Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Interracial Relationships In Comics

Anyhow, this has been bandied about Comic Book Resources the last few weeks (and has come up in the past as well), so I figured I'd give it a spin here, as it really is something that has piqued my interest (and I apologize for two days in a row's worth of rhetorical questions). Have you noticed how many interracial relationships there are in comics? Isn't that kind of weird? I mean, when it gets to the point where two black characters dating is almost the ABERRATION, then you have to wonder, what the heck is up with that?

The character Storm was invented 30 years ago. (SPOILERS COMING!!!) She is apparently going to be marrying the Black Panther some time in 2006. Feel free to question the lameocity of that plot idea. However, also note that SINCE Storm has been introduced, she has had "interludes" with characters such as Arkon, Forge, Dracula, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Slipstream, Yukio....ALL of whom who are, well, not black.

That, however, is not that weird.

It is when you start looking at OTHER notable black superheroes.

John Stewart - Married an alien, then dated ANOTHER alien.

War Machine - Jim Rhodes only steady girlfriend that I can recall has been a white woman.

Luke Cage - Currently having a baby with a white woman, Jessica Jones.

Bishop - Only relationship that I can recall was with an alien (Deathbird)

Over in Young Avengers, Patriot seems to be into ONE of his two white female teammates.

Cyborg - The only girlfriend that I can remember him having was white.

Now, any one of these occurances would be totally normal.

But when ALL of them occur?

It's pretty weird, no?

Sure, there are exceptions, like Bumblebee and Mal Duncan, Black Ligtning and his wife, Night Thrasher and Silhouette, Steel and his second girlfriend and Vixen and Bronze Tiger.

How would you even explain something like this?

Just a weird coincidence?

Read More

41 Comments:

Anonymous Brian (not Cronin) said...

I think looking a bit more closely at Storm's case helps to explain the problem. In the early 90s, right after the adjectiveles X-Men title started, it looked like Storm was about to start a relationship with Bishop, which is what caused Forge to leave her. But that idea was regarded (at least by most fans I talked to) as "too obvious" -- there were only two black characters on the team (this was a decade before Bishop was retconned into being Australian), so they have to get together romantically.

The problem is, if you don't have enough black characters around to choose from, a relationship where both members are black becomes "too obvious," so they have to get together with their white associates instead, or not have a relationship at all. What would fans say if Luke Cage had a relationship with Photon, instead of Jessica Jones? That goes all the way back to the original Power Man & Iron Fist series, in fact -- it would have been too obvious to pair Misty Knight with Luke, so she was with Danny instead.

For the record, I don't think you can count Nightcrawler or Wolverine among Storm's romantic interests. She's clearly "just friends" with Wolverine, and anything with Nightcrawler is strictly in Kurt's head at the moment. By that standard, you'd have to count Gambit, too, for the three pages after Storm was re-aged, and before he met Rogue.

1/03/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

When you have green characters, blue characters, robots (synthezoids), and alien characters all involved in relationships, the black/white differences just don't seem that significant anymore (if they were ever that significant to begin with).

1/03/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Storm and Black Panther had romantic hints in a 70s Marvel Team-Up story, but the current marriage idea is still lame.

Cyborg had a black girlfriend (a Star labs Scientist) after he had his white one. Luke Cage also had a black girlfriend for a while.

I will say that as a black person, I can sympathize with the "too obvious" rationale. Like when you watch all those movies and TV shows, especially from the 70s and 80s, and there is a token black guy and a token black girl and they both happen to be dating each other. Or when you watch Miami Vice and notice Crockett gets 90% of the honeys because most of the guest stars are white, asian or latino. Meanwhile, Tubbs the black character only gets chicks once in a blue moon, whenever they happen to bring a black woman on the show.

Same goes in real life, a lot of my white friends used to hook me up with black women I had nothing in common with or who weren't physically attractive to me just because they figured that's all I wanted. (This hasn't been a problem recently I notice, my white friends now would hook me up based on personality compatibility and physical chemistry rather than just based on color).

So yeah, I think limiting blacks to dating blacks is pretty insulting.

1/03/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Typolad said...

Cyborg dated Dr. Sarah Charles, who was African-American. Apparantly he had a "Sarah" fetish.

Jim Rhodes dated Marcy someoneorother, who was head of Public Relations and later VP of Stark Enterprises. She was a horrible character who eventually betrayed Tony and Jim. Still she was black.

Both of the above relationships lasted several years.

1/03/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger --Greg Hatcher said...

