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  #251  
Old 06-19-2019, 11:10 AM
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I think that it's safe to say that, the more obscure a character or other fictional element is, the easier it is to change it. Everyone is familiar with Superman, but very few are familiar with the Skrulls.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:24 AM
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It doesn't seem to me like the root of the issue here is familiarity but one of accuracy. Both instances violate the 'accuracy' of the translation of the comics to the movie screen, but only the one is upsetting to some people.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:59 AM
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It should be noted that the same SJWs who rant and rave about the overt racism in Hollywood (and being barfed all over this thread) started an idiotic backlash against the Miles Morales character because he was biracial as opposed to 100% black. This somehow was a major injustice. He didn't fit their definition of "woke" and those pesky Puerto Ricans were co-opting their pain and suffering.
Do you have a cite for that? Iím pretty plugged into both comic geek and SJW circles, and Iíve never heard of anyone having a problem with Miles being bi-racial. Usually, the fact that heís mixed and neither half of his parentage is white is considered a major plus. You sure you didnít mistake anti-SJW trolls for the real thing?
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:03 PM
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:15 PM
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I really don't understand why some white men are so invested in this stuff. I just want to see a good acting performance. Especially with all the fictional alternate universe storytelling options.

That said, I think a black Superman would be great, but a black Clark Kent would seem odd. The long-established origin story feels pretty white to me. Just like Miles Morales isn't Peter Parker, a black Superman would be better served, IMHO, with a different secret identity and background.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:31 PM
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That said, I think a black Superman would be great, but a black Clark Kent would seem odd. The long-established origin story feels pretty white to me. Just like Miles Morales isn't Peter Parker, a black Superman would be better served, IMHO, with a different secret identity and background.
Huh. The new Supergirl made Jimmy Olsen black, and AFAICT it had like zero effect. The fact that he's super hot is a bigger change from how I remember the character. How would it significantly change Clark Kent to say that he was black?
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:50 PM
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Huh. The new Supergirl made Jimmy Olsen black, and AFAICT it had like zero effect. The fact that he's super hot is a bigger change from how I remember the character. How would it significantly change Clark Kent to say that he was black?
Hey, Jimmy's always been pretty hot!
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:28 PM
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:37 PM
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I really don't understand why some white men are so invested in this stuff. I just want to see a good acting performance. Especially with all the fictional alternate universe storytelling options.

That said, I think a black Superman would be great, but a black Clark Kent would seem odd. The long-established origin story feels pretty white to me. Just like Miles Morales isn't Peter Parker, a black Superman would be better served, IMHO, with a different secret identity and background.
I am confused by this. Are you saying a black Clark Kent isn't realistic? Is this because you have a hard time imagining a black bespeckled nerd? Or is it because you can't imagine a black reporter?



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Old 06-19-2019, 01:57 PM
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That said, I think a black Superman would be great, but a black Clark Kent would seem odd. The long-established origin story feels pretty white to me. Just like Miles Morales isn't Peter Parker, a black Superman would be better served, IMHO, with a different secret identity and background.
Is DC averse to playing around with secret identities/backstories? Or at least more averse than Marvel? I'm not a big comic reader, and especially not a DC reader aside from the Vertigo stuff. (Though I did love Red Son, where Superman's a Soviet citizen.)

It seems to me that changing a few details might make the basic backstory work. Yeah, "Clark Kent" sounds pretty white-bread, but he is an adoptee .... And shoot, plenty of immigrants to the US take on very white-sounding names. (Ask my Cambodian friend Bruce. He chose that name, which is so cool.)

Aside: the IRC is claiming Superman as an example of a famous refugee you maybe didn't think of as a refugee, which I kind of love. (Tomorrow's the UN's World Refugee Day.)
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:02 PM
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I am confused by this. Are you saying a black Clark Kent isn't realistic? Is this because you have a hard time imagining a black bespeckled nerd? Or is it because you can't imagine a black reporter?



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I was confused, too. But I think garygnu's critique was very specific to a scenario where we keeep the established backstory: lands in Kansas (?), gets named "Clark Kent" (though see my comment just now). That stuff. But maybe I re-read it wrong, too.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:36 PM
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I was confused, too. But I think garygnu's critique was very specific to a scenario where we keeep the established backstory: lands in Kansas (?), gets named "Clark Kent" (though see my comment just now). That stuff. But maybe I re-read it wrong, too.
I'm still not seeing it. Kansas is about 6% African American, and while I'm guessing relatively few farm families are black, there definitely are some.

