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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,126
In Reply To
Kieran Frost

Subj: Re: I understand your point, but I think it's very unnecessary
Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:45:58 am EDT (Viewed 179 times)
Reply Subj: I understand your point, but I think it's very unnecessary
Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 07:24:58 am EDT (Viewed 186 times)


    I mean just look to your first post, and to all the people you listed. That's a really good thing, surely? That's a good indicator that Marvel doesn't need to "focus" on diversity; because it's already there. You have over 160 names there, at-least. Awesome! Why does Marvel need to focus on ethnic diversity then?

No, all it shows is that Marvel has accumulated quite a sizeable number of "ethnic" characters heroes and villains (although I honestly don't understand what e.g. Arclight, Viper and Sage are doing on the list, they really are less "ethnic" than non-listed Shadowcat, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch), but not necessarily that this number is high enough or that Marvel can sit back complacently. You also could compile an even bigger list of female heroes and villains, but that would not "prove" that everything was all right with Marvel's portrayal and use of female characters, sorry.

    Take New Avengers for instance?


    Leader: Luke Cage - black

    Ms. Marvel - female, military


    Spiderwoman - female and British

    Ronin - orphan and "circus" person

    Mockingbird - female, military

    Wolverine - Canadian

    Brother VooDoo - black

    Stephen Strange

    And of course, most are "super-beings" which means they are an ethnic group just on that factor. This is one of the main teams in Marvel; and it has only 2 white, American, heterosexual, "normal" (in terms of family background) male characters in it. And considering a very large chunk of Marvel readers are white, heterosexual, American males; I think that's a really good ratio. And does anyone care Luke Cage is black? I hope not. I hope when he was made leader no-one said "finally a black leader" because that shouldn't matter. Being black or white, male/female, gay/straight doesn't make you a better leader; or a better superhero.

Defining "super-beings" as an ethnic group does not exactly strike me as a very honest argument, especially as (with the possible exception of mutants) they are not treated as one. (Also, last that I heard Ronin has no superpowers).

Hmmm, let's look at that list more closely. Clearly for you "white, male, US citizen" is the default, females, non-Caucasians and furriners are the weirdos. When a character is black, that is enough to mark him as "odd", then it is not necessary to also note that he's a foreigner (Brother Voodoo is Haitian). Then you add a number of completely irrelevant categories, like "military" (BTW, Wolverine would also qualify, but since she was a SHIELD agent, I don't really see Mockingbird as one), "orphan" (whoopdeedoo, superheroes being orphans is one of the most overused tropes in the genre; I'm not sure Dr. Strange isn't one (at least I don't remember his parents), Spider-Woman certainly was raised as if she was an orphan, and I have to say I'm surprised that you missed triple-orphaned Spider-Man - both his biological parents and his adoptive father were murdered) and even the somewhat ridiculous ""circus" person". One gets suspicious that these categories were added to distort the ratios a bit. Just a brief recap:
White/People of Color: 7-2
US Citizens/Foreigners: 6-3 (don't know if Spider-Woman or Brother Voodoo ever became naturalized US citizens, though)
North American/from overseas: 8-1 or 7-2, depending on whether you consider Haiti part of North America or not
Heterosexual/GLBT: 9-0
Male/Female: 6-3
"Normal" family background/orphanhood etc.: apparently 5-4 (Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Ronin are the "abnormal" ones)
So the white, US, male, "normal" demographic is catered to pretty well if one does not assume that they can only empathize with a character who is like them in every single respect (otherwise they'd be out of luck, because they can't empathize with Spider-Man if they aren't orphans and not with Doctor Strange because they are not fully-qualified surgeons or because they are appreciably younger than him). ;\-\)

Oh, and it is all very well to say that ethnicity, skin-colour, religion, sexual orientation etc. SHOULDN'T matter, but in the real world such factors clearly do matter.

    Your poll was done with good intentions, but Marvel shouldn't EVER focus "more" or give "more attention" to a character because they are in an ethnic group. They should give focus to great characters, and bring into the fold great characters, and write about great characters. And if that character happens to be a female Vietnamese, all the power to them. But if they put her in purely BECAUSE she's a female Vietnamese, that's wrong. It's positive discrimination, and that's just wrong.

Of course if creators always had stuck to your rule, we would have even less "ethnic" characters than we do at the moment and Luke Cage might not lead the New Avengers (after all, he started out as a slightly embarrassing blaxploitation stereotype, not exactly a "great character") and Brother Voodoo would not be his teammate (for most of his published existence the character was looked on as a joke by fans, vide his use by Fred Hembeck as a consistent butt of jokes). The thing is, in comics a writer can make a boring character great. But maybe a different counter-proposal to you: Since factors like race, ethnicity etc. shouldn't matter, why not simply make every newly-created male heroes from now until 2019 non-white? That should give no more cause for complaints than the fact that all Timely/Marvel superheroes created up until the mid-1960s were white. And for new characters you can't say that they would be better just because they are white! \:\-\)

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