Our Own Heroes
I went into this weekend pretty pumped about super hero content. We got hit with a couple of long awaited stream-able stories from the two comic book Titans. DC tried to redeem themselves with the release of the Snyder Cut on HBO Max and Marvel finally released the series called Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus.
I watched the Snyder Cut Justice League first. I have to say I’m pretty impressed. I had a low bar considering the original movie which was an absolute disaster and was even worse the second time I watched it. If you haven’t watched the original, don’t; unless you’ve literally watched everything else on the internet twice and you have 2.5 hr to kill. It lacked plot, story, character development, really anything necessary for a halfway decent movie. Anyway, that’s where the bar was and this 4.5 hr saga surpassed it by leaps and bounds when it comes to quality. It’s still a superhero movie and has cringy moments, but remember the demographics: old nerds (like me and older) and their teenage kids (I don’t got no kids, but my dogs were entertained.) I say teenage because, unlike Marvels historically PG13 lineup, this had some halfway graphic depictions of blood and murder and some cursing.
So, yea, I enjoyed it. Of course I did, but is it just me or is anyone else tired of Batman. Like, I get it, your parents died and you used your wealth to build weapons of mutual/self destruction and beat up criminals on the streets. Next to these other heroes, batman looks pretty useless. Furthermore, is it ever addressed in any Batman movie that the only way billionaires achieve that B-word status is by exploiting labor costs domestic and abroad? that hoarding wealth causes poverty? That poverty and lack of economic opportunity causes the kind of “crime” he might be fighting on the day-to-day? Maybe they did address it and I didn’t catch on to it (spoiler warning) when joker said that, if Batman had the guts to die, they would have avoided the whole issue of global destruction. “DIE CAPITALSIM, DIE!”…
C’mon! It’s batman, a comic book character, a child’s action figure, a rich, powerful, intelligent, handsome fantasy.
I know! it’s all good fun! Let’s just get lost in the theatrics and forget about the real world for ~5 hours out of the week. I did! During those 5 hours, I was just a kid enjoying a superhero movie. Movies in general are an art-form that I really appreciate when done right and I aspire to hopefully write a story that can translate to a movie one day. But where are the people of color tho? This is quite a white movie. Cyborg finally got the time and attention he deserved in this movie. Of course, one of the reasons the original movie sucked is because they cut so much of the story around the single black character and also the movies most important character.
Besides Ray Fisher, the other original characters are white and the stories were written by white people. I get it. I’m not exactly saying they should cast a Black wonder woman, Brown superman, or Asian batman (although why would that be more outlandish than a crime fighting billionaire or a laser eyed farmboy? So, why not?)
On the Marvel side, the first episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier was great as expected, because, you know,… Marvel (although, would it have hurt to put out more than one episode?!? lol) It looks like it’s going to address the way the government has treated black people and that’s awesome. They also actually had a Latino Character and Asian characters. So, Marvel seems to be miles ahead of DC in diversity.
But I can’t wait for the day that it’s not an outlier for an original POC hero/fantasy stories to be told on the big screen. We need more different. Black Panther comes to mind, but there’s been like 27 damn marvel movies and one Black Panther movie. I was re-watching some WandaVision episodes, Teyonnah Parris is kicking ass, and I realize that with 6+ hours of superhero streaming on the books for the weekend, that she was one of the few black women on screen, and really the only main character. So, wtf?
That all being said, I’m feeling inspired to search harder for diverse stories to support them. Tomi Adeyemi is a person that comes to mind with her series about a population of magical black characters oppressed by a totalitarian colonizers. I’m also thinking about the Black Sands comic book series (I’m figuring out how to read that out of the US given shipping limitations.) Another book that’s out on preorder called “Shallow Waters” is about Yemaya, a mermaid from African Legend.
I’ve bought a couple of Latinx startup comics; The band of Latina Heroes in the “A la Brava” universe written by Kayden Phoenix and a goofy comic called Lucha Cats. That being said, I’ve done a bit of searching and I found an Adult fantasy book by a Latina called “God’s of Jade and Shadow.” I will do better in searching out more titles, but if you have any suggestions, let me know.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop watching Marvel and DC movies (and I’ll probably rewatch the Snyder Cut), plus it looks like they are finally embracing newer diverse characters (see DC future-state and Marvels new heroes: Miles, Kamala, Carla etc. ), so it’s coming, but I still think we need to empower our own communities to start something new that aren’t controlled by one of the media giants in the meantime even if it does take one of those giants’ buy in one day to reach mass market.
So, here’s my own plug. I’m working on a comic book with four main characters inspired by my three brothers. The story inspired in part by our experiences but otherwise inspired by ideas of Ni De Aqui Ni De Alla, Aztec Mythology, the plight of undocumented Americans, motherhood, brotherhood, and more. I would appreciate the support once this is out, but I also intend on creating something entertaining and meaningful, and if you’re reading this I will probably be reaching out to get your opinion/ insight early on.
PS. You’re my hero for reading this.