As for the name being especially white, I'm not seeing that either. There are definitely African American naming traditions and, say, Irish-American naming traditions (if I tell you about two students, Jaiquan and Maeve, and ask you to guess which one was black and which one was white, I bet most of y'all could guess), as you said, there are also plenty of African American folks who give their kids names indistinguishable from the names of their white peers.

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Old 06-19-2019, 02:39 PM
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I was confused, too. But I think garygnu's critique was very specific to a scenario where we keeep the established backstory: lands in Kansas (?), gets named "Clark Kent" (though see my comment just now). That stuff. But maybe I re-read it wrong, too.
There are black people in Kansas.

There are black people named "Clark". "Kent" is a common enough surname that I would expect some black people to have it.

There is nothing particularly "white" about his back story. American, yes. But not white American.

At any rate, why would a movie Clark Kent have to have the same backstory as comic book Clark Kent? It is not a movie about Clark Kent. It is a movie about Superman.

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Old 06-19-2019, 02:43 PM
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I've said it before in other contexts, but you can't tell good stories about Superman. All of the good Superman movies (and TV shows, and comics, and whatever) are about Clark Kent.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:49 PM
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I'm still not seeing it. Kansas is about 6% African American, and while I'm guessing relatively few farm families are black, there definitely are some.

As for the name being especially white, I'm not seeing that either. There are definitely African American naming traditions and, say, Irish-American naming traditions (if I tell you about two students, Jaiquan and Maeve, and ask you to guess which one was black and which one was white, I bet most of y'all could guess), as you said, there are also plenty of African American folks who give their kids names indistinguishable from the names of their white peers.
Most African American names are recent inventions. Prior to the 1970s, black Americans names tended to be European. But as you say, not all black Americans have distinctive names. I don't know anyone named Clark (black or white), but it isn't like I would be blown away if I met a black person with that name.

Also, black people are given to shortening their names just like anyone else. "Clark" should be short for "Clarktavious".

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Old 06-19-2019, 02:53 PM
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I've said it before in other contexts, but you can't tell good stories about Superman. All of the good Superman movies (and TV shows, and comics, and whatever) are about Clark Kent.
Ok, fine. I can think of some good stories about a brown-skinned guy named Clark Kent who is a super hero in his spare time. What about his brown skin would prevent him from having good stories?

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Old 06-19-2019, 02:56 PM
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I'm not saying I'd get all bent out of shape about it. The minority status and background is invariably integral to minority Superhero characters. Clark Kent's seems pretty typically WASPy to me. Doing nothing more than changing the skin color would be pretty lazy and perhaps disrespectful.

Plus it's been done to fucking death. Superman can still be a reporter in Metropolis secretly saving the world on the side, but give me something original for the mild mannered alter ego.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:22 PM
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I'm not saying I'd get all bent out of shape about it. The minority status and background is invariably integral to minority Superhero characters. Clark Kent's seems pretty typically WASPy to me. Doing nothing more than changing the skin color would be pretty lazy and perhaps disrespectful.

Plus it's been done to fucking death. Superman can still be a reporter in Metropolis secretly saving the world on the side, but give me something original for the mild mannered alter ego.
I would be bothered if black Superman wasn't given a mild mannered alter ego and was instead turned into some aggressively macho working class dude (or whatever alter ego would be noticeably different from Clark Kent). To me, that would be more disrespectful than just playing him straight.

It would be quite easy to make a black Clark Kent be believable while still keeping his essence intact.

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Old 06-19-2019, 03:31 PM
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Most African American names are recent inventions. Prior to the 1970s, black Americans names tended to be European. But as you say, not all black Americans have distinctive names. I don't know anyone named Clark (black or white), but it isn't like I would be blown away if I met a black person with that name.

Also, black people are given to shortening their names just like anyone else. "Clark" should be short for "Clarktavious".

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Isnít Clark adopted? Ma and Pa Kent can be of any race, and give him any name.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:03 PM
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There is actually a lot of rich territory that could be explored with a black Clark Kent. If I were independently wealthy and had time to indulge my dreams, I’d take a stab at the screenplay.

Clark Kent presents as a weak, awkward klutz. From the get go, the audience has to accept the unlikely premise that a strapping hunk like Kal-El successfully poses as this sadsack weakling, just by donning glasses and dressing like a dork. The audience accepts this, but the wry irony is not (or at least it shouldn’t be) lost on us. Every time we see Clark Kent, the incongruity between his physical form and his affected manner is blatant. And humorous.

Guess whom people have a very hard time imagining as awkward weaklings? That’s right: Black men. So wouldn’t a black actor be an opportunity to put a fresh new take on the ole Superman-Clark Kent incongruity? No need for us to turn this into a dramatic character study, but a creative mind will see a open door for all kinds an ironic (and maybe even satirical) scenes and encounters.

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Old 06-19-2019, 07:56 PM
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Here's my thing: comic book fans want to see their comics brought to life. When the characters on screen don't look like the characters on the page, that's a fail in the eyes of the fanboys (and -girls). Their ire isn't necessarily motivated by racism so much as a desire for (what they consider) "accuracy."

Example: the casting of Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch in the latest "Fantastic Four" abortion. The entire POINT of the Fantastic Four is that they're a family. Making Johnny Storm black was blatant tokenism that added needless layers of complication to ALL of their backstories, relationships, and dynamics.

At the risk of being called racist, I looked askance when Valkyrie (and to a lesser extent, Heimdall) was cast with a black actor. These are characters lifted directly from Norse mythology. Nothing gets any whiter than that. Despite what others have suggested upthread, I seriously doubt the ancient Norse were picturing their gods as black. More blatant pandering, tokenism, and "inclusion" for the sake of it.

I totally, TOTALLY get black people's desire to be more represented and included. As a gay man, I am thrilled and proud that Batwoman - the first lesbian superhero to headline in her own comic - is now getting her own TV show. Not so many years ago, that would have been unthinkable. But are black people really happy with film producers figuratively patting them on the head by arbitrarily making white characters black and then saying "There ya go, you're included"?

Furthermore, can this "any character can be any race" philosophy be applied universally? Can you imagine the backlash if the Falcon were played by a white actor? Although the comics character has been black since the 1960s, there's nothing inherently "black" about him. Military guy with mechanical wings. Why can't he be white? Yet somehow, I don't think that would have gone over very well.

Remember the backlash a few years ago when the "Gods of Egypt" were cast with white actors? There's always an outcry about "whitewashing" characters of color. Yet it seems these same SJW's (mostly white, unless I miss my guess) are hunky dory with making white characters black.

monstro - I always enjoy your posts, I respect you to the moon and back, and I consider you almost synonymous with the SDMB. I sincerely welcome any critique you might have (not that I think all black people think the same way).
First off, thanks for the compliment.

Secondly, I disagree with almost everything you've said. Especially the last. No, the backlash against "Gods of Egypt" is not just a "SJW thing". It's an "anyone who cares about representation in mass media" thing. Why shouldn't a movie set in Egypt star people with some goddamn melanin in their skin? Practically every phenotype is represented in that part of the world, so how does it make sense to cast only the whitest white folks for the leading roles?

And you're comparing apples to oranges here. Of course the outrage over black-washing is rooted in a different angst than the outrage over white-washing! The latter comes from fatigue and anger over the fact that non-whites already are hugely disadvantaged when it comes to getting good roles. Additionally, non-whites have had a long history of watching white people be portrayed as heroes and icons. White folks don't have a similar history. If they don't want to watch a black Superman movie, they can just watch the million other superhero movies featuring white actors and have their self-esteem affirmed. Non-whites don't have that luxury. So of course when there's a movie part that could easily be done a non-white person but it goes to a white one for no good reason, there's understandable fatigue there.

I've long dreamed for someone to put Octavia Butler's "Lilith's Brood" trilogy on the big screen. I would LOVE if someone were to do this. I would be extremely upset if someone decided to choose a white actress to play Lilith. Sure, while Lilith is a black woman in the books, her blackness is not hugely integral to the plot. Indeed, on the cover of my paperback copy of "Dawn", Lilith is portrayed as a white woman (I guess the publisher felt that seeing a black woman on the cover would turn away readers). But I still want Lilith to be a black woman on the big screen. Not because I'm a SJW or whatever disparaging thing you may think, but because there are very few science fiction movies out with a black female protagonist. And of course I'd love to see that, because I'm black female who loves science fiction, who has spent a lifetime watching white (guys mostly) get to do wild and crazy shit in outer space with weird-looking aliens. I'd love to see someone who looks kinda-sorta like me having those kind of adventures for a change.

I do not see that as equivalent to a white guy that wants Superman to always be white, sorry.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:00 AM
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... Every time we see Clark Kent, the incongruity between his physical form and his affected manner is blatant. And humorous.

Guess whom people have a very hard time imagining as awkward weaklings? Thatís right: Black men. So wouldnít a black actor be an opportunity to put a fresh new take on the ole Superman-Clark Kent incongruity? No need for us to turn this into a dramatic character study, but a creative mind will see a open door for all kinds an ironic (and maybe even satirical) scenes and encounters.
Great point.
Christopher Reeve's performance was incredible at this incongruity. I would pay money to see Terry Crews (for example) do something similar because I think he'd do it very well without resorting to silly parody.

I guess my point is either don't bother with the origin backstory at all or come up with something more interesting.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:37 PM
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Guess whom people have a very hard time imagining as awkward weaklings? That’s right: Black men.
Urkel begs to differ. So does Maurice Moss. And Carlton Banks.

Also, Jeffrey Wright has made a career out of playing a Black nerd.

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Old 06-20-2019, 12:44 PM
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there are very few science fiction movies out with a black female protagonist. And of course I'd love to see that, because I'm black female who loves science fiction, who has spent a lifetime watching white (guys mostly) get to do wild and crazy shit in outer space with weird-looking aliens. I'd love to see someone who looks kinda-sorta like me having those kind of adventures for a change.
I'm holding out for the rumoured Broken Earth series, personally...
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:47 PM
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I'm holding out for the rumoured Broken Earth series, personally...
Holy shit, I had not heard of that. I don't know whether to be thrilled or terrified.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:03 PM
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I really don't understand why some white men are so invested in this stuff. I just want to see a good acting performance. Especially with all the fictional alternate universe storytelling options.

That said, I think a black Superman would be great, but a black Clark Kent would seem odd. The long-established origin story feels pretty white to me. Just like Miles Morales isn't Peter Parker, a black Superman would be better served, IMHO, with a different secret identity and background.
I'm sensing some dissonance here. Perhaps I missed it, but I don't see any "white men" getting bent out of shape here in the way you are implying. Pretty much everyone arguing against this is saying the exact same thing you said in the second sentence. The problem isn't a white identity problem, it's that changing well established canon for certain iconic characters or for characters where them being a different race would just be weird or anachronistic is a bad idea.

I know I'm pissing into the wind at this point, but over and over again the other side of the argument keeps characterizing that opinion as white nationalist bullshit. In some dark corners of the internet that's certainly a fact, but it's not part of this discussion on the Dope. The frustration is the dishonest way the argument is being framed.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:22 PM
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Pretty much everyone arguing against this is saying the exact same thing you said in the second sentence.
Sentence, or paragraph?
Quote:
I know I'm pissing into the wind at this point, but over and over again the other side of the argument keeps characterizing that opinion as white nationalist bullshit. In some dark corners of the internet that's certainly a fact, but it's not part of this discussion on the Dope. The frustration is the dishonest way the argument is being framed.
This is kind of a long way of saying, "I'm not racist, but...." I don't think anyone is especially interested in whether you (or I?) consider yourself (myself!) racist. The interesting discussion is whether opposition to this sort of change is rooted in bias, and/or perpetuates structural racism.

FWIW I don't think you're a white supremacist. But I do think you're ignoring the way that white supremacy has shaped our culture, including comics culture, and you're discounting the ways in which diversifying character backgrounds can work to mitigate the effects of white supremacy.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:35 PM
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changing well established canon for certain iconic characters or for characters where them being a different race would just be weird or anachronistic is a bad idea.
No one has made a convincing case for this proposition. And no one has concisely defines exactly what ďbad ideaĒ might actually mean.

Is it bad because it somehow violates some level of artistic quality? I think itís apparent that this isnít true. A piece might be of high quality or low quality with or without such a change. You donít know until you see the finished work.

Is it bad because it guarantees commercial failure? I think we can all see that That is unlikely, and that such claims are suspect from the start anyway. Just like with artistic success or failure, things fail commercially for a lot of reasons. It seems absurd in this day and age to maintain that the race of an actor is guaranteed to have any particular effect.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:37 PM
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There's a part of me that thinks the solution is to just keep on creating new superhero characters, and make sure that the new ones are demographically balanced (or maybe a bit biased towards previously-underrepresented groups), and let the problem solve itself as the older (biased) heroes become a smaller and less significant proportion of the total. But on the other hand, it'd take a really long time for Superman to lose his place as the most prominent superhero-- Probably not until the genre goes through another one of its shifts and we're not calling them "superheroes" any more.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:49 PM
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I'm sensing some dissonance here. Perhaps I missed it, but I don't see any "white men" getting bent out of shape here in the way you are implying. Pretty much everyone arguing against this is saying the exact same thing you said in the second sentence. The problem isn't a white identity problem, it's that changing well established canon for certain iconic characters or for characters where them being a different race would just be weird or anachronistic is a bad idea.



I know I'm pissing into the wind at this point, but over and over again the other side of the argument keeps characterizing that opinion as white nationalist bullshit. In some dark corners of the internet that's certainly a fact, but it's not part of this discussion on the Dope. The frustration is the dishonest way the argument is being framed.
I haven't characterized anyone's argument as "white nationalist bullshit", and I don't recall anyone else in this thread doing that. What I have seen are people making appeals to "realism" and "logic" and "market forces" to defend why certain characters should be played by white people, even though other departures from "canon" or realism are accepted and embraced all the time. White nationalism bullshit could explain this blindspot, or it could just be that people have been programmed to place more weight on skin color than is warranted.

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Old 06-20-2019, 01:53 PM
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Urkel begs to differ. So does Maurice Moss. And Carlton Banks.

Also, Jeffrey Wright has made a career out of playing a Black nerd.
Quite true, and yet multiple posters in this thread can't seem to get their heads around a black Clark Kent. What do you make of that?
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:58 PM
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...changing well established canon for certain iconic characters or for characters where them being a different race would just be weird...
This is the point I have been trying to drill down to...in a world of pure imagination and fantasy why does changing the color of a particular character make things weird?

I find this particular thought experiment to be quite fascinating because itís a personal question that I think gives some insight into how folks look at others who are different from them. In my mind, itís all just make believe and the only thing thatís changed is the color crayon used to fill in the outlines so things never get weird. When others get angry and defensive over the color of fucking comic book character one canít help but wonder why.

Iím sorry you feel the debate is dishonest but Iím pretty sure no one thinks youíre a white supremacist. At least I donít if that means anything to you
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
There's a part of me that thinks the solution is to just keep on creating new superhero characters, and make sure that the new ones are demographically balanced (or maybe a bit biased towards previously-underrepresented groups), and let the problem solve itself as the older (biased) heroes become a smaller and less significant proportion of the total. But on the other hand, it'd take a really long time for Superman to lose his place as the most prominent superhero-- Probably not until the genre goes through another one of its shifts and we're not calling them "superheroes" any more.
I dunno. How is Superman doing these day popularity wise? I loved the Christopher Reeve movies, but I haven't wanted to see another Superman or Batman movie for a couple of decades. I'm not saying I'm an accurate barometer, but if I can brush Superman away, it doesn't seem impossible he could drift off into obscurity.
  #284  
Old 06-20-2019, 06:18 PM
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In the case of superheros, there's nothing that inherently makes them one race or another.
Of course you can have a black Superman / Clark Kent.

The far more interesting and difficult question, that could make for an amazingly interesting story would be what you do about the "in world" reality.

Superman has been traditionally apolitical with no overt signs of racism.

What would you do about a black Clark Kent in the South of the 60s? Do you play it colourblind and ignore the 60s attitudes?
Or do you build part of the story around how Clark deals with racism?

Equally interesting could be a Superman story set in an America at the height of slavery.
  #285  
Old 06-20-2019, 06:25 PM
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As a separate issue - what do you do about historical fiction, period drama and dramatisations?

In a movie about the moon landing could Buzz be played by any other race than white? What would it do to the story (if anything?).

Is the actual story line more important that the social reality of the time?

How about in a movie about JFK - would the makeup of the Secret Service detail need to reflect the reality of the time? If it doesn't is it a white washing of history or is it good because of more opportunities?
  #286  
Old 06-20-2019, 06:32 PM
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Traditionally Superman hasn't been apolitical. He defeated the KKK.

