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A girl just shy of coherence


March 18th, 2008

The actual text in this entry MAY BE OPTIONAL. @ 01:55 pm

As seen by Willow, and pulled from the new DC solicits, I now present to you something so goddamn RIDICULOUSLY insulting that I shouldn't even have to type out descriptive text as to why.

I'll just let the images speak for themselves.

What's wrong with this picture? Aside from the Ed Benestastic amounts of T&A overkill?





BIG GIGANTIC HINT:




That is Mari Jiwe McCabe, and believe it or not, she DOES appear in the first image in this post. The problem is that Mari is very definitely an African character, and apparently DC has purposefully forgotten to observe its own continuity, freakishly deciding to instead start depicting her as a bleached Caucasian. You might start to argue with me here that this is probably just a one time coloring error, but you'd be wrong. (If you still want to argue that this is just a case of oversensitivity, be warned that I will take a sledgehammer to your salients and send you back to Remedial Social Awareness 101.)


This edition of Where's Mari and What Have You Done With Her? brought to you by the DC solicits for June 2008 and DC's editorial department, who have apparently been asleep at the wheel for the past, oh, six months or so. Either that, or DC just finds it too onerous a burden to have to color in the skin tone of those pesky characters of color.

Edit: Holy CRAP, this whole thing has EXPLODED. Occasional Superheroine has it, along with a passel of links to raging (and interesting) discussions about same on Newsarama, etc. The discussion on Newsarama is, ah, heated.
 
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From:suburbfabulous
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Six months?
These asstastic creamsicles from the rancid milk of red-state goats started dropping the strictly-metaphorical Balls Of Kirbyness a lot longer back than that.
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From:kali921
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
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HA! No, I meant six months as far as turning Vixen into a lightly tanned white woman goes. Honestly, what is wrong with Ed Benes? He's Brazilian. He should KNOW BETTER. Yeah, you could argue that since Benes is from Brazil his socialization and cultural attitudes towards race differ from the American mindset, but JESUS H. CHRIST.
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From:squeeful
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
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Fff, when has DC ever consistently observed its own continuity?

But Vixen is about as white as Michael Jackson. You can try, but it ain't true! And they both looked so much better before.
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From:kali921
Date:March 18th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
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Oh, yes. I really, really loved the look Vixen was rockin' in about 2004-2005, when she had the purple Sgt. Pepper one piece suit and the long braids. It was a nice evolution from her old school beaded braid mullet (which I also liked).
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From:gillan
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
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Oversensitivity? Psh. Can you imagine what would happen if one day Superman were a brother and DC acted like nothing happened? I mean, it'd be awesome, but people would go completely out of their minds.
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From:gillan
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
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I just read that Seeking Avalon blog and saw they said the same thing. Ah, to live in the world of Korean Batman.
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From:thehefner
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
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I find it interesting that you post this a mere hour as I caught up on the Occasional Superheroine blog to discover this:

http://occasionalsuperheroine.blogspot.com/2008/03/vixenjla-halle-berry-defense.html

Check out the comments section for some insight into Benes. It's quite illuminating, really!
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From:suburbfabulous
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
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It is fascinating.
AND it gives us the phrase "pinning the Wonder-thong."
From:sclerotic_rings
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
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And yet I have friends who wonder why I haven't been in a comic shop in over six years. It's bad enough when female characters get sexed up because the Cat Piss Men demand it (I keep thinking of Brik and Boodikka from the old Green Lantern days), or the preteen female characters that suddenly sprout breasts (again, at the bequest of the CPMs), but watching as ethnic characters at DC, and only female characters, get Anglicized over and over again just made me give up.
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From:kali921
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
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EXACTLY. But there are are some wonderful artists, colorists, and writers working in the medium, however, that don't pull this kind of shit. Salvador Larocca comes to mind, as I mentioned over on Willow's blog. His Storm looks absolutely stunningly African. Khari Evans draws a stunning Misty Knight and actually managed to give Colleen Wing and Misty differently shaped bodies.

Salvador Larocca:



That's doing it RIGHT.

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From:spooky_lemur
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
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Now I must disagree here...I see lots of "T" but no "A".

That's misleading that is. = ]

BTW Glad to see you back.

And yes, the two Giants, i.e. DC and Marvel, need to send their editors and artists to a figure drawing class featuring no caucasian models.

At least get the color right guys. It's not that hard. Maybe a little more magenta and black, a splash of cyan and yellow to even out the tones.

Edited at 2008-03-18 11:11 pm (UTC)
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From:jkcarrier
Date:March 18th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
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Maybe if they changed her name to "Black Vixen", the colorists would be able to keep it straight. :\
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From:kali921
Date:March 18th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
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ZING! Either that, or a cheat sheet style guide for each book that has captions reminding the colorists that yes, James Proudstar is APACHE, and yes, Shang-Chi is Asian, and yes, T'Challa will kick your ass into the next plane of existence if you draw him with just a light tan.
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From:transemacabre
Date:March 18th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
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*does backflip on motorcycle, pops wheelie while giving DC staffers the bird*

FUCK YOU, DC!
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From:kali921
Date:March 18th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Isn't it just precious?