I hate to play the 'age' card again, but if you'll check your Essential Iron Fist you'll see that it was ALWAYS Danny and Misty, long before Luke ever showed up. Claremont used to complain about how he was carefully setting up their relationship, it had never been intended to be anything other than a romance, but fans kept assuming that it was Danny and Colleen Wing that were together, simply because she was the WHITE girl. He's ranted about the racism of it a couple of times, I think.

1/03/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Griswold said...

Wasn't Luke Cage with Misty when he got involved with Jessica "Forgotten Spider-Woman stand-in" Jones?

Additionally, perhaps the reason black characters date characters that are either white or are grizzly bears is because "white dudes can't relate to black characters, but they sure can relate to wanting to do wasp-waisted white chicks."

For the record, while I certainly can relate to wanting to do white chicks, I also relate to wanting to do other kind of chicks, such as black women asian women, Indian women, and grizzly bears.

As long as my sexuality is covered, I would also like to address the allegation that I can't relate to black characters.

This has never been a problem for me. I don't need Static or Firestorm or Whatshisface from Young Avengers to be into a blonde girl for me to relate to them; I like them because they're well-written characters. I don't need to be familiar with what it's like to be black, just what it's like to be human, and during my years embedded here, I think I understand that fairly well.

My roommate had a class last summer wherein it was posited that white people can't relate to black characters in fiction or in video games, and she pointed out how into Grand Theft Auto: Sand Andreas I was at the time, and how playing a black character didn't bother me at all; I really enjoyed the character and related in some way.

Furthermore, I would like to address the accusation that I have anger control problems. I DO NOT HAVVVVS0FHJDGJLSDGRBHKGADOPAVG[HASG[P

1/03/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Eliot Johnson said...

John Stewart was also very involved with a white woman named Rose in GL MOSAIC (please tell me you've read that, Brian...)

1/03/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dean Hacker said...

I think the black hero dating non-black supporting character thing is probably a form of token-ism.

When the hero spends time with his girl-friend, the action part of the comic comes to a stop. It is two talking heads mostly. There was probably a concern in the '70s when the first major black characters were introduced that whites wouldn't be interested in reading two black people sitting and talking. For the same reason, you would rarely see more than a couple pages of dialouge without an arguement that required the hero to use some random power.

It just has become a convention in the years since.

Comic writers struggle mightly with female supporting characters anyway. It is hard to name a male hero that has a supproting cast that goes more than one deep. There is pre-Crisis Superman (Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Supergirl, etc.) and the '60s-'70s Spider-Man (Gwen Stacy, Mary-Jane Watson, Aunt May). In general, women do not stick with the regular cast. They die, and/or get powers, and/or become a minor antagonist.

In all the comics that I have read, there is a grand total of one compelling black female character without powers that I can recall: Amanda Waller from the 'Suicide Squad'.

1/03/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Melanism said...

No one seemed to freak out when Storm and Black Panther were married in Earth X.

I don't see a problem with having to characters of African heritage getting married.

I do have a problem with Eric Jerome Dickey writing it.

1/03/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It might be because Black Panther had a love interest who did survive time and retconing through Christopher Priest's run anyway. It's just one of those "they've been connected so long, they clearly belong together" pairings to me and possibly other Black Panther fans. That would be the completely unpowered Monica Lynne. She was pretty cool.

-- Anun

1/03/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Justice League Unlimited yet. John Stewart dated Hawkgirl, then later, Vixen. All in all, they've handled it pretty well (and even poked fun at themselves for the fact that 2 of the show's few black characters are dating).

1/03/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

I'm surprised no one's yet mentioned Milestone Comics.

Anyone remember the ratio of inter- to . . . infraracial (!? --> I just made that up!) couples there?

1/03/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting topic that I never thought much about. Maybe instead of inventing marginalized "civilans" of the same race to serve only to date said corresponding superhero, the writers thought it more productive and efficent just to pair off everyone with whoever was available at the time. It would also seem to me to be insulting just to have "Larry the black air force pilot" appear for the sole purpose of captin marvel having someone to date.

This has gotten me thinking. Captain Marvel was a wonderful character (even if she did have a jeri-curl) and powerful as hell to boot. I think its been covered here where she was positioned to be a real force in the marvel universe and ended up being marginalized. Aside from her, I dont know if there were many well written female black SUPERHERO characters in comcis? Justing thinking out loud...

-thebridgeisover

1/03/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

PS: My favorite interracial comics couple --> Cloak and Dagger

1/03/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Lyle said...