So a black Superman actually makes more "sense" than a white one, if we want to apply logic and reason to a superhero. Your average corn-fed white guy of the 1930s (when Superman was created) was passively racist if not actively so. He sure as hell wouldn't have cared about defeating the KKK. The KKK wouldn't have been on his radar all that much. But a racial or ethnic minority Superman would have certainly cared.
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:37 PM
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He also beat up greedy bankers and abusive husbands.
  #288  
Old 06-20-2019, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Sentence, or paragraph?
Paragraph, sorry.

Quote:
This is kind of a long way of saying, "I'm not racist, but...." I don't think anyone is especially interested in whether you (or I?) consider yourself (myself!) racist. The interesting discussion is whether opposition to this sort of change is rooted in bias, and/or perpetuates structural racism.
I'm really working hard to not take this to the pit. Honestly, you have to stretch pretty fucking hard to see anything of the kind in my comment. I didn't even make any assertions or offer any opinions on the topic of race in that post, I simply characterized the circle jerk as I see it. It seems more likely that you've already decided that anyone who stands counter your position is inherently racist irregardless of what's said.

Quote:
FWIW I don't think you're a white supremacist. But I do think you're ignoring the way that white supremacy has shaped our culture, including comics culture, and you're discounting the ways in which diversifying character backgrounds can work to mitigate the effects of white supremacy.
In no way shape or form have I done that. If you think I have, please quote it. I've never denied any of our fucked up history on this. The furthest I've gone is saying that changing the race of certain characters is probably going to be unpopular with the masses. I've said (along with several other people) over and over there's nothing inherently wrong with it...just that it won't sell.

Miles Morales worked because it's an alternate reality where someone other than Peter Parker becomes Spider-man. It's great, I loved every second of it. If they'd have instead recast the Earth 616 Peter Parker as a black kid instead of picking Tom Holland, that franchise would be in quite a different place critically and economically. Place any value judgement you want on that prediction.

As a side note, they could have cast Eddie Brock in Venom with a black actor instead of Tom Hardy and it probably would have been just fine. Eddie Brock simply doesn't have the cultural inertia that Peter Parker has. I'm making no blanket statements on right or wrong here...just saying what I think will and won't sell. If you think that's some veiled white supremacist rhetoric then I don't know what to tell you...

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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
No one has made a convincing case for this proposition. And no one has concisely defines exactly what ďbad ideaĒ might actually mean.
Your camp has made it abundantly clear that no rationale or reason will ever be "convincing". Such an argument has been characterized both as encoded racism and as some bizarre redefinition of what "art" is.

Quote:
Is it bad because it somehow violates some level of artistic quality? I think itís apparent that this isnít true. A piece might be of high quality or low quality with or without such a change. You donít know until you see the finished work.

Is it bad because it guarantees commercial failure? I think we can all see that That is unlikely, and that such claims are suspect from the start anyway. Just like with artistic success or failure, things fail commercially for a lot of reasons. It seems absurd in this day and age to maintain that the race of an actor is guaranteed to have any particular effect.
There are examples where it worked with niche/secondary characters. There are examples where it didn't work. It's never really been attempted with someone iconic. You can call that racism, I call that risk aversion. If the only thing you'll accept as hard evidence is when a iconic character is race swapped in a big-budget film and that film goes on to crater financially and critically and the root cause is inarguably due to the audience rejecting the race of the character then I guess we're wasting our time here.

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Originally Posted by BeagleJesus View Post
This is the point I have been trying to drill down to...in a world of pure imagination and fantasy why does changing the color of a particular character make things weird?

I find this particular thought experiment to be quite fascinating because itís a personal question that I think gives some insight into how folks look at others who are different from them. In my mind, itís all just make believe and the only thing thatís changed is the color crayon used to fill in the outlines so things never get weird. When others get angry and defensive over the color of fucking comic book character one canít help but wonder why.

Iím sorry you feel the debate is dishonest but Iím pretty sure no one thinks youíre a white supremacist. At least I donít if that means anything to you
Emphasis mine.

I really don't think it does that, at all. I think that's projection. Yes it's all make believe. But a story is a complex thing. Adaptations of a beloved work need to accomplish a lot of things to appeal to and be satisfying for fans. There's a point where too much adaption crosses over into essentially creating a whole new thing out of whole cloth and slapping a familiar label on it. I doubt fans of The Lawnmower Man, I, Robot or Dune books were really fulfilled by those movie adaptations, in part because the have virtually nothing in common.

Now maybe you don't give a shit about appealing to fans of the source material, and in some cases that's probably a totally valid strategy. I, Robot made money after all. But it's arrogant to say that none of it matters and that everything can be changed without consequence. It's downright insulting to point the finger at the audience when they reject a unwelcome change by saying "they didn't get it" or "they're just too hung up on race".

Hollywood is very welcome to test the theory. Frankly, you and I would probably both be pleasantly surprised if a black Superman was a huge hit with mass appeal. I think they'd have to change a lot to make it coherent. I also think it's a long shot and I think their time would be better spent creating something inclusive and new instead of recycling something. Finally, I emphatically disagree with the argument that I'm just too "white" to see the forest for the trees here.
  #289  
Old 06-20-2019, 06:51 PM
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Missed the edit window.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
This is kind of a long way of saying, "I'm not racist, but...." I don't think anyone is especially interested in whether you (or I?) consider yourself (myself!) racist. The interesting discussion is whether opposition to this sort of change is rooted in bias, and/or perpetuates structural racism.

FWIW I don't think you're a white supremacist. But I do think you're ignoring the way that white supremacy has shaped our culture, including comics culture, and you're discounting the ways in which diversifying character backgrounds can work to mitigate the effects of white supremacy.
Emphasis mine.

Amazing that you did that un-ironically.
  #290  
Old 06-20-2019, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
Missed the edit window.



Emphasis mine.

Amazing that you did that un-ironically.
Not that amazing, since there's no actual irony there.
  #291  
Old 06-20-2019, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
I'm really working hard to not take this to the pit.
We all appreciate your hard work.
  #292  
Old 06-20-2019, 07:43 PM
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Someone better warm up some tendies for Omni..
  #293  
Old 06-20-2019, 07:55 PM
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Sure, recent Superman movies haven't been too great. But the character is iconic in a way that transcends individual movies or comic books or whatever. He's, to some extent, the model that all other superheroes are based upon.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:56 PM
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Chingon, I'm not quite sure what "warm up some tendies" means. But it sounds like you're personalizing this. Don't.
  #295  
Old 06-21-2019, 01:38 AM
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I think the question of "What does a black Superman think about 'truth, justice, and the American way?" is a really interesting question in just about any permutation you give it.

Period piece, black Superman, black Kents, set in an all black farming community version of Smallville

Same but in a sundown town, or a mixed town

Period piece, black Superman, white Kents, in a mixed or sundown town

Modern piece, black Superman, black Kents

Modern piece, black Superman, white Kents

Modern piece, black Superman, interracial Kents

All eight of those permutations give you a different outlook for Clark Kent when he moves to Metropolis to get a newspaper job. I'm not wholly sure what the differences are, but there are tons of possibilities. I'd read those Elseworlds, or watch that movie.
  #296  
Old 06-21-2019, 03:34 AM
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If you want a black Superman, he could always just hop into his Blackanizer machine.
  #297  
Old 06-21-2019, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DarrynJohnston View Post
How about in a movie about JFK - would the makeup of the Secret Service detail need to reflect the reality of the time? If it doesn't is it a white washing of history or is it good because of more opportunities?
Do we know what the make-up of the Secret Service was at that time?

Some years back I saw a TV episode that featured, among many other things, President Richard Nixon. There was some pearl-clutching because one of the Secret Service men depicted was black. Turns out.... there actually WAS a black agent on Nixon's detail. Turns out real history isn't as white as we have been lead to believe. Adding a black agent wasn't "more opportunities", it was reflecting reality.

(Which actually, for that show, is pretty strange on certain level what with the aliens and the time travel and such. And folks got upset over a black guy?)
  #298  
Old 06-21-2019, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
The problem isn't a white identity problem, it's that changing well established canon for certain iconic characters or for characters where them being a different race would just be weird or anachronistic
Weird isn't bad.

Sherlock Holmes is a White English Dude from the 1890's. His buddy Watson is a White English Dude from the 1890's. I just started watching a Sherlock show based in present day Japan where Sherlock is a Japanese Lady and Wato-San is her female sidekick.

