kingrockwell: he's a sexy (Ferdinand)
[personal profile] kingrockwell posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Brightest Day #1 is out this week, and while the jokes have already been made about the White Power rings supposedly shipped with it, the book itself displays some very troubling racial politics.

This is about four pages out of thirty.
Writers are Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi.
These scenes are, I think, penciled by Ivan Reis and Patrick Gleason (they don't really credit any of the beats individually).

The second beat picks up off the coast of Somalia, where Deadman's found himself on a boat of slavers herding abducted children. But let's take a look here.


Now isn't that nice? The slavers are all black while every one of their captives is white. What is that supposed to say?
The children are saved by the mighty-whitey team of Aquaman and Mera, as has been posted already, but a scene from the aftermath is also worth examining.


Can you guess who this guy is?


If you hadn't figured it out yet, this guy returns to the ocean to resume his criminal career as Black Manta at the end of the issue. Now, the Aquaman/Black Manta relationship is problematic on its own, but Black Manta's history only makes it moreso (especially given that he doesn't even get a real name). Bringing him back in a book called Brightest Day that already has a mark against it is just...inadvisable.

Also, note the black woman among the victims. So far, if you're black in this comic, you can only be a villain or a victim. And what if you try to be a hero?

Well, dear readers, that's where Jason Rusch comes in.
If you'll recall, in Brightest Day #0, Jason tried punching Ronnie Raymond (who's apparently a complete tool now, thanks Geoff Johns!), only to have the two of them merge into Firestorm.
I don't even have to tell you which one's the floating head.


"Someone like you"? And just what is that supposed to mean, Ronnie?


So, Jason's not only had his role stolen by the white guy who used to have it (which is already a disturbing trend throughout the DCU, especially in Johns' work, as Chris Sims at Comics Alliance has also observed), but now he's trapped in that guy's head? Classy!

Any one of these would be problematic in itself, but all three together in the same issue adds up to a tone deaf and racist mess. A kick-off like this does not bode well for where Brightest Day is going.

Ookay, technically there was one black guy who got to be the hero in BD 1.
...The guy in the Colgate ad. He aced it!

Re: Heinberg is a white, screenwriter

Date: 2010-05-09 06:13 pm (UTC)
queenursula: (Default)
From: [personal profile] queenursula
I didn't know the stereotype was that black people took drugs so they could have superpowers.

Re: Heinberg is a white, screenwriter

Date: 2010-05-09 06:17 pm (UTC)
jazzypom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jazzypom
I didn't know the stereotype was that black people took drugs so they could have superpowers.

Now, you're just being disingenuous. The thing is, Eli's story didn't have to have drugs as a part of it. The whole thing of black urban male = must have drugs somewhere in the story line is well... again, really lazy story telling.

Seriously? Can't you see why Heinberg's approach is problematic, lazy and racist?

Re: Heinberg is a white, screenwriter

Date: 2010-05-10 02:34 am (UTC)
schmevil: (graffitti)
From: [personal profile] schmevil
Seriously? Three people have pointed out that the story did not have to go the way it did, but that Heinberg chose to tell a story about a black, inner city boy having a drug problem. If he wanted an end game where Eli comes to his senses from some wrong-doing, and jumps in front of a bullet to save Cap, then gets a blood transfusion from his Grandfather, there are numerous ways he could have gotten to that point. He chose to rely on a harmful stereotype to get there.

Are you seriously still not getting their point?

Re: Heinberg is a white, screenwriter

Date: 2010-05-10 04:11 am (UTC)
queenursula: (Default)
From: [personal profile] queenursula
I see what they're trying to argue, but do I agree that the story was racist? No.

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