Sunday, August 21, 2011

Philip Schweier on Biracial Ultimate Spider-Man and Black Perry White

Philip Schweier is a long-time writer for the Comic Book Bin, penning the column "Phil's Bubble" on a regular basis. Schweier also writes about comic book history and pop culture.  His latest installment of Phil's Bubble is "Losing the Race" in which he discusses changing the skin color of  comic book characters.  He writes:

In some instances, race is germaine to a character’s personality; Luke Cage, for instance. But for the most part, race, in a fictional context, should not be an issue. These are make-believe characters who do not exist in the real world.

Schweier uses the recent announcement that Laurence Fishburne will play Perry White in the Superman film franchise reboot, The Man of Steel (2013) and Marvel's new Black and Latino Spider-Man in the publisher's Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series.


I've noticed that the change in a character's gender, ethnicity, or skin color is most controversial with comic book fans when the change is from White character to Black.  I think this has less to do with the conservatism of comic book fans, who are often notoriously against change, and more to do with the straight-up racism of some of them.

I think that is reflective of the industry in general.  DC Comics is relaunching and launching 52 different comic book titles from the end of August through September.  None of those series has an African-American writer, including the three series that will star Black characters.

Marvel is the same.  President Barack Obama has made several appearances in various Marvel comic books, but there are currently no African-American writers working on an ongoing series for Marvel.  Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King are often brought up when discussing the X-Men, yet in 50 years of publication, the African character, Storm, is the only regular character of color in the X-Men.  There have been a smattering of others here and there, but it's been pitiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment