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Diversity in Comics


#223

He apparently started out that way, but was generally integrated later, both with Excalibur and the Avengers. But there’s so much that can be done with him! I love Paul Cornell’s Captain Britain and MI13 as much as anyone, but that seems to have been the last time anyone made a concerted effort with the character. If I ever got into comics he’d be a top priority.


#224

And he got that 10/10, 5 Stars, 100% Awesome moment in Ultimates 2.


#225

All I know is Carlos is Captain Spain when Mark writes him.

Hey, @Mark_Millar - is it not about time for … Captain Colorado?
(nee Corporal California - I got promoted.)


#226

Marvel owned a reprint arm called Marvel UK until the 1990s when they outsourced it to Panini. Captain Britain Weekly in 1976 was their first attempt at original material there and sold in the UK market and not the US. However the strip was produced in the US and was always part of Marvel continuity with various team ups and guests stars.

Long before Excalibur though he appeared in Marvel Team Up in 1978 and continued to appear in Marvel US comics, rarely with more than a cameo in the background but also had a larger story in Captain America (where they reference their previous UK published meeting). So he was basically UK exclusive for just under 2 years and has featured as part of the US published Marvel Universe for 40 years.

To me he has more of a claim really than someone like X-23 that was created for a cartoon and then amalgamated into the MU as she was popular as the stories were always intended to be in the Marvel Universe continuity.


#227

So, to drag this back on topic somewhat, I’m going to talk a bit about representation of a nationality rather than an ethniciy. So a large chunk of TV programming that we get over here is American, especially kids’ TV, so growing up pretty much every cartoon I watched had either an episode where they visited Ireland or would have someone from ‘the old country’ or something similar. Invariably Ireland was shown as a pastoral backwater, with everyone wearing green, all speaking with the gift of the gab and the gamut of other Irish stereotypes.

And like, I live in a city that’s got a larger population than all bar 4 cities in America. and that part of Irish life was never depicted in American media. Apaprently, when The Commitments was released in the US, people who went to see it had no idea there was anything close to urban life here!

So, in the late 80s and early 90s, something happened in American TV. This guy:

Miles O’Brien was Irish, but he wasn’t depicted as a bumpkin or a yokel - he was an engineer, he was intelligent, a dedicated family man, proud of his roots. He drank, but no more than his compatriots. Even before he was a regular on Deep Space 9, I always looked forward to his appearances in TNG, even when it was just to operate the Transporter or have a conversation with Geordi and Data - because he was a positive portrayal of an Irish person on American TV.

I was really excited when he was announced as a member of Deep Space 9’s cast because it meant that they could expand his character, and they did - giving him that sort of cynicism that’s deeply baked into the Irish psyche, without overdoing it. He was the everyman, who scoffed at the insane events he got caught up in, while being excited and passionate. He remains one of my favourite Star Trek characters to this day, a lot of it because of that resonance.

And this is why diverse characters with positive portrayals are important - it helps viewers and readers to feel included and to not be spoken down to. It helps break stigma and negative stereotypes from people outside the community as well.


#228

Star Trek was a really important series in that regard. Sisko was a huge figure in the black community, and I know several women who loved Janeaway. I’ve read that Scully from X Files inspired an entire generation of female engineers and scientists.

As an aside, my first boss in the US thought that in Ireland groceries were still delivered by horse and cart. Some people are just fucking dumb.


#229

It’s similar to the way Africa was always portrayed as entirely devoid of cities or modern technology and if they were in a specific country you never knew which one. Much of the change was due to the globalization of media and communications as life on the streets around the world became more visible.

Ironically, I’d still say most non-Africans would recognize the name Wakanda before any other African nations.


#230

When Netflix changed up their 20 episodes of classic MST3K recently, one of the episodes they rotated in was Gorgo, an infamous UK-based attempt to do a Godzilla knock-off. Early sections are set off the coast of Ireland, and at one point the ship the main characters are on at the start has to dock at a fishing village for supplies and to make repairs. All the buildings are stone cottages, pretty much everyone they speak to has an Aran jumper on and wears a cloth cap, and they mumble under their breath in Irish. It was filmed near Dalkey, which is one of the swankiest suburbs of Dublin. With that sort of depiction being the norm for decades, you can see where the misconception comes from.

