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View Full Version : This Sorta Sums Up Why Gail Rocks (IMO)



Thequeerjock
12-20-2010, 08:21 AM
For those who aren't familiar, there is a tumblr site called Comic Book Secrets, where people basically submit statements anonymously. This one was from a few days ago:

http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldllkd8ObO1qcthzxo1_500.jpg

And this was Gail's response:

Sigh.

Your niece is right. Let me see what I can do.

She didn't get snarky, or rude or brush it off. I think that's pretty classy, especially considering some of the other responses.

Impulse
12-20-2010, 09:31 AM
Yeah, and it's really not helped when DC now have nearly all the currently published heroines as white, blonde women. No Cass Cain, no Vixen, no Empress, etc.

Ziggy Stardust
12-20-2010, 09:32 AM
Yeah, and it's really not helped when DC now have nearly all the currently published heroines as white, blonde women. No Cass Cain, no Vixen, no Empress, etc.

Why ask DC to create more characters who'll get killed off in the next mega crossover?

Shurato2099
12-20-2010, 09:50 AM
Because they're running out of Titans to kill?

Jae Namkyoung
12-20-2010, 11:08 AM
It's not even a matter of creating heroes, its using the ones you already have and promoting them just as equally as all the others and treating them right and not sub-standard.

Once a company can use the characters they already have and use them well, then they can go ahead and make new ones, otherwise all their doing is creating fodder.

http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/img/b/Batgirl.jpg

http://www.comicbookreligion.com/img/e/m/Empress.jpg

http://i628.photobucket.com/albums/uu8/bassmanbob/expendability.jpg?t=1291775191

zemo
12-20-2010, 11:34 AM
You know what I keep wondering? You hear this story quite often, about a child going and asking where the hero is that looks like them. Are small children already that self-conscious?

This seems so weird to me, because as a child, I never wondered about anything like that. I mean, I wouldn't wonder about heroes that look like me, obviously, but (what I think is comparable) I also never questioned why all the heroes on the American shows lead a life and have a culture that is utterly different to mine.

Thequeerjock
12-20-2010, 11:43 AM
Once a company can use the characters they already have and use them well, then they can go ahead and make new ones, otherwise all their doing is creating fodder.

Agreed, especially the bolded portion.

*And welcome back Jae!*

Thequeerjock
12-20-2010, 12:13 PM
This seems so weird to me, because as a child, I never wondered about anything like that. I mean, I wouldn't wonder about heroes that look like me, obviously, but (what I think is comparable) I also never questioned why all the heroes on the American shows lead a life and have a culture that is utterly different to mine.

It's not going to hold true for everyone, but I know I certainly felt that way when I was younger.

Corrina
12-20-2010, 12:33 PM
You know what I keep wondering? You hear this story quite often, about a child going and asking where the hero is that looks like them. Are small children already that self-conscious?

This seems so weird to me, because as a child, I never wondered about anything like that. I mean, I wouldn't wonder about heroes that look like me, obviously, but (what I think is comparable) I also never questioned why all the heroes on the American shows lead a life and have a culture that is utterly different to mine.

I did. I wanted to know why women could never save the day.

Yeah, sure, Batgirl on the old TV show was cheesy but..she had a motorcyle! A Theme song! And she won as many fights as the Dynamic Duo.

I think it's natural to want to see someone like you be a hero. It's easier to put yourself in their place if that happens.

Of course, that didn't impede my ability to pretend to be Spock, Batman, and various other heroes either.

I remember that when I'm writing. And I remember conversations here about diversity and I'm more conscious of making sure it's in my own work.

Teal_Lantern
12-20-2010, 12:38 PM
You know what I keep wondering? You hear this story quite often, about a child going and asking where the hero is that looks like them. Are small children already that self-conscious?

This seems so weird to me, because as a child, I never wondered about anything like that. I mean, I wouldn't wonder about heroes that look like me, obviously, but (what I think is comparable) I also never questioned why all the heroes on the American shows lead a life and have a culture that is utterly different to mine.

I sort of did it. I grew up in a place with a lot of diversity but I noticed that in stories and TV that there was never anyone who looked like me or had a similar name. I didn't think much of it, but it confused the crap out of me.

sonofbaldwin
12-20-2010, 12:50 PM
You know what I keep wondering? You hear this story quite often, about a child going and asking where the hero is that looks like them. Are small children already that self-conscious?

This seems so weird to me, because as a child, I never wondered about anything like that. I mean, I wouldn't wonder about heroes that look like me, obviously, but (what I think is comparable) I also never questioned why all the heroes on the American shows lead a life and have a culture that is utterly different to mine.

I was seven years old the first time I ever saw a black superhero (Black Vulcan on the Superfriends). I was absolutely AMAZED and felt empowered in a way I can't even describe.

shrike
12-20-2010, 01:17 PM
I would love to see Bumblebee in Birds of Prey. She would kinda be like the 'Q' role on the team, as well as being more than able to hold her own in a fight.

