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Post Reply Gender and race swaps in well established stories....
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Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16
I'm putting this in general, because it is less about the mediums and more about the recent trends for gender/race swaps we've been seeing throughout TV, comics, movies, etc.

Please read thoroughly, before you jump to the conclusion that I'm a bigot.

A few examples I can give are the idea of making James Bond a black man, several swaps in race throughout comics, and the gender change with Thor... there's also the element of comics portraying more and more homosexuals, or rewriting characters to be homosexual, but I'm less concerned with that, because sexual preference is usually in no way something we use to identify certain characters.

Let me start by saying that I love the diversification, I do. I simply think they are doing it wrong.

Going to use Bond as the example explaining my point of view.

You can't make James Bond black without A.) rewriting the entire character to be influenced from a different background. B.) causing people (of all colors) to have a harder time connecting the actor with the legend, as skin color is unfortunately an easy and obvious identifier and C.) really doing a disservice to the black community, in a blatantly obvious attempt to pull in more black viewers.

I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of arguments, but please understand what I'm trying to say, here. Well established fictional characters have an identity... we know them by sight. Many people could probably guess a Bond movie to be a Bond movie by clothing, pose, actions, etc... without even knowing the actor, movie, or particular story. However, if you place a black actor into the same role, people will scratch their heads trying to figure out who is being portrayed, because we already see Bond as a white man.

Still, I get it, we're trying to get away from portraying every hero as white, etc. That's cool. I like that. BUT, let's do it properly. If you want to make a black 007, by all means, do so. However, invest as much time understanding and developing him as a character as you did James Bond. Don't just change the race and call it a day. Make him his own person. Because, even many black people will be left wondering wtf with a black James Bond. It's not how we have seen the person, and it's going to be harder to connect the new race with the old legend, even if things did fit.

Make a new legend, don't just try to change the old one.

The same goes with comics. The gender change with Thor - seriously... just, what? However, in the defense of Marvel, Norse gods did actually gender swap in legends.

And we keep changing the races of people (Wally West to name one). Just... stop. Create new heroes/villains, resurrect old minority heroes, develop their storylines and make them their own thing.

To me, you're just doing a disservice to the non-white male communities by insulting them by painting already established characters into something different. If you REALLY wanted to be fair about it, rather than just grab a larger audience, you'd put the work into it. That doesn't mean Kid Flash and 007 can't be black, it just means that we need a new Kid Flash and a different 007.

Now, I'm going to give you two examples of this done RIGHT: The new Karate Kid and Creed (pretty much the most recent film in the Rocky lineage).

First, Karate Kid had the spirit of the old movies, but had the time invested into it to create its own characters and matching storyline and culture. My only beef with it is that they called it Karate Kid, when the kid was actually learning Kung-Fu.... which is more of a slight against the martial arts than the movies.

Creed - If you haven't seen this, you REALLY need to. So, the main character is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, who has Rocky train him to be a fighter. (I don't believe any of that is a spoiler) However, this kid really makes the Rocky lineage proud, and I'd love to see them make more about his fights, like they did with Rocky. The key to making it a great movie with a black main character is that they created this character from scratch. He owns everything about him. If they'd have tried a Rocky remake with Rocky as a black dude, it just wouldn't have felt genuine. Seriously, it's a great movie, and you should really check it out.


Now, I'm going to say this final thing. I personally wouldn't want people rewriting things to make a black character white either. Though white men have played Othello, they were still acting for the black character. The character never changed. That also had a lot to do with racism, back then. Now days, though, if I saw a modern retelling of Othello with a white man in the role, I'm be irritated and probably wouldn't continue watching.

This all has much more to do with how we identify these characters in our minds, and connect them with the story. It isn't about racism. As I said, I'm all for more diversity.... just make new characters.... it's what everyone involved deserves.


Also, sorry about the rambling in this post, I'm just not really feeling up to editing, at the moment.
Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16
I don't see why we can't make James Bond Black. We already got Daniel Craig. Come on, you know its true.







Edit: I get what you're saying. Just slapping on a new race without really changing anything is just plain old pandering.
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Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16

PeripheralVisionary wrote:
Edit: I get what you're saying. Just slapping on a new race without really changing anything is just plain old pandering.


Not even pandering. It's like someone saying "You know what, instead of a wooden gate, I want a metal one." Then someone comes along a paints the gate with metallic paint and calls it a day.
Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16

HolyDrumstick wrote:


PeripheralVisionary wrote:
Edit: I get what you're saying. Just slapping on a new race without really changing anything is just plain old pandering.


Not even pandering. It's like someone saying "You know what, instead of a wooden gate, I want a metal one." Then someone comes along a paints the gate with metallic paint and calls it a day.


So what you're saying is, instead of merely doing a color swap, race needs to be a legitimate part of the personality so that said character wouldn't only be known as a black James Bond? Like how Mr.Tibbs has his whole character going on instead of merely him being black or something from a blaxploitation film or something?
Posted 1/6/16
Martin Luther King Jr is now played by a Chinese woman with 3 arms fighting Irish KKK members, who are black.

Don't tell me I'm crazy!
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Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16

PeripheralVisionary wrote:


HolyDrumstick wrote:


PeripheralVisionary wrote:
Edit: I get what you're saying. Just slapping on a new race without really changing anything is just plain old pandering.


