Tag Archives: green lantern

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Black Panther and Beyond: The (potential) Winners And Losers of Marvel’s Phase 3

By Arturo R. García

It was easy to approach Marvel Entertainment’s Phase 3 announcement Tuesday morning somewhat skeptically. After all, the 24 hours leading into it were consumed by the rumor that Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as Doctor Strange.

Then came the news:

Coupled with the news that Marvel was finally moving forward with a Captain Marvel film, the day ended with not only widespread anticipation, but the question: where do we — fans of diversity in the superhero movie realm — go from here?

Let’s try to answer that question by asking another: Which actors and character/brands benefit from Tuesday’s news?
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Dwayne McDuffie

One More Voice: On My Conversations With Dwayne McDuffie [The Throwback]

Friday marks the third anniversary of the passing of comics giant Dwayne McDuffie. At the time, we ran a Voices tribute post, but you might be surprised to find out that he also read Racialicious.

That, it turned out, was the ice-breaker between himself and Arturo, which led Art to pen his own show of remembrance for the man who was the cornerstone of Milestone Entertainment.

By Arturo R. García

Please forgive this indulgence in advance. As an unabashed fan of Dwayne McDuffie’s … well, as you might imagine, the news of his passing Tuesday has been tough to really wrap my head around.

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Race + Comics: On Green Lantern’s Near-Death Experience

By Arturo R. García

John Stewart, the Green Lantern from Warner Brothers’ Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series.

There’s a stink surrounding DC Entertainment’s alleged intention to kill off John Stewart last week, and it sticks out when you consider this ostensibly non-related promotional item: the company is now pushing a digital-only book based on the adventures of Batman. Specifically, the Batman of 1966:

“The juxtaposition of offering a retro “Batman 66″ comic as a current and modern digital first title is fun,” said DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson.

“DC Entertainment is the most prolific producer of digital first comics and, as we work to create new and compelling content, this is a great way to also preserve the legacy of our characters.

“It’s exciting to roll out the new Batman 66 comic as part of this bigger initiative with our Warner Bros Consumer Product partners.”

DC has previously released digital-first television tie-ins based on “Arrow” and “Smallville.”

Again, there’s no direct link between the company’s digital division planning to resurrect this version of Batman and the DC Comics editors wanting to off the incarnation of Green Lantern that managed to gain mainstream acceptance without being involved in a Hindenburg of a motion picture. But what it does tell us is this: the company would rather court fans of a nearly 50-year-old television show–one synonymous with the cheesiest stereotypes about comic books as a medium and the fandom surrounding it–than the fanbase of a critically acclaimed television show that was on the air less than a decade ago.

Gee, I wonder why that could be?
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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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Race & Fandom Roundup: Kato Steps Out, Green Lantern Casting, Maggie Q & Dwayne McDuffie

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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Thanks to Racialicious reader Tomas for tipping us off to this: this May, Dynamite Entertainment’s Green Hornet comic-book line will focus on the titular hero’s companion in Kato: Way Of The Ninja. The Kato character has been part of Hornet canon since the character’s beginnings in the radio era, but his most memorable incarnation came in the 1960s, when he was played by Bruce Lee. Even there, though, Lee’s character had to play second banana. Ninja writer Jai Nitz told Newsarama that in the comics, Kato is played more as the Hornet’s equal, and this particular mini-series will take him places the Hornet can’t go.

Nitz also said the story will focus on Kato’s somewhat-forced racial ambiguity:

The first actor to play Kato on the Green Hornet radio program was a Japanese actor named Raymond Hayashi, and Kato was explicitly referred to as “Japanese”. Then Kato was ambiguously changed to Filipino as American/Japanese relations deteriorated in the face of World War II (remember, Pearl Harbor wasn’t the first blow struck in the escalation to WWII, it was the last). Then after Pearl Harbor Kato was explicitly Filipino (and you have to remember the closeness of the Philippines and the US at the time to understand why). Whew. All that said, [Green Hornet: Year One writer] Matt Wagner sets Kato as a Japanese soldier that becomes disillusioned with how the Japanese conduct themselves during the war with mainland China. But, like the real-life radio dilemma, Kato hides his identity, in our story as Korean, when he and [the Green Hornet] return to the States due to the tensions with Japan.

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Will Jim Lee Take After The Brave And The Bold?

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By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

jim leeJim Lee reached some rare air Thursday, when he was introduced as co-publisher of the renamed DC Entertainment. The move makes him the highest-ranking Asian-American working for the comics industry’s Big Two (Cuban-American Joe Quesada is Editor-In-Chief at DC’s nemesis, Marvel). It also places Lee, who has already been running DC’s WildStorm imprint since its’ inception in 1998, in prime position to help the company move in a more progressive direction – one DCE’s animation division has seemingly had no problem embracing for the past decade.

The latest example of this trend has been Batman: The Brave And The Bold, which has featured POC characters since debuting in 2008. The series’ first episode, for instance, featured Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle. (DC Comics took advantage of this exposure by cancelling the Blue Beetle comic book the very week the episode aired.) More recently, BATB has featured the second Atom, Ryan Choi and the newest Firestorm, Jason Rusch.

But DC’s positive run actually kicked off in 2000, when Static Shock debuted. It scored three Daytime Emmy nominations in four years, winning one in 2003. So how could a show featuring a black character win both critical and commercial praise on TV after being part of the ill-fated Milestone Comics line? Well, as Static’s creator, Dwayne McDuffie told me last year:

“It was available to kids who hadn’t made up their minds about what superhero was cool yet. They like this guy. They didn’t know they were supposed to like Green Lantern more. It’s easier to win over a new audience than someone who’s been reading Barry Allen as The Flash for 30 years and can’t let it go that he’s been dead for 30 years and need to see Barry Allen again. There’s a racial component to that, but probably a bigger piece is old guys stuck in the mud.”

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McDuffie also had a hand in the next instance of a black character getting to shine in a DC Animated Series, as part of the creative team for the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series. This incarnation of the League not only featured a black Green Lantern in John Stewart, but also devoted screen time to both an IR romance between himself and Hawkgirl and a relationship Stewart went on to enjoy with Vixen, another black character. Considering that, when the series started, Stewart probably ranked lower on the comic-book totem-pole than four white Green Lanterns, Stewart’s emergence was a welcome sight, and he’s emerged to become a bigger player in GL comic-book canon because of it.

So, even if it’s Geoff Johns who is in charge of “shepherding” the DC/Vertigo/WildStorm characters across media platforms, Lee’s ascension, one would think, would allow him to speak up for characters like Reyes, Rusch and Choi – positive POC characters that, though it’s leery to admit, the comic-book industry is going to need to develop in order to attract new readers, rather than rely on re-re-re-re-revisiting the Silver Age for an audience that’s only getting older.