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  1. #1
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    Default In Your Face Jam - Feb 5, 2014

    With "Ms. Marvel" #1 on stands and "iZombie" getting a television pilot, writer Brett White recounts his social justice origin story.


    Full article here.

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    Elder Member Free-Man's Avatar
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    I related very strongly to this. There was an article a few months ago where Anthony Mackie talks about how he took part in The Winter Soldier because he wanted to show young black kids that there are superheroes who look like them, and that really just hammered home for me the lack of diversity there is in a lot of superhero media. And it's not just black characters either; it's LGBT characters, Asian heroes, Latino heroes, and so on.

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    i'm getting this one as soon as i'm out of my job today! totally loving the idea!
    and now i'm intrigued... how they would make an asexual character fit & work... i would love to see that!! i could finally get some representation!!
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    Psychological violence Moose100's Avatar
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    Hoolleee crap if this isn't what I was saying about underrepresented groups.

    Comic book readers should be able to see themselves in a hero, but representation also isn't a checklist. Kamala Khan's existence doesn't mean that other Muslim superheroes, like Monet in "X-Men," shouldn't exist; we're not done with them. Comic creators had to come up with a lot of gay characters before they finally hit on one that resonated with me. The same holds true for every part of the human race. There needs to be multiple transgender characters, asexual characters, differently-abled characters, all different types of characters -- because one character can't bear the burden of representation alone. One character is a solid start but a horrible finish.
    This statement perfectly states one of the understated problems with representation. Don't just give me one type of each character over and over again from each UR group.

  5. #5
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Free-Man View Post
    I related very strongly to this. There was an article a few months ago where Anthony Mackie talks about how he took part in The Winter Soldier because he wanted to show young black kids that there are superheroes who look like them, and that really just hammered home for me the lack of diversity there is in a lot of superhero media. And it's not just black characters either; it's LGBT characters, Asian heroes, Latino heroes, and so on.
    There is diversity — just not star diversity. And that's dictated by sales rather than the demand for diversity.

    When it comes to characters of colour, today's audiences don't realize that the founding eras of both Marvel and DC were finished before it became commonplace to have black stars on television — and by this I mean that even big showcase programs like Ed Sullivan didn't feature #1 acts like the Supremes and Temptations until 1964 and 1967 respectively, both firmly after the core heroes were created for each universe. And that time difference IS important: at a time when we have full nude sex scenes on HBO, few of today's college set or younger can conceive of a time less than 50 years earlier when it was shocking to see Mike & Carol Brady using the same bed, or how scared NBC got when Captain James T. Kirk was forced to kiss Lieutenant Uhura.

    The real issue — and I think this article does underline it fairly well — is representation without stereotyping. For every Robbie Robertson at The Daily Bugle, a character who happens to be black, you have a Luke Cage that embodied every stereotype about the Harlem black man in the 1970s. And the fact that Cage was deemed unable to carry a series himself — or Black Panther, for another — is due to audiences not embracing these characters because, quite frankly, the writers they had were more interested in establishing the difference in identity rather than often the acts of heroism itself.

    Seriously: go back and look at Marvel carefully. Most prominent black character? Luke Cage, who knows the real streets better than a white hero who'd be perfectly in place as a witness for the cops, or Black Panther, who embodies the mysterious Africa that's put on display. Most prominent asian? Shang-Chi, a Bruce Lee ripoff. And so on. Heck, Dust — when first appearing — adhered to a lot of stereotypes as well.

    I'm not saying diversity isn't necessary; it is. I'm saying that characters need to be far more than just diverse — and those that are from different backgrounds need to stop having them pointed too time and time again. Calling the new Alan Scott "the gay Lantern" or John Stewart "the black Lantern" isn't really that great; they need to be characters on their own.

    And the list of diverse characters is not as small as people make it out to be. It's just that they're less stars of the big two because they've never really caught on in the way that the founding heroes did.

