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25 June 2007 @ 07:41 pm
BY THE GODDESS!  

 Well, isn't that just like a woman.

Earth goddess, X-men Leader, Morlock champion, rebel punk, and master thief......but we all know what really matters.

Fantastic Four  #547
Written by: Dwayne McDuffie
Art by: Paul Pelletier

!

"You can tell Michael Collins that my hair is completely natural."
"This is NOT  a weave!"





Please , let that character be a skrull. I call on the goddess of comics and the saint of fangirls- let that character be a skrull...
 
 
 
Warning: Proximity to me causes adventures.karnythia on June 27th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
What 1950s gender roles? It's a pretty common question and a pretty common reaction.
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 27th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
Male characters are there to do the work, female characters are their to assert the male characters are straight and have someone pretty who cares about them. Sue Storm leaving her hubby with a note and now in the era of Superhero Registration Act... arguments over hair and the importance that Storm's not be a weave... and it be resolved neatly in two panels so that it can be used for a joke later.

I mean I realize that superheroes take some blows to the head from time to time, but if Ben hadn't noticed by now that her hair was natural then he should go on medical leave. He's not exactly a stranger and should know her well enough by now to not make mistakes like that.

Besides, if she was going to bust someone for it she should have busted Michael Collins for it instead of Ben, who seems to be suffering brain damage. So if it was for gratification of a real like digital_femme experienced, then they it was very badly put together.

Partially because, it just turns into a quick "shoot the messenger" gag and partially the significance is mostly lost on the audience who aren't black/don't have a black friend who's put up with this shit. It honestly hadn't occurred to me that it would be common for people do as stupid stuff as is covered in the Black Hair Etiquette guide (which IMO is just generally bare minimum decent manners anyway) since it just looks like Ben is a moron (with a head injury), Storm is vain suddenly and the guy who is doing the mud slinging is spotless.

However, since it does seem to appeal to black women who have had to suffer such idiocy I suppose it can't be as bad as I initially thought and now know how to explain it to other people who won't get it due to lack of expose to the culture. So I thank you all for the education on that.
Humph: ebonbird Storm (punk)spiralsheep on June 27th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
Male characters are there to do the work

What work do you think the Thing is doing in those two panels?

arguments over hair and the importance that Storm's not be a weave

It's not important that Storm's hair isn't a weave. It's important that she's teaching Ben Grim not to make sexist, racist comments about her (because that's a common experience for African-American women).

resolved neatly in two panels

It's not resolved in "two panels". Try two pages:

http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/4084/ff5471kg9.jpg

http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/1589/ff5472eq2.jpg
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 27th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
The "work" issue being when Storm says it's real Ben is willing to just drop it there, implying he doesn't consider someone's hair (and by extension appearances) important. Storm clearly does.

And while I realize, having read the other comments in this thread that it is a problem that effects African-American women, not being one and not knowing many (not in the US) it read to me as more of a case of psychotic vanity from Storm.

The scene didn't really carry over that is was a common problem for a whole culture/subculture, just a problem for Storm.

I realize now it is a problem for man black women and I endorse any and all ridicule of idiots who grab their hair or just arbitrarily assume it's fake but that's because of the commentary here, not because of the comic.
delux_vivens on June 27th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
didn't really carry over that is was a common problem for a whole culture/subculture, just a problem for Storm.

Based on this thread, I guess that would require a separate comic.
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 27th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
Possibly, but personally if I'd have written it I would have let her walk in on someone saying she was an example of a general trend, then let her challenge them and question why they think it's their business.

Or have the comment be rewritten to say it's a rather personal thing to question a woman's hair etc. Something to make it read like it was all about Storm and more about a general attitude.
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 27th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
BTW, I think I should clarify:

That Storm has been written in a manner a lot of black female readers relate to so strongly: Positively awesome.

It's just a little hard for those of us a little further from the demographic to read the message.
Humph: ebonbird Storm (punk)spiralsheep on June 27th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
It's just a little hard for those of us a little further from the demographic to read the message.

You know how some men want female characters to be written for the benefit of male readers? And you've seen that problematic stereotypes result from that?

Well, to me, you appear to be saying that you want black characters to be written for the benefit of white readers. And if you think about it for a few minutes you might understand why so many of the commentors on this post have a problem with that. Especially as it's merely two pages out of a whole comic which you're having difficulty understanding.

And I'm only here commenting because I think that most of manstreamcomics readers are capable of thinking about these issues. :-)
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 27th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
Yeah, I hate female characters who are written to be male fantasies, and I wouldn't really want Storm to be specifically written for the benefit of white people.

I just tend to think comics, like science fiction, are a great opportunity to painlessly educate.

Though I'm glad I did shoot my mouth on this one, it's been very educational. :)
delux_vivens on June 28th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
Painless for who?
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 28th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
Whoever finds it educational. In this case, since Fantastic Four is a book aimed a wide diversity of backgrounds internationally it would make sense to assume quite a few of them don't know about the problems that come with being black, female and having long hair.

Making an in joke just for that demographic doesn't make a whole lot of sense, particularly when it can be easily misread and is centred on a guest character.

If it were in a Storm comic or a Black Panther one, yes I could expect it'd be fair that if the audience doesn't know they should look it up.

As it is, I see it an opportunity missed.
(no subject) - jkarabella on June 28th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiralsheep on June 29th, 2007 11:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jkarabella on June 29th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiralsheep on June 29th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jkarabella on June 30th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiralsheep on June 30th, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jkarabella on June 30th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Event Horizon of Awful Thingsthetathx1138 on June 28th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
Yeah...one problem with that. When I walked in the front door and saw those two panels, I had no context. Until today, I had no idea white people were so weird around black people's hair. I'm pretty much completely ignorant of the black experience in America.

So not only will I not get the joke or the writer's motives, I'll probably totally misconstrue them, which is why I've been hammering away at this.

Reading this issue would not teach me a damn thing. Reading these comment threads and attached links HAS, but a comic book shouldn't need detailed online footnotes. McDuffie wanted to get a point across, great. But there were better ways of doing it, both from an educational and a humor perspective.
FIERCENESSpolymexina on June 28th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
do you understand that you're speaking from a position of privilege here? basically, you're saying that situating a character of color AS a character of color means that you are confused. you being confused is sloppy writing. BUT, writing a character of color as an exotic, majestic other is better writing, because even though it's less realistic, it's easier for you to read.
delux_vivens on June 28th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
*thank* you.
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments - fourel on June 29th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
Humph: ebonbird Storm (punk)spiralsheep on June 28th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Reposted because lj is messing up my comments
Did you even read the comment you're supposedly responding to?

"You know how some men want female characters to be written for the benefit of male readers? And you've seen that problematic stereotypes result from that?

Well, to me, you appear to be saying that you want black characters to be written for the benefit of white readers. And if you think about it for a few minutes you might understand why so many of the commentors on this post have a problem with that. Especially as it's merely two pages out of a whole comic which you're having difficulty understanding."

If you did read that and think about it then why are you still demanding that black characters should be written for your benefit?
ill-literatefourel on June 28th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
Partially because, it just turns into a quick "shoot the messenger" gag and partially the significance is mostly lost on the audience who aren't black/don't have a black friend who's put up with this shit.

And yet, black people who read comics don't complain when they're expected to get white-based pop culture references!
delux_vivens on June 28th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)

why are you bringing up these minor meaningless details?
ill-literatefourel on June 28th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
I calls it like I sees it!
delux_vivens on June 28th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
*giggles*
(Deleted comment)
ill-literatefourel on June 28th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
I don't even know that it has to be a pop culture reference. It's comics in general

A black reader has to accept the fact that (almost) all the superpowerful and popular people in comics are white. That's quite an assumption right there. Blacks have to accept white as the status quo.

Even the most powerful black character across Marvel and DC, Storm, was basically written and drawn as a white girl with dark skin and a funny accent for decades. It's really only in the past four years or so that she's been recognizable as a black character.

"Hey you crazy colored kids, here's your black character on a team about oppression-- but hey, she looks white and never dates black people, are you guys okay with that? Yes, no? I don't care! You better relate to her anyway!"

When the character starts to actually show her race a little... some fans react negatively while other fans rejoice.

The Big 7 JLA was all white. Six dudes, one woman. If you put out a book featuring an all-black cast, like say, Christopher Priest's The Crew, it gets accused of being a ghetto book, a black book, a book that will be all about race-- like three black dudes can't just team up and fight crime.

Reggie Hudlin gets crap for having Panther, Cage, Brother Voodoo, Blade, and Monica Rambeau team up to fight vampires in the NO. It was contrived, it was dumb, all black people don't know each other, blah blah blah.

And yet, we're supposed to be cool with the idea that the Avengers (old, not New, though New pretty much counts, too), who got together in a similarly random situation, are the world's greatest heroes.

