Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Is it THAT hard to make Asian people look Asian?

I am not the world's biggest Howard Porter fan. I admit that the guy has a dynamic style that is very much geared towards the mainstream, so if I was a comic book publisher, I am sure I would find the guy work, because he flat out helps sell comics.

For instance, I would prefer him to draw a book like JLA than an artist I like more, like Doug Mahnke, because Porter is more dynamic, and works well in the wide scope, even though Manhke is definitely the better artist between the two.

Still, while in the wide scope he works well, in everything else - I find him very lacking. Facial expressions, body language, just normal every day stuff - I don't like his work.

I mention this specifically to put into context how pleased I was upon reading Flash #217.

He drew Linda Park as though she was actually Korean!!!!

I was taken aback.

Since her first appearance in Flash, about 15 years ago, Linda Park has been drawn as though she was actually Korean for about 5 or so total issues. Jackson Guice, Ron Lim and Alberto Dose were the ONLY artists to ever draw her as actually appearing Korean.

Greg Laroque would occasionally slant her eyes, that's it (and I know, that sounds horrible, but it is the truth!). Otherwise, she may as well have been Lois Lane.

Mike Wieringo? She may as well have been Lois Lane.

Salvador Larooca? She may as well have been Lois Lane.

Oscar Jiminez? She may as well have been Lois Lane.

Paul Ryan? She may as well have been Lois Lane.

Pop Mhan? I don't know WHO he was drawing...but he didn't make her look Korean.

Scott Kolins? He was better, in that he at least went for an "ethnic" look. Of course, all it turned out was that she ended up looking like a black Lois Lane.

And this is the same way in almost every title....artists just do not seem to attempt to draw ethnic characters as, well, ethnic characters!

And I think the main reason is just laziness.

It's a lot simpler to not have to put the effort into drawing the characters with details.

But it really irks me when I see it.

In any event, Howard Porter did not do that. He put some effort into it. And while she still suffered from some of his stitled body language problems, she at least looked like a Korean-American woman with stitled body language.

And that's progress.

Share with me the last time you were irked by a use of artistic shorthand!


Blogger Mr. Rice said...

I think the problem comes from the inherent simplification involved in a lot of comic art. In the past, depictions of Asians became awful stereotypes and such. Artists fear doing that, but often don't have the skill to pull off racial features without delving into charicature.

The better the artist, the better chance he has at being able to do this.

1/11/2005 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I think the guy who draws the Jubilee series now is the only guy in, what, 15 years to make her actually look Asian.

1/11/2005 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Heh...isn't that the worst luck?

The first guy in years to actually draw Jubilee as if she is Asian is also the same guy who draws all people of ethnic backgrounds with an almost offensive level of "stereotype art."

For instance, the black character has huge lips.

The asian character has huge slits for eyes.

1/12/2005 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. Rice said...

Yeah, exactly. I wouldn't say that he draws Jubilee like an Asian person. She looks more like a "Damn Evil Jap" or Fu Manchu stereotype than an actual Chinese American. It's really borderline offensive.

1/12/2005 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

I may be misremembering, but didn't '80s and '90s Marvel comics have Egyptian people colored some variation of gray?

1/12/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC and Marvel both did. I remember wondering why people in Suicide Squad were kinda purple-greyish. It never quite made sense to me.

I guess the thing that annoys me about superhero art is the great lack of variety when it comes to body types. The 90s were especially bad for that. Everyone, male and female, looked about six feet tall with amazingly toned bodies.


1/12/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Rice said...

Wait, they're NOT grey? Holy . . .next thing you tell me, it's going to be that black people aren't all crayon brown! Yeah, right!

1/13/2005 03:42:00 PM  

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