    But the list is actually quite impressive, be it…
    DC's Cyborg, Vixen, half of Firestorm, Fire, Vibe, Batwing, Batwoman, Lucius Fox, John Stewart, Alan Scott (52 version), Hawkgirl (52 version), Dr. Fate (52 version), Barbary Ghost, Blue Beetle (Reyes), Katana, Simon Baz, Mr. Terrific, Cho (human component of OMAC), The Ray (52 version), Static, Hessia (from Wonder Woman), Casey Washington, Prince Mohamed & Abisha (from Green Team), JP and his sister (from Green Team), Virtue, Rainmaker, and Voodoo
    or
    Marvel's Storm, Forge, Dust, Sunspot, Moonstar, M, Psylocke, Bishop, Jubilee, Wyatt Wingfoot, Night Thrasher, Luke Cage, Shang Chi, Robbie Robertson, Northstar, Black Panther, Loki (new version), Blade, Falcon, Fury Jr., Karolina, Karima (Sentinel Prime), Patriot (modern version), Voodoo, Karma, Sunfire, Agent Woo, Miles Morales and the new Ms. Marvel.

    And that's without going into the fact we have aliens, talking animals, and diversity of ideologies and religions.
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  6. #6
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose100 View Post
    This statement perfectly states one of the understated problems with representation. Don't just give me one type of each character over and over again from each UR group.
    I said it in my own response, but I have to say it again: THIS is the point we need to underline time and time again for the editors at all the companies.

    It's become a checklist of diversity: we're low on this, this and this… make up a new character. Personally, as someone who grew up with comics for more than four decades now, I am saddened when I see that happening. Northstar's homosexuality is clear from Alpha Flight's beginning without having to spell it out, and he wasn't the effeminate stereotype that we got on television. Kitty Pryde was Jewish without having to flaunt her religion and its ideals — she just skipped some Christmas activities and wore the Star Of David on a uniform for a short period. And for every story about race, give them a counter issue from GI Joe: sure Stalker was the "token" black on the initial squad, but nobody treated him differently — he was a top Marine and respected for that, nothing else mattered.
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  7. #7
    Psychological violence Moose100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian from Canada View Post
    I said it in my own response, but I have to say it again: THIS is the point we need to underline time and time again for the editors at all the companies.

    It's become a checklist of diversity: we're low on this, this and this… make up a new character. Personally, as someone who grew up with comics for more than four decades now, I am saddened when I see that happening. Northstar's homosexuality is clear from Alpha Flight's beginning without having to spell it out, and he wasn't the effeminate stereotype that we got on television. Kitty Pryde was Jewish without having to flaunt her religion and its ideals — she just skipped some Christmas activities and wore the Star Of David on a uniform for a short period. And for every story about race, give them a counter issue from GI Joe: sure Stalker was the "token" black on the initial squad, but nobody treated him differently — he was a top Marine and respected for that, nothing else mattered.

    Yeah it's like the other thing is for some groups like African American characters Marvel HAS a variety of characters(that arent perfect mind you but thats another post), but they arent being USED. Like we always get the "street" character like Luke Cage. Theres nothing wrong with that by itself it's why I like Luke Cage, but there is more than that one type of black person in the real world yknow?

  8. #8
    Psychological violence Moose100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian from Canada View Post
    There is diversity — just not star diversity. And that's dictated by sales rather than the demand for diversity.

    When it comes to characters of colour, today's audiences don't realize that the founding eras of both Marvel and DC were finished before it became commonplace to have black stars on television — and by this I mean that even big showcase programs like Ed Sullivan didn't feature #1 acts like the Supremes and Temptations until 1964 and 1967 respectively, both firmly after the core heroes were created for each universe. And that time difference IS important: at a time when we have full nude sex scenes on HBO, few of today's college set or younger can conceive of a time less than 50 years earlier when it was shocking to see Mike & Carol Brady using the same bed, or how scared NBC got when Captain James T. Kirk was forced to kiss Lieutenant Uhura.

    The real issue — and I think this article does underline it fairly well — is representation without stereotyping. For every Robbie Robertson at The Daily Bugle, a character who happens to be black, you have a Luke Cage that embodied every stereotype about the Harlem black man in the 1970s. And the fact that Cage was deemed unable to carry a series himself — or Black Panther, for another — is due to audiences not embracing these characters because, quite frankly, the writers they had were more interested in establishing the difference in identity rather than often the acts of heroism itself.