Treacle
12-20-2010, 01:33 PM
You know what I keep wondering? You hear this story quite often, about a child going and asking where the hero is that looks like them. Are small children already that self-conscious?

Why wouldn't a child be that self-conscious?

Keith P.
12-20-2010, 04:29 PM
For the love of God get rid of Creote's ponytail. Gay men just don't have ponytails.

BnL
12-20-2010, 04:55 PM
For the love of God get rid of Creote's ponytail. Gay men just don't have ponytails.

I do...

Keith P.
12-20-2010, 05:01 PM
I do...

Not anymore!
*snip*

BnL
12-20-2010, 05:06 PM
Not anymore!
*snip*

But it suits me!

Keith P.
12-20-2010, 05:12 PM
But it suits me!

Oh sweety, there are things that can be done with a freshly shorn, stubbly head you would not believe.

EdNEMO
12-20-2010, 06:15 PM
This reminds me of a Global Frequency story. A GF agent is climbing a ferriswheel and a little Indian girl sees her and says, "Look Daddy, Spider-Man's a girl and she looks like us!"

It was cute.

Gail Simone
12-20-2010, 07:00 PM
Creote's pony is ICONIC!

:)

pseudicide
12-20-2010, 08:07 PM
It's great to see Gail say that but why does so much responsibility lay in the hands of one creator?

Also JT Krul has been introducing an indian character in titans.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 03:45 AM
I don't think anyone is saying it's somehow Gail's job or that she's bad with diversity. It seems like the message in general is that there are very few women of color being published by DC at the moment, and the Birds of Prey was used as an anecdote because the author thought it was a style of book the kid would enjoy.

Ziggy Stardust
12-21-2010, 04:12 AM
Creote's pony is ICONIC!

:)

BUt.... but.... it's one snapped rubber band away from a mullet!!!!;-)

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 04:41 AM
I don't think anyone is saying it's somehow Gail's job or that she's bad with diversity. It seems like the message in general is that there are very few women of color being published by DC at the moment, and the Birds of Prey was used as an anecdote because the author thought it was a style of book the kid would enjoy.


If you look at my overall output, I am pretty proud of my record on diversity, and I have some Glyph and Lulu and ComicsQueers and GLAAD awards and nominations to point to that I am also proud of. I don't write comics with all-white, all-straight or all-male casts.

But Bop is pretty white and straight right now, barring my feeling that Black Canary is bi-sexual. I've always tried to bring in temporary agents with some diversity, but the attempts to bring in a couple characters like that were cut short when I left the book, and then the new cast was kind of set in stone to start with when I came back. Not making excuses, it's just how it was.

The weird thing for me is that, holy shit, how many female team books make it SIX issues, let alone WAY over a hundred? How many books with female leads make it at all? How many are even ATTEMPTED, let alone able to grab and hold an audience?

I think Bop ALREADY brings diversity lacking in the mainstream publishers, by virtue of the estrogen count.

But there's no question that it's all white, mostly straight characters right now.

I have a temporary thing happening shortly, and am working on a long term solution.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 05:18 AM
If you look at my overall output, I am pretty proud of my record on diversity, and I have some Glyph and Lulu and ComicsQueers and GLAAD awards and nominations to point to that I am also proud of. I don't write comics with all-white, all-straight or all-male casts.

But Bop is pretty white and straight right now, barring my feeling that Black Canary is bi-sexual. I've always tried to bring in temporary agents with some diversity, but the attempts to bring in a couple characters like that were cut short when I left the book, and then the new cast was kind of set in stone to start with when I came back. Not making excuses, it's just how it was.

The weird thing for me is that, holy shit, how many female team books make it SIX issues, let alone WAY over a hundred? How many books with female leads make it at all? How many are even ATTEMPTED, let alone able to grab and hold an audience?

I think Bop ALREADY brings diversity lacking in the mainstream publishers, by virtue of the estrogen count.

But there's no question that it's all white, mostly straight characters right now.

I have a temporary thing happening shortly, and am working on a long term solution.

Like I said, I don't think it was meant as a condemnation of you or the Birds, but rather the lack of women of color at DC in general.

As Impulse said, there are very few if any minority women currently being published. Cass Cain was limboed to make room for Stephanie Brown, Vixen was broken and removed from the JLA in favor of the current white roster, Aquagirl (who I admittedly don't care for) was taken out of the Teen Titans along with the rest of the minority members, ECT...

I think the point was that the author was saying that he/she had a niece who went gaga over seeing a heroine of color on television, was given a copy of Birds of Prey because the author felt like she would enjoy it, only to put it back because the team was made up exclusively of white women.

