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“things are so passionate, times are so real”

June 22nd, 2011 by | Tags: , ,

Bullet points, this time.

-Read this essay by Chris Sims about the content of Superman 712.

-Long story short, Chris Roberson’s story about an Arab Muslim was turfed in favor of a Krypto story by Kurt Busiek that was shelved years ago due to lawsuit problems. Read the post.

-Essentially, DC joined Marvel in telling the world, “Yes, we are sorry for our stories, we will not stand behind our stories or their creators, and yes, you can tell us what to put in our comics. We just want to make you happy.”

-The most DC deserves here, the absolute most, is what Jay-Z said at the end of “Takeover.” I don’t normally curse on here, ’cause my grandmom reads this sometimes, but this is warranted, and a sentiment from the bottom of my heart:

-“You only get half a bar – fuck y’all niggas.”

-If I were a better man, that would be it. No explanation, no further dissing, no nothing. Just a cold, “Fuck y’all niggas.”

-But, I want to talk this out in public so that someone hopefully gets why this is a stupid decision and so unbelievably heinous.

-My littlest brother just turned three. I got to spend a week with him when I went back home earlier this year. He’s a bright, stubborn, playful, energetic, smart little kid who looks just like I did when I was his age.

-He’s my twin. He’s also half-Arab, on his father’s side. (Our mom is regular American black.)

-I try to police myself pretty hard, in terms of thoughts. What do I believe, why do I believe it, is it the right thing to believe? How did I come to that conclusion?

-Having a little brother who is Arab, whose father is Muslim, forces whatever theoretical ideas or feelings I have or had about how I feel about Arabs or Muslims into the light of cold, hard reality. “How would I feel if?” becomes “I feel like this.”

-And basically, point blank, end of story, Yousef, and his father, are blood. Every inch of them. That’s concrete facts, more serious than cancer.

-And blood is the most important thing in the world. It’s love. Blood should dissolve all imaginary ideological barriers.

-So whatever prejudices I had before he was born? I didn’t have many, but sure, I had some? They’re dead. Forever. Because he’s here, and he is me. We’re the same blood.

-I’m taking this personally for that exact reason. What’s good for me is good for him, and what’s bad for him is bad for me. Especially when it concerns an industry I love and support with my dollars. I have a responsibility to him to make this world a better.

-DC made this decision after being spooked by catching the ire of the Fox News crowd twice in one year. They don’t want their flagship character, who has already been associated with anti-American activities a couple times over the past few years (after that last dumb movie, earlier this year), to be seen hanging out with terrorists.

-Except, Sharif isn’t a terrorist. He’s a hero. Who is Arab. And was inspired by Superman to do good in his community.

-I don’t think DC is a racist company. I think they’re a bit clueless, but they have made great strides in terms of being better about race, for whatever “better about race” may mean to you personally. They’re trying.

-I do think that this decision is racist, or, at best, sympathetic to racists. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this story as described, and no reason to be suspicious of a fictional character.

-This is cowardice, pure and simple. DC doesn’t want a bunch of fat, bigoted, big-mouthed cornballs saying mean things about them.

-Instead, they’d rather bow down and go, “Oh, well, we don’t want to poke that hornet’s nest. Maybe we should back down and not bother to represent people of Arab descent in our flagship comics.”

-They aren’t saying, “Oh, maybe he is a terrorist!”, but they sure are sending the message that, when forced to choose between pissing off a blowhard know-nothing who doesn’t even read their books, and supporting a culture of Americans that has been unjustly and unfairly maligned for years now, including in comic books, they will pick the angry old white dude who’s looking to line his pockets off the back of nothing more than racism and fear.

-“Our comics aren’t here to challenge you or uplift you. They are here to sustain the status quo and deliver bland platitudes about power and responsibility masquerading as knowledge. Be easy, dear reader, the world is fine.”

-If your comics are supposed to be this utopian garbage about the power of a single man fighting against evil, what type of message do you think this sends?

-You don’t bow down to scum, and you don’t bow down to tyrants. You shouldn’t be bowing at all.

-The world’s a big place, and at this point, I’d be fine with DC Comics being left in the dirt.

-Grow a spine, you unbelievable fucking cowards.

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29 comments to ““things are so passionate, times are so real””

  1. Amen.


  2. No no no, don’t you see, it’s really about kittens. DC just hates kittens, so they yanked a completed 20 page story and replaced it with one about a cute puppy.

    Yeah, I didn’t think so either. This is all straight horse shit, both the reality of the situation and the hilarious PR line that some people who are better left unnamed are shoveling out uncritically.


  3. Actually, let me elaborate on that. I think what also bothers me here is that DC isn’t coming right out and stating that they dropped it because of controversy–they just killed it quietly and hoped nobody would notice. I mean, hell, show some balls one way or another. Stand behind your own decisions and your own writers. You approved it, so presumably it’s not offensive in any way save that one of the characters is Muslim. Which is basically the same as having a character that is Jewish, or Hindu, or Sikh, or garden variety Christian. They’re all just people.

    It’s like you pointed out: a bunch of people who don’t read and often actively dislike comics being allowed to dictate what the company does. And I’m to burned out on this to even get angry about it.


  4. Damn.


  5. As cowardly and stupid this decision is. It also sadly shows how racist the world is.

    I still remember the ridiculous controversy Nightrunner created few months ago….


  6. This clearly shows what most of the decision makesr at DC, namely Warners, are – scared.
    “If you scared, say you scared”.

    DCs’ kitten spin is a bit fitting. I’m sure they’ll use ” but we put out the JLA/ The 99, we debuted Nightrunner, a French- Muslim Batman, plus one of our Supes issues was written by G. Willow Wilson, who is Muslim”.

    More irony: the original soliction sounds really similar to the soliction to the one for Action Comics #1.

    Wonder how the DC hire-ups will deal when Morrison ends up having Sharif somewhere in his run.

    They’ll probably just put out a fill-in issue featuring Krypto taking down a dog ring.


  7. Frankly, while I think this is stupid, the kitten thing is even stupider. If it’s because of Sharif being a muslim, then yeah, some idiots would get angry. I’m not defending it, but I can sort of see why someone would do it. But because of kittens? Give me a break, no way does that make any sense.

    Though the sad part is, I kind of believe the kitten thing. That’s how messed up Superman’s editorial is.


  8. On the small bright side, I heard the story is pretty damn good. IGN Comics even gave it their first 10/10 review score.

    also, LOL kittens


  9. Man, this decision reeked of such bullshit I just couldn’t believe.

    But here’s the thing, if the decision was based on the want to not even risk showing anything to annoy the stupid racists who moan about shit anywhere they can, then you have to wonder about Power Girl last week.

    That was a comic that had a pretty heavy-handed (though by winick standards, pretty light-handed) look at public and governmental attitudes towards arabs through a metahuman character making a good decision seen in a bad light because of his race.

    It was powerful, it left a good impression of an arab character and totally created this empathetic feel that anyone could get (that of someone just trying to explain themselves and see someone they care about to pig-headed people who just put up a wall against you. such a frustrating and simple experience to get, ya know?).

    So what was it about this that was so different? Is it really as simple as all eyes being on Superman because of a shitty story in Action #900, or a wariness because of all the trouble they’ve had thrown their way because of recent stories?

    Whatever it is, it depresses the heck out of me.

    Especially if it was because of a damn kitten.


  10. I hate that we live in a country where Muslim = bad/suspect. That shit is so lame.


  11. This is some weak shit by DC, especially if all this kitten crap is actually the party line on the matter.

    DC are DC, they’ll just keep on doing what they feel is the best way to maintain their audience.

    What depresses me more is that it seems the idea of any sort of Arab or Islamic character appearing in US media seems to always invariably stir up a massive shitstorm. That you can’t actually even attempt to create a positive depiction without some ignorant c**t screaming bloody murder about “Islamopandering” before running their mouth off about how the concept of Islam simply cannot be allowed exist within America, let alone the world. From what I see, most Americans really don’t know all that much about Islam and when faced with a loudmouth bigot, who’s belief in his own bullshit is
    so unwavering where the hell would do you start?

    I’m the first to admit that the Muslim world has some major issues, and that we’re a complex culture and faith as they come. I don’t particularly believe that one character in a superhero comic would have done any of these justice, but I would hope that at the very least it would make readers actually question the raw hatred that comes out against Islam in public.

    David you’re right when you let racism slide, you justify the racists, letting them believe that their small minded worldview actually has some validation and power.

    Truth and justice. You got to be joking.


  12. Articles like these are why I keep recommending this site to people. Excellent work, David.


  13. Thanks for reading, everybody.

    @Maxy Barnard: The difference is that no one cares about Power Girl. Superman is an American icon, with a logo that’s recognizable worldwide, an old movie people remember very fondly, and a symbol of everything that should be right with America. Power Girl’s most remarkable and talked about aspect is the trials and travails of her breast size over the years. They aren’t even int he same universe as far as comparisons and prestige go.


  14. @david brothers: you’re on the money really (though the little fanboy inside me is desperately crying out that people *Should* care about the character, but that’s neither here nor there, really)


  15. Well, it was also a Power Girl story costarring Batman, who is also good rightwinger bait as we saw during the Nightrunner flap.

    It’s just…I mean it’s entirely possible DC fed Rich Johnston the kitten story to derail discussion of DC scrapping an issue of a Superman/Muslim superhero teamup so cretins on Fox News wouldn’t talk about them for one news cycle, but that would be crediting them with a level of insidious competence they’ve never displayed before.


  16. DC do not feed me stories. I went digging for this one. And found it buried in several independent places…


  17. Thanks for this. I really hope some of this feedback helps straighten DC’s B.S. out in sme form or fassion.

    I’m curious, though…I know it’s back-peddling, but what would your feelings be, David, if DC went ahead and published the story after being called-out?

    Other than that, most excellent piece. I can only hope awareness like this spreads faster than the prejudice that started this.


  18. *claps*

    This needed to be said… and here was a story that could do nothing but enhance Superman’s image with a Muslim character DC ALREADY created and Superman diehards already knew.

    Anyone who attacked this story on “PC” or “religious” grounds would have been exposed as a fraud and an opportunist…

    DC lost a golden opportunity for telling a good story here that would help Superman shed the Grounded fiasco (although Mr Robinson has been doing a good job of that according to my Supe diehard friends) and instead flamed up yet another stereotype…

    Good Job!


  19. @Ben Gebhart: I’d be okay with them publishing it. I don’t think they will, but putting it out online or throwing it in the trade or something? Sure. But I would also want them to point it out when they did it, instead of burying it. But if wishes were fishes, blah blah blah.

    I can’t really fault somebody for back-pedaling from a bad idea, you know? “We screwed up–here it is.”


  20. Hey, what did Marvel do? Not trying to turn this into a fanboy thing but nothing comes to mind


  21. @Mantis-Condor: They threw a letterer under the bus due to the outrage over the Tea Party protest panel in Captain America.


  22. Guess what? I don’t want to read about a Muslim superhero.

    Not because I’m hateful, but because I know it would be a hacky, stupid story and all you people would complain about it anyway.


  23. @ Joe Blow:might I inquire as to who “you people” are? that’s some loaded lingo you’re slinging around a crowded room.


  24. My concern with the issue had nothing to do with the character’s religion or race; it had everything to do with the solicited context of “a prejudiced public.”

    David, you mention “a culture of Americans that has been unjustly and unfairly maligned for years now,” but it seems to me that that description doesn’t just fit Muslim Americans of Arab descent.

    It also describes people you denigrate as “fat, bigoted, big-mouthed cornballs.”

    The story was apparently going to villify the American public, but you write “There is absolutely nothing wrong with this story as described.”

    Intolerance can cut both ways.


  25. @Bubba: thank god someone finally standing up for the straight white middle class male american who is totally not a bigot just a bit leery about nine eleven victory mosques and sharia law conspiracies google ron paul


  26. It also describes people you denigrate as “fat, bigoted, big-mouthed cornballs.”

    Oh noes! Won’t somebody think of the bigots? Because THAT is who David is writing about – bigots. Not Americans in general, not white people, not any other group – BIGOTS. If you’re not a bigot, why does it bother you? Do you also get upset when people denigrate thieves and murderers?

    Seriously, dude, read what David wrote again. If you read that comment and assume he’s talking about a specific group, you’ve got to ask yourself why you automatically connect “bigoted” to that group. The answer to that might not be pretty, but it reflects on you and the people you associate with, not on what was written here.


  27. I did read what he wrote, and it seems to me that David believes that bigotry is the ONLY explanation for any possible objection to the story.

    I believe that’s unfair because, as-solicited, the story not only includes a superhero of Arab descent: it ALSO portrays the American public as prejudiced.

    Translate the solicitation into some other context: make the hero a white South African, an Asian immigrant in Brazil, or a Coptic Christian in Egypt.

    The criticism would not be limited to (or possibly even focused on) the identity of the hero, but on the negative portrayal of the local public, be it black South Africa, the largely Hispanic and native population in Brazil, or the majority Muslim population in Egypt.

    Myself, I believe one shouldn’t indulge broad, negative stereotypes about an entire group — even the “straight white middle class male american” who Tristan apparently thinks is completely fair game for even the least fair criticism.


  28. Read Tristan’s post again: “the straight white middle class male american who is totally not a bigot just a bit leery about nine eleven victory mosques and sharia law conspiracies google ron paul”

    Again: if you can’t imagine a straight white male who ISN’T a closet racist, you need to consider the company you keep and/or how low your opinion of the straight white middle class American male is.

    it ALSO portrays the American public as prejudiced.

    Yeah, no shit. Might be because a lot of them ARE.


  29. @Bubba: I think you’re reading too deep into the solicit and what I’m saying. The solicit says some of the public have a problem with him. My guess is that the “some” in that statement would be like the people who were protesting the building of a mosque just outside San Diego or who were saying all types of racist garbage at Muslims who were attended a fundraiser for coping with spousal abuse (iirc) in the same general area.

    Not Joe Q Public, who is maybe a little nervous around Arabs because the news keeps telling him how dangerous they are.

    So, no, the American public aren’t the fat, bigoted cornballs I was talking about. I was talking about the douchebags on Fox News who are determined to line their pockets by exploiting fear and ignorance, instead of doing the right thing and combating it. I have no pity for those people at all, and the American people deserve better.