    Seriously: go back and look at Marvel carefully. Most prominent black character? Luke Cage, who knows the real streets better than a white hero who'd be perfectly in place as a witness for the cops, or Black Panther, who embodies the mysterious Africa that's put on display. Most prominent asian? Shang-Chi, a Bruce Lee ripoff. And so on. Heck, Dust — when first appearing — adhered to a lot of stereotypes as well.

    I'm not saying diversity isn't necessary; it is. I'm saying that characters need to be far more than just diverse — and those that are from different backgrounds need to stop having them pointed too time and time again. Calling the new Alan Scott "the gay Lantern" or John Stewart "the black Lantern" isn't really that great; they need to be characters on their own.

    And the list of diverse characters is not as small as people make it out to be. It's just that they're less stars of the big two because they've never really caught on in the way that the founding heroes did.

    But the list is actually quite impressive, be it…
    DC's Cyborg, Vixen, half of Firestorm, Fire, Vibe, Batwing, Batwoman, Lucius Fox, John Stewart, Alan Scott (52 version), Hawkgirl (52 version), Dr. Fate (52 version), Barbary Ghost, Blue Beetle (Reyes), Katana, Simon Baz, Mr. Terrific, Cho (human component of OMAC), The Ray (52 version), Static, Hessia (from Wonder Woman), Casey Washington, Prince Mohamed & Abisha (from Green Team), JP and his sister (from Green Team), Virtue, Rainmaker, and Voodoo
    or
    Marvel's Storm, Forge, Dust, Sunspot, Moonstar, M, Psylocke, Bishop, Jubilee, Wyatt Wingfoot, Night Thrasher, Luke Cage, Shang Chi, Robbie Robertson, Northstar, Black Panther, Loki (new version), Blade, Falcon, Fury Jr., Karolina, Karima (Sentinel Prime), Patriot (modern version), Voodoo, Karma, Sunfire, Agent Woo, Miles Morales and the new Ms. Marvel.

    And that's without going into the fact we have aliens, talking animals, and diversity of ideologies and religions.
    I agree with some of this some of it not so much. Repsectfully I think it's silly to use the "talking animal/robot" thing as an example of diversity. Lets stick with real examples that have real world counterparts. It does a disservice to the conversation at hand.

    Also in terms of comics characters being all white due to the culture of the 60's is an accurate observation. However when using this folks sometimes sidestep that this was an active process and that it will take that same active process to balance the scales so to speak. I don't buy the "that's the way it was" and largely saying that's the way it is now. There needs to be a push.

    I also witness that folks tend to point out characters like John Stewart and largely marginalize him just b/c he is black when really the character has a storied and unique background. THese things are built in to the character so it's a real head scratcher when folks say stuff like "he should just be there because he's black". The onus should be on the writers to give enough of a damn about the characters instead of wallpapering them.

    I hope there are more books on the horizon that feature LGBT characters as well. Imo more people wont feel left out and it couldnt do anything but enhance business for the industry.

  9. #9
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose100 View Post
    I agree with some of this some of it not so much. Repsectfully I think it's silly to use the "talking animal/robot" thing as an example of diversity. Lets stick with real examples that have real world counterparts. It does a disservice to the conversation at hand.
    I only raise it because of the complaints about the predominance of white male characters. If you look at Justice League, there's only three out of the seven who fit this category: Superman and Aquaman may fit those physical descriptors, but they aren't human. And when someone says that comics can't do diversity, let us never forget that Beverly clearly had sexual relations with Howard — a duck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose100 View Post
    Also in terms of comics characters being all white due to the culture of the 60's is an accurate observation. However when using this folks sometimes sidestep that this was an active process and that it will take that same active process to balance the scales so to speak. I don't buy the "that's the way it was" and largely saying that's the way it is now. There needs to be a push.
    My greater point in raising that the core of the DCU and Marvel Universe were both defined in a period when it was not popular to show a multiracial leading cast is that, as a result, all of the building blocks that came after are in relation to those characters. In other words: if we are to form a "top characters" tier at each company, they'd be dominant by these movers and shakers that were at the foundation, flanked by the few diverse characters that were created after who happened to have the same value through intensive push.

    But there's a difference between pushing and forcing.

    When a new character is created, he or she needs to have to constructed in a way that makes the best use of everything available to them — and what we're seeing with comics is not a starting point of who the character is but what they are. There was no need to create a new Ms. Marvel in the Marvel Universe: the way we talk about her now is all about ethnicity and race.

