Tag Archives: Marvel

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The Disney Triple Crown: Why Ming-Na Wen Needs To Be In Star Wars

By Guest Contributor Keith Chow, cross-posted from The Nerds Of Color

Earlier this week, Lucasfilm announced the addition of two more actors to the cast of Star Wars Episode VII. We do not yet know who the two relatively unknown actors — Pip Anderson, who’s British, and Crystal Clarke, who’s African American — will play in the movie, but I’m guessing their roles must be substantial enough to warrant a press release about their casting. If their characters are indeed prominent, Clarke will join John Boyega and Lupita Nyong’o in making this “the blackest Star Wars ever.”

Still, every time breaking Star Wars casting news comes across my feed, there’s always one name that I hope to see in the headlines:Ming-Na Wen.

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shield2 via screenrant

Is Agents Of SHIELD really an interracial family show?

By Arturo R. García

Skye (Chloe Bennet) meets her mentor, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) in “Agents of SHIELD.”

THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS

Not to get all Morpheus on you, but: what if some of us Whedonistas have been approaching Agents of SHIELD off focus, just a bit?

Sure, I’ve been among the fans who have been critical of the show during most of its’ freshman season, with a good deal of that dissatisfaction aimed at the ostensible audience POV character, Skye (Chloe Bennet) — and this was before we found out she might be an extraterrestrial sort-of object of considerable power, on top of being a super-hacker.

But, over the weekend a colleague of mine at The Raw Story, Scott Eric Kaufman brought me up to speed on at least one more way to approach the series. It might not excuse some of the story choices in Agents thus far, but it sheds new light on how we might consider Skye and her cohorts.
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The Racialicious Links Roundup 11.14.13: Sleepy Hollow, Renisha McBride, Luke Cage, Rememberance Day, YA Lit

Years ago, an actor/writer working on a pilot episode for Fox told me she suspected a 2010 session just led producers to transform tertiary white characters into ethnic minorities, with no change in the scripts to acknowledge the shift in race or culture.

But then came this fall’s sleeper hit, “Sleepy Hollow,” Fox’s tale about the modern-day adventures of Ichabod Crane. Ichabod somehow awakens in modern times after a 250-year sleep. The story unfolds like “The X-Files” meets “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” (except the Yankee moves forward in time rather than back). Crane teams with a young cop to tackle supernatural weirdness related to the return of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

And the young cop, Abbie Mills, is played by Nicole Beharie, an up-and-coming African-American actor who made a splash as Jackie Robinson’s wife this spring in the film “42.” Suddenly, the show was anchored by a strong black woman who gets to kick down doors, tote a trusty sidearm and play skeptical Dana Scully to Ichabod Crane’s witchcraft-wise Fox Mulder (for the uninitiated, that’s an X-Files shout-out).

When the show featured a storyline centered on Mills’ sister, we got to see two black women in an action/adventure setting, fighting the bad guys instead of waiting to be rescued or seduced. It was exactly the kind of diverse casting I had been waiting for since 1999, when the issue hit a crisis point as the broadcast networks offered a fall slate of new TV shows without a single character of color.

We have been here before. Our history becomes our present so often it becomes difficult to distinguish the two. Politicians and cable news hosts and the naïvely colorblind ask us to forget, most of the country obliges, and black people, again, are left to piece together the fragments of history, suffering, rage, and pain so that we may have hope for something better.

Again we advocate for justice. Again we question what justice would even look like. Again we demand that black life be valued. Again we wonder why it never was in the first place. Again we weep, we pray, we march, we raise our voices. Again we prepare ourselves to be let down. And again we ask when will the moment come where we won’t have to go through this again.

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Table For Two: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D

By Kendra James & Arturo R. García

Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) is under the gun(n) in the premiere of “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

So after what felt like two years’ worth of hype, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D finally debuted Tuesday night, offering up a potentially interesting new platform through which to explore the Marvel Movieverse, as well as a show featuring women of color in both the primary ensemble (Chloe Bennet and Ming-Na Wen) and the creative team (executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen). And that’s without counting the welcome return of Firefly‘s Ron Glass and Angel‘s J. August Richards to Whedonville.