Obviously, you write another title where one of the leads is a queer biracial woman, so I don't think anyone can say you don't try.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 05:36 AM
I was seven years old the first time I ever saw a black superhero (Black Vulcan on the Superfriends). I was absolutely AMAZED and felt empowered in a way I can't even describe.

Similar experiences with Static and Green Lantern. My dad actually bought me a few Steel comics when I was younger, and they scared the shit out of me.

Shisho
12-21-2010, 05:54 AM
You know what I keep wondering? You hear this story quite often, about a child going and asking where the hero is that looks like them. Are small children already that self-conscious?

This seems so weird to me, because as a child, I never wondered about anything like that. I mean, I wouldn't wonder about heroes that look like me, obviously, but (what I think is comparable) I also never questioned why all the heroes on the American shows lead a life and have a culture that is utterly different to mine.

Sometimes, yes. I've said it a thousand times, but Kitty Pryde is the reason I stuck with comics. She was everything I wanted to be, she was my age (at the time), and she had an important role on the team (Excalibur, not X-Men). And she had a dragon as a best friend, but that's beside the point. Without Kitty, I may not have been the nerdy comic lover I am today. So yeah, it's kind of a big deal for some kids.

shrike
12-21-2010, 05:56 AM
I'll go along with the mindset that people want to usually see a bit of themselves in the heroes they read about... even if that something is skin color.

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 06:05 AM
It's funny, though, the message I hear over and over and over, is that when you ask POCs their favorite character, we almost always here that it's not characters that look like them...it's Batman, it's Spider-man, it's Green Lantern.

I don't know if it's a color-blindness, which could be a positive thing, or the fact that the top tier talent is often put on the icon books, or that the central concepts of those books are so universal, or what. But I do know that there is a whole other dynamic there, one that's very interesting, but not yet fully understood, at least by me.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 06:16 AM
I would love to see Bumblebee in Birds of Prey. She would kinda be like the 'Q' role on the team, as well as being more than able to hold her own in a fight.

She was definitley ahead of her times. Since they don't really do anything with her in Doom Patrol anyway, it'd be cool if Gail could get a hold of her.

sonofbaldwin
12-21-2010, 06:17 AM
It's funny, though, the message I hear over and over and over, is that when you ask POCs their favorite character, we almost always here that it's not characters that look like them...it's Batman, it's Spider-man, it's Green Lantern.

I don't know if it's a color-blindness, which could be a positive thing, or the fact that the top tier talent is often put on the icon books, or that the central concepts of those books are so universal, or what. But I do know that there is a whole other dynamic there, one that's very interesting, but not yet fully understood, at least by me.

Oh. By all means: My favorite character is, by far, Wonder Woman--always has been, always will be. And I think that's because I connect, very strongly, to her purpose, her powers, her mythology, her mission, and what she represents.

But seeing a black superhero for the first time blew my mind because, as silly as it sounds, I hadn't actually imagined that a black person could be a superhero because I didn't ever see one. Sometimes, that's how kid logic works.

Even when I pretended to be a hero as a kid, in my imagination, if I was, say, Superman or Wonder Woman, I imagined myself as taking on those physical characteristics, including skin color. When my mom bought my Superman costume, the mask was white:

http://www.tymespan.com/superheroes.JPG

Honestly, it wasn't until I actually saw a black superhero that I realized that black people could be superheroes. So when I saw this:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/7ZWJVa7Uvfk/0.jpg

A whole new realm opened up for me. I could be regular old Bobby in a Superman/Wonder Woman suit, rather than Bobby Brady in a Superman/Wonder Woman suit.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 06:19 AM
It's funny, though, the message I hear over and over and over, is that when you ask POCs their favorite character, we almost always here that it's not characters that look like them...it's Batman, it's Spider-man, it's Green Lantern.

I don't know if it's a color-blindness, which could be a positive thing, or the fact that the top tier talent is often put on the icon books, or that the central concepts of those books are so universal, or what. But I do know that there is a whole other dynamic there, one that's very interesting, but not yet fully understood, at least by me.

In my experience, there's a reason for Spidey and Batman (though I've never heard any non comic reader who said Hal was their favorite hero).

Stan Lee sums it up by saying Spidey wears a costume that covers everyone of his features. He could be ANYONE under that mask, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, whatever. It's easier to see yourself.

And with Batman, I always thought of it as being the non-powered appeal. He's still completely unrealistic, but he at least SEEMS more attainable, especially when you're younger.

Corrina
12-21-2010, 06:21 AM
It's funny, though, the message I hear over and over and over, is that when you ask POCs their favorite character, we almost always here that it's not characters that look like them...it's Batman, it's Spider-man, it's Green Lantern.

I don't know if it's a color-blindness, which could be a positive thing, or the fact that the top tier talent is often put on the icon books, or that the central concepts of those books are so universal, or what. But I do know that there is a whole other dynamic there, one that's very interesting, but not yet fully understood, at least by me.

