Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black and White

White Guy #1
Writer


White Guy #2
Scientist


White Guy #3
Billionaire heir philanthropist playboy civic leader wealthy person


White Guy #4
Royalty


White Gal #1
Royalty/demigoddess


Black Guy #1
Marine


Black Guy #2

Athlete


Black Guy #3


Football player


Black Guy #4
Loud Black Lad/fashionisto


Black Gal #1
Supermodel


Now, I'll admit I'm not being entirely fair. Jefferson Pierce became a teacher.  Marines aren't stupid (that's what the Army's for) and Jon Stewart is an engineer.  Plus, I'm omitting such characters as the brilliant technologist John Henry Irons. 

Here's some balance, then:

Bonus Black Guy:
One of the smartest people on the planet

Bonus White Guy:
Klutz/congenital idiot.
And yet...

I still say that for various reasons our society, even if only subconsciously, values black people for their physical prowess and attributes, rather than their intelligence and acumen.  I believe it's a vestige of American slavery, where slaves were valued for their use as laborers.

You could make a case that:
(a) most black characters were created later than most white characters, at a time when heroes were more likely to have humble origins;
(b) if you start including more characters, such as Steel, in the list above, that the disparity between the treatment of white and black characters diminishes; or
(c) as more new characters are created any such imbalance will lessen.

You could make those cases. But I'm not sure I'd buy them.  

You may find my theory about the ingrained "slave labor values" ridiculous or too distasteful to accept. Okay. Then let's pause to look at the exposed thighs, abs, and cleavage of black men:


Size matters.


Shocking, really.
Oooo, artsy.
Oh, Tyroc.

You almost never see this kind of costume treatment for white male characters (excepting Plastic Man).  Of course, you DO see it for female white characters.  Almost as if our society were valuing women mostly ... for their physical attributes.

I don't mean to make too big a deal out of this.  But I do think it's a real thing, and something we need to pay attention to, lest it continue indefinitely.

You're welcome to dismiss or contest my theory.  But at least think about it, in the process.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Bombo is no longer your friend

As Kimbareta Shakespeare wrote, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless elephant."

Unlike the devious and sexually perverse octopus, the faithful elephant is known for its long memory of those it cherishes and its undying loyalty.  It's nearly impossible to lose the affections of an elephant...unless you are inveterate embittered jackass Congo Bill.

"Egads, even my Giant Peanut Butter Fudge Trap won't stop him!"

If you think Green Arrow villains are bad, you should read some Congo Bill.  Not a lot of colorful villains in the Congo (outside of the government), so the most interesting rogues in his Rogue's Gallery are...elephants.

When Janu finally figures out that Bill makes up the Unwritten Law of the Jungle on the fly, it won't be pretty.

Wouldn't it be GREAT, by the way, if the Flash had a elephant villain in his rogue's gallery? Say, a psychedelic Ganesha Guru, who had perception-bending powers?

This one's for free, DC; get to work on it.

Anyway, being no Barry Allen, Congo Bill has limited tolerance for rogues. Even ones who are obviously gentle in nature.
Bombo's lighter-than-air shoes didn't work out nearly as well as his cold-gun.

Rather than just let Bombo loose in some unpopulated area, Congo Bill leaps at the chance to follow The Unwritten Law of the Jungle and shoot him.  Because Congo Bill is from Mega City.

That's it, Janu; just close your eyes, bury your head and quietly sob to yourself.
Just like every Saturday night in Bill's tent.

Bill is his usual supportive self about it, though.

"Why, who knows? There could be another elephant RIGHT BEHIND US.
Don't look, though."

Naturally, it turns out Bombo was being framed.  Although who could blame him anyway?  If I spent all my time with Congo Bill, I'd turn against humans, too.  No wonder the jungle gods eventually turned Bill into a part-time gorilla.

Since shooting elephants is about as heroic as Congo Bill gets, he manages to squeeze off a non-heroic haiku as he presumptively damns his pachyderm pal:

"Hey, Janu, I rented us a movie for tonight; Old Yeller."

No use blowing that
whistle, Janu... Bombo is
no longer your friend.

What haiku can YOU compose to commemorate poor Bombo or condemn Congo Bill?