January 31, 2012

Diversity in comics 2011

Here's a good article from last year on diversity in comic books. It doesn't mention Indians, but its points are applicable to all minorities in comics.

2011's Hot Buttons p.4: Superhero Diversity

By Vaneta RogersDC's 2010 replacement of Caucasian Aqualad with a new African-American character in 2010 was hailed by most fans, which does represent a step forward from reactions seen in the past when new, ethnically-diverse heroes replaced former characters that were white.

"I think what you see from fans sometimes is that people want exactly what they fell in love with over and over again," said Greg Rucka, who's written comics for both Marvel and DC. "They want the same thing except different. But that should have nothing to do with introducing a character’s color, or introducing sexual diversity or religious diversity. That simply has to do with the idea that, 'that’s not my fill-in-the-blank character from 1972.'"

Rucka pointed to the 2003 Marvel comic series Truth, which introduced the fact that an African-American Captain America existed before the current white hero. "I know when Marvel did Truth they received vitriolic hate mail," Rucka said. "But that's not just people disliking change. That's just people who are bigots, when you come down to it. That wasn’t just an issue with messing with a character."

Other times, fans that are sticklers for continuity get upset about story changes that introduce diversity. Winick experienced anger from fans when he introduced the idea that Green Lantern character Kyle Rayner was half-Hispanic, and fans justified their outrage by claiming there was a change made in continuity.
Comment:  The Truth series proposed that the US Army tested Captain America's super-soldier formula on blacks before giving it to Steve Rogers. Because of whiny fans, Marvel retconned this so the black soldiers were tested after Rogers, not before. The mostly white fans couldn't stand the idea that the first Captain America wasn't a white man.

For more on Indians and comic books, see No Indians in X-Men Movies and American Eagle in FEAR ITSELF.


dmarks said...

I think Rogers is a great character, but rather bland. So its high time to try variations like this.

Or even have a Captain America whose ethnic heritage in America goes back thousands of years

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem is that they try to do tokens. But these tokens ultimately end up being stereotypes. Think of all the Indians in comics. Now eliminate every last one that can transform into animals. Now look for stuff like shell-shocked veteran, use of gratuitous monosyllables, and unexplained survival skills. Also, anyone who wears a loincloth as part of his costume counts as stereotypical.

Now you see one of the problems.

Specific to 2011, I might call attention to the new DCU's treatment of women as well. *cough*Starfire*cough*