Saturday, July 19, 2014

Come On, This Is Ridiculous

I have been reading some online debates, and some articles on entertainment sites lately that have had my head shaking like a metronome. It's silly to my way of thinking, but then again, it goes far to illustrate one of my pet peeves. The almost blatant lack of creativity in 'mainstream' entertainment. I am talking about the recent modifications to Thor and Captain America.

Now, first of all, I think it is just sad that Hollywood has been reduced to cannibalizing fifty year old comic books in order to come up with stories for movies. Tapped out doesn't begin to describe the state of their creative desolation. But ok. The movies with Thor and Captain America made money by the heaping truckloads, so plainly they were onto something.

Naturally, there was a feedback effect and the popular movies did good things for sales of the comics. Just as it should. Then it gets weird.

Some people have been pitching fits over the fact that comic book heroes are overwhelmingly either white males who are built like weight lifters, or nearly naked young white females who are built like porn stars. They object, and I admit quite reasonably, that there is no reason that the comics shouldn't have more female and minority superheroes.

A perfectly reasonable and acceptable idea. I think about anyone could get behind that one. But to do it, did the comic companies put their heads together and come up with a black superhero, or a new female superhero of color? Oh, hell no. That would require imagination. They made Thor, the ancient Viking god of thunder, a woman. Then they made Captain American black.

No reason Captain American couldn't be black, except that He's Not Black. There have been countless black men who have served this country with distinction, and who would provide archetypes if they wanted to invent a new black hero with a military background. But why bother, when you can just grab a pen and scribble over the graphic you already drew?

By the same reasoning, there would be no reason that, for example, Blade couldn't be lily white. He could do just as good a job as a sword wielding vampire hunter if he was pink as a bunny ear. Except that Blade Is Not White.

And Thor is just silly. They already have a goddess hero, or demi-goddess anyway, named Wonder Woman. If they wanted another female war goddess, what's wrong with picking Athene? Or a Viking Valkyrie? Or tapping into the the mythology of China, or India, or Japan, or maybe some of the vast cultural wealth of the Amerindians? But Noooooo. It was so much simpler and lazier to take an existing character, with an established back story, and an established fan base, and turn them inside out.

Maybe they were afraid that if they tried to actually used their brains to create something original, they might come to an unsettling recognition of the quality that they have been puking out.

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