As promised, the show doesn’t skimp on digging deep for its connections to the Marvel movie universe, referencing not just Avengers, but Iron Man 3 and Captain America in major ways. But how did our roving reviewers feel about it? They traded some thoughts after the premiere.

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The greener the berry…

by Guest Contributor Cheryl Lynn, originally published at Digital Femme

Back when I used to read Uncanny X-Men, I would always wonder why writers had mutants face events that actual minority groups dealt with decades ago. Slavery. Segregation. Attempted genocide. After all, why not tap into some of the very real plights that minority groups currently have to deal with? Demonization in the media. Housing discrimination.

Sexual exploitation.

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I wonder if the creative teams working on Marvel’s X-books are taking a step in that direction or if the preceding mock Utopia ad is one hell of a coincidence. Because the first thing I thought of when I saw the advertisement was how the green skin of the women had been held up as some kind of novelty or amusement for “normal” men to enjoy. And I can’t help but think of Black and Latina women in the Dominican Republic and Asian women in the Philippines who are considered that same kind of novelty act.

It’s not funny. It’s creepy. It’s disgusting. And it’s infuriating.

So seeing that ad got my hopes up. It made me wonder if Marvel was going to use the X-books to shine light on a problem that many either know nothing about or refuse to acknowledge. Marvel certainly isn’t afraid to tackle sensitive subjects. But that’s usually reserved for mature books such as those in the MAX line. To see something like this alluded to in an ad for a regular Marvel book is surprising. And impressive.

Unless the advertisement was intended to be humorous.

Which will pretty much cause me to wild the hell out.

ETA: David Brothers apparently has no regard for the safety of those at Wizard, because he’s telling me that this is a mock ad from Wizard that is intended to be funny.

I’m not laughing.

Dear Joss Whedon: We Found You A Wasp

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
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As of press time, the majority of the geek world was bracing for a big fat win, in the form of confirmation that Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon would be directing Marvel’s Avengers film adaptation – the culmination of the company’s attempt to create a shared film universe. Both Deadline and Variety have said, basically, that it’s all over but the champagne at this point.

Samuel L. Jackson’s presence as Nick Fury is all but a lock in this film, since he’s been the guy pulling these disparate heroes – Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and perhaps The Hulk & The Black Widow – together. But given Whedon’s predilection for casting familiar faces, there’s potentially a great opportunity here to cast Dollhouse vet Dichen Lachman as Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, long established in canon as one of the team’s founding members, and had one of the longest relationships in both Marvel Universes with Henry Pym.

I say “both” because in the (alternate) Marvel Ultimate U., Janet is of (vague) Asian descent, and a holder of two doctorates. And the Jackson version of Fury’s character also originated in the Ultimate ‘verse. Though Whedon’s issues with representing Asian culture are well-documented, Lachman’s ability to steal the show on Dollhouse and the relatively neutral nature of the Avengers setting – it’s a military-industrial complex, sure, but at least the decor isn’t refried Geisha – would seem to insulate the character against at least some questionable characterization. Here’s to hoping. And to starting an anti-cancellation petition, just in case.

image courtesy of Rich Lovatt

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One more fandom note: I won’t put up any Doctor Who spoilers, since the show will barely start airing in the U.S. this coming weekend, but I will recommend you check out next week’s episode, “The Beast Below,” featuring Sophie Okonedo as Liz Ten. I mean, come on, she rocks a cloak and twin hand-cannons. And she instantly joins the ranks of Characters Who Need Their Own Series Right Now.

image courtesy of Bleeding Cool

Quoted: Dwayne McDuffie on Race, The Comics Industry, and Creating Characters

Your run on Deathlok seemed to be full of allusions to the black experience. The lead character’s trapped in a cyborg construct and has his body stolen from him. His fear and shame at how his family would see his new form keeps him from them. He’s literally separated from his own humanity. And the dialogues between the cyborg’s computer AI and Michael Collins riffs on the twoness that W.E.B. DuBois spoke about. How much of this was explicitly in your and Greg Wright’s pitch and how much did you slip under the radar?

