Tag Archives: Luke Cage

Asian Comic Book Fan Watches Doctor Strange…: An Addendum

Even though I wrote a little over a thousand words last week on my experiences with Doctor Strange [required reading for this blog post] there were a couple of additional criticisms I wanted to level against both that specific film and the industry as a whole. While I covered pretty thoroughly how Asians were poorly represented in Marvel Studio’s latest offering, what I didn’t really touch on was why.

When Diversity Means Painting With All the Colour of the Wind

In the months leading up to the release of Doctor Strange the conversation about the Ancient One’s casting began heating up. With mainstream news outlets picking up on the controversy there were many waiting to hear from the creators themselves, which brings us to the episode of the Double Toasted podcast that guest starred screenwriter C. Robert Cargill.

While his explanations regarding the character have since been championed by those defending the casting decision, even after his rescinding all comments made, and in spite of them being refuted by others, in particular by Shaun of the No, Totally! podcast, what I want to focus on are what he says right after that:

 

Now if you don’t want to actually listen to him, which I find perfectly understandable, I’ve also transcribed the relevant quote [emphasis added]:

“But when you start to see this film you’ll see that what we were able to do with Kamar-Taj, we made one of the most multicultural films most people have seen in years. Like this film is [. . .] I’m not certain that there’s a single major race that isn’t represented with a speaking role in this film. It allowed us to bring in, even as small characters to build upon later, a lot of characters from the Doctor Strange universe who come from all over the world. We were able to play with a lot of things and it gave us a lot to work with.”

Continue reading

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Jessica Jones Was Good, But It Should Have Been Great

When I saw the trailer for Jessica Jones I immediately decided it was going to be my new favourite show… until I watched it.

A lot of elements in the trailer suggested that it would resemble Netflix’s Daredevil series, which made me really excited. My love for Daredevil was a slow burn. Unlike Evan (who regularly reviews comics, like Ms. Marvel, for the blog), I’m not a comic aficionado. For me to really invest in a comic-based series I have to actually like it as a stand-alone. I’m also not a fan of dark dramas. I get depressed enough from real life, so my first choice for TV is lighthearted comedy. When John (my husband) finally convinced me to watch Daredevil with him it was a really hard sell. I was critical of the lack of diversity, the lack of interesting roles for women (although this got better as the season progressed), and the general lack of lighting in most scenes. What finally won me over was some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen on TV, and writing so solid that some monologues actually gave me chills.

When I saw the trailer for Jessica Jones I thought it would only perfect the good thing Netflix had already started with Daredevil. Not only would we have a dark and thoughtful plot, but we would have a much more diverse cast and more nuanced relationships between female characters.

How could anything possibly go wrong?

Apparently several things could, and did, go wrong. I’ve outlined a couple of the most frustrating aspects of the series below.

It had mediocre fight scenes

I get that it’s hard to make things look super realistic when you have a 90 pound woman throwing men around like ragdolls. I also get that choreographing these scenes would have to reflect Jones’ extraordinary strength. But is that really an excuse for scenes to look like something straight out of the 70’s?

Generally speaking, the fight scenes in Jessica Jones felt lazy. There are so many other ways you could demonstrate super strength beyond just throwing people, but for both Jones, and often Luke Cage, throwing seemed to be the primary mode of defence.

I mean, wouldn’t punching them in the face just be easier? Continue reading

It Is An Exciting Time To Be A Minority Canadian Comic Book Fan

As an Asian-Canadian who spends far more time on comic book news sites than actual news sites, this week has been all sorts of crazy. There’s been . . . a lot to take in.

Mighty Avengers

To begin with, next month heralds the first issue of Mighty Avengers. Take out the “gh” and add “nori” and you more or less have an understanding of what the book is all about.

I refuse to show any of the interior artwork, so this variant is all you’re going to get.

