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Topic: Talk of a Black Spider-Man. (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Marc M. Woolman
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Posted: 02 June 2010 at 1:47pm | IP Logged | 1  

One of the arguments I've read goes along the lines of " Black Panther and Luke Cage were created specifically to be black characters. That it is an essential part of who they are. Peter Parker's race was not essential to who he is"
I don't agree with this at all, it's basically saying being white is the default situation and white people have no cultural relevance or experiences unique to their ethnicity.

Following the "being white is not essential" reasoning, than any hereo or villain who is Black, but doesn't have "black" in their name or seem to be especially relevant to their character should be able to be swapped out for a white person, or a native American, or an Asian, etc. etc.

James Rhodes, by their reasoning doesn't have to be black. He's Tony Stark's best friend and an accomplished man in his own right. What part of that demands it's because he's black? Or how about the guy that swings the wrecking ball as a member of the wrecking crew? What part of that job function needs to be done a black person?
The proponents of the "being white isn't essential" arguement never seem to find examples where a black character could easilly have his/her race changed to something else. Yet by their criteria there would be plenty out there to choose from.

I'm of the opinion that any race or ethnicity has its own unique experiences and cultural significance, and even if the character's ethnicity is under-played it is an essential part of who the character is. I also think you should respect the character as created and popularized, if you're going to do a new story or movie about said character.


Edited by Marc M. Woolman on 02 June 2010 at 1:50pm
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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 02 June 2010 at 1:55pm | IP Logged | 2  

Well said, Marc. White characters, especially iconic characters, shouldn't be seen as blank slates, onto which any ethnic background can be grafted.


Edited by Paulo Pereira on 02 June 2010 at 1:59pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 June 2010 at 2:03pm | IP Logged | 3  

James Rhodes, by their reasoning doesn't have to be black. He's Tony Stark's best friend and an accomplished man in his own right. What part of that demands it's because he's black?

••

In the plot, there was no reference to Rhodey's race. It was my decision, as the first artist to draw him, to make him Black.

Now THAT'S "colorblind casting".

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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 June 2010 at 2:04pm | IP Logged | 4  

Roger Stern used to say that in Peter Parker, Stan and Steve had prefigured PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT, creating a character who was very much a New York Jew of their generation.
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Robert LaGuardia
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Posted: 02 June 2010 at 2:28pm | IP Logged | 5  

That's cool JB, never knew that.
And let me clarify that I don't want a black Spider-Man. Like Kevin and others have said the only justification needed for keeping Peter Parker Caucasian is that it's how he was created. It just doesn't bother me, it reminds me of what David Mazzuchelli wrote in the deluxe version of Batman: Year One-"Superheroes are real when they're drawn in ink."
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Frantz Kenol
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Posted: 02 June 2010 at 9:38pm | IP Logged | 6  

In the plot, there was no reference to Rhodey's race. It was my decision, as the first artist to draw him, to make him Black.

Now THAT'S "colorblind casting".


***************************


now THAT is a way to make a point.

Cool bit of trivia to know.

and thanks for That.


As a black man, nothing upsets me more than when a white character with a rich history is turned black, (or any other color).  well actually what I should say is nothing upsets me more than when more attention isn't paid to what the character is actually supposed to be like in the source material.

That includes, personality, height, weight, hair color, and oh yeah, race, any race change in any direction btw,...

If one wants to portray black/other characters (which I support), just create NEW characters in their own right. JB is right that it is demeaning to get a hand me down.


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Mike O'Brien
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Posted: 02 June 2010 at 11:15pm | IP Logged | 7  

I like the way you think, Frantz!
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 2:49am | IP Logged | 8  

"No one ever thinks ahead when it comes to this stuff. Let's say this went through. A decade from now people would be looking back going "Remember when they made that weird Spider-Man movie where he was black? What the f*** was that all about?"."

******************

That's not usually how it works.  I would be much more concerned with all the people saying "remember they made those weird Spider-Man movies where Peter Parker was white?"

Whatever Hollywood does is what 99% of people accept as the REAL versions of these characters.  The comics alone simply do not MATTER.  That's why we, as comic fans, absolutely should be offended when these sorts of changes are made in the movies.

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Pete Carrubba
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 3:05am | IP Logged | 9  

Reading the article made me wonder who the "bland white actors" considered for the part are, and they are pictured here. And guess what? None of them look anything like Peter Parker. I wish they could just give Tom Cruise a youth serum or something.

