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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,126
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Subj: Re: Because they aren't
Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 05:17:21 am EDT (Viewed 156 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Because they aren't
Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:11:39 pm EDT (Viewed 163 times)


      What makes Black Panther hard to relate to IMO is rather similar to what makes Wonder Woman hard to relate to for a lot of readers - he is a bit too perfect because he is treated as an icon for an entire race or continent (just as Wonder Woman is treated as an icon for an entire gender).

    Yes, because these types of characters don't really possess fully formed/three dimensional personalities. It goes for Storm as well. Who really wants to hear the internal monologue of any of these characters? Name one negative trait any of these characters posses?

Didn't read Priest's BP run, but from the way I saw it described, I'd say the Black Panther can be a bit of a manipulative bastard. ;\-\) As for Storm, beneath her calm exterior she has a bit of a temper, which she has to keep under control for obvious reasons (and which most of the time she does rein in). I'd also say she is at heart a pretty introverted person who sometimes appears happiest when she is alone (communing with nature) and this hampers her in many of her interpersonal relationships. When she became leader of the X-Men she generally became very good at establishing a rapport with her teammates, but it did come naturally to her, but she rose to a challenge posed by her role.


      Storm is also somewhat idealized as a character, though not to the same extent and she has some quirks and weaknesses. BTW, she never really struck me as particularly motherly except in her relationship to Kitty during the 1980s.

    Then how would you describe her personality? I've heard her for years, and I can't really say what it's like.

See above for some of my thoughts on her personality.


      I disagree. People can relate to characters from exotic locations (e.g. Conan, Xena, Tarzan), and playing up the part of Black Panther as a king with intrigue and big political decisions was IIRC one of the big selling points during Priest's run. The problem is probably more that Wakanda really is disconnected from the real world; I've compared BP to WW above, I think you also can see Wakanda as an analog to Paradise Island/Themyscira, a utopian alternative fictional society (what a sub-Saharan African nation might have become had there been a part of sub-Saharan Africa spared from colonialism, imperialism etc. and if they also had a unique natural resource that had given them economic muscle).

    And those examples aren't really successful, and they aren't being carried by the reader's ability to relate to them. No one reads Conan because they feel they can relate to him, but they for Spider-Man.

I wouldn't know about that. Seems hard to believe that readers would not be able to relate to Conan since there really is no one else in the series to whom they could relate to instead. And you could argue that few other heroes, including some very successful ones (e.g. Superman, Batman, and Wolverine) are as easy to relate to as Spider-Man.

    Even Priest has talked about how in order for sales to increase, he had to try and get him out of Wakanda. And for most of his run, he wasn't there during his run. What's the most popular series set primarily in an "exotic" location? Even Green Lantern is based on mostly on Earth now.

"Star Wars" and "Star Trek" are primarily based in locations at least as "exotic" as Wakanda, they successful enough for you? Of course most of the characters in those stories are white - so is the "exotic" locale (Wakanda) of Black Panther really a bigger obstacle for success with non-black readers than the fact that most members of the cast are black? In the context of Marvel, I did not get the impression that series centering on the more American black heroes at Marvel or DC were notably more successful with the audience than the Black Panther in solo titles.

Also, quite a bit of e.g. the X-Men stories is set in "exotic" locations like the Savage Land and the Shi'ar empire (not to mention that "mutant homeland" locations like Genosha etc. are also to a large extent as disconnected from the real world as Themyscira).

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