Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

Could Marvel Learn From Disney on Race?

11 May

Racialicious has an interesting article this week on a recent DC Comics coloring “mistake” and its implications.

On Monday I posted how DC Comics had published a corrected version of the Flash family from Flashpoint #1. This portrait included the granddaughter of Barry Allen properly portrayed as a black woman. In the pages that were included in DC’s Green Lantern Free Comic Book Day issue, she has been colored and presented as a mysterious white member of the Flash family.

How did this happen? I have no idea. I asked DC if they wanted to comment on it yesterday, but my email has not been responded to. Neither have I seen any explanation. And even if they did respond, I am sure that they would say it was a “mistake.”

But a mistake that changes one of the few women of color in the Flash family, one of the few women of color in the Legion, one of the few women of color in comics is more than a mistake. It’s a painful reminder that in comics, white is the default. White is the majority. White is the easy choice because you have, according to Marvel’s Tom Brevoort, only a 1% chance of being wrong.

The article is well-worth reading, especially if you haven’t (yet?) given much thought to race in American mainstream comics. And of course, you can’t talk about American mainstream comics without Marvel coming up in conversation.

How painful is it to hear a representative of Marvel, a Disney company – a company who does “corporately mandate” diversity – dismiss diversity so casually? As if it was an effort that wasn’t important? As if it were something that in the scheme of things didn’t really count? That the idea of being inclusive is less important than allowing writers to do what they want.

It seems to me that, while Disney’s record on cultural inclusion is far from perfect, as the parent company of Marvel they may have a few lessons to pass down here. In Lemonade Mouth, for example, issues of race were (oversimplified, but) seamlessly incorporated into the narrative.

Readers, please check out the Racialicious article and then tell me: Do you see Disney doing anything right that Marvel is currently getting wrong?

A Voice of Sanity on Disney/Marvel

16 Sep

My friend Geoff Carter of Your Souvenir Guide has written a fabulously sane and reasonable piece on Disney’s purchase of Marvel, and all it doesn’t and won’t mean.

To my mind, the purchase of Marvel is one of the few missteps the Mouse has made under Bob Iger’s reign. Disney isn’t getting a hell of a lot for its money. The theme park rights to the characters will continue to be held by Universal. And the movie properties that Disney could use to keep Bruckheimer on the lot — “Spider-Man,” “X-Men,” “Fantastic Four,” “Hulk,” “Iron Man” — will remain the properties of Sony, Fox and Paramount for the forseeable future. (According to Variety, Fox’s deal allows them to keep the film rights to “Fantastic,” “X-Men,” “Daredevil” and “Silver Surfer” in perpetuity, just as long as they keep making the films. For Disney’s purposes, that means forever.)

Better yet, Geoff offers 10 ways in which the Mouse could’ve strengthened their appeal to the geeky boy market without forking over quite so much cash. My personal favorite?

4. Own your steampunk heritage. “20,000 Leagues!” “Island at the Top of the World!” “Atlantis!” Fast-track these reboots and remakes while the goth kids are still wearing top hats and rust-colored leggings.

Entrance to Videopolis, Discoveryland, Disneyland Park, Paris

Entrance to Videopolis, Discoveryland, Disneyland Park, Paris

The Nautilus walkthrough at Disneyland Paris is a steampunk dream, as is much of Discoveryland. Couldn’t we have a little updated movie magic on this please?

Disney also could make better use of its distribution rights to the Miyazaki films, if they want to increase their geek cred (though perhaps not so much specifically for the boy market). I’m disappointed to see that My Neighbor Totoro is back in the vault; when Fox Searchlight was distributing this fine film, they gave us a lousy pan-and-scan but at least kept it on the shelves. Now we must wait at least seven years to be able to buy copies to give to friends? And yes, we carefully guard our treasured family copy.

And yes, the Marvel fan community will likely grumble and quake for a while over this, but I’m going with the wisdom of Batman in the final scene of this video, from ItsJustSomeRandomGuy on YouTube:

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