Not even pandering. It's like someone saying "You know what, instead of a wooden gate, I want a metal one." Then someone comes along a paints the gate with metallic paint and calls it a day.


So what you're saying is, instead of merely doing a color swap, race needs to be a legitimate part of the personality so that said character wouldn't only be known as a black James Bond? Like how Mr.Tibbs has his whole character going on instead of merely him being black or something from a blaxploitation film or something?


That's actually a good way to put it. If you just color swap something, especially something legendary, it'll forever be known as the [insert color] [insert legend]. Like - the black James Bond and the white James Bond. It doesn't change James Bond's identity, it simply creates two versions.

And yes, making a black character needs to account for their culture and upbringing.... it needs to be part of their character. Black should not be something you can paint someone to get a larger audience (and usually these attempts are not successful, anyway).
Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16
Just a lazy attempt to cash in.

"We know you want diversity, but we can't be bothered to create new IP to appeal to you so instead here are gender and raced swapped versions of our existing stuff"
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Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16
I would like to see the next Doctor Who incarnation be female .... and ginger.

It's already well established cannon that a Time Lord can change gender during a regeneration cycle.
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Posted 1/6/16

HolyDrumstick wrote:



The same goes with comics. The gender change with Thor - seriously... just, what? However, in the defense of Marvel, Norse gods did actually gender swap in legends.



Thor never changed genders. Thor Odinson is still a man. However, Jane Foster a woman has picked up the hammer and has the powers and abilities of Thor. (Which isn't that outlandish considering other women and aliens have also wield the power of Thor at one time or another)
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Posted 1/6/16

nooneinparticular wrote:

Just a lazy attempt to cash in.

"We know you want diversity, but we can't be bothered to create new IP to appeal to you so instead here are gender and raced swapped versions of our exist stuff"


This, exactly. And all it really ends up doing is distancing current fans from the character, regardless of race.
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Posted 1/6/16

nerder wrote:


HolyDrumstick wrote:



The same goes with comics. The gender change with Thor - seriously... just, what? However, in the defense of Marvel, Norse gods did actually gender swap in legends.



Thor never changed genders. Thor Odinson is still a man. However, Jane Foster a woman has picked up the hammer and has the powers and abilities of Thor. (Which isn't that outlandish considering other women and aliens have also wield the power of Thor at one time or another)


That's true... which is why I didn't focus too much on that. Still, the purpose was obvious. There are other ways to create female superheroes. *shrug*
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Posted 1/6/16

nerder wrote:
Thor never changed genders. Thor Odinson is still a man. However, Jane Foster a woman has picked up the hammer and has the powers and abilities of Thor. (Which isn't that outlandish considering other women and aliens have also wield the power of Thor at one time or another)




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Posted 1/6/16
I'd agree.

I love all sorts of representations, but there's this odd habit of relying on the old legends to cram in the new agenda. Female Thor comes up already in this thread. It can be the best comic ever, but it'll always lean on the original Thor for some of its momentum. I feel like people celebrating Female Thor for being female are saying, "Isn't it great there's a female superhero! She's popular thanks in part to having the name and powers of a more famous man!" That...doesn't feel right.

Frankly the Thor issue feels bad because Western Comics are hindered by relying on their staple lineup of Capes. In Anime and Manga females come up all the time in all sorts of roles, powers, and orientations. Remember Aoi Hana (Localized Title: Sweet Blue Flowers) that had a genuine Lesbian drama that wasn't there for the fanservice at all? And the original author even had Wandering Son eventually made into an anime which is about two kids who want to be the opposite genders. Like, no one 'forced' them to have it, they were good little shows/ There weren't fujoshi demanding Dragon Ball Super have a female Goku. there's so much stuff that comes out in anime and manga that we really don't have the same problem. We can have tons of positive diversity and still have a humorous un-PC show like G-Gundam where the Gundam from the Tequila Gundam has a sombrero and the Canadian Gundam is a Lumberjack. Diversity swings both ways.
And for One Punch Man, has anyone not enjoyed the hell out of Puri Puri Prisoner? He's hilarious, and fun. If you can't make fun of someone freely, you aren't treating them as an equal. But also don't be a jerk.


Thusly I maintain my thought that the problem of Western Superheroes/comics is that they try to constantly take themselves too seriously, and rely on some Super-Duper singular meta-verse where all their heroes inhabit the same space. Even if Marvel does launch a new female hero, "The Avengers" will always be the big name in that universe, so unless she joins up with that group she'll always play 2nd fiddle. They settled for making new 'Diverse' Heroes that won't be a gimmick by injecting them right into those iconic roles....Ultimately satisfying no one and perpetuating a stifling creative environment.

As long as the super hero movies still make a ton of cash I don't see them really trying to push themselves.
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Posted 1/6/16 , edited 1/6/16

WeeabooWarrior wrote:

Martin Luther King Jr is now played by a Chinese woman with 3 arms fighting Irish KKK members, who are black.

Don't tell me I'm crazy!


Next thing you know the Obama story is going to come out. Obama will be played by a Mexican-Asian to be more politically correct to the upcoming immigration waves -_-;
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Posted 1/6/16

H_Guderian wrote:


Yeah, it is a problem with western media, altogether. And the problem is that instead of bringing in minority writers on stuff for mainstream, they just paint established stuff a different color. No one is buying it.

Meanwhile, a lot of the good minority writers are sticking to writing stuff for cultural niches.... which is also a bit unhealthy.
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