I could offer a couple of thoughts.

The first is exactly what you said, there's a dynamic that so universal in these characters that they transcend race and gender.

There's the poor orphan child who grows up to protect others in the city that gave birth to him. That's an archetype, likely one buried deeply in our psyches, possibly connected to a father-figure need.

Spider-Man is the one no one thought was worthy. He's Aladdin who's found the magic lamp and learns that wishing for riches leads to ruin. He's the trickster that's on our side, consumed by his own tragedy.

Green Lantern is the explorer, the one who pushes boundaries, the magician who makes things out of thin air.

Those are all pretty strong human archetypes.

And wrapped in all that is that we, in Western society, live in a white culture. So even those who aren't white men tend to absorb the archetype and iconic as white males. So they look all right to us--perhaps even as they should. (Note: totally generalizing here. I don't for a minute think all women identity with these characters, nor all minorities. Making a general point.)

Added to that, is something you said, that these characters tend to receive the best creative teams and the deck is stacked.

In short, it's pretty much what you said. :)

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 06:25 AM
I'm writing Bumblebee AS WE SPEAK.

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 06:33 AM
I could offer a couple of thoughts.

The first is exactly what you said, there's a dynamic that so universal in these characters that they transcend race and gender.

There's the poor orphan child who grows up to protect others in the city that gave birth to him. That's an archetype, likely one buried deeply in our psyches, possibly connected to a father-figure need.

Spider-Man is the one no one thought was worthy. He's Aladdin who's found the magic lamp and learns that wishing for riches leads to ruin. He's the trickster that's on our side, consumed by his own tragedy.

Green Lantern is the explorer, the one who pushes boundaries, the magician who makes things out of thin air.

Those are all pretty strong human archetypes.

And wrapped in all that is that we, in Western society, live in a white culture. So even those who aren't white men tend to absorb the archetype and iconic as white males. So they look all right to us--perhaps even as they should. (Note: totally generalizing here. I don't for a minute think all women identity with these characters, nor all minorities. Making a general point.)

Added to that, is something you said, that these characters tend to receive the best creative teams and the deck is stacked.

In short, it's pretty much what you said. :)


I also suspect that POCs are inundated with white characters and white media portrayals since they come out of the womb, where the reverse is much less true for white readers. To them, a POC hero is still partly 'exotic,' or some other nonsense.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 06:33 AM
Would this be in the Doom Patrol crossover by any chance?

shrike
12-21-2010, 06:48 AM
I'm writing Bumblebee AS WE SPEAK.

You rock. Thank you! :cool:

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 06:59 AM
You rock. Thank you! :cool:

Heh. She only has a LITTLE scene, but it's kind of cute!

Was there some element about her you like in particular?

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 07:00 AM
Oh. By all means: My favorite character is, by far, Wonder Woman--always has been, always will be. And I think that's because I connect, very strongly, to her purpose, her powers, her mythology, her mission, and what she represents.

But seeing a black superhero for the first time blew my mind because, as silly as it sounds, I hadn't actually imagined that a black person could be a superhero because I didn't ever see one. Sometimes, that's how kid logic works.

Even when I pretended to be a hero as a kid, in my imagination, if I was, say, Superman or Wonder Woman, I imagined myself as taking on those physical characteristics, including skin color. When my mom bought my Superman costume, the mask was white:

http://www.tymespan.com/superheroes.JPG

Honestly, it wasn't until I actually saw a black superhero that I realized that black people could be superheroes. So when I saw this:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/7ZWJVa7Uvfk/0.jpg

A whole new realm opened up for me. I could be regular old Bobby in a Superman/Wonder Woman suit, rather than Bobby Brady in a Superman/Wonder Woman suit.

That makes a lot of sense to me, Bobby.

That's a good reason to make diverse characters, right there, and why we need a trans hero in particular. There just isn't one at all, really, in comics a young person might read.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 07:07 AM
Well, what's interesting to note is that comic book adaptations are almost always FAR more diverse than the comics that inspired them.

Brave and the Bold uses primarily Silver Age characters and is pretty much a love letter to 60's and 70's comics, and yet save for the Question, it pretty much ALWAYS uses current generation minority replacements rather than Silver Age equivalnts. So while Ted Kord would make the most sense given the tone and style of the show, they use Jaime Reyes instead, and the same goes for Ryan Choi and Jason Rusch. Or more recently, the black Aqualad created for Young Justice.

I think as a whole, the cartoons are usually far more inclusive than the actual comics, which is kind of sad.

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 07:09 AM
Maybe, but it's also a product of the times...most of the beloved stuff at DC came from the Silver Age in some way, or even the Golden Age. The DCUA doesn't have to follow those concepts.

shrike
12-21-2010, 07:13 AM
Heh. She only has a LITTLE scene, but it's kind of cute!

