Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 21, 2014

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Green Lantern #26.

* Bruce Lidl talks to Chris Ross. Chris Sims talks to Kate Leth.

* nice.

* not comics: David Walker writes about people here that have a lot of time on their hands to care about the color of the actor playing the Human Torch in the next Fantastic Four movie. You find a lot of traditonalist thinkers like this in hardcore comics fandom, so it's sort of a comics story, I guess. These are people that feel comfortable speaking with certainty about what Jack Kirby might have thought. I actually have some sympathy for people with these stupid opinions: they've been manipulated into feeling beset by such things by those that profit politically and economically from their dissatisfaction. This isn't my area of interest or study, but it seems to me that very few traditionally white superhero characters signify as white in a key way, whereas a lot of major black characters do. For instance, you can make the argument that part of the idea of Captain America is that he's an honest-to-goodness Nazi superman that rejects the idea of a Nazi superman. If you make that character black, you move away a bit from that set of meanings (and you can, there are no rules, you just likely have to engage with the difference or deal with the absence, perhaps adding meaning, like in that series from Kyle Baker and the late Robert Morales). In contast, many black superhero characters are strongly identified as black characters in key ways, like the African Prince Black Panther. The Human Torch, there's nothing about that guy that makes him black or white -- he needs to be a young hothead is all -- and given the infrequency of this kind of role that can be played and embodied by non-white actors when adhering to the traditional presentation, I think it's great to cast this way. Let's see more, not less. It also strikes me that this kind of weird anger may exist -- may exist -- less on the racist/privilege axis than on a continuity with those fans that don't like it when they think a female superhero comics-originating character should be prettier than they've decided the actress to be, instead of processing this person in the way that they're intended to represent someone attractive. It's a weird, slightly sad way to watch movies, to expect them to comport to a reality that isn't a reality at all. Mostly, though, no grown-ass person should have any opinion about who is playing what part in a movie. Go outside. I envy the life that has significant time for that kind of thing outside of professional obligation. I'm a little more worried that such a great young actor like Michael B. Jordan isn't getting a bigger part in a solo superhero movie, if that's a kind of movie he wants to do.

* Kevin Huizenga sketches. Spain Rodriguez draws a subway platform. Vicente Alcazar draws Man-Thing. Mike Kaluta draws Mister X. Gene Luen Yang draws Usagi Yojimbo.

* not comics: the Michael Chabon quote used by Austin Kleon here showed up in a couple of different places where I could see it this week. I would suggest that all writing isn't fan fiction because the differences in intent and effect are important and crucial, but it's more fun to just enjoy the cleverness of the quote.

* finally, I have no memory of Mort Drucker doing a newspaper strip set in the Reagan White House. What an odd thing that is. Although if one were to do a strip suited for the Doonesbury slot in the newspaper -- and you should given how long that strip has been around -- a White House-set strip isn't a bad idea.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

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