The Independent: "Let’s topple every pale, male and stale superhero we can"

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The Independent: "Let’s topple every pale, male and stale superhero we can"

Post by Ares » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:00 am

Now that we’ve got a female Thor, let’s topple every pale, male and stale superhero character we can

That's the actual title of the article. I'm not even kidding. I'm copying and pasting the entire article here, so please read it here and don't give them any views.
Stealing a few spots from original characters at the front of the box office race is not only positive, but absolutely necessary if underrepresented actors are to have a fighting chance

-KT Roberts Tuesday 23 July 2019 16:30

Superhero movies are important – that’s not an opinion, it’s just true.

Avengers: Endgame is the top box-office film of all time – raking in $2.79bn and watched by millions. Superpowers get bums on seats… and sneaking in social justice messages under the radar is a tried and tested way of speaking to the masses.

These stories have always been about underdogs proving their worth, or those who are “Other” finding their place – and the recent wave of heroes who truly reflect these traits is one we should cheer as it builds into a tsunami.

Since Saturday’s announcement of a female Thor, the internet has blown up with people wailing that the historically straight, white, male pool of superheroes is being drained for a more diverse roster.

Many can be safely ignored. I saw one person on social media bemoaning the betrayal of the Norse myths – a complaint curiously absent for Thor: Ragnarok – I’d love to know which myth has Jeff Goldblum swanning about in an orgy spaceship.

It’s the ostensibly more reasonable complaints of “I don’t mind female/POC/LGBT+ characters, but why can’t they make their own?” that nettles me – because make no mistake, we are! Villain, Interrupted, my play about supervillains in prison therapy, runs at the Camden Fringe in August – highlighting my point perfectly. Original characters, even the ones created by behemoths like Marvel or DC, have nothing like the traction of old favourites, meaning we’re starting the race seconds before the big boys cross the finish line. Stealing a few of their spots at the front is not only positive, but absolutely necessary.

Quite apart from anything else, it genuinely makes the art better and bigger.

Audiences tire of the same old stories, told by the same old people, with the same old characters just dressed up in different superpowers. Look at the success of films like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, or the aforementioned Thor: Ragnarok, which took a risk, hired a minority director, let him get on with his (frankly insane) ideas and reaped the rewards in the form of a massive box office smash ($854m), fawned over by critics. Likewise, Into the Spiderverse re-imagined Spiderman as a black teen graffiti artist – and won an Academy award and $375.5m at the box office.

It clearly makes for more successful movies with better bottom lines – which a cynic might say is all Hollywood cares about.

But just consider the raw potential harnessed by films seen by millions. Giving audiences superheroes (and spies and princesses) different to themselves normalises diversity in a way targeted campaigns can only dream of. This is the power of representation – I can’t tell you how good it felt to watch women, PLURAL, fight alongside the men in Endgame, and how disappointing it was to have Marvel swerve an (onscreen-or-it-doesn’t-count) bisexual superhero in the form of Valkyrie – something they have pledged to correct in Phase 4.
Independent Minds Events: get involved in the news agenda

So yes, let’s plunder the male heroes – and Thor is an excellent place to start. There’s a simple mechanism by which someone else can gain his powers – as shown in Endgame with Steve Rogers (to whoops of glee from the fanboys now complaining). Plus, Marvel women have a history of relegation to the sappy love interest or worse, the “feisty” girl whose only power is the super-boyfriend backing her up. Jane Foster’s a particular victim of this casual misogyny: she spent 2011’s Thor demanding S.H.I.E.L.D give back her life’s work (they capitulate when Thor asks) and the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, as a swooning damsel, showing her mettle by giving Loki a good slap… while he’s in cuffs and Thor is standing right there.

Finally this is a chance for the character to (ironically) step out of Thor’s shadow.

And that should be a call to arms for the rest of us, in front of and behind the cameras.

Women directors are few and far between and are only just starting to helm blockbuster films without a single female lead, with Chloe Zhao directing The Eternals.

We’re stepping out of the shadows – and if we can step on our male predecessors along the way, all the better.
I would need an Eternity-sized hand to give an appropriately sized middle finger to this writer. But at least they're being honest that they'd rather steal from existing heroes rather than create their own.

So from the bottom of my heart, fuck this article and fuck this mindset. Yeah it's almost certainly clickbate, which is why I posted it here. Read it here, hate it here, do what you can to prevent this kind of message, and ignore the site as much as possible.

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Re: The Independent: "Let’s topple every pale, male and stale superhero we can"

Post by Poodle » Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:29 am

I am with you on this. the writer can take a flying jump. He also doesn't understand context. Just going on revenue is probably not the best approach. possibly endgame sold so much because of a)hype, and b) it was the culmination of about 5 story arcs. I am sorry Mzz Marvel did so well. I also expect Batma'am will have less than stellar earnings (I hope).

The writer is also forgetting about simple things like demographics, history and a good story. People are NOT racist if they like seeing their own demographic represented. It seems that this is what the writer is arguing for. Where is the hero for all those gay multiple sclerosis sufferers? I also don't see him having a go at Manga which unsurprisingly filled with predominantly Asian characters, as it was designed for it's target audience, Asian males. Why stop there? the movies coming out of Bollywood show predominantly Indian characters. let's complain about the racism there. (sarcasm).
If we want true representation then we should be in line with the population so that everyone gets fair representation. I don't have the exact breakdown but this should mean that approximately 70% of all characters should be white, 10% should be gay, and less than 1% of characters should be transgender. 5% should be Asian. There probably needs to be more Jewish heroes and Hispanic. Certainly far more disabled characters and elderly.
Let's say we achieve that, so what! Will it make anybody happier? If you need a gay superman to tell you it is alright to be gay then you haven't looked hard enough finding strong gay role models. Approximately 50% of the American population is obese. Will having fat superheroes make these people feel better about being fat? I hope not. Fat acceptance is a whole different topic though.

I like seeing comics with beautiful people in them. You can fill a comic with as many fat, gay, Jewish, Asian, disabled people as you like but it isn't going to make me buy them or watch them. You can transform heroes but it is going to have the same effect for me, the customer.

The writer also forgets that there have been all sorts of different characters created in the history of comics, filling all sorts of niche's. A black character, or a green, blue, purple, striped, blind, wheelchair bound or a gay character(Batman) or even a magical totem pole are not new things. The reason that Superman and the "canon" characters are popular and not others is they had good stories that people liked. Your "diversity" is not a story. It might be an aspect of your story but it doesn't replace it.

I do appreciate that there a bunch of such well known characters out there that introducing new characters can be challenging to get traction. That's life. If you wanted to design a brand new car you have to deal with the fact that a bunch of people are already doing that and have a fan base already.

As for Spiderman being a black tagger, the skin colour is irrelevant but having a "hero" who is a criminal 'tagger' and seems to have nothing to do with science (how Peter Parker got his powers and designed his equipment) seems strange to me. His backstory with Mary Jane shaped him as a character too so let's not mess with his sexuality.

Make good characters, don't mess with already good characters.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -Albert Einstein


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Re: The Independent: "Let’s topple every pale, male and stale superhero we can"

Post by saint_matthew » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:41 am

Ares wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:00 am
But at least they're being honest that they'd rather steal from existing heroes rather than create their own.
Yeah when I first saw the article, all I could think was "well at least they aren't pretending that they give a shit about comics or comic book readers anymore."

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