Was there some element about her you like in particular?

Not that Bumblebee's character has ever really been MAJORLY fleshed out, but here is what I've always liked about her that we have kinda seen via various writers:

She has been written as a very humble person. She also is a genius, and as a teenager created a suit that enabled her to do numerous things, like fly, be super strong and have sonic powers. Karen is capable of so much, on a technical level, that writers fail to take advantage of. I like that Bumblebee is also very 'grounded', and often has been a person first and a hero second, not that she won't step up to plate whenever needed.

I guess I see a ton of potential there for Karen. Potential that writers often overlook. I'd love to see her embrace a position as a real ass kicker and a scientific/ technological authority in the DCU.

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 07:18 AM
Rats...now I wish I had more room to write all that!

shrike
12-21-2010, 07:22 AM
Rats...now I wish I had more room to write all that!

Also, she was in charge of a part of STAR Labs that was responsible for creating non lethal weaponry. I mean, the woman obviously would be able to supply others with a host of neato gadgets. Like I said, she could even be the 'Q' of the Birds of Prey.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 07:24 AM
Well, I think the most interesting bit from the secret is the ending line about how it's very easy for people in white privilege to look at calls for diversity with disdain and say "Why is race a big deal? I don't like the Birds because they're white. They just happen to all be white". And specifically, the point that it's easy because there has never been any sort of shortage of white heroes in any medium, and therefore chances are that the white readers defending the lack of color do so becase seeing a hero who looked like them (at least racially) was never a problem for them.

Again, I don't think it's a grand racial conspiracy, but it's just interesting.

sonofbaldwin
12-21-2010, 07:39 AM
Well, I think the most interesting bit from the secret is the ending line about how it's very easy for people in white privilege to look at calls for diversity with disdain and say "Why is race a big deal? I don't like the Birds because they're white. They just happen to all be white). And specifically, the point that it's easy because there has never been any sort of shortage of white heroes in any medium, and therefore chances are that the white readers defending the lack of color do so becase seeing a hero who looked like them (at least racially) was never a problem for them.

Again, I don't think it's a grand racial conspiracy, but it's just interes

At the very least, it's not a secret conspiracy. But I do believe that all of us, including people of color, have been conditioned to regard "white" as the default race. Toni Morrison once said, "In this country, 'American' means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate." And I believe that holds true to this day.

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 07:39 AM
Tqj, I agree, and if the situation were that all the Birds were black, that would be all anyone ever talked about.

It's hard to put aside dumbass cultural conditioning sometimes.

Teal_Lantern
12-21-2010, 07:56 AM
At the very least, it's not a secret conspiracy. But I do believe that all of us, including people of color, have been conditioned to regard "white" as the default race. Toni Morrison once said, "In this country, 'American' means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate." And I believe that holds true to this day.

Definitely. Even to this day a straight white male is still thought of as a "normal" person while almost everyone else is thought of as different from that in some way.

zemo
12-21-2010, 08:05 AM
Here's a thing I always see as a problem, at least in DC: If you have a black character (or any minority character) that takes over from an iconic character, their days are already numbered. It's, in a way, collateral damage that the minority legacy character has to bite it to make room for the iconic character which, sign of their times, all are white. On the other side, if you have an original black character, they have this habbit of staying around. Can't get rid of them (Steel, Vixen, Black Lightning).

I think the solution would be to create more original minority characters then. HOWEVER, this is where the problem comes in: DC is already sitting on a metric ton of iconic characters. So those (white, mostly male) iconic characters will always get the push before a completely new one is being created, because new stuff has to be established to make money, old and famous stuff makes money anyway.

Alas, I think something that could help there is a more modern approach to team books. Meaning, the writers, instead of picking a mixture of their favourites and editorially dictated characters (I'm looking at you, Hawk and Dove!) could, when writing a team, always try to introduce at least one novel character. Obviously there would be bitching and moaning by fans (don't try to deny it, if Gail had brought in a completely new character instead of Zinda in the reboot, then most of you would have shook their fists until carpal tunnel hit), but I think this is still the best way to, on the one side, diversify, but also, on the other side, rejuvinate the comic universes.

Treacle
12-21-2010, 08:09 AM
I also suspect that POCs are inundated with white characters and white media portrayals since they come out of the womb, where the reverse is much less true for white readers. To them, a POC hero is still partly 'exotic,' or some other nonsense.

I agree with this.

White is the default in our society, and so people of color are kind of acculturated to it. Not only that, but white is consistently defined as "better" in our culture, and so that creates even more disconnect. And then when there are popular characters of color (I'm thinking of Storm, one of the first Black female superheroes I remember seeing and still one of my favorites), she's so exoticized that people of color still don't really see any of themselves in her.