The fact that we have far too many titles featuring the word “Avengers” aside, this is a huge deal in that, of the nine heroes in the team, the majority are people of colour. Luke Cage, Falcon, Blue Marvel, and Monica Rambeau are African-American, White Tiger [Ava Alaya] is Hispanic, and Power Man [Victor Alvarez] is a mix of both. Rounding out the team are Spider-Man, She-Hulk, and a new Ronin whose identity is yet to be revealed.

With the very talented Al Ewing on writing, the only thing that would make this book perfect were if Ron Wimberly, who illustrated the variant cover on the left, were the actual artist on the book. Unfortunately, that job was given to Greg Land. I do not have anything civil to say about him. Just click the link. Continue reading

Storm and “Black Hair”

This is somewhat of a continuation off of yesterday’s Fame Day post, concentrating particularly on the Marvel character Storm. Kris Anka’s design for the weather-wielding Ororo Munroe harkens back to her appearance in the 80s [seen on the right].

Keeping consistent with most changes to beloved comic book characters, the mohawk was met with both praise and scorn.

Trawling the comments section of the ComicsAlliance article on the topic, I came across two guys who were very interested in not just the style of her hair, but the state or quality of it as well.


Earlier on Scafin commented about wanting to see Storm’s hair in its natural state. In following up with my reply to his thoughts  [and with a slight miscommunication as to what I meant by “black hair”] he said:

I don’t mean color, though. I really want to see her with white, afro-textured hair. I understand why she was given relaxed hair when she was introduced, as that was the norm back then, but the ubiquity of relaxed hair has declined since then.

The thing is, Storm as a character has always had straight, white hair. The fan-run Marvel Database tells me that she’s descended from “an ancient line of African priestesses, all of whom have white hair, blue eyes, and the potential to wield magic.” That answers Scafin in that the character has never had “black hair.” It’s part of who Storm is now [having been depicted as a young child that way] and to retcon that many years of portrayal would fare poorly with fans.

This leads to another question, though, which is why Storm was designed this way at all. This comment on an article about Storm’s marriage to the Black Panther had the following to say about the character’s creation:

I’m going to break this down as quickly and efficiently as possible, so we can concentrate on the more important aspects of the comment.

  • People are upset about the marriage because Marvel didn’t lead up to it well enough. In other words, they weren’t invested, and that’s adding to the fact that marriages in comic books typically do not work [see Peter and Mary-Jane in “One More Day.”]
  • That this is the sexual domination of White over Black when one of the very first relationships Storm gets into in the comics is with Forge, a member of the Cheyenne people. He was not, and still isn’t, white.

David Brothers, a blogger on staff with ComicsAlliance, agreed with part of what Africa had to say, commenting on the same article:

I liked Hudlin’s run on Panther. It was one of the precious few times that Storm actually felt like a black character, instead of a fetish object with blue eyes and perfectly straight hair.

This is in stark contrast to the article he wrote for Marvel a year earlier titled “A Marvel Black History Lesson Pt. 1.” In it he has more than a few good things to say about the heroine, which can be summed with these words:

If Gabe Jones stood for reality, Black Panther for ingenuity, Robbie Robertson for integrity, The Falcon for equality, Luke Cage for self-awareness, and Misty Knight for unadulterated cool, Storm was the combination of all of their traits and more. She was the daughter of a Kenyan princess and a photojournalist from Harlem, and therefore a direct link from African Americans and the continent known as “the Motherland.” She was powerful on a world-class level, refused to allow anyone to be her master, and commanded a massive amount of respect from all who knew her.

Taking into account Brothers’ apparent conflict in viewing the character, I
personally come away from this with the knowledge that Storm is more than just eye candy, she is a strong [in terms of power and character] heroine on par with many of her peers.

While Storm having straight hair may have been a product of the time she was created in, that in no way affects who she is as a character. Marvel has the right to maintain consistency in how she is portrayed, and has other characters who are better examples of having “black hair.” While the event of her marriage had its flaws Storm remains someone who has both strong ties to Africa and one of the most prominent black superheroes of all time. The straightness of her hair should in no way detract from that.