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diversity

Guest Post: Modern Heroes

Hi y’all, and greetings from Atlanta GA! I’m happy to hand over the reins to this week’s guest author: Michael M. Khorshidianzadeh is a High School World History teacher and was born and raised in Brockton Mass. He is of Iranian and French Canadian descent and is part of the first generation on his Iranian families side to be born the United States. Michael’s wife is of Colombian origin and his daughter is a wonderful mix of all 3 backgrounds. Michael is an avid Star Trek fan and a believer in the Vulcan concept of infinite diversity in infinite combinations. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, drinking coffee, reading and wondering how to save to world.

Nearly 80 years have passed since Superman and Batman’s first publication. The world of 1938 and 39 was one of impending war, growing fascism, institutionalized racism, corruption in the law and business, sexism, enforced inequality, domestic abuse and criminal gangs populated by people who saw crime as a lucrative and more accessible way to make money than an honest day’s work. Superman and Batman served as escapist fantasy for people from their everyday lives. They were heroes created in the images of what their creators wanted to see in the world. The fantasy was that criminals and bad people who couldn’t be stopped by the police for whatever reason could be stopped by vigilante justice.

Comic book heroes, particularly the mainstream heroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the X-Men, Avengers, and the Justice League, just to name a few, are well known because they all successfully addressed crucial issues and concerns of the time and in many ways, still do. Paradoxically, though the heroes don’t seem to come from all walks of life. It isn’t bad that nearly all of the major heroes are apparently what most people would consider “white”. No apology is needed by the creators or readers nor is any in depth explanation needed as to why they the heroes are predominantly “white” Americans.

The creation of white heroes is not a problem. What is a problem is the notion that by default, heroes should be white or that a person of color can’t be cast or take on the identity of a character which was originally white. Continue reading “Guest Post: Modern Heroes”

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I Like What I See in the Invisible Minority

Last week I had outlined this lovely post about Captain America: Civil War but held off on polishing it up till this week. I wanted to hit my local shop on Wednesday to pick up Black Panther’s 2nd issue (cop it fam!) just in case something Mr. Coates wrote had relevance to my own take on T’Challa. Since I rarely carry cash, I was browsing for a trade* to reach that critical $10 credit card minimum. CHEW Vol. 11: The Last Suppers was my top choice. It’s the second to last trade paperback for the series, which follows FDA Detective Tony Chu as he uses his unique gifts as a cibopath (able to generate psychic impressions of the entire life of whatever he eats) to investigate crime through some great procedural work and the occasional nibble on a perp or victim. When it finishes CHEW will be the first full run that I have ever collected, and my heart aches to see it ending.

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Rob Guillory & John Layman at last year’s Boston Comic Con CHEW panel, moderated by Clay N. Ferno of the League of Ordinary Gentlemen Comics Podcast

Not only is it witty, well-drawn, and full of please-explain-this-because-what twists, it centers around a non-stereotypical Asian lead. And I am not reading into this folks. There are notes on original art from early issues that say “non-stereotypical Asian”. What does that translate to? A character that is trusted to lead his partners (both white and black), gets the girl, and is shown as a crime-fighting badass without resorting to panels of him doing karate or intensive lab work. I’m sure the upcoming animated adaptation featuring the voices of nerd all-stars Steven Yeun, Felicia Day, & David Tennant will be some kind of wonderful.

But that’s not the only reason I switched focus this week. Continue reading “I Like What I See in the Invisible Minority”

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