It kind of reminds me of those social science experiments when black children were given a white dollbaby and a black dollbaby, and even though they recognized the black dollbaby more closely resembled them, they still preferred the white one.

Tegan
12-21-2010, 08:46 AM
Whew. This is a tough topic. Let me just jump in with an Aquaman fan's perspective...

Aquaman is about as white as it gets, let's face it. And worse, his arch-enemy, the man who killed his son, is Black Manta. Who is black. Ouch. However, in that same series of stories that revealed Manta's ethnicity, we were also introduced to Cal Durham, one of my favorite Aqua-family characters. He didn't want to be a criminal, and fell in with Manta because he believed in Manta's concept of a new homeland for blacks under the ocean. He didn't realize Manta intended to kill off the Atlanteans for the goal. Ahem. I'm babbling on.

To make a long story short, Cal is a great character who became a great Aquaman ally. Sadly, he was neglected for many years and only reappeared in the most recent series toward the end.

There has been an effort to give Aquaman a more diverse cast. Peter David introduced Aquaman's half-Inupiat son, Koryak. Tula (Aquagirl) was killed off in Crisis, and a new Aquagirl was created during the Sub Diego disaster. Lorena is Hispanic. Cal Durham returned, and a whole segment of the survivors of Sub Diego moved to Atlantis, disrupting the status quo. Atlantis got destroyed by the Spectre, and all the survivors of all the upheavals are a mixed bag now, hanging out on the ocean floor. Atlantis as a place in the DCU is potentially more diverse than it's ever been in all its history. Add in the fact that the original Atlanteans are historically a really uptight bunch who discriminate against anyone different, even by hair color, and you have the potential for some fantastic storytelling on the DCU's ocean floor.

But one of my favorite changes is Jackson. He's not an all-new character. He's been carefully developed using the backstory of Aquaman and Black Manta, and he fits so well that I'm practically squeeing with delight every time I see him. True, he can never replace Garth in my heart, and he'll never be "the" Aqualad, but I love the character and the tribute to Cal Durham in his true name.

Frankly, to sum up, I'm absolutely delighted with Lorena (Aquagirl) and Jackson (Aqualad) and am thrilled to see them in the DCU. They both have a lot of potential as characters, and I'm hoping they get a lot of great stories in the future. Unlike many fans, I don't actually see either character as part of an intentional "let's diversify the DCU" effort because they both work extremely well in the context of their stories. Neither of them feels shoehorned into the Aquaman story, to me.

And if they happen to mean that these comics and cartoons based on them are easier for some audiences to identify with, then that's awesome too.

Sorry, I've rambled a bit too much. Back to the job hunt.

Dr Ray Palmer
12-21-2010, 10:10 AM
I've always thought Bumblebee has a ton of potential, and have wished somebody would do something cool with her.

Ravenwing263
12-21-2010, 10:33 AM
Also, where the $#*! is her husband?

Although perhaps I don't want to know, given what Giffen did to Rita's husband.

Thequeerjock
12-21-2010, 03:13 PM
Very nicely summed up Tegan.

sonofbaldwin
12-21-2010, 03:28 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqSFqnUFOns&feature=feedrec_grec_index

NickT
12-21-2010, 03:45 PM
Here's a thing I always see as a problem, at least in DC: If you have a black character (or any minority character) that takes over from an iconic character, their days are already numbered. It's, in a way, collateral damage that the minority legacy character has to bite it to make room for the iconic character which, sign of their times, all are white. On the other side, if you have an original black character, they have this habbit of staying around. Can't get rid of them (Steel, Vixen, Black Lightning).

I think the solution would be to create more original minority characters then. HOWEVER, this is where the problem comes in: DC is already sitting on a metric ton of iconic characters. So those (white, mostly male) iconic characters will always get the push before a completely new one is being created, because new stuff has to be established to make money, old and famous stuff makes money anyway.

Alas, I think something that could help there is a more modern approach to team books. Meaning, the writers, instead of picking a mixture of their favourites and editorially dictated characters (I'm looking at you, Hawk and Dove!) could, when writing a team, always try to introduce at least one novel character. Obviously there would be bitching and moaning by fans (don't try to deny it, if Gail had brought in a completely new character instead of Zinda in the reboot, then most of you would have shook their fists until carpal tunnel hit), but I think this is still the best way to, on the one side, diversify, but also, on the other side, rejuvinate the comic universes.
I think one thing I would argue though is that in your first two paragraphs, you could pretty much just replace minority with new. If Tony Stark was replaced by a new white straight male character, he's got a good chance of getting offed in the future.

