On the topic of changing a comic book character’s race and the people who oppose it:
You firmly believe that a person of color portraying a traditionally Caucasian comic book character is “disrespectful.” Even if the actor is very talented and can embody the personality traits of said character (because psh, we judge only on looks, not merit, get with the times!). Even if all the original incarnations of this character remain unaffected, because we’re not going back and changing his skin color in the other many movies where he was Caucasian, or erasing his every appearance in every comic issue to re-draw him.
Even though the character’s race, in this case, does not in any way affect his origin story or how he behaves. Oh, no, wait, if they made him Black, yes it would! A Black person would act differently just because they’re, well, Black. Basically, they can’t help that. Surely a Black actor couldn’t portray a hero. Because you believe that a person with darker skin color is inherently unable to act as a fictional character, even if they do that… for a living. As an actor.
But you’re not racist! Because you said you’re not racist. And also maybe because you’re a person of color yourself so that’s, like, doubly not racist.
You weren’t nearly as upset when Bane wasn’t Hispanic in Nolanverse, or when Nick Fury was made Black, or when they announced Electro was to be portrayed by a Black actor. Those are different. Those characters aren’t as important or iconic. You can’t just up and change the race of a prominent hero! That’s crazy! That ruins all your childhood memories because somehow a movie is going to override everything you’ve ever known and also, oh my GOD, you can’t bear the thought of a person of color invading your sacred headspace and blaspheming all over comic book creators’ original work! Diversity in the media is just the ultimate slap in the face to these writers and artists! They must be sobbing uncontrollably into their pillows or rolling in their graves.
I mean, what would Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, think about the drastic change to his beloved Johnny Storm? He’d be devasta— wait what?
He didn’t give a flying frag about the new Ultimate Spider-Man being multiracial because he evaluated the change based on the quality of the story and how Miles Morales carried Spider-Man’s legacy as a person rather than the fact that he was Black and Latino? But the fans, who had far less a right to react negatively, were throwing racial slurs left and right because they opposed the change?
But, back to comic book movies, we’ve got plenty of iconic minority characters already, we don’t have to try to include more minority actors into the mix just because they can act and are representative of the actual population. For example, for Black heroes: we’ve got Blade, uh… Nick Fury counts. Oh, no, wait, we changed him from the original, so he doesn’t count. We’ve got Blade… Storm! There’s two. And there’s… these guys? I’ve definitely seen some of those on kids’ backpacks. Definitely.
Speaking of kids, changing a notable character’s race opens a whole ‘nother can of worms, because… Face it, folks identify with characters that are like them, sometimes since childhood. Holy cow, imagine if Superman was the most well known comic book hero and the easiest to identify with? Imagine if we all wanted to fly or do good? Imagine anyone who isn’t Caucasian trying to identify with Clark Kent, who also appears White? Woah! Imagine a kid of a different skin color or eye shape or nose shape or body shape trying to identify with a character that is essentially an alien who is constantly struggling to fit in because he’s actually completely different from what human society perceives as standard? He doesn’t know what that’s like.
Like, like me, I’m Latina, right? I look nothing like Superman, I’m not even the right gender. Obviously that means that, when I was bullied in grade school, I couldn’t imagine myself as someone who fought against injustice while maintaining a kind and noble heart, regardless of physical appearance. And as an adult, I am in no way able to deal with a minor change to one version of my potential idol, because dealing with change and growing from it are absolutely not things that adults do on a daily basis.
It’s cool, though, you’re right. You just want to see everything as it is in the comics because you’re a purist. When everything about the portrayal is perfect except that the actor or art is of a different skin color, you’re not being bigoted for complaining, you’re just being a purist.
Seriously though, you’re not racist. C’mon. Guys. Haha. That’s ridiculous.
Only Lovers Left Alive - Trailer
And here’s a sneak peek, too! http://black-nata.tumblr.com/post/50412405484/the-science-of-destruction
Photos from Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past…
Plus a discussion on the rumors surrounding the Fantastic Four reboot and color-blind casting in movies. Yeah!
Here’s a great article to accompany my video, by the way: The 5 Most Insulting Defenses of Nerd Racism
Let’s talk about some trailers: Ender’s Game, The World’s End, and True Blood Season 6.
This is probably one of my most controversial videos to date because, in it, I discuss the buzz surrounding Orson Scott Card (the author of the original Ender’s Game novel) and his very public homophobic remarks. As I stated on camera, I’m still not sure whether I’ll go see the movie or not. Although I enjoyed the book and the movie looks like it’ll be great, I don’t really feel like dishing out cash for a movie ticket when I know some of that money may line the pockets of a man who has equated homosexuality to mental illness, stated that homosexuals are genetically inferior and supported sodomy laws to discourage a sexual orientation.
Here are some direct quotes from YouTube in support of watching the film and my counterarguments:
- “Come to me when he says we got to put them into re education camps or says anything active rather than just moral condescension. This is on the level of an old man wrinkling his nose.”
Sure, Card’s statements are “mild” in comparison with, say, the Westboro Baptist Church’s view on homosexuality. Does that really excuse his behavior, though? Is it now okay to make such statements against a group of people just because they’re mild against the extreme? I don’t think it is.
- “If Ender’s Game is a well crafted movie/book then it should be enjoyed on it’s merit. Mark Twain was an atheist. Andre Norton turned out to be a “gasp* woman writing sci fi. The man who created Wonder Woman lived with his wife and mistress and was into bondage. This isn’t new.”
Part of me agrees with this, part of me doesn’t. Controversy over an artist’s personal life isn’t a new thing, true, but that doesn’t make the issue excusable either. I don’t really equate atheism or being a woman or cheating on your wife (a very personal issue) with purposefully going out of your way to define a specific group of persons as inherently abnormal and undeserving of the same rights as everyone else… because of their sexual orientation. To clarify, Card is also a member of the board for anti-gay lobby The National Organization for Marriage. Those past creators might have done things that pissed some people off, but they didn’t essentially aim to criminalize a significant portion of humanity.
- “I will likely see this film as EG doesn’t advocate his social politics. It should be noted that Hollywood doesn’t typically pay authors from film revenue, so OSC has likely made all the money he ever will from this film. The world still listens to Wagner and his politics haven’t triumphed, so why would OSC be different?”
It could be true that Card won’t be getting any money from my movie ticket, and that’s comforting, but the principle of the thing still stands. When Card was hired by DC Comics to write a story for the Adventures of Superman anthology, the Internet exploded with the fury of a million comic book fans and even retailers threatening to boycott it. The backlash was so strong that the artist working on Card’s story quit the project, and DC ended up publishing the anthology with Card’s story omitted. Presumably, Card was paid for his time and work despite fans’ reactions, so why did people bother to boycott? Because they didn’t agree with his politics and they wanted to make the issue known. They wanted to bring attention to his remarks and make it perfectly clear that they didn’t want him supported in the future.
In terms of Ender’s Game advocating Card’s politics, the original novel does, indeed, do so. Obviously the movie will likely leave out the pro-heteronormative undertones but, as a friend of mine said today, “an artist’s work always reflects him in some way. And if it doesn’t, then he’s no artist.”
- “I personally could care less what this guys view is on life. To make a decision on not supporting a movie because of 1 persons view of the many that work so hard to make the movie happen will not only effect his wallet but the innocent others as well.”
This is something that I bring up in the video and probably the only point that keeps me on the fence about watching the movie. Another friend said it boils down to this: am I willing to sacrifice the success of a(n admittedly) wonderful tale and fledgling actors’ careers just to make sure a studio never buys from a bigot again? I’m still weighing the pros and cons. I certainly won’t judge anyone who chooses to see the film but, for me, it’s a difficult decision that I need more time to make.
Edit: I found an interesting article that mirrors my sentiments. The author seems to lean the other way but concludes, like I do, that Card is a talented writer despite his bigotry. He suggests that if you really want to read his works, borrow a copy of Ender’s Game from your local library. What’s the legal equivalent for movies? Borrowing a friend’s DVD?
Free Comic Book Day 2013 is over! I chronicled my adventures in a silly little video. Enjoy!
I ran into the folks from Wayward Raven during Free Comic Book Day! They’re offering free digital comic downloads until Monday afternoon, so you should check ‘em out.