    I bring up Northstar because, to me, he's the defining point to gay characters in comics. Yes, you know he is gay if you can read the signs. He even came out. But people talk about Northstar as the hero, not the gay who happens to be a superhero.

    And the fact that DC and Marvel have to make a point about how diverse their new characters are demonstrates that it's become about image more than story because that's all society seems to care about today. When the question of representation gets raised for television and movies, it's a different world being portrayed — and a much different argument because there are lots of qualified actors who are being ignored because they are defined as ethnic instead of just actors. (Conversely, I am outraged when a defined character like James Bond or Dr. Who gets demands to be played a black man next time — that doesn't fit who the character is.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose100 View Post
    I also witness that folks tend to point out characters like John Stewart and largely marginalize him just b/c he is black when really the character has a storied and unique background. THese things are built in to the character so it's a real head scratcher when folks say stuff like "he should just be there because he's black". The onus should be on the writers to give enough of a damn about the characters instead of wallpapering them.
    The greatest disservice to John Stewart was putting him in the animated series. He became "the token black" instead of being treated as a second Lantern who is very different from Hal. It's the same problem that Simon Baz is having now. Simon Baz is the Lebanese American Lantern because Johns wanted a character that represented his background. I have no problem with this — Johns presented a character who will approach the responsibility very differently than the others — but I have problems with the fact he's not being used in a way that proves the background isn't the only thing about Simon we need to love.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moose100 View Post
    I hope there are more books on the horizon that feature LGBT characters as well. Imo more people wont feel left out and it couldnt do anything but enhance business for the industry.
    But I don't want it to get to a point where EVERY book has to have an LGBT character.

    Comic writers really need to treat those characters as human beings with real feelings and emotions. I think that's the biggest point we can all agree on. Just because you're gay or straight or black or white or whatever doesn't mean you can't have honest conversations and act like a normal being. Unless you're intentionally stereotyping for humour about the stereotype — and those capable of doing that satire are very rare.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Paladin King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose100 View Post
    Yeah it's like the other thing is for some groups like African American characters Marvel HAS a variety of characters(that arent perfect mind you but thats another post), but they arent being USED. Like we always get the "street" character like Luke Cage. Theres nothing wrong with that by itself it's why I like Luke Cage, but there is more than that one type of black person in the real world yknow?
    I still would have loved to see Luke Cage in Avengers 2. Certainly far more than Quicksilver and whoever else they're adding. I'd've certainly been happier with Captain Marvel (Carol) and Cage instead of Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver. A Cage played by Terry Crews or maybe Idris Elba would've added a fun dynamic to the team.
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    umop apisdn Z-man's Avatar
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    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. One month out of every year, DC and/or Marvel should have "diversity month," and they should choose some underrepresented group, like, say, bisexuals. And every book should introduce a new bisexual character. It'll be ham fisted and awkward, but no one new bisexual character will have to represent all bisexuals, and some of then will have to resonate with readers, and those will be kept.
    Not a perfect idea, but it's better than why they're doing now.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian from Canada View Post
    I only raise it because of the complaints about the predominance of white male characters. If you look at Justice League, there's only three out of the seven who fit this category: Superman and Aquaman may fit those physical descriptors, but they aren't human. And when someone says that comics can't do diversity, let us never forget that Beverly clearly had sexual relations with Howard — a duck.



    My greater point in raising that the core of the DCU and Marvel Universe were both defined in a period when it was not popular to show a multiracial leading cast is that, as a result, all of the building blocks that came after are in relation to those characters. In other words: if we are to form a "top characters" tier at each company, they'd be dominant by these movers and shakers that were at the foundation, flanked by the few diverse characters that were created after who happened to have the same value through intensive push.

    But there's a difference between pushing and forcing.

    When a new character is created, he or she needs to have to constructed in a way that makes the best use of everything available to them — and what we're seeing with comics is not a starting point of who the character is but what they are. There was no need to create a new Ms. Marvel in the Marvel Universe: the way we talk about her now is all about ethnicity and race.

    I bring up Northstar because, to me, he's the defining point to gay characters in comics. Yes, you know he is gay if you can read the signs. He even came out. But people talk about Northstar as the hero, not the gay who happens to be a superhero.