I don't really have a clue how they could solve the issue, because there are so many different angles to it. Creating new characters is good, but if never used again they just get thrown onto the scrapheap of unused characters. As such the bigger thing is people need to reuse underused characters, but that can come with a degree of baggage. I can see the logic in editorial pushing for casts to not be all white and straight, but at the same time people get annoyed at editorial interference and then you could have an issue where a writer has a bunch of people they want to write and the person they were told to write. Encouragement from editorial to do the above could work, but only if people actually listen.

VenomMelendez
12-21-2010, 04:21 PM
Well, what's interesting to note is that comic book adaptations are almost always FAR more diverse than the comics that inspired them.

Brave and the Bold uses primarily Silver Age characters and is pretty much a love letter to 60's and 70's comics, and yet save for the Question, it pretty much ALWAYS uses current generation minority replacements rather than Silver Age equivalnts. So while Ted Kord would make the most sense given the tone and style of the show, they use Jaime Reyes instead, and the same goes for Ryan Choi and Jason Rusch. Or more recently, the black Aqualad created for Young Justice.

I think as a whole, the cartoons are usually far more inclusive than the actual comics, which is kind of sad.

For that matter, there was also the rcent Spectacular Spider-Man cartoom which had a very diverse supporting cast.

pseudicide
12-21-2010, 05:15 PM
Sometimes, yes. I've said it a thousand times, but Kitty Pryde is the reason I stuck with comics. She was everything I wanted to be, she was my age (at the time), and she had an important role on the team (Excalibur, not X-Men). And she had a dragon as a best friend, but that's beside the point. Without Kitty, I may not have been the nerdy comic lover I am today. So yeah, it's kind of a big deal for some kids.

Me too. She was exactly the reason I stuck with comics for quite a while. Plus she was jewish! Yay! More awesomeness in common.

RobStaeger
12-21-2010, 06:19 PM
I don't really have a clue how they could solve the issue, because there are so many different angles to it. Creating new characters is good, but if never used again they just get thrown onto the scrapheap of unused characters. As such the bigger thing is people need to reuse underused characters, but that can come with a degree of baggage. I can see the logic in editorial pushing for casts to not be all white and straight, but at the same time people get annoyed at editorial interference and then you could have an issue where a writer has a bunch of people they want to write and the person they were told to write. Encouragement from editorial to do the above could work, but only if people actually listen.


My feeling is, it's not going to be DC and Marvel that solve the issue. They'll make their little strides here and there, and eventually a new character lucky enough to stick around for a while will gain enough of a fanbase to have inertia work for him, not against him (I'm thinking Jaime Reyes might accomplish this). But more often than not, new unaffiliated characters will wind up in limbo, and replacement characters will be re-replaced by the originals.

It's not that Marvel and DC won't do anything -- it's that more often than not, they'll fail. Their market wants familiarity more strongly than it wants diversity. They'll work at it, but it's a tight needle to thread.

Independent publishers and imprints will be where we see the most progress, I suspect. New characters in their own universes won't be weighed down by all that fictional history, and can reflect our world better because of it.

BnL
12-21-2010, 06:49 PM
I think Marvel generally does a better job in promoting diversity. There are a million different Avengers and X-Men titles where new or neglected characters can be shepherded, and there's really nothing comparable to that going on at DC. When DC creates new minority characters, they take a sink or swim approach that almost never works. They are usually given their own series without first building up a loyal readership, and those titles usually wind up getting canceled before long.

I think DC should roll out a couple of new JLA spin-off titles that blend new characters (and/or forgotten ones) with existing, popular ones. I know they tried this in the 90's, but there's no reason they couldn't give it another shot. They often give projects that are much riskier a chance. And even if it fails again, I think it will pay off in the long run, since it will add more diversity to DC's stable.

They should also add back up features starring minority heroes to their most popular titles. It'll expose them to a larger audience and, hopefully, give them a chance to build a devoted fanbase.

Finally, they could do another "Showcase" style series, with 3-4 shorts per issue. Titles like this tend to be low-sellers, but I think it could be successful if they got some of the biggest names on it. Have writers like Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns each handle one of the regular features, and hire superstar artists like Jim Lee and Adam Hughes to do pencils. It's the perfect venue for those artists who are really popular, but don't do a lot of sequential art anymore due to a heavier work schedule or slow work output.

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 08:55 PM
I think Marvel might be better with racial diversity right now, I don't know for sure, but I think DC is better with females and lgbtq portrayals.

Scotticus
12-21-2010, 08:55 PM
I would welcome and kill for Bumblebee, Vixen and Onyx to be part of the Birds. Amazing characters with tons of potential for new characterization.

Personally, Vixen is really a character that should have her own title. A great power set and interesting history that could play out many ways in the DCU.

I'd read it in a second.

One thing I can say is I've been appreciating the diversity attempts DC has been making... Jaime Reyes, Jason Rusch, Jackson Hyde, Batwoman, etc. Amanda Waller has been showing up more. I've been following them all and appreciating the stories being told.

