DC Comics: Run the Numbers

June 11th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

What people like this Mark Engbloom guy don’t understand is that my post about Ian Sattler’s comments wasn’t a reply. It was a dashed off “Your mama” or “u mad?” He said something stupid, and rather than coming with a point-by-point reply, I came with jokes published by his own company. It’s like joking about “White Power Rings.” No, they aren’t called that in the text. No, it isn’t a valid criticism. Yes, it is funny.

But fine. Let’s look at exactly why Sattler’s statement is the most clown shoes, two-faced thing to come out of DC since the last time somebody up there talked about how much they liked Milestone.

It’s so hard for me to be on the other side because it’s not our intention.

It’s not how we perceived it. We get the same thing about how we treat our female characters.”

That’s nice, but who cares about your intentions? If I’m stomping around with my big feet and I accidentally stomp on your toe and break it, I don’t get to say, “Yo my bad about your toe, dog, but that wasn’t my intention.” I can either apologize if I’m feeling sorry or I can move on. I don’t think forcing people to apologize is a worthwhile endeavor, either. I know that I gave enough insincere apologies as a kid and have seen enough as an adult to completely devalue the thought of a forced apology meaning anything at all.

When faced with criticism, you can either appease people or you can stonewall them. If you don’t think you did anything wrong, stick to your guns. “I don’t think it was racist” is perfectly fine. “We didn’t mean it, but also people say we’re mad sexist, too, isn’t that weird?” isn’t.

There is a reason behind it all. We don’t see it that way and strive very hard to have a diverse DCU. I mean, we have green, pink, and blue characters. We have the Great Ten out there and I have counter statistics, but I won’t get into that.

The problem with this statement is that green, pink, and blue people don’t exist. In fact, comparing actual, real-life people to fake people when discussing real-life issues is a pretty screwed up thing to do, isn’t it? It’s saying, “Yes, I understand your complaints, but look over here! This thing that we made up is just like what you want, just a different shade! That’s the same thing, right?”

No, it really isn’t. The point of diversity is to reflect reality. If you’re bringing up imaginary people when talking about actual people… you probably should just stop talking. A real life example: you’re making a cartoon for kids. Your boss asks why there aren’t any kids in your show. You respond that there are several kids, like this dwarf, this baby dragon, this baby goblin, those are like kids, right? No.

If you have counter statistics… bring them out. Setting aside the fact that this isn’t about statistics at all (Who wants ##% of characters to fulfill some role? Straw men? Idiots? Let’s go with idiots.), show me what you’ve got. Here, I got a head start on them for you! I did a rough count and came up with 73 DCU covers in their August 2010 solicitations. I didn’t count CMX, Wildstorm, or Vertigo, so these are strictly books with characters owned by DC. There is one Brazilian woman, one Asian woman crying in a cemetery (and perhaps another in Birds of Prey, but I can’t tell through the mask), and five black people. Except, two of the black men are unnamed criminal henchmen, one is Azrael, one is Static, and the other is Bumblebee on Tiny Titans. I didn’t count the covers Damian appeared in, but probably should have, as he is at the very least part Arab and part Chinese. In contrast, there are eight alien characters who have recurring roles and seven blonde teenage girls.

So, please. Tell me about how you “strive very hard to have a diverse DCU.” There’s an equal number of talking monkeys and black women on your covers. Scooby Doo is on more covers than that.

John Stewart is the only Green Lantern to not show up on any covers. Hal, Kyle, Guy, Alan, all of those guys get covers. Hey, pop quiz! Does the JLA have a Luke Cage? No? Well… name a black supporting character in a DC Comic on the level of a Sam Wilson! Steel? Now name another. Or hey, name one on the level of a Robbie Robertson. Just Lucious Fox? Really? Whatever happened to Ron Troupe? Remember him? Married to Lois Lane’s sister, had a kid with her? Oh, right. Lucy Lane is back and superpowered. Ron and the baby are a footnote and a question mark.

DC Comics isn’t a racist company and it isn’t run by racists. This does not, however, mean that they cannot do and say stupid things that are racist. Killing Ryan Choi is not, in and of itself, racist. Ditching Ron Troupe and marginalizing John Stewart is not racist. Replacing Jason Rusch with a more boring version of Firestorm isn’t racist. These are perfectly valid story choices that, in a better world, would have taken place in stories that were worth reading.

The problem is the trend. Jason Rusch gives way to Ronnie Raymond. Kyle Rayner and John Stewart give way to Hal Jordan. Wally West and his multiracial family is replaced by Barry Allen and Iris West, a good ol’ down home American couple. Ryan Choi is replaced with his equally unlikely to support an ongoing series predecessor. Milestone is publicly courted and wakes up to find money on the dresser, with a note saying “Lose my number.” Despite the fact that white people are a global minority today, the official future of the DC Universe is about as lily white as it can get and most of the aliens are white people. In what world does that make sense?

When you consider the trend of how DC has treated its non-white characters (and the fact that this argument has to be phrased in terms of white vs ______ is foul), DC Comics comes off looking pretty stupid. I don’t care whether these characters fit into their Silver Age nostalgia or not. When, as a company, you have made a habit of marginalizing a specific type of character, introducing new characters that you’re going to let die on the vine in an attempt to show how “diverse” you are, and then talking out the side of your mouth in public…

Whatever. I don’t have time for things that don’t respect me. Kick rocks.

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4 Colors, 5 Mics: Rappers Reading Comics 05/26

May 26th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

rest in power ryan choi we gon neva forget u

It’s kinda hard with you not around, know you in heaven smiling down, watching us while we pray for you… Every day we pray for you…

Return of Bruce Wayne 01
words by grant morrison, art by chris sprouse/karl story/guy major/jared k fletcher, cover by andy kubert

Holocaust from the land of the lost, behold the pale horse, off course… off course.

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