Welcome to Face to Greg where we take a stroll through my mind. A topic I’d like to tackle today is the belief that when a black writer writes a comic and brings in a black character, he must obviously have an agenda. I mean, it only makes sense, right?
I was surfing through the internet today and I ran across a site where a poster was criticizing Dwayne McDuffie due to him bringing John Stewart into the JLA simply because the character was black, the same color skin of McDuffie. And not only that, but McDuffie was also bringing in the new Firestorm who is also black! Oh no! And on top of that, we already have two black people on the team, them being Vixen and Black Lightning. So apparently, since we already had two black folks on the team, it HAD to be enough. But no, McDuffie is trying to force blackness down the readers throats and in due time everyone on the team will be black and we will have a Black JLA!!! Now, here’s where I ask, when Joss Whedon announced his team of Astonishing X-Men, where were the people yelling agenda because he was writing people who has his skin color? When Bendis established his team of Mighty Avengers, where were the same people bashing Bendis for having an all white team and having an agenda? If anything, I – a black reader - should be complaining about having them shove a team of only white people down my throat.
Another critique I saw of McDuffie’s work was from his recent mini series Damage Control. And of course, our fellow writer is being attacked because he has a black character as a main character. C’mon, now, are you serious? The thing I find so funny in all this is that the same people bashing this are the same ones first to say, “I’m not racist!” Then what are you then? Why is it that when Brad Meltzer brings in Roy into the JLA, it’s alright? If Whedon brings back Colossus, it’s all fine. When Meltzer brings in Black Lightning to the team, it’s actually quite alright! But! BUT if a black writer, like McDuffie, writes a black character in his work, it’s entirely “forced” and “PC.” When it comes to the comic world, a character that is black must have a purpose to be black. Why is that? Can someone give me the answer? Why is it that when a character of a different race other than white is created, there must be a specific reason why they must be that race or else the character is just there for political correctness? So the fact that I am on this Earth is simply because life is trying to be PC and therefore my existence is forced because the default race is white and that should reflect in comics as well. Of course, it makes total sense now!
White writers are constantly creating new characters, and the majority of them are white. It’s a fact. Of course, there are exceptions. I mean, duh! Where would all those other black heroes come from? We have one of my absolute favorites, Blade created by Marv Wolfman. Luke Cage by Archie Doodwin, Storm by Chris Claremont, Black Panther by Stan Lee, Spawn by Todd McFarlane, Black Lightning by Tony Isabella, Tyroc by Cary Bates.
Oh! Speaking of Tyroc, I remember once strolling through the internet and seeing someone bashing the creation of Tyroc because he came from a floating island that was filled with only black people and that of course made the character forced! Which means islands like Haiti are forced also! Oh no! AGENDA! But of course, a planet like Krypton filled with people who look white isn’t forced at all.
Since little, people are constantly told to write what they know. What people know are people that surround them, much like white writers write white characters because that is what they know given their background. So a black writer who grew up with others with the same color of his skin would naturally write a black character. Where is the crime in that? And as a black reader once again, I’d like to have characters that resemble me who I’d like to look up to. When I was younger, I was a huge fan of the 90s X-Men animated series. But the episode when Bishop first appeared, I was overwhelmed with excitement! Finally a black male character who actually looked like me! And to top it off, he was a bad-ass! Bishop was the first black superhero I ever saw at my age and I’ve been a fan ever since and when I first stumbled upon X-Men comics, the first thing I wanted to do was find out more about Bishop. So by introducing black characters in more comic based stuff, it actually opens up the field to kids who are indeed black.
Now, not all black kids will associate with a certain black character, though. If that character matches not only their skin color but also their attitudes and views, they’ll definite grow attached and have someone to look up to. So what is wrong with having someone to identify with through skin color? What is wrong for any race to be represented in comic books other than white? Why does the reason have to be for PC reasons and agendas? People are constantly saying that they’re the last to be racist and how something should be done about racism, yet they’re the first to show their true colors when a black writer introduces a black character to a mostly white team or field while a white writer introducing yet ANOTHER white character doesn’t get one eye brow raised. Yay, equality.
Posted originally: 2008-03-17 08:11:57
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About the Author - Greg
Greg DAE is a Brooklyn born film-maker, writer, actor, and horror/comic fiend. He was one of the first writers of The Outhouse and one of the two original Bludnet writers. One day he’ll be an accomplished comic book writer…. Or else.
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