I won't call it willful and intentional jerkwaditude. But I will call it a serious lapse of sensitivity and BASIC COMMON SENSE.

Edited at 2008-03-18 10:21 pm (UTC)
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From:benchilada
Date:March 18th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
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My first thoughts?

a) ENOUGH FUCKING GODDAMNED RED TORNADO ALREADY! NONE OF US CARE ABOUT HIM!
b) Does Wonder Woman just have one enormous, slightly off-center breast?
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From:kali921
Date:March 18th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Okay, you probably know by now that I'm a sucker for Robot W00bies, because of how much I love Vision and Red Tornado, but agreed. Brad Meltzer gave us TWELVE GODDAMN ISSUES of Red Tornado doing nothing but crying. Can we just, oh, let him hang out in the background for a while so that Hawkgirl gets to do something interesting?

Speaking of which, that's another example. Kendra used to be drawn as caramel colored back in Geoff Johns' JSA. What the fuck happened?!
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From:lyssie
Date:March 18th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
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....that's just... man. Pathetic doesn't even cover it.
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From:kali921
Date:March 18th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
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I'm still sitting here looking at the cover and wondering why Black Lightning still looks like himself, but Vixen looks whiter than ME. I recommend reading the discussion on Occasional Superheroine, as linked to above in the post edit - some well known creators weigh in, and it isn't pretty. It's also HILARIOUS.

Ed Benes needs to go away now.
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From:thebitterguy
Date:March 18th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
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Well, I guess people will stop complaining that there are too many black people in the JLA now.
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From:kali921
Date:March 19th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
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HA! Watch Geoff show up next issue and explain to John that he's shaving his head because if he doesn't, his hair inexplicably grows in blonde and straight.
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From:Avalon's Willow [blogspot.com]
Date:March 19th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
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Kali, hon

While you see interesting discussions on Valerie's blog, I see lots of 'ignore the race issue and stick to WW's thong and Ed Benes crappy art''.

I'm not calling it a malicious drifting of the conversation. But I will point out I think it's a more comfortable direction for those who want to talk.

As for Newsarama, I posted my now official general Newsarama reply.

I need to get to work making links for this stuff on the sidebar.
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From:kali921
Date:March 19th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
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While you see interesting discussions on Valerie's blog, I see lots of 'ignore the race issue and stick to WW's thong and Ed Benes crappy art''.

Oh, I saw the defensive white male contingent - amongst others - derail the discussion, believe me. I think what happens is that after reading twenty or so comments, my brain just edits out the idiocy, otherwise I go glassy eyed and have to reassess whether or not I want to continue to be part of the human species.

I have mixed feelings when the discussion veers from the racial issues into the blatantly craptastic quality of Benes' art, because one the one hand, I find it very troubling when people laugh off or diminish the racism inherent in whiteifying Mari, but on the other hand, there is SO MUCH that is problematic with Benes' art that I think it's a common perspective for people to want to address both the issues of sexism and racism (and the suckitude) rather than tease them out seperately. I don't agree with that perspective uniformly, but I can understand people looking at a page of Benes' art and screaming "WHERE DO I BEGIN TO DECONSTRUCT THE WRONGNESS, BECAUSE THERE'S JUST SO DAMN MUCH OF IT AAAAAAAAAAUGH."

Also, that one guy who posted an animated GIF over on Newsarama in response to the link to your post needs to get blunt force trauma applied to his hands, so he can't type and therefore doesn't taint the internet anymore with his foul presence. What an IDIOT. To quote Ask the Ninja, I wanted to say "Hello, my name is PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!" to him.
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From:shadowlongknife
Date:March 19th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
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You know, I'm sort of ashamed I hadn't noticed that before now, and I just went and dug out my JLA issues to make certain.

I read EVERY ISSUE of Suicide Squad, and yeah, she used to be quite a bit darker than that.
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From:dharmapunk
Date:March 19th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
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No no, see, Vixen absorbs other people's powers now, so she simply took on superman's "Super-skin bleaching ability" (re: Adventures of Superman 143). It's not racism, it's superpowers!

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From:kali921
Date:March 19th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
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This post is about the inherent racism in repeatedly bleaching characters of color out to white or near white. Much as I agree about the Red Tornado (why he would betray the team is just...beyond me) please don't derail the discussion into something that's just not as important, because it can risk being insulting for PoC to read.
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From:kali921
Date:March 19th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
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That site stems from stuff dating back to 2005. Pretty petty of you to bring it up now.

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A girl just shy of coherence