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Thread: Real Character Diversity

  1. #1
    Chiseler Scott Mateo's Avatar
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    Real Character Diversity

    This is a really interesting article that reiterates every point I try to make when the subject comes up, only she does it 10x better in getting her point across here than I do on the forums. I hope some of the non-minority fans can understand better how we feel when although the intentions are meant well, but still doesn't always sit right with us - and here's why:

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  2. #2
    Gunsel BClayMoore's Avatar
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    Re: Real Character Diversity

    I really think taking publishers to task for rebooting older characters as more diverse, newer characters is misguided and a little naive.

    The perception is that the market doesn't support new characters, and evidence seems to bear that out. So the best way to diversify a cast, like it or not, is to tag a new character with an old name.

    When this is the reaction to attempts at diversifying, I suppose the publishers would be better off to just ignore the reactions and follow their instincts. Ride out the complaints and work to establish the characters in their new identities so that people forget Miles Morales wasn't always Ultimate Spidey.

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  3. #3

    Re: Real Character Diversity

    This will end in fire.
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  4. #4
    Moderator Corrina's Avatar
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    Re: Real Character Diversity

    I tell you what was force fed for years: that heroes were just about all straight white males.
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  5. #5
    Gunsel Chris Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Real Character Diversity

    I can give it a college try, but when it comes down to it, no one can write for a man like a man can and no one can write for a woman like a woman can. The same goes for ethnicity and sexual identity.
    What? No.


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  6. #6
    Gunsel BClayMoore's Avatar
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    Re: Real Character Diversity

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Jones View Post
    What? No.
    Yeah, that's just silly.

    Part of being a good writer is effectively (or at least convincingly) adopting other voices.

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  7. #7
    Moderator Corrina's Avatar
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    Re: Real Character Diversity

    No one is a real superhero and yet no one questions the ability to write those.

    Somehow I'm reminded of a quote from Michael C. Hall when he was asked about playing a gay man on Six Feet Under, even though he's straight. He said, "It's acting. Funny thing is, everyone asks me how it feels to play a gay man and no one questions me about how to play a mortician."

    And, of course, he now plays a serial killer. Which is based on a book series. Which I think is not written by an *actual* serial killer.

    ETA: did she just dis Jaime Reyes? Yeesh. There's an example of taking a concept, going in a completely new direction and Jaime is just, well, Jaime, not some sort of symbol for diversity. As for the Ultimate Spider-Man, hello, Ultimate Universe. And there has been Spider-Man 2099 already.

    It's like me complaining if Miles was taking over as Batman on Earth-2. Hello, Earth-2. already have and will continue to have a zillion books starring Bruce Wayne as Batman. (And a bunch of other Batmen too, for good measure...)

    I find her points scattershot at best and confusing at worst.
    Last edited by Corrina; 08-18-2011 at 12:52 PM.
    A Jewish seamstress in a steampunked Victorian London hires a consulting detective to solve a magical murder mystery.
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  8. #8

    Re: Real Character Diversity

    I think its a pretty good article, and encapsulates a lot of my problems and opinions too. That there's nothing organic about how diversity is attempted, and that the hiring and recruiting practices backing up those attempts make the efforts they DO make look token instead of well informed.

    The only issue I majorly disagree with the author on is recasting movies with actors of other races. Unlike rebooting a franchise with a racial agenda, I don't necessarily see the same motives in an actor choice of an existing character.

  9. #9

    Re: Real Character Diversity

    I think the author is largely dismissing the reality of comics, which is that titles have followers. It is much, much harder to get readers to start reading a new title than it is to add a character to an existing title. That basic truth remains in play whether we're talking about introducing a new white character or a new multi-racial character. The simple fact is that if Miles had been introduced in his own title parallel to Ultimate Spidey, he would likely have very low readership and, frankly, probably would have disappeared after a few months. And introducing a non-Spidey-related (or otherwise derivative of/attached to an existing property) character in a new book, minority or not, is statistically a great way to add to the pile of unused and unwanted characters. What's the point of creating a good post-racial character if s/he's just going to end up in the comic book boneyard? How does that do anything to advance the state of race relations in comics?

    Replacing Pete in the Ultimate Spidey book (and, for all that the book is starting over at #1, it's basically still the same title we've been reading for 160 issues and 12 years) pretty much guarantees that Miles will get a lot of readership. Given that it's Bendis writing over a really talented artist, it's further likely that Miles will get a lot of readership for a very long time. He might even last 12 years, fully replacing Pete in the Ultimate U. Purely on the level of advancing the culture, if we want to see minorities take a larger role in comics, this is how that will happen.

  10. #10

    Re: Real Character Diversity

    Quote Originally Posted by Corrina View Post
    ETA: did she just dis Jaime Reyes? Yeesh. There's an example of taking a concept, going in a completely new direction and Jaime is just, well, Jaime, not some sort of symbol for diversity. As for the Ultimate Spider-Man, hello, Ultimate Universe. And there has been Spider-Man 2099 already.
    I like Jamie Reyes, but I can see why as a DIRECTION overall the "plug in a new version with the race changed up" concept still bugs, even with Jamie as a fine example of it working really well. Its the thought process behind what's happening being questioned, and I hope that doesn't mean that a good result can never be stumbled upon DESPITE that flawed process.

    Jamie in particular worked for several reasons people may not want to admit. Firstly, that Blue Beetle was a real small-time character previously. We can hem and haw about how much we loved ol' Blue, but if we're being honest the character wasn't that important or interesting. So replacing him with a more dynamic character had a real advantage BESIDES "forcing" some diversity. It brought more to the table.

    Spider-Man is a harder sell for the same concept, because Peter Parker, even the Ultimate version, is inherently a great character. So much so that part of the REASON that Reyes worked as the new Beetle is because... before this new Miles guy, Jamie was ALREADY the Hispanic version of Peter. Only in a different character. Blue Beetle's reboot worked because Jamie brought that same sensibility as the early Spidey books (and what Ultimate was still trying to do somewhat given Peter's age in that book).

    Spider-Man 2099 is another matter entirely. That wasn't a case of replacing one character with a successor. Despite the protagonist being A Spider-Man, there wasn't a replacement process going on because the setup distanced him from any version of Peter Parker by time and environment.

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