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  1. #1
    freakboy86's Avatar
    freakboy86 is offline Member
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    Superhero stereotypes

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    Ok, hopefully I won't ruffle and feathers with this, but...why do comics always portray ethnic or religious groups as stereotypes and not as people? Just look at the evidence: nearly EVERY African American hero/villain has 'black' in their name (ie: BLACK Panther, BLACK Lightning, BLACK Goliath, BLACK Spider, etc.) Foreigners are always throwing in words from their own language and then saying the same phrase again in English. Why not just say the foreign phrase and trust the readers to either know what it means or, heaven forbid, look up the meaning! And why is it that any character from England, no matter what part, has a Cockney accent? Have none of these writers ever been there, or worse, do they just get their language skills from Benny Hill. It saddens me to see that this trend still goes on. I'm not a 'member' of a ethnic or social minority (unless you count creepy-thin white guys as a minority) but it still insults and offends me that others are shown in such a degrading fashion in comics. And don't get me started on how women are portrayed. ghaaa. So am I reading too much into all of this or what?

    "Charlie Brown, I have learned there are three things you never discuss in public: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin."

  2. #2
    Calhoun07's Avatar
    Calhoun07 is offline It's Me
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    Re: Superhero stereotypes

    Dude, I know exactly what you're talking about, and it ticks me off too! I have half jokingly said in the past that I would create a whole slew of white superheroes and be sure to use the word WHITE in their names! It is just a lack of imagination on the part of the people who come up with these superheroes. It's almost as if they feel the need that they feel you need to know the character is black.

    Stan Lee, perhaps the greatest writer of comics ever, was never afraid to leave large words or hard to understand words in his scripts and to not put in any explanation to the meaning. In fact, he WANTED kids to go to the dictionary to look them up! Again, it comes down to laziness on the part of the writers.

    If you think the degrading effect in comics is bad today, get any book on comics from the 40's and 50's to see truly offensive comics. The racial stereotypes and hatred towards Asians and other foriegners in those comics is something else. Today, even tho they are politically incorrect to the extreme, they do have some camp value because they are easy to laugh at for their ignorance.
    I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

    “If I had to live my life over again, I would treat women worse. The women who I treated nice always turned around and treated me bad and the women who treated me bad didn’t deserve to be treated nice anyway.”



  3. #3
    RockItShipper's Avatar
    RockItShipper is offline Master of Flying Guillotine
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    I think the best solution is to move away from Superfriends-style diversity and focus on characters. It's no good having all the standards plus the likes of Apache Chief, Samurai, etc... Too cluttered, too stereotypical... Batman doesn't flaunt his European ancestry, you know? I think it's best to put diversity into the JLA big guns. Like the John Stewart Green Lantern. He shouldn't have been a part-timer because that seemed condescending as well. Especially since he went through hard times himself but didn't crack like Hal did.

    And the 'black' naming scheme seems not to apply to females. Black Canary and Black Cat are both Caucasian females.

  4. #4
    freakboy86's Avatar
    freakboy86 is offline Member
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    Man, great points to all!
    Yeah, it's sad the way people are portrayed (sp?) in comics. Sure, some of it has been cleared out (just look at Spawn, a black character who's just a man, not a race) but it's still there. Well, someday, maybe, we, as people, will realize that people are people (I feel a Depeche Mode song coming on. uhhhhh) and no matter who or what they are, they still will react the same way to the same situations.
    But I still get that 'itch' in my brain whenever I watch 'Holiday Knights' where Ivy smacks the Bat and says 'Merry Christmas' and when Harley tags him she follows it with 'And Happy New Year!'. And then I re-read the original comic and she 'wishes' Batman a Happy Hannakah (sp, again). What, are they afraid to admit that a villain is Jewish? Yet they constantly leave in the 'Oy, vey' in her speeches. (man, I just read what I wrote and I feel like I'm perpetuating the stereotype by implying that Harley is Jewish just because she says 'Oy vay'. I'm a victim of my own argument. Blast.)

  5. #5
    DR. BELCH is offline Member
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    The comic book world

    As a writer myself, I face this issue constantly. My comics reflect the world that I grew up in--a small Southern city that, due to an influx of minorities during the '80s, really went down the sewer. My stories reflects the violence and clearly-drawn racial lines I lived with all through my teen years. As much as I hate to propogate the "white is right; if you're black, stay back" mentality I've heard for years, I'm almost saddened to say that after the neighborhood became too horrible to live in, we moved to a samll town that is mostly white, and we found it's safer, the schools are better, and it's cleaner. Sociologists call the phonomenon "white flight"--the better-quality citizens vacate an area after it goes downhill and the lower-class element marches in and takes over. (Why they give it such a racist name I don't know.)
    I try to reflect the ugliness of life honestly. My heroes are (except one man, who is told by his black peers that he's "sold out" or become an "Oreo", and a young woman of unknown ethnic decent who happens to be an empath) nearly all white, and many of the (particularly lower-class) villains are black. For this I've been told my work will never sell with these themes, but I think among intelligent people who aren't afraid to see themselves in the mirror I stick in their faces it can find a market.
    Explotation is another big theme with me. The black gang members are exploited by powerful criminal "leaders"--often white, or race traders in the vein of Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton. They are forced to committ crimes and ruin lives in the name of nobility and freedom when in reality they're simply living in slavery and forging their own chains--my comment on the state of race relations in America, and all the minority groups seeking someone to lead them who more often than not causes more detriment than good.
    Diversity and quotas just muck things up. All they cause is reverse discrimination, hard feelings, and qualified people passed over for jobs in favor of a dark face on the staff to meet some policy, regardless of whether they can do the job or not. More minority heroes, you say? Only if they can prove themselves worthy first. I'll have no quotas in my comics.

  6. #6
    Leaping Larry Jojo's Avatar
    Leaping Larry Jojo is offline Searching for a map
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    Re: Superhero stereotypes

    Originally posted by freakboy86
    Ok, hopefully I won't ruffle and feathers with this, but...why do comics always portray ethnic or religious groups as stereotypes and not as people? Just look at the evidence: nearly EVERY African American hero/villain has 'black' in their name (ie: BLACK Panther, BLACK Lightning, BLACK Goliath, BLACK Spider, etc.)
    Black Panther makes sense since he's in a, well, black panther costume. It's better than simply "Panther," at any rate.

    What about Luke Cage? And Falcon? and Triathlon?

  7. #7
    Calhoun07's Avatar
    Calhoun07 is offline It's Me
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    Re: Re: Superhero stereotypes

    Originally posted by Leap Larry Jojo


    Black Panther makes sense since he's in a, well, black panther costume. It's better than simply "Panther," at any rate.

    What about Luke Cage? And Falcon? and Triathlon?
    And Static!

    As the original post said, nearly all. Not all. While there are black characters without "black" in their superhero names, how many white superheroes do you read about who have "White" in their names?
    I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

    “If I had to live my life over again, I would treat women worse. The women who I treated nice always turned around and treated me bad and the women who treated me bad didn’t deserve to be treated nice anyway.”



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