I'd really like to see a gay superhero show up though as a meaningful series main character on a DC team (with similar "starring" status as an Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress or Lady Blackhawk).

Gail Simone
12-21-2010, 09:06 PM
See, that's the problem.

The Birds aren't the Avengers or Teen Titans, you can't really just remove and replace the core, which is Dinah, Helena and Babs. It's something that came organically, and is the heart of the book.

The rest can probably come and go. And other characters can take their places, probably. But I can't just add someone and say they are suddenly equal to Huntress, Canary and Babs...it's not the balance, the chemistry that makes the book at that point.

If this happens, the affection, the feeling that a character is not just right for the book, but ESSENTIAL, that's a damn near impossible thing to make happen, and then on top of that, adding to the cast is not advisable for a million reasons. Do we drop Zinda to add someone?

This stuff isn't a pie where the ingredients can be replaced so easily. At least, that's not how I write them. Adding the wrong element could actually ruin the dynamic. Again, people can accept a lot of different Avengers' line-ups, but removing one guy from the Beatles changes EVERYTHING.

It's a lot tougher to do than it is to say. I'm loathe to make ANY big line-up changes right now, as people are just settling in, but I do acknowledge that as a representation of women in the DCU, it's weird and wrong to only have white faces on the team. My problem has nothing to do with a new character being WOC, it's 100% an issue of messing with the dynamic.

So, I'm working on it. But carefully. ;)

Tyr
12-21-2010, 09:12 PM
Do we drop Zinda to add someone?


Never! Go wash your mouth out with soap, woman!

Scotticus
12-21-2010, 09:57 PM
I agree about the Babs, Dinah and Helena dynamic coming about organically and why that quality makes BoP special. It's one of the reasons I keep coming back.

Part of my response I'm realizing is fueled by just wanting to see characters like Bumblebee, Onyx or Vixen get the chance to grow as characters, have a unique voice and find a book to make that happen in.

I can't even imagine where Huntress would be right now if she hadn't connected with Dinah and Babs and helped to make the dynamic what it is. It just feels right for her.

What's probably better for me to say is that in some book, sometime I want it to "feel right" for Vixen, Onyx, Bumblebee, Achilles, etc. in an ongoing title.

EdNEMO
12-22-2010, 04:18 AM
At the very least, it's not a secret conspiracy. But I do believe that all of us, including people of color, have been conditioned to regard "white" as the default race. Toni Morrison once said, "In this country, 'American' means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate." And I believe that holds true to this day.

I find it interesting myself. I mean, how does a person define themself? I pretty much grew up thinking I was white. No one came out and said it but if I had to fill out a form that would be the box I checked. Then I was brought out to meet family members on a Reservation. And they talked to me about heritage and a lot of other things. So, which is it?

Now I always select "Native American" on those forms. But...nothing else really changed. Especially not my comic heroes.

NickT
12-22-2010, 05:59 AM
My feeling is, it's not going to be DC and Marvel that solve the issue. They'll make their little strides here and there, and eventually a new character lucky enough to stick around for a while will gain enough of a fanbase to have inertia work for him, not against him (I'm thinking Jaime Reyes might accomplish this). But more often than not, new unaffiliated characters will wind up in limbo, and replacement characters will be re-replaced by the originals.

It's not that Marvel and DC won't do anything -- it's that more often than not, they'll fail. Their market wants familiarity more strongly than it wants diversity. They'll work at it, but it's a tight needle to thread.

Independent publishers and imprints will be where we see the most progress, I suspect. New characters in their own universes won't be weighed down by all that fictional history, and can reflect our world better because of it.
Very possible.


I kindof think that Marvel and DC will start to improve in the next generation because of the current one. It's like, I don't think you can entirely blame the current writers for not being very diverse because of what they have to work with. For example if I was given an Avengers book tommorow and could pick a team, I would struggle to pick a non-white hero because once you take out the characters in use, unable to be used, inappropriate for the book or people you just don't like it is a VERY small list. It's a bit much to expect them to pick someone who has been unused for decades or create a new character for the job every time. Having said that more characters are being made as time goes on, there have been a few teams in recent times that have only had one white straight male on the team, which I think makes the job easier for the future.

Well, that's a hope :)

Thequeerjock
12-22-2010, 06:04 AM
It's a lot tougher to do than it is to say. I'm loathe to make ANY big line-up changes right now, as people are just settling in, but I do acknowledge that as a representation of women in the DCU, it's weird and wrong to only have white faces on the team. My problem has nothing to do with a new character being WOC, it's 100% an issue of messing with the dynamic.


Putting Cassandra's name on the damn Watchtower list would have been a start.;)

Gail Simone
01-03-2011, 02:15 AM
Like I've said, the Kord Tower list is NOT a list of who she trusts most.

It's who she is willing to burden with access at this moment.