It's a hoot.

People need to just lighten up a bit and go with the flow. While there are times when a character needs to follow type, the world of fiction is a wild and wonderful place where just about anything can happen, we shouldn't handcuff our artists because of the choices other artists made decades ago.

Last edited by Cheesesteak; 06-21-2019 at 06:14 AM. Reason: typo
  #299  
Old 06-21-2019, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
I really don't think it does that, at all. I think that's projection. Yes it's all make believe. But a story is a complex thing. Adaptations of a beloved work need to accomplish a lot of things to appeal to and be satisfying for fans. There's a point where too much adaption crosses over into essentially creating a whole new thing out of whole cloth and slapping a familiar label on it. I doubt fans of The Lawnmower Man, I, Robot or Dune books were really fulfilled by those movie adaptations, in part because the have virtually nothing in common.

Now maybe you don't give a shit about appealing to fans of the source material, and in some cases that's probably a totally valid strategy. I, Robot made money after all. But it's arrogant to say that none of it matters and that everything can be changed without consequence. It's downright insulting to point the finger at the audience when they reject a unwelcome change by saying "they didn't get it" or "they're just too hung up on race".

Hollywood is very welcome to test the theory. Frankly, you and I would probably both be pleasantly surprised if a black Superman was a huge hit with mass appeal. I think they'd have to change a lot to make it coherent. I also think it's a long shot and I think their time would be better spent creating something inclusive and new instead of recycling something. Finally, I emphatically disagree with the argument that I'm just too "white" to see the forest for the trees here.
Growing up as a black kid who loved all the nerdy shit it was pretty rare to find any characters who looked like me. So did I just sit around and be content to always be Constable Reggie? Fuck no, I was Inspector SpaceTime goddammit! If I wanted to pretend to be Superman I didnít feel the need to pretend I was a white guy just to fill the role. I was just Superman and the story kept moving along the way it always moved. It never occurred to me that the story needed to change just because I didnít look like Christopher Reeve. I guess I just always figured people were more than what they look like.

So when folks tell me that Superman canít be black without all types of caveats, exceptions and alterations it becomes painfully obvious that something else must be going on. It feels like we canít even be equal in your imagination, like we must be different by definition else it taints and perverts your view to the point where you can no longer stay in the story. That appearance trumps content instead of vice versa.

I donít think Iím projecting. I think Iím making a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence provided. I can imagine this, you canít. Simple as that. This is make believe, but in your world view I canít even pretend to be like you.
  #300  
Old 06-21-2019, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeagleJesus View Post
So when folks tell me that Superman can’t be black without all types of caveats, exceptions and alterations it becomes painfully obvious that something else must be going on. It feels like we can’t even be equal in your imagination, like we must be different by definition else it taints and perverts your view to the point where you can no longer stay in the story. That appearance trumps content instead of vice versa.

I don’t think I’m projecting. I think I’m making a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence provided. I can imagine this, you can’t. Simple as that. This is make believe, but in your world view I can’t even pretend to be like you.
I get what you're saying. I wonder, though, about how much you read books for societal dynamics ("none" is a fine answer).

Obviously Metropolis isn't a real-world place. But it draws really heavily on the real world. When I watch a Superman movie, I expect a switch on the wall to toggle the lights (not to change the radio station), I expect coffee to be something that grownups drink in the morning (not something they put in lawn mowers), I expect coworkers to greet each other with "Good Morning" (not, "I love you snookums"). The changes that the authors make to society are deliberate and usually obvious, and if the authors don't illustrate that change in some way, I expect the change not to be there.

I expect Metropolis, as a fictional American city, to be grappling with some of the same issues we focus with in our America. They grapple with crime, with wealth inequality, with sexism, with racism. If they don't, the artist probably ought to illustrate that change in some way. (They can also go the Hamilton route, where the change ostentatiously happens with no in-narrative explanation, and that's cool too--but there it's a deliberate choice).

I'm all about the idea of a black Superman. That'd be awesome. But when you talk about telling this story where his skin is black and nothing else changes, I'm not sure what you mean: do you mean that Metropolis remains a fantasy American city, and has the same problems as real American cities? if so, wouldn't Superman face racial discrimination? Or do you mean that Superman doesn't face racial discrimination? If so, isn't that a change to the city itself?

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 06-21-2019 at 06:44 AM.
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