Do Racism and Comic Books Go Hand in Hand?

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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Do Racism and Comic Books Go Hand in Hand?


Are comic books institutionally racist? Well, according to one Marvel editor, the answer is yes.

Marvel editor Tom Brevoort had some unpleasant things to say about comic books and their audiences when he was asked about selling titles with non-American leads, saying that it was difficult to make any title with lead character that is anything other than a white, American male.

"Because we're an American company whose primary distribution is centered around America, the great majority of our existing audience seems to be white American males ... whenever your leads are white American males, you've got a better chance of reaching more people overall. "

It's a pretty damning statement, and one that most comic books fans will likely refute, but it goes quite a way to explaining the prevalence of white, male American superheroes. However, Disney's talent for marketing may change the landscape of comics; we'll just have to wait and see.

Source: io9 [http://io9.com/5349421/are-american-comics-institutionally-racist ]

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AmrasCalmacil

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Jul 19, 2008
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What about Blade?
Or Storm from the X-Men, I see what he means though, those are the only ones I can really think of.
 

Radeonx

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Apr 26, 2009
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Haven't different comic characters been changing race, though? I've seen an African Green Lantern, along with an African Nick Fury. Although it seems like they are doing it just to cover for racist claims.
 

TriggerUnhappy

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Mar 4, 2009
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Lots of people are going to disagree, but I have to give that editor props for having the balls to even say that, what with how PC everything is.
 

GruntOwner

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Feb 22, 2009
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Egad? Racism? In Marvel? And here I thought the Skrull looking like Nazi propaganda concerning the jews, along with the Kree/Captain America being aryan were both entirely coincidental.

To those of you unfamiliar witht he setting, the Kree are the "Good guys" of sorts in a galactic war with the Skrull, a race of shapeshifting, scheming scum who make a public spectacle of torturing folk. The Kree aren't exactly Ghandi, but they're ass hattery always stems from some chivalric shizzlefizz, plus there have been more than a few kree superheroes. Skrull heroes... Well, there was one, but he refused to get involved in the war when the Skrull invaded earth again recently.
 

scnj

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Nov 10, 2008
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AmrasCalmacil said:
What about Blade?
Or Storm from the X-Men, I see what he means though, those are the only ones I can really think of.
Ultimate Nick Fury is the only other one I can think of.
 

hansari

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May 31, 2009
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Radeonx said:
Haven't different comic characters been changing race, though? I've seen an African Green Lantern, along with an African Nick Fury. Although it seems like they are doing it just to cover for racist claims.
Those are "after the fact" type of situations. Truth is, the age of superhero creation is mostly up. We are continuing past franchises now and most of those guys are white american males...

oh well...
 

Gerazzi

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Feb 18, 2009
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I don't read comic books, so I guess I don't really care.
The only one I've ever read is Watchmen, and that seemed quite far removed from racist.

Unless you count
as racist...
 

Trivun

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Dec 13, 2008
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AmrasCalmacil said:
What about Blade?
Or Storm from the X-Men, I see what he means though, those are the only ones I can really think of.
I see where you're coming from, I suddenly thought of characters in Marvel's own series Runaways, where you have a female Asian-American character (Nico) and an Afican-American male lead (Alex), and a Latino male lead later (Victor), although

Alex is revealed as a traitor and then dies. Although he does redeem himself after his death, apparently, in a roundabout sort of way.

I can also see, however, what the guy is talking about, with regards to most of the more popular and well known comics (Spiderman, Hulk, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, etc.). I guess it just takes time for things like that to change, perhaps...
 

Sparrow

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Feb 22, 2009
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Well, why not have a black, female Welsh hero to completely fuck up the chain?
 

Squeaksx

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Trivun said:
AmrasCalmacil said:
What about Blade?
Or Storm from the X-Men, I see what he means though, those are the only ones I can really think of.
I see where you're coming from, I suddenly thought of characters in Marvel's own series Runaways, where you have a female Asian-American character (Nico) and an Afican-American male lead (Alex), and a Latino male lead later (Victor), although

Alex is revealed as a traitor and then dies. Although he does redeem himself after his death, apparently, in a roundabout sort of way.

I can also see, however, what the guy is talking about, with regards to most of the more popular and well known comics (Spiderman, Hulk, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, etc.). I guess it just takes time for things like that to change, perhaps...
Well you also have to realize that a lot of these characters came out during the "Golden Age" of comics, which was around the 50s and 60s I believe. That would explain at least some of the racist undertones caused by the character demographic since many forms of media were skeptical about allowing non-white actors or characters to take the lead role during that time period.
 

Jamash

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Jun 25, 2008
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Hmmm.. now that you mention it, some comics are pretty racist.

Take for example Dr. Bruce Banner. Most of the time everybody leaves him be and is nice to him, but as soon as he changes skin colour an army of white guys with guns, tanks and helicopters tries to kill him.

The Man won't let a green brother live in peace, always trying to keep the Hulk down, ignoring the fact that he's an intelligent doctor and valued member of the scientific community, The Man can't see past his skin colour.

I'm sure we can find a lot more isms in comic books if we look hard enough.
 

sheic99

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Oct 15, 2008
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Trivun said:
I can also see, however, what the guy is talking about, with regards to most of the more popular and well known comics (Spiderman, Hulk, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, etc.). I guess it just takes time for things like that to change, perhaps...
But remember, those heroes came from a time when things like this [http://media.photobucket.com/image/will%20eisner%20the%20spirit,%20ebony%20black/thebat-/Ebony.jpg] were considered socially acceptable.
 

Bigeyez

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Apr 26, 2009
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So it's totally not the fault of the comic book creators for making shitty stories. Oh NO! It's America's fault for being racist! *rolls eyes*

OT: This is Exhibit A to why the comic book industry has never recovered from the collectors bubble. Stupid people thinking stupidly.