Do you see what I'm saying here? Black people have to accept that, in both comics and fandom, white is right and black is wrong, or at least a little bit less right. Any injection of black culture is threatening, offensive, demeaning, and scary, but a bunch of white dudes in masks are exactly who we need to save the day.

Never mind all the fans who jump to ghetto generalizations whenever a black character does something they don't like, implicit in which is the suggestion that people from the ghetto are less than other, "normal" people, which is really, really offensive.

Or who suggest that there are too many black people on the team already why are they getting rid of Hal Jordan what are they racist or something because i'm not.

I've drifted from "pop culture references," but the point remains. Black fans have to just roll with the all-white stuff, but any spot of black in a sea of white gets scrutinized and shouted at.
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 28th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you that black representation in comics gets ridiculously shafted and under represented. I'm white and I don't live in America, I've only visited twice but from those two visits I feel quite confident there should be more black skin in super hero teams and more black culture. There should be black teams, black families for black superheroes as well as black friends and love interests.

And I think black comic readers should complain about that, I think they should express a desire to see more black characters and be critical of black characters who are written as non-blacks. The more they do it the more likely it is someone will try to create a comic to grab that market, if that works out well then others will via for a share of the market.

Black characters should be black, inside and out. If a comic is written with an all black team (which should happen) then it would be perfectly reasonable for the writer to assume the primary demographic is black and any situations requiring insight to black culture/lifestyle will be understood by them.

But, it won't get more support if when the characters appear in other books, you still need that inside edge to understand them. Otherwise the cretins go "OMG! Black peoples taking over our comics!" and others go, "I don't get it." (thus never caring about the character). Admittedly even if it's done so it can be understood the cretins will probably still panic but the people who aren't fearful of black culture are more likely to support the character.

More support for the character, more likely they will get more supporting characters, more attention paid to the writing, more promotion and hopefully more people who relate to the character will buy comics because there's a high profile character they can relate to.

All of that of course, only works if the character is well written as one they can relate to. So I agree it's more important Storm and Black Panther be written as black characters, I'd also prefer it that when they appear in non-black comics that the writer gives the non-blacks a small hand understanding them.
ill-literatefourel on June 28th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
Slight bit of clarification-- comics should be inclusive, not exclusive. Black teams aren't aimed only at a black audience any more than the Avengers is aimed only at a white audience. I wasn't exactly suggesting separate but equal. There is no reason why a white reader can't appreciate a book with an all-black cast, and vice versa.

Black characters should be black, inside and out. If a comic is written with an all black team (which should happen) then it would be perfectly reasonable for the writer to assume the primary demographic is black and any situations requiring insight to black culture/lifestyle will be understood by them.

But, it won't get more support if when the characters appear in other books, you still need that inside edge to understand them. Otherwise the cretins go "OMG! Black peoples taking over our comics!" and others go, "I don't get it." (thus never caring about the character). Admittedly even if it's done so it can be understood the cretins will probably still panic but the people who aren't fearful of black culture are more likely to support the character.
[snip]
So I agree it's more important Storm and Black Panther be written as black characters, I'd also prefer it that when they appear in non-black comics that the writer gives the non-blacks a small hand understanding them.


Your statements here don't track for me. You're saying that black characters should be black, inside and out, but tamp down the blackness when they aren't in a book featuring all black characters?

There's a few quotes about that that I think are relevant. One's even from a comic.
"This little light of mine. I'm gonna let it shine."
"Black is black."
"We can't afford to be ashamed any more. We can't strap down our wings or hide our strange eyes and our brilliant minds..."

What you're suggesting is nuts. Should a female character tone back the feminism when she's around a group of dudes? Should an activist type back off with the social commentary because it might confuse someone unfamiliar with the ideas?

No.

You don't strap down your wings because you might make somebody afraid. You don't play dumb because you might make someone angry. And you definitely do not stop being yourself because someone might not understand you.
(no subject) - jkarabella on June 28th, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fourel on June 29th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jkarabella on June 29th, 2007 10:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fourel on June 29th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jkarabella on June 30th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Jkarabellajkarabella on June 28th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Example?

Also, please note difference here:

Joke not got vs Joke depicting righteous fury misinterpreted as a negative depiction of character

This white pop reference better be good.

Edit: Actually no, it doesn't have to be good, it'll probably be something I'll say is bad story telling and could use improvement for the same reason. No more replying to comments without caffiene.
ill-literatefourel on June 28th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
Responded to your deleted post.