(Though to be fair, the Irish mumbling is actually in Irish, and mostly complaints and insults about the ship’s crew.)


#231

Sense8 was very good for this, portraying Nairobi as a vibrant city, and where the slums may be makeshift shacks, the people living in them have touchscreen phones and flatscreen TVs, and the markets they frequent are converted shipping containers selling electronics and high-end medication


#232

If they’d set it on the West Coast like Donegal or something it’d have been more accurate.


#233

It was set on an island (they didn’t sepcify if it was in the Atlantic or the Irish Sea, IIRC) so it wasn’t wholly inaccurate, even though they filmed it just outside Dublin.


#234

I have family who have lived in China for a long time, and they have made very similar comments about the depiction of that country in Western movies (until fairly recently).

Some clichés and stereotypes are hard to shake off, even if they are hugely inaccurate and no longer reflect the real world (if they ever did).


#235

Homeland got in trouble a few years ago for its depiction of Lebanon.

This was the street they were supposedly on in real life:

vs
How the show depicted it:


#236

When Star Trek began it introduced new concepts to my young brain. I recall a friend asked if I’d seen the premiere, I said no, he said “Then you missed Mister Spock”. Trek quickly taught me several things. First, I liked logic - a lot! Second, I liked McCoy - a lot! Not particularly fond of Kirk, who I found a dominating dick mostly interested in his own power. Okay, that’s not Kirk, but that was precisely how I had found authority figures up to that point; angry, over-reactive, prone to spontaneous violence and military-minded. I knew that personality to be a clear and present danger; yet here was a pointy-eared dude arguing calmly and logically and being heard, and an emotional but smart and equally-authoritative dude arguing perhaps different points but being heard - and none of them being beaten for their “sass”. Amazing! Oh, it never quite worked for me, but it opened possibilities. And most of all - this whole crew - were volunteers??? This was 1966 - I was eleven and it was a long, hot year before the Summer of Love. Viet nam was raging and among the boys it was an absolute certainty we were going to die in a Southeast Asian jungle; if the Commies did not nuke us into ash before then. One obeyed and got their hair cut from a fellow member of the Knights of Columbus. I had been working since I was four. And here was an alien and a fiery doc who could talk back!

It changed my life. I tend to talk back a bit now. I do not have an authoritarian leadership style. (I’ve actually been called "a good boss’.) Viet Nam is a tourist destination. Star Trek dispensed to this kid the first few glimmers of perhaps not self-respect, but at least self-acknowledgement. I no longer existed as an object, with anything else that existed in reality having more value and respect than me; but actually was a valid human apparently raised by wolves. Now, maybe it took me thirty-forty years to get past the anger of such bad behavior, but I do think I got there. Trek taught me people were not immobile objects, but sometimes capable of change.

It wasn’t until Next Gen came along with Riker that there was someone similar to what I had become. I was grateful. And, yet, I have never had a moment’s urge to play a trombone. I’ll stick to an axe, thanky.


#237

Some of it is a little bizarre. In the film Entrapment which was set in Kuala Lumpur at the Petronas Twin Towers they changed the door signage to be in Chinese. No official signage in Malaysia is in Chinese, it’s in Malay and English. Until recently Chinese wasn’t taught in schools and even though my wife is ethnic Chinese and can speak a few dialects she can’t read a word of it and neither can most of her family. I’d say no more than 10% of the population can read it.

So why change it? The only guess I can make is it’s in Asia so they want it more ‘oriental’, Malay is written in the Roman alphabet so may not look Asian enough? :confused:


#238

Personally, I’d read a run of issues where Superman or Tony Stark decides to move to China. I think they’d appreciate the superheroes a bit better than the United States that takes them for granted.


#239

Wasn’t there an Iron Man anime where he’s in Japan?


#240

And the Batman Anime recently, too. There was a whole run of Marvel anime, wasn’t there? Including a weird SNIKT! book where Logan was taken into the future by the guy who wrote and drew BLAME!.

However, I would like to see heroes like Superman, Iron Man, The Flash, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, and so on, spend more time in places around the world. They rarely get out of whatever city they’re in.

You’re far more likely to find the Justice League or the X-men on an alien planet in another galaxy or some lost city under Antarctica than having an adventure in Beijing or New Delhi.


#241

-ly brilliant and successful

but better.


#242

Well, there’s my surprising new fact of the day :open_mouth: