Tag Archives: marvel comics

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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Ultimate Spider-Man Is Better Than Marvel’s Advertising Gives It Credit For

By Arturo R. García

In promoting the new Ultimate Spider-Man comic, which features a black Latino protagonist in Miles Morales, Marvel pulled out the kind of pull-quote driven advert you’d expect for a high-profile launch.

Unfortunately, the ad short-changes what proves to be a compelling, if not particularly exciting, story.
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Quoted: A. Darryl Moton on Static Shock

Immediately, I latched onto the character of Static like the electricity for which he’s named. A Black, lower-middle-class kid, skinny and somewhat socially awkward, whose method of dealing with problems usually involved his wit rather than his fists, capable of using such terms as “Pythagorean renown” for no real reason other than they sound pretty and prone to breaking into a capella renderings of the theme to The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly at the drop of a hat? It was as if McDuffie and co-creator John Paul Leon had based the character on me. I faithfully bought every issue each month until the series ended in the late 90s.

When I was in college, I was pleased to see the character brought into the mainstream with the Static Shock animated series on the WB, happy to see Milestone’s highest-profile character get the respect and appreciation he deserved in mass-market media. It proved something I’d always maintained about the character: that Static, more so than Black Panther, Icon, or Hardware, was actually capable of appealing to all comic book readers, not just Black ones. Like Spider-Man, he was a bright young man who dealt with the problems middle-class youth have to face; like Spider-Man, he grew up in an urban environment, part of a faceless anonymous class of people in an enormous city. Like Spider-Man, he wanted to work his way up from his circumstances; like Spider-Man, he had to do it with his brains, not his body. The difference—and this was a difference large enough to ensure the character was far from derivative—was that Virgil Hawkins was Black, and lived a life according to this social experience.

In essence, Virgil Hawkins lived the kind of life Spider-Man would have lived, had he been Black.
- From “Why Virgil Hawkins Is More Significant Than Miles Morales,” on Komplicated.com

X Marks The Ghetto: Schism Re-illustrates Marvel’s Mutant Problem

By Arturo R. García

For me, the aura around Marvel’s X-Men franchise took a hit this year, thanks to the raceFAIL that derailed the otherwise enjoyable X-Men: First Class. After all, playing up a group of heroes as surrogates for the marginalized when they’re almost entirely white, cis-hetero folks was more far-fetched than any bit of sci-fi on the screen.

There’s something similarly problematic undercutting this year’s big story in the X-Men comic books, Schism. Much like First Class, Schism isn’t a bad superhero story so far, per se, but its’ focus on the team’s internal politics only highlights how Marvel’s creative process has done “too good” of a job of marginalizing mutantkind, both as a collection of characters and as any kind of representation of diversity.

Spoilers for Schism and other X-stories under the cut.
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Why The New Spider-Man Matters

By Arturo R. García

Nope, that’s not Peter Parker in the picture above. Which makes this Vote With Your Wallet time again for Marvel Comics fans. The appearance of this new web-slinger isn’t just a potential turning point for the comics business, but it’s the biggest in a series of moves over the years by Marvel to build more diversity into its’ highly-lucrative Spider-brand. Spoilers under the cut.
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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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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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When A Coloring Mistake Means Much More

By Guest Contributor Sue, cross-posted from DC Women Kicking Ass

On Monday I posted how DC Comics had published a corrected version of the Flash family from Flashpoint #1. This portrait included the granddaughter of Barry Allen properly portrayed as a black woman. In the pages that were included in DC’s Green Lantern Free Comic Book Day issue, she has been colored and presented as a mysterious white member of the Flash family.

How did this happen? I have no idea. I asked DC if they wanted to comment on it yesterday, but my email has not been responded to. Neither have I seen any explanation. And even if they did respond, I am sure that they would say it was a “mistake.”

But a mistake that changes one of the few women of color in the Flash family, one of the few women of color in the Legion, one of the few women of color in comics is more than a mistake. It’s a painful reminder that in comics, white is the default. White is the majority. White is the easy choice because you have, according to Marvel’s Tom Brevoort, only a 1% chance of being wrong.

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