EDITORIAL: Why RACE Does Matter in Comic Book Movies
This is a counter-argument to the article Doxx put up.
For the record, I enjoyed Doxx's well written article. I just totally disagree. And here's why.
1. Comic books are a very visual media. We are always looking right at the faces of the characters we read about. And when I get to finally see my beloved character on the big screen I want the character I've read about my whole life to actually look like the character. That doesn't make me racist, it makes me want an accurate portrayal. It means I have the power of sight.
2. Calling people racist for simply wanting an accurate portrayal is called Ad Hominem Fallacy. Instead of hearing the other sides view, one simply attempts to discredit the other speaker by making an attempt to discredit said speaker to the audience. Because most people would agree, racist people suck. But it doesn't invalidate my argument (and doesn't mean i'm racist for that argument).
Food for thought: Is it sexist if I wouldn't like the idea of a Punisher reboot about a woman named Frankie Castle who lost her husband? Would it feel like the same character? I'm not even saying it wouldn't be a fun comic, I'm just saying it would NOT feel like the same character (to me). And making the character feel the same when adapted for the big screen is the most important thing when undertaking the task.
3. Saying Black Panther and Storm are exceptions to the rule is ignorant. Believe it or not, millions of white people have lived in Africa for hundreds of years. Some are even part of the native tribes. Meaning, Storm or Black Panther could be played by a white actor, according to Doxx anyway.
4. People don't care when they change the race of a character in film for one reason and one reason only: They didn't really care much about the character to begin with. That's it. People didn't much care for Nick Fury until they reworked him for the Ultimate Universe and made him much better. Plus, I think people swallow change much easier when it has been done in the comics at some point. But change the way Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Eric Brooks (Blade), Frank Castle, or Bruce Banner looks and I guarantee people will flip.
5. I love Blade. I'm a huge Blade fan. He is among my favorite comic book characters of all time. I would HATE if they ever cast him white or Native American (I myself am Native American, I think I already mentioned that...) to play Blade. And his race has almost nothing to do with his character. But you better believe blood would be shooting from my eye balls if they cast a Native American to play Eric Brooks.
Which brings me to my final point. My top five favorite comic book characters are:
Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, Blade, and The Punisher
Four out of five are white (well the HULK is green but you know what I mean). And I wouldn't have it any other way. Why? Because I want them to look like the characters I've read about for years. I don't care that they were created in a time most characters were white. I don't care why the creator of Blade made him black. All I care about is it feeling like the same character I grew up with and an important factor of that character consistency is visual.
Let's stay on this train of thought. The HULK is green. He has almost always been a shade of green, or grey. Now imagine they were doing another HULK movie (finally) and they announced the HULK would be orange this time around. For no reason other than to change the color. We're told he will be the exact same HULK, his color is just different. Is it racist then to say that would be silly and he wouldn't look like the real HULK at all? Of course not. THE HULK IS GREEN! And guess what? Peter Parker is white. The end.
Would it feel like the same character if Martian Manhunter was red? Or how about making the Thing from the Fantastic Four blue? Or making Luke Cage Asian? It's the same thing isn't it? Race is just skin deep. Yes they look different but as long as the character is the same Doxx shouldn't care. But we all know he would and that's the point.
Just not the same, is it folks?
Not to mention if you change Peter Parker's race you'd have to change EVERYONE else in the stories race as well. Otherwise you'd run into the problem of injecting a racial element into the story that was never there. If Peter is picked on by a white Flash it would make Flash seem like some racist punk white kid picking on a skinny black kid. Stan Lee never intended for that kind of story telling. It would change the spirit of the comic. You would also have to change Uncle Ben since he's blood related to Peter. How is this version even recognizable anymore?
And for the record I can't think of a single Native American superhero, but that doesn't mean studios should nonchalantly change one just to be PC. Find an actor who can play the character well, but part of that is making sure the actor LOOKS like the character.
Also for the record, Michael Clark Duncan was one of my favorite actors. He didn't suck as the Kingpin because he was black, he sucked as the Kingpin because he seems like the nicest F-ing guy who ever lived. Man I wish I could have met that guy. But that's another article I suppose. Peace out my comic book homies. Try not to go too crazy in the comment section.
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