Aqualad Already Around

15 06 2010

While the Young Justice Cartoon series was the first to show his face, it looks like the new Aqualad will officially appear in an upcoming issue of Brightest Day (issue 4 to be exact). It’s not typical for a new character to make initially appearances in two different Medias so close together. Good for you Aqualad. This is also great because in the world of sidekicks there aren’t many heroes of color. Batman, Superman, and the Flashes all tend to keep their young wards similar in ethnicity. Way to break down the color wall Aqauman. But isn’t it a little soon to already be sidekick hunting pal?

This Aqualad is straight up gangsta

Not long ago we saw the tragic death of Tempest…well…considering that his death took all of two pages I suppose it was less of a tragic death and more of a publishing house cleaning. You see before Tempest’s death, there was a long period where he was MIA. He then made a triumphant return in an issue of Titans….followed by death…..(tear). To me, it feels like Tempest was killed off to give Aquaman a fresh feel. New cast, new environments, and so forth. But when I really stop and think about it…does he really need one? Once again I must ask, did Tempest really have to die?

I’ve said it before, so I won’t go much into details, but Tempest was never really given a chance. Yeah, he’s too old to be Aquaman’s formal side-kick, but that’s ok. DC has done a great job of establishing a generation of heroes who are young adults. Dick Grayson, Roy Harper, Donna Troy, and Wally West all have mentors who are alive and youthful protégés, but are also all still popular characters in their own right. Grayson and West in particular have been given attributes that make them very distinguished from their mentors. Grayson is a non-powered badass without being a jerk and Wally his kids to look after. You can write stories about these two that could not be told with their mentors. Tempest never got that chance. Well he did….then they killed him the next month.

Speaking of side-kicks, what about the current Aquagirl? What’s wrong with her? She’s young, a minority, and already established in DC continuity as a Teen Titan. Why can’t Aquaman start giving her a few pointers? There is a lot of great story that could be told. Does he really need two young sidekicks? Yes, Batman has like 5 and any given time, but Bats also has books rolling in the double digits every month.

I’m still looking forward to seeing the new Aquaman make his first appearance, but I’m not thrilled that it’s so soon after Tempest’s death. Maybe my heart still needs to do some morning.





2 06 2010




The Amazing Spider-blackman

2 06 2010

A few days ago, Donald Glover posted on his blog that he is interest in playing the role of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-man. (http://www.iamdonald.com/post/647884473/donald4spiderman) While initially it seemed as if was a joke, the posting has been hit with a considerate amount of support. Donald has since stated that he would like the opportunity to at least audition. This gorilla style marketing campaign has got the bloggers and the comic readers working their fingers off, posting their opinions. (http://blog.newsarama.com/2010/05/31/communitys-donald-glover-4-spider-man/comment-page-3/#comment-493437)

There are two broad few points on the matter. The general opinions have little to actually do with Donald playing Spider-man and more to do with someone of a different ethnicity playing a white superhero.

The Spectacular Spider-Blackman:

These fans don’t see why someone of a different ethnicity shouldn’t be allowed to play a character typically portrayed as white. The largest arguments made have been that the role should go to the best actor independent of race, that there aren’t many black superheroes, that the ethnicity of other comic book characters (Nick Fury) has been changed resulting in popularity growth, it would be a revolutionary character change, and that if you don’t agree then you’re a racist.

Quiet yo bitch’n and enjoy the swing’n

These fans feel that Peter Parker is a great character as he is, and there is not a reason to change him in order to appeal to a few fans. The larger arguments on this side have been; for over 60 years Spider-man has been white, if ethnicity doesn’t matter then why change such a recognized character, when you take on a role the ethnicity is part of that role, there are already several strong black super heroes, and the white man is discriminated by everyone.

Aside from the hate slinging, both sides hold valid arguments. Peter Parker is a white character, how would fans of Teen Titans Cyborg feel if Vic was played by a white teenager? At the same time, should ethnicity get in the way of the casting of a talented actor? Race isn’t a factor in Nick Fury’s character, and Samuel Jackson has done a great job bringing him to life (but let’s be honest, Nick Fury and Samuel Jackson are basically the same person).

The many faces of Nick Fury

I think there is more to it then “Let’s see Superman as a black guy!”

A large number of iconic super heroes were made at a time where the creative staffs were all white males whose audiences were also white males. These characters were created for a specific audience, and they stuck around for decades. As times changed super heroes became more diverse. We now have more heroes who are women, Jewish, and homosexual. Comic book characters are often time statements of generations. When people wanted more anti-hero characters, Wolverine was created and Batman became the Dark Knight. When fans became more political we had Green Arrow become the poster child of liberal media. Today, many people want to see more diversity in movies (especially Sci-Fi movies), so it makes sense that those feelings would bleed into the production opinions of iconic movie characters.

So why not just make a Black Panther movie? It seems like the most logical idea, right? There are a lot of very strong minority characters being published. Blue Beetle, Black Panther, Static Shock, and more. The creators have also all made a personal note to push many minority characters. Even after his title was canceled, DC comics made a strong effort to keep the stories of the new Blue Beetle alive.  But right there is the problem. Blue Beetle was consistently given strong ratings AND it wasn’t a high priced book. Most minority characters simply aren’t as profitable. This has less to do with their ethnicity and gender and more to do with the iconic presence they bring to the table. If given the option, most movie-goers would rather see a Wolverine movie then a Storm movie. And most production companies would spend money on a Superman movie then on a Blue Beetle movie.

As I said before, Batman and Spider-man have been around for generations. We all have childhood memories attached to these characters. Just look at how upset people get when Spider-mans costume is changed, or when Batman first begins hanging out with a new Robin. Sure, sometimes fans adjust, but other times it results in heavy profit loss. To change the ethnicity of a major hero is honestly a high risk.

Personally? I’d love to see a Black Batman training a Hispanic Robin, but I don’t think I should call someone who doesn’t racist. Especially since a lot of people (including myself) would probably be upset if they made Luke Cage a Korean guy (Side note, the cartoon “The Last Airbender” has a cast of all Asian characters. The movie? All white kids. What kind of bull shit is that?!). But there is more to it then the idea of a “race change-up.” When you’re a young minority, it’s harder to find a hero to identify with when they are mostly different ethnicities. As we grow older we’re able to recognize that it’s not the race or gender we should focus on, but what the characters trials the heroes overcome. But as a 7 year old, your mind doesn’t process those sorts of complexities yet. You see what’s in front of you, and relate it to your own world. So when Superman is white, and your parents and teachers are black, it can be harder to visualize yourself or your parents as Superman.

As for Donald, why not let him audition? Give the kid a chance. Who knows, maybe he’ll simply wow everyone! That’s one of the beauties of fictional characters like Spider-man. You can make changes to the character because they’re fictional! If the movie flops, then everyone will right it off, but the books will continue. If they didn’t kill off Robin after the movie “Batman & Robin” I’m sure Spider-man will survive a race change. Movies have always taken more liberal movements in production choices. Did you know that Tim Burton had originally planned for Robin to be in Batman Returns. Robin was also going to be black (SNAP!).

But at then end of the day, you know what I really think fans should do? Instead of fighting over the color of Peter Parkers skine, we should put that energy towards pushing for minority and female super heroes! Prove to Hollywood that a Static Shock movie would kick ass! Get pissed that we still haven’t seen a Wonder Woman movie, but they’re willing to keep crapping out X-men movies! Ask how come the wasp hasn’t been confirmed in the Avengers movie, when she was a founding member! These are the topics fans should be pushing.

Let’s take a look at the number of recent comic book movies who had white males as the protagonist: Superman Returns, The Dark Knight, Iron Man 2, The Spirit, Kick-Ass, Jonah Hex, G.I. JOE, Green Lantern, Wanted. How many comic book movies had females or other minorities? Besides Catwoman I can’t think of a single one. Fuck Catwoman and while I’m at it, fuck Steel to! If a comic book movie is made starring a minority, don’t use crappy directors! Give them a fair shot! Use the actual creators, like what was done for Kick-Ass. At the very least, have the director read the comic book. If given the proper care, you could make a really good Luke Cage movie. We fans deserve it. At the very least Wonder Woman got a direct-to-dvd animated film. Once we see some minority super heroes get treated better on the big screen, let’s revisit this conversation of a black Spider-man. Some opinions maybe different.