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little kon-el

In Reply To

Subj: But it is helpful to have people of color both behind the scenes and in the comic book...
Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 at 12:23:10 pm EDT (Viewed 9 times)
Reply Subj: Oh Good Grief...
Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 at 09:04:37 am EDT (Viewed 30 times)

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I just read this article

I have to say, this is nonsense, and in my opinion is what is wrong with Marvel right now. Growing up in a little village in the back of beyond in Scotland, I loved comics, and I especially loved Power Man and Iron Fist. I knew Luke Cage from the old Defenders and Power Man reprints in Marvel UK Rampage.

I'd never met a person of colour at that time, but I also had never met an American or an Anmerican who grew up in Kun L'un. I just loved the characters and the gorgeous Kerry Gammil art. Regardless what race the lead characters were.

I stopped buying Power Man and Iron Fist as the comic stopped being good, first the Busiek run was a bit boring compared to Duffy and then when Owsley took over I thought it was terrible. But being under ten, the creators meant nothing to me, one day it was good, the next day it wasn't. It had nothing to do with the colour of my skin or any form of Stockholm syndrome. That's just rubbish and an excuse for not very good comics. "Oh you're black and your comic has been cancelled, well maybe that's because you're not a very good writer and people didn't like your product so didn't buy it? What's that? Oh, it's because the comic companies are pushing white characters more, oh yes, that's more logical reasoning"

This is a business and a results driven business at that. If you produce good content people will buy it, if you don't, they won't. I don't care if you're black, white, Asian, if you sell content publishers will keep giving you work. I just believe if the product is good people will buy it, regardless whether they're black or white. I think this is one book I'll buy as I love Danny and Luke, but I'll drop it if it's poor regardless of the colour of the skin of the creator.

But if we pander to thinking like this, fill quotas for quotas sake, we'll potentially get poor content just because the creators tick a box.

That's not how it should be.

When I was young, I absolutely loved Whilce Portacio's Wetworks and Grail. He was Filipino. I have never seen a self-identified Filipino bad-ass in a comic book before (let alone, an action hero other than Ernie Reyas). This was Ernie Reyas in a comic book and that was cool to me.

Although the book wasn't about Grail, it made me a loyal customer of the title for a while until I got into other things (like the Flash which had Linda Park as Filipino for a while). It normally doesn't come to people who are white to put people of color into their books. That's why I believe it is important to have people of color behind and in front of the comic book.

I bring this up because we have comics like Camila Khan's Ms. Marvel or Priest's Quantum and Woody that tell only tales from the perspective of someone who has been there. Q&W is all about what it means to be a conservative black man in this day and age. Ms. Marvel is all about what it means to grow up in a religious, muslim family. But they're also about growing up and being true to yourself and not to the stereotype.

I'm not saying we should always go for the "Token" comic. But I do think that we should go for the comic that isn't like the others out there. Jack Kirby was one of the ones that always pushed the boundaries, and while he wasn't celebrated in life, he's been celebrated in death because he did push those boundaries. His DC stuff where he's trying to wrap his head around the concept of coutnerculture (through the harriers) or in his final work in Hunger Dogs where he's trying to figure out the politics of yuppies (where the hippies did not change the status quo, but accentuated it through compromise), are all products of the time and are all Jack Kirby trying to come up with something that is new and daring and from current day.

If Jack Kirby was around today, he'd be doing LGTB superhero comics in 2000...way before anyone else would've touched the topic in mainstream comics. There is something adventurous and daring about that that publishers do not want to touch because it won't sell initially. Jack Kirby died without much money despite his contribution to the comics field precisely because his pushing the boundary didn't sell books. But I tell you, if you pick up OMAC #1, it still has resonance to how we see technology today.

Race is only part of the factor that keeps Marvel conservative when it comes to pushing the boundaries of their characters and bringing in something that makes the character specific to this time period. Hell, half the time we only hear when someone's made that they changed their character into something else because we have Superman busting up hateful cops or Captain America trying to fight for the rights of illegal immigrants as the sons of the Sons of Set attack them.

- l.k.

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