None of it was in the pitch, but all of it was intentional. Invisible Man was, and still is, my favorite novel. I’d just read The Souls of Black Folk and was explicitly thinking about Skip Gates’ The Signifying Monkey. Godel, Esher, Bach and Derrick Bell’s dialogues about race and law sort of crashed in my head. Deathlok was a way of sharing some of my thoughts about all of this.

Foremost, though, Deathlok was supposed to be a modern-day take on Marvel’s The Thing (a man alienated by his surface appearance), as well as my own commentary on the “grim and gritty” trend in comic book heroes. Contrary to the fashion at the time, I wanted to do a superhero who was more moral than I, not less. [...]

You’ve talked about how the character of Buck Wild came about as a commentary on the complicated love/hate relationship you had with Luke Cage. Do you still feel the need to address that relationship today? Did doing those issues with Buck help work that stuff out?

I’d worked those issues out even before I started Milestone. I just wanted to share those ideas with the comic book readership in an entertaining matter. Interestingly, those stories are about to be reprinted this summer as Icon: Mothership Connection. The excesses of Blaxploitation comics characters like Cage is the past, though. I’m much more interested in dealing with the stuff that’s going on now: more green characters with their own monthlies than black characters, a criminal lack of people of color in writing and editorial positions on mainstream books, et cetera… The last time I tried to write about that stuff in a mainstream book, my story was bounced (by the same people who asked me to write about it, mind you), and my editors wanted to replace it with clichés from twenty years ago, clichés that not coincidentally shielded mainstream readers and comicbook creators from any responsibility for the current state of affairs. I passed on that. I’ll write about those issues again when I have more control over the content.

Race, Sci-Fi, and Comics: A Talk with Dwayne McDuffie,” Interview by Evan Narcisse for the Atlantic

Race & Comics Round-up: Around The Marvel Universe

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By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Over at Marvel, the solicitations for May listed two books starring POC characters. Perhaps the most surprising is Amadeus Cho, Prince Of Power, a mini-series starring the young Korean-American running buddy of Hercules. Amadeus, acknowledged as the eighth-smartest man on Earth, is tasked to assume Hercules’ mantle by Herc’s sister, Athena. Her reasoning is, to deal with a pending crisis, the next P.O.P should be more formidable mentally than physically.

Thankfully, Cho has been steered clear of “smart Asian” territory by his creator, writer Greg Pak. Pak has consistently played Amadeus as not just intelligent, but cocky enough to team-up or work against other other Marvel brain-boxes like Reed Richards and Henry Pym. So while this is just a limited series, it’s good to see Amadeus get more of a spotlight.

cagetboltsMeanwhile, the Thunderbolts series gets re-tooled yet again, this time with Marvel mainstay Luke Cage as the star. Cage has been a presence in the Marvel U. since 1972 (remember the Gold Shirt and Tiara?), and starting in Thunderbolts #144, Cage is placed in charge of a supervillain rehab program as part of the company’s much-hyped “Heroic Age” event.

It’ll be interesting to see how this isn’t presented as anything but a demotion for Cage, who was heavily featured by Brian Michael Bendis in both Daredevil and New Avengers over the past few years. (Speaking of the Avengers, what we’ve seen of the team’s new line-up looks very, uh, monochromatic.)

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Finally, a note on last week’s bit of mock-outrage over Captain America taking on “The Watchdogs,” which may or may not have been inspired by the Tea Party – who want you to know, by the way, that they would never mockingly call a black man “Obama,” as happened in Captain America #602. As MightyGodKing put it:

My word, why would anybody ever associate tea partiers with racism? Continue reading