    And the fact that DC and Marvel have to make a point about how diverse their new characters are demonstrates that it's become about image more than story because that's all society seems to care about today. When the question of representation gets raised for television and movies, it's a different world being portrayed — and a much different argument because there are lots of qualified actors who are being ignored because they are defined as ethnic instead of just actors. (Conversely, I am outraged when a defined character like James Bond or Dr. Who gets demands to be played a black man next time — that doesn't fit who the character is.)



    The greatest disservice to John Stewart was putting him in the animated series. He became "the token black" instead of being treated as a second Lantern who is very different from Hal. It's the same problem that Simon Baz is having now. Simon Baz is the Lebanese American Lantern because Johns wanted a character that represented his background. I have no problem with this — Johns presented a character who will approach the responsibility very differently than the others — but I have problems with the fact he's not being used in a way that proves the background isn't the only thing about Simon we need to love.



    But I don't want it to get to a point where EVERY book has to have an LGBT character.

    Comic writers really need to treat those characters as human beings with real feelings and emotions. I think that's the biggest point we can all agree on. Just because you're gay or straight or black or white or whatever doesn't mean you can't have honest conversations and act like a normal being. Unless you're intentionally stereotyping for humour about the stereotype — and those capable of doing that satire are very rare.
    On the forcing thing. I cannot think of one real example that this is really happening. This is a strawman imo. The reality is that either writers try to do something with a character and that has mixed results, or they end up getting wallpapered. The fact that up to this point that we get these disjointed portrayals is a symptom of not having a robust strategy to utilize and integrate these characters properly. Again in terms of forcing ask yourself "who is REALLY doing this?".

    Also I am not sure that having misgivings about EVERY book having an LGBT character is a realistic one. Again ask yourself would this reasonably happen?

    I am in agreement with you on treating characters like human beings.

  13. #13
    Psychological violence Moose100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin King View Post
    I still would have loved to see Luke Cage in Avengers 2. Certainly far more than Quicksilver and whoever else they're adding. I'd've certainly been happier with Captain Marvel (Carol) and Cage instead of Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver. A Cage played by Terry Crews or maybe Idris Elba would've added a fun dynamic to the team.
    Not that I have anything against those picks but I wouldnt mind seeing a fresh face to play Cage. This is probably a subject for another thread but hollywood tends tend to just rotate the same 5-10 black or minority actors for all the roles. Its almost like it gives them enough to say they are promoting diversity without looking at anyone new to bring in to the game. Look at how many franchises Zoe Saldana. Like you couldnt find another black actress?

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    Psychological violence Moose100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-man View Post
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. One month out of every year, DC and/or Marvel should have "diversity month," and they should choose some underrepresented group, like, say, bisexuals. And every book should introduce a new bisexual character. It'll be ham fisted and awkward, but no one new bisexual character will have to represent all bisexuals, and some of then will have to resonate with readers, and those will be kept.
    Not a perfect idea, but it's better than why they're doing now.
    It sounds like a good idea but yknow what will really happen is that those characters will disappear until the next year rolls around. LOL!! j/k

    I think Marvel is actually taking a active effort to do diversity with books that feature female leads and all female teams and the like. Its been a bit of a slow burn the last 1-2 years but it's starting to pick up more steam.

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    ☿Mecurial master of media Living Silver's Avatar
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    A big part of the solution will be diverse creators. There's a reason most of the characters are straight white men: the people who make the books are straight white men! There are a few brave souls who go out of their way to write characters that don't necessarily share their same world experience, but it's a lot to ask of a creator. The best stories are the ones that we can connect with emotionally, and it's hard to connect with someone when you are writing about what you suspect they feel. Sure, many, many emotions and experiences are universal, but those that are specific to belonging to an under-represented group are most frequently, and understandably, undocumented.

    I don't remember from which site I read it, but someone had written an article about the recent Image Expo last month. The article (correctly) pointed out the lack of diversity amongst the creators featured at the event. All were white, and only two were female. The article also made a point of not pointing a finger at Image, because all major publishing companies were guilty of it. Instead, she/he(?) suggested that it was a product of an industry that is begging for diversity amongst it's creators, and needs to make an effort to promote this diversity when it's present.

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