February 12, 2007

Worst Native comic ever?

NFL SUPERPRO #6COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The Hopi tribe tried to force Marvel to pull an issue of SuperPro from the stands.


Earlier this week, Bill Reed, in his neat-o 365 Reasons to Love Comics feature, mentioned the following about the comic book SuperPro, “Buzz Dixon wrote #6, an issue that was allegedly pulled off of shelves due to its portrayal of the Hopi tribe.”
Writer Buzz Dixon explains:In this issue I managed to tick off the Hopi Indian nation not by being inaccurate but rather by being too accurate. The plot revolved around NFL SuperPro getting involved in a personal conflict between Hopi sisters Laura and He'e'e Eagle (Laura being a world champion figure skater and He'e'e being heavily involved in Hopi tribal politics), a conflict aggravated by mysterious villains in kachina costumes.

To give the story some air of authenticity, I did a considerable amount of research on the Hopi kachina religion. The kachinas (often mistakenly referred to as "dolls" or "clowns") are a constantly evolving pantheon of gods, demi-gods, and spirits, much like Marvel's own line-up of superheroes (a point I alluded to in the story). New kachinas are added all the time; in fact, this is the only religion to have camera toting sunburned white tourist demi-gods!

The Hopi tribe is divided into two opposing political camps, which refer to themselves in deliberately ironic terms as "hostiles" and " friendlies." Through them I took pains to emphasize was that the non-Hopi villains using kachina identities were committing a blasphemy that no real Hopi would ever do (something I used as a clue to the true identity of the culprits). Beyond that the story operates pretty much on a SCOOBY-DOO level, with me trying to have some fun with the sheer outrageousness of the situation.
Comment:  "Too accurate"? This comic book was filled with ridiculous mistakes and stereotypes. Indians wearing buckskins. A Hopi casino. An Olympic-level Hopi ice skater.

I'm sure the Hopi didn't like the errors, but what really set them off was the portrayal of the blasphemy. It doesn't matter if Dixon was doing this to suggest how bad the bad guys were. He's still guilty of offending the Hopi by violating their religious tenets.

If you're smart, you don't show Muhammad wielding a terrorist bomb as social commentary. You also don't reveal the secrets of an Indian religion for the sake of mass entertainment.


Anonymous said...

I can see this guy, Buzz Dixon, fancies himself as a "rebel" with being banned by just about everyone. In reality, I don't think he's a rebel at all, just a very bad writer.


Rob said...

Have you read NFL SUPERPRO #6, Russ? If not, how would you know whether it reveals Hopi secrets? Remember your dictum about not commenting on things you don't know personally.

Initially, Marvel said it wouldn't recall the issue. It may have recalled the issue eventually...but only after it had been on the stands for several weeks and the next issue was due. Which isn't much of a recall, if it even happened.

The Hopis protested the comic vociferously. They also closed their religious ceremonies to non-Indians around that time. I believe some people claimed that was a response to the comic, but that seems a little far-fetched.

Rob said...

I encourage people to ask questions, Russ. And I answered your questions as best I could.

But the statement, "In any case, there were no 'secrets of an Indian religion' revealed because such secrets never were revealed to non-Hopis in the first place," is absolute, not conditional. That's the part of your post I'm questioning.

In other words, I'm reading exactly what you wrote. The question is whether you're writing exactly what you mean.

Anonymous said...

The "secret" would be that kachinas are actually people wearing outfits. Hopi children are not told this until they reach puberty. It is much different than the truth about Santa Claus, for instance. Hopi's have resisted western influence more than most tribes because they take it seriously.

Rob said...

Yes, I know the "secret." I didn't explain it in detail because, well, it's a secret.

Anonymous said...

Yes, It Was The Worst Comic Ever!! It Was Hard To Swallow The Fact That It Attacked The Hopi! They Had Nothing To Do With It It's "Portrayal" In The Comic Book! It Is Very Sad To Think That Nothing In "Indian religion" is Secret. As For The Katsina Situation Its Not Just Masks And Costumes, Its Like The Pope's Cloths Or The Kings Hat, Or Its Like Bathing In Holy Water! And Also You Must Think Of What You Believe In! Why Do You Believe In The First Place? I Don’t Understand Why Cant People Make The Connection That Maybe We Believe In Things For Same reasons you Believe in Things.