Are Race and Sexuallity important to the characters you read?

How does a person’s sexual orientation, gender, or race affect the quality of the character or the story they’re in? It’s not a defining characteristic. It’s not the only thing about the character. No one looks at a straight, white, male character and pays attention to any of that. Once again, allowing for an old character to be updated with the modern era of acceptance we have today allows for more people to see themselves in the character and enjoy it more. On top of that, it gives the character a spark of interest and popularity. (I.e. Alan Scott, one of my favorite characters of all time). And, truly, if all you care about is the story being good, how could any of these trivial, surface level characteristics affect your enjoyment of the story? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

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Whenever the topic of a character being changed comes up, I always think, no way is this more important to me than it is to the person who gets to see themselves in the character now. No way is my personal attachment to a white Johnny Storm stronger than the NEED to see more black heroes onscreen.

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Thank you for all the well thought out responses.

I’m beginning to see the importance others feel towards connecting with their heroes on an individual level. I use to be angry when Marvel made Amadeus Cho the new Hulk, seeing as I grew up idolizing Bruce Banner, but biff_pow and DeSade have it right. Representation isn’t something I easy understand the need of because I’ve been flooded by it my whole life, but it IS important.

I think I now understand why it’s the top named heroes who get swapped around; because they’re the ones that already sell. They’re the titles carried in shops with smaller selections, so they’re almost guaranteed to be seen as apposed to hoping a new character will reach enough shelves in the right areas.

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Yeah, when people say “just create a new character,” I mean, easier said than done! The characters with the greatest share of the market, taking up all the oxygen , have held that ground for 50, 60, 80 years. Batman and Spider-Man aren’t going to be beaten, so you better join em.

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@biff_pow
Batman was the # 2 seller of comics until TDKR & then especially when Batman 89 came out.

I wonder if we reach a time when Wonder Woman becomes the #1 character. She has the potential and with all the potential Amazons, a large “Wonder Family” could be supported. More females are getting into comics today than ever before.

I wonder if they kinda “shipped” Bruce and Diana for a couple of years, she’s so smart she’d pick up some extra detective skills, if even by osmosis. But having a bit stronger detection skills and an extended family, along with having different story arcs from the very city oriented to global to the gods is a broader selection of story types than even Bats. I think she could do it.

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True however it can be done given the proper cercumstances. When Ted Kord was killed off. The mantle could have been passed to anybody but Jaime Rayes really did connect with people when he was created and part of what makes him a good character are some of the dynamics that come with his heritage. Kate Kane is a good example of LGBTQ representation, however the fact that she is a lesbian is is an aspect of her character, but not the only aspect of her character nor should it be.

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Given my earlier post, I don’t want it to be misconstrued that I only believe new characters can represent diversity. In truth I have no issue with it so long as it stays true to the character and will not contradict the lore. Example: when I began reading comics in the early 90s please believe the Tim Drake was half asian. I knew his father was white and I never saw any pictures of his mother. So I just had that assumption in my head Canon. Whether he was or not is irrelevant because that is not what makes his character. So if I were to change a character’s race, I would probably make Tim an Asian American.

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It does matter to me. Although i am white and male, i am sooo bored of my own reflection on the screen. I so very much enjoy sharing superheroes with a bunch of peiple who weren’t into them, until they actually saw a reflection of themselves.

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People who say race or sexuality don’t change you or shape who you are quite wrong. I’m not white and I’m not straight and my culture compared to someone else might be weird or confusing to them or the way I switch between languages for certain words is a thing that white Americans won’t understand. Sexuality is something you grow into and become more confident with and that seeps into your talking style (slang, ex.) and ways of expressing yourself visually. Whether through makeup, clothes, jewelry, accessories, ect. When you find a character who felt like you or is, you just latch onto them. They’re your emotional support character. People like to see characters like themselves and for us minorities we don’t get enough because they’re usually killed of or don’t get enough screentime or they’re just written badly. That is also why LGBTQ+ members latch onto Dick or Tim because they got those qualities and they can see them as LGBT+ because they’re is a thing called gaycoded and sometimes characters are just like that. Anyway I hope everyone who reads this is having a nice day/night !! :’)

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@chanyeol You’re totally right. I misspoke when I said it has no affect on the character. I more so meant that it isn’t the defining characteristic for a person. It’s an aspect. And I think showcasing the issues that minorities of any kind face is important. It not only acknowledges the issues that people have to face, but could also help others better understand and be able to support those who society (for whatever twisted reason) treats differently.

