comics determined that the previously solicited story did not work within the ‘Grounded’ storyline. However, Chris Roberson, will be back for the final two issues of Superman’s year long walk across America. As we near the conclusion, catch up with Superman next month as he makes stops in Portland and Newberg, OR.”

The statement that it “doesn’t work within ‘Grounded’” is vague enough to raise questions all by itself, because — fittingly enough for a series about Superman walking across America — that story has been all over the map in terms of tone. That’s to be expected with a story that has two writers as different as J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Roberson (and a third if you count the fill-ins G. Willow Wilson did before Straczynski’s official departure), but there’s no getting around it. In the past year’s worth of Superman comics, we’ve seen stories about Superman smugly lecturing passers-by about Thoreau, burning down drug dealers’ houses with his heat vision, helping space aliens build a factory to revitalize the economy, visiting the extradimensional headquarters of a team of Superman-inspired heroes from the future and fighting an army in Tibet with Batman.

- From “Why Did DC Cancel Superman’s Team-Up with a Muslim Hero?” by Chris Sims, June 22