First off, I thought I'd point a finger at Mal and Karen Duncan (aka Bumblebee and... uhm, Mal) as a minor but popular black couple.

Maybe instead of inventing marginalized "civilans" of the same race to serve only to date said corresponding superhero, the writers thought it more productive and efficent just to pair off everyone with whoever was available at the time. It would also seem to me to be insulting just to have "Larry the black air force pilot" appear for the sole purpose of captin marvel having someone to date.

It's not unusual for a characters to be created solely to serve as love interests... see Sarah Simms for one example. The danger is increased because if the romance is unconvincing it may also see accusations of tolkenism in addition to being called an unconvincing romance.

But if you introduce a new same-ethnicity minority character as a love interest, the challenge is the same as if the relationship were to be an interracial one. If the relationship is well-written, it wouldn't be considered insulting.

1/03/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"It's not unusual for a characters to be created solely to serve as love interests... see Sarah Simms for one example. The danger is increased because if the romance is unconvincing it may also see accusations of tolkenism in addition to being called an unconvincing romance.

But if you introduce a new same-ethnicity minority character as a love interest, the challenge is the same as if the relationship were to be an interracial one. If the relationship is well-written, it wouldn't be considered insulting."

Damn you, Lyle!!!!

That was the exact point I was gonna make!!

I agree that it would appear silly to introduce a black character just for a black character to date, but comic writers ALREADY introduce new characters for the characters to date, it just so happens that usually, in the case of black heroes, the new character is not black.

In X-Treme X-Men, Chris Claremont introduced new love interests for Storm and Bishop - BOTH of the new love interests were white.

1/03/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"Cyborg dated Dr. Sarah Charles, who was African-American. Apparantly he had a "Sarah" fetish."

He DID date Sarah Charles? Fair enough. I always thought that that was something that Wolfman was setting up, but never went through with. Fair enough. I DID think about her (and I also remembered thinking, "What's up with the women named Sarah?!?"), but I discounted her as not occuring.

"Jim Rhodes dated Marcy someoneorother, who was head of Public Relations and later VP of Stark Enterprises. She was a horrible character who eventually betrayed Tony and Jim. Still she was black."

Stupid slip on my part. I was thinking strictly as War Machine. You are absolutely correct, though, Jim did date Marcy for quite a long time in the late 80s.

1/03/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

" John Stewart was also very involved with a white woman named Rose in GL MOSAIC (please tell me you've read that, Brian...)"

Good point, Eliot, I do recall Rose.

1/03/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Sleestak said...

"Scott said...

When you have green characters, blue characters, robots (synthezoids), and alien characters all involved in relationships, the black/white differences just don't seem that significant anymore (if they were ever that significant to begin with)."

In an era when you couldn't successfully portray characters as an interracial couple, the red/green/blue aliens WERE the commercially safe comic stand-ins for the white/black man/woman/etc.

1/03/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ironically, I think it's a case of writers bending over backwards to be liberal/progressive. As Brian (not Cronin) points out, when there's only a couple of black characters around in the first place, having them be the ones to pair off is both obvious and smacks of "stick to your own kind" segregation. So the writer looks over the cast and thinks, "Hey, if I hook them up with [white character] instead, wouldn't that be a surprise? Plus it'll show that I'm not prejudiced against interracial couples! Bonus!"

1/03/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Anonymous thekamisama said...

Should I worry one way or another? I don't think it sets a unfair precedent one way or the other. I hope that fictional characers who live in worlds with purple, red, green, and blue people are the same as regular people in this world. They fall in love.

To say interracial couples in comics is a form or tokenism though? Could you look at same race couples as inforcing "stay with your own" mentality? It is all how you bring your personal politics of race into it... maybe? Thats why I don't worry about it. Gender and race don't affect any of the non superhero comic romances I have seen, (Think of this discussion in relation to things like Sandman, Strangers in Paradise, or Manga romance comics?) why should they matter in this genre?

1/03/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live in a world where interracial relationships and couples are widespread and largely accepted, and justly so. If our comic book characters want to emulate what actually goes on in the real world (as they've been trying to do since Stan and Jack), this is a perfectly justified way to do it. There are just two things about this very discussion that bug me: 1) The character whose relationship kicked off this discussion is Storm, a long-standing character in a franchise that more or less exists to preach integration and that everyone should get along because, really, we're all the same. Did we MISS this underlying aspect of the X-Men? This applies in large part to what we're talking about now.
2) Excellent point with the aliens/robots/freaky demon things. We seem more used to these impossible sort of interracial relationships in comics, even though they are far weirder by real-world standards than two human beings of different ethnicities. Take Charles Xavier, for example. Had relationships with a Scottish human woman, an Israeli human woman, and an alien-bird-woman-empress. Which one would you bat your eyes at more? Heck, the JLU John Stewart has a relationship with Hawkgirl, who's from another planet that tried to subjugate mankind. Both of those things and many more besides should be notable about the relationship, rather than what color their skin is.

1/03/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Eli said...

Thats why I don't worry about it. Gender and race don't affect any of the non superhero comic romances I have seen, (Think of this discussion in relation to things like Sandman, Strangers in Paradise, or Manga romance comics?) why should they matter in this genre?

Wait...gender isn't an important topic in the relationships in Strangers in Paradise? Or Ranma? Who to the what now?

1/03/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

" Both of those things and many more besides should be notable about the relationship, rather than what color their skin is."

The whole point of the question is that it appears, with the proliferation of interracial relationships in comics, that the color of the skin IS an important factor in the decisions, for whatever reason.

For whatever reason, writers choose to specifically NOT have black heroes date black men/women, a decision that certainly appears to be based specifically ON the color of the skin of the person they are having a relationship with.

1/03/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelson said...

Just a thought... isn't Nightwing/Starfire an interracial couple as well? Neither of them is black, but it's hard to claim that Starfire is white...

1/03/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

The fact is the majority of black people (and the discussion has been focusing on black characters) in the US marry other black people. The number is like over 90% of marriages being intraracial. Of course, that's matrimony not dating, but I think many people believe the number is greater than it is.

I don't think any comics writers are working in the belief that the worlds they write about are much more integrated than the our world. They may as well put some effort in depicting it as it really is (in terms of these mundane, human level things that we are supposed to relate to, not the big superheroics).

1/03/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

I meant that it seems many people believe the number of interracial marriages involving black people is greater than it is.

1/03/2006 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger daveblud said...

Let's get real.

The reason writers (black and white) depict interacial relationships is two fold.

One: They believe once black men reach a level notoriety that they are too good for black women. (watching too much tv with athletes and entertaining dating white women). The essence of beauty in this country is (falsly) steered away from black women. Which it shouldn't be.

Two - The negative stereotypes depicted of black women such as ghetto, loud, populated with children, welfare, etc, etc.

I'm black and I know lots of black people of all different classes (rich to poor) and they all have black spouses.

My parents friends all have black spouses.

Some of us do think black women are beautiful.

Also, there aren't enough black characters to choose from in these superhero universes.

1/04/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Demetrius728 said...

I worked at The Gap for ten years. Every girl I dated, hooked up with, hung out with, etc. worked at the gap (or in the mall). I met my (black)wife at the gap. I dated italians, irish, latinas, mixed race, blacks, asians. I was the United Nations of love. I dated whomever I was around the most as do a lot of people in the real world. If I were a black superhero on a mostly white superhero team, I would date whomever was around.

I think it's up to the comic book writer to make any relationship in a comic a "real world" type situation.

1/04/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike Loughlin said...

It's not just comics; around the time "Hitch" was released, I read an article about how Hispanic/ black relationships were far more prevalent in movies than real life, as that was seen as an "acceptable" racial mixing.

I agree with the theory that comics are written by white guys, mostly, so they might be gun-shy about depicting a relationship between two black people.

1/04/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments lyle. Lots of good points. I agree that if the writing is well done, you can pull off anything. And yes, minor character do sometimes appear and disppear soley to serve as romantic foil for said hero (gwen stacey).

after reading everyone, I had some thoughts:

1.)Cloak and Dagger were hooking up?!

2.)I need to start hanging out at the Gap more...

3.) In the end we come back to the age-old question, "Is art reflecting life or is life reflecting art?"

hmmm,
-thebridgeisover

1/04/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

Thats weird, I was thinking today how there were no black superheroines that are prominent besides storm, i am also going to miss Batgirl who is like the only Asian superhero with her own comic book, because some idiot think Barbara Gordon makes a better Batgirl even though she rules more as Oracle anyway.

1/04/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

How would you even explain something like this?
People tend to form relationships within their communities, which is one reason why interracial couples are fairly rare in societies where racial groups don't often mix, for whatever reason.

Superheroes are a community in themselves, so I can see how it might be more likely that a black superhero and a white superhero would become close because they're in the same line of work, especially if they're in one of those teams where they live together anyway. You're more likely to develop a relationship with a coworker you see every day, regardless of their skin colour, than someone of the same race who you might not see so often.

Why, within that superhero community, people of the same skin colour don't pair up more often I don't know, but I suspect it's an unconscious (or conscious) avoidance of the "too obvious" criticism. I know that it often makes me uncomfortable to see characters in TV or film pair up based (apparently) only on skin colour, so maybe some of these writers feel the same way. Sort of a "I don't want to be attacked for tokenism by hooking up the two black characters, so I'll hook up this black woman and this white guy instead" thing.

If there's a good reason for Storm and Black Panther to get together, fine, but if it's only because they're both black, then I don't like that. Similarly, I would like an interracial couple to be based on some real emotion and characterisation, rather than simply some discomfort regarding pairing off the black characters or whatever.

For what it's worth, there's enough backstory with Storm and Panther for it to be plausible that they'd have a relationship (but I do have to say I did have a momentary twinge of "they're pairing off the black characters" when I heard about it), and Bendis has convinced me that there's something genuine in the Cage/Jones pairing, even if it sometimes seems that Cage is more interested in the child than Jessica.

1/05/2006 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Oh and ninjawookie? Ninja Batgirl and Babs-as-Oracle is how I prefer it too.

1/05/2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

"Two - The negative stereotypes depicted of black women such as ghetto, *loud*, *populated with children*, welfare, etc, etc."

And here I must point out that, as with many negative sterotypes, the traits I added asterisks to are reinforced not just by the media, but by actual members of the group being stereotyped.

Or at least in my neighborhood, they are.

1/06/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Hypestyle said...

hmm..

While one could argue that this relationship/engagement/marriage is rushed, I'm vaguely offended by the intimation that this is being done as a PC thing because they are both black..

How often are endogomous relationships even portrayed among comic-book heroes of color? Statistically, I would argue that the wealth of inter-ethnic/inter-species relationships in the Marvel U. are more 'forced' than Storm/Panther is..
It's bad enough that it took 29 years for the X-Men series to even introduce a black male character on the main team(Bishop-- well, I guess now he's part aborigine- Gateway is only his great-great-grandfather)..

So, I'm hoping that fans (and fanboys) will eventually accept this pairing, because I really don't want to have to deal with some anal future writer revealing that Storm or T'Challa really married a clone/alien/LMD, and the real significant other is being kept in a basement somewhere in Nova Scotia..

1/18/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Apa Saja Dah said...

Find and download that you need at Rapidshare Search Engine.
Top Site List Free Proxy Site Free Download mp3 Michael Jackson song All Michael Jackson Lyrics Hollywood Celebrity Gossip Download Mp3 Gratis

11/11/2009 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Lucy Lane and Ron Troupe (at least back in the day)

12/13/2009 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger shoppingugg said...

Abercrombie & Fitch Abercrombie Fitch Abercrombie Fitch Abercrombie Abercrombie AF AF Cheap Abercrombie and Fitch Cheap Abercrombie and Fitch discount Abercrombie and Fitch discount Abercrombie and Fitch Abercrombie and Fitch sale

1/28/2010 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger ming said...

MPEG Converter for Mac
MPEG to MP4 Converter for Mac
MPEG to AVI Converter for Mac
MPEG to DVD Converter for Mac
MPEG to FLV Converter for Mac
MPEG to WMV Converter for Mac
MPEG to MOV Converter for Mac
mpeg to vob Converter for mac
MPEG to DivX Converter for Mac
MPEG to 3GP Converter for Mac
MPEG to iPod Converter for Mac
MPEG to iPhone Converter for Mac
MPEG to MP3 Converter for Mac

8/16/2010 02:45:00 AM  
Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

zhengjx20160723
coach outlet
air force 1 trainers
michael kors purses
coach factory outlet
true religion outlet store
michael kors outlet
kate spade outlet
nike uk
louis vuitton handbags
ralph lauren sale
cheap jordan shoes
coach outlet store online
air jordan shoes
ralph lauren
michael kors handbags
louis vuitton outlet
lebron 12
ray ban sunglasses
giuseppe zanotti outlet
nike air max uk
cheap oakley sunglasses
coach factory outlet
tory burch flats
true religion outlet
tods sale
kobe shoes 11
fitflops
timberlands
coach outlet
oakley sunglasses outlet
longchamp outlet
coach outlet clearance
christian louboutin outlet
coach outlet store online clearances
louis vuitton purses
ralph lauren home
coach factory outlet
replica rolex watches
jordan retro 13
adidas originals store

7/22/2016 05:23:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home