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The topic of a legacy character having different attributes is different from the original question. For me again the question is can the writer successfully pull it off. My opinion, Miles Morales, Jackson Hyde worked, Wallace West didn’t because of the writer’s ability to make these characters unique and interesting. Jane Foster as Thor is the best example of this. I thought this is just silly, but it turns into absolutely one of my favorite Marvel runs ever.
An actor of a different race/ethnicity playing a role is somewhat different. That’s still Jimmy Olson, Johnny Storm, and Heimdahl they just look different from my normal exception. That’s another step but similar to Micheal Keaton playing Batman. Be a good actor, pull off the role is what I ask for.

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@msgtv - That’s exactly what I was asking. I also agree that Jane Foster Thor was a phenomenal run, and it’s in my top 3 Thor stories, for sure. I also feel the same way about actors of different races playing characters; I’m more than ok with it so long they do it well.

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But like… Why? “Sheilding” children from different sexualities, lifestyles, or issues could negatively impact them in the future. Their brain is still developing, so it’s important to instill acceptance and to help them understand the different ways people are affected in life. If they don’t see this, it could lead to them possibly having a negative outlook on things like sexuality, where they’re scared or confused by their own feelings. Or, could make it more difficult for them to sympathize with people who have different issues from them. Comics are a perfect place for them to see this, heroes who are capable of being great people and saving the world no master their background. It gives them role models to look up to. If anything, it’s dangerous to not let them see and learn about this stuff.

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@SuperRussie099 - You seem to feel fairly strongly about that, but I think plenty of others on here have shown how much of an effect that kind of stuff can have on them.

And saying comics are just for kids is really a whole nother discussion for a different thread. Many of us are introduced to them as children, but that in no way means they’re specifically for them. Or do you mean to tell me you’re absolutely fine with showing your kids panels from stuff full of intense action and violence, but draw the line at individual expression?

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CSM Yep.

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I think OmniLad is right, exposing kids to different sexuallities and races would do more towards their growth and make them more comfortable around people of those types.

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@biff_pow Alan Scott is a different character than Hal Jordan, so I have no issue with them having different hair colors or other traits. However, it does bug me that no live action Barry Allen (that I’ve seen) is blond. I mean, I would think hair is one of the easier things to get right…

So for clarification in case my comment prompted your question, my comment wasn’t in regards to legacy characters or different characters that pick up a mantle; I was talking about changing the traits of the ‘person’ part of the character. I think the person part is important. Also, as inconsequential as hair color may seem to some, there are stereotypes and perceptions associated with hair color. The same is true for glasses, piercings, accents, small town VS big city background, cultures and beliefs not associated with race/sexuality, as well as the demographics that seem to spark more discussions. So, for me, those are all part of what makes a character feel ‘real’ and helps me invest in a character. Elseworlds can play around with a lot of these things, but my favorites tend to port as much of the original over as possible.

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@c02goddess
I think the big reason is that a lot of non-comics readers don’t know comic book Barry is blond, and you can’t see his hair under the costume.

It’s also worth pointing out that it would be hair-hell. Scenes in shows aren’t always fine directly sequentially. For guys with short and usually less hair volume, roots would be an issue. There aren’t many short haired blond characters on tv because makeup continuity would be a massive pain.

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@DeSade-acolyte I didn’t really think about hair dye filming concerns for men/super short hair. Thanks! I would still like to see a blondish Barry some day though. :slight_smile:

For me no. If you have to use those thing for the comic to tell a story then use it, but not just only make a story base on those 2 subjects alone. I hope they dont just use those 2 subjects onl.y

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