This discussion on race-swapping Spider-Man is hypothetical as far as I can tell. The powers-that-be aren't that stupid. They're just very, very close.

If this new Spider-Man reboot were to even consider making Peter Parker black, then watch for the same box office bonanza that The Honeymooners movie had.

Oh, and here's an article that shows the other side of the coin.


Edited by Pete Carrubba on 03 June 2010 at 3:12am
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 3:50am | IP Logged | 10  

Tom Cruise?

What people miss is that in those early stories, Peter was not seen as a babe magnet - he was the nerdy, book worm. OK, in later life he somehow managed to attract a gorgeous blond and a beautiful red head but the point there was that it gave hope to us nerdy, book worms.

Peter parker was not the school jock, that was Flash. Please cast appropriatly.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 4:29am | IP Logged | 11  

Justin Long would have been a near-perfect Ditkoesque Peter Parker around the time he did GALAXY QUEST. Ditto Jake Gyllenhaal, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW vintage.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 4:32am | IP Logged | 12  

In the plot, there was no reference to Rhodey's race. It was my decision, as the first artist to draw him, to make him Black.

Now THAT'S "colorblind casting".

+++

now THAT is a way to make a point.

••

Working primarily with established characters who were White -- most of the X-Men, the FF, the Avengers, Superman, etc -- I made it a point from very early on in my career to "cast" supporting players, especially authority figures, as minorities. Black, Asian, anything I felt I could successfully portray in the art. Not that the colorist was always on the same page. . . . . !!

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Glenn Brenner
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 4:37am | IP Logged | 13  

What people miss is that in those early stories, Peter wasnot seen as a babe magnet - he was the nerdy, book worm. OK, in laterlife he somehow managed to attract a gorgeous blond and a beautiful redhead but the point there was that it gave hope to us nerdy, book worms.

******

James, you forgot Betty Brant. She was definitely a babe!



Edited by Glenn Brenner on 03 June 2010 at 4:37am
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 5:40am | IP Logged | 14  

Mike O'Brien in re dark-featured Greek Elektra: "Going by what Frank Miller drew..."

****

Precisely. I've been around Greeks my whole life, from all parts of the country, and the range of looks can be considerable. But Miller drew what he drew and established the set look for the character. Being unfaithful to that look is not even remotely close to being necessary to bringing the character to life on the screen.
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Paulo Pereira
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 6:10am | IP Logged | 15  

Groan. Another argument for a black Spider-Man, specifically Donald Glover.

Edited by Paulo Pereira on 03 June 2010 at 6:11am
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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 9:49am | IP Logged | 16  

As someone pointed out, a black Spider-Man is a character like Static: A geeky kid touched on the shoulder by fate who becomes an unlikely hero.

That's the core of Spider-Man that can be applied to other, original characters of different races. Making Spider-Man black implies that it's a cosmetic change. But it's not. The history of our country is such that race is *not* cosmetic. I would be a different person if I were not black. Obama would be a different person. That's the reality.

I certainly get the frustration of black actors who are hungry for great parts and because of their ethnicity can never play them. It's unfortunate that the history of theater, for instance, limits options for blacks. You can alter that by creating great new parts for blacks but we're a long way from catching up with history. So, Audra MacDonald -- regardless of skill -- has less options than Kristen Chenoweth.

Sure, Denzel Washington would probably be a great Stanley Kowalski but his appearance is also part of the suspension of disbelief. You change it and you change the part.

I felt that when they cast Hilton Battle as Billy Flynn in CHICAGO years ago. It was suddenly "less real." And there were lines that were inevitably changed as a result.
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Sam Karns
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 17  

I wouldn't mind if a black actor, possibly a comedian, to contribute the "VOICE" of Spider-Man, but not that in playing the role of Peter Parker.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 10:46am | IP Logged | 18  

It's unfortunate that the history of theater, for instance, limits options for blacks. You can alter that by creating great new parts for blacks but we're a long way from catching up with history. So, Audra MacDonald -- regardless of skill -- has less options than Kristen Chenoweth.

Sure, Denzel Washington would probably be a great Stanley Kowalski but his appearance is also part of the suspension of disbelief. You change it and you change the part.

----

Regarding theater, I think it depends on the production. Unlike film, theater does not have to represent visual reality. If an Asian actress is playing Éponine in Les Misérables and the Thénardiers are portrayed by white actors, I don't think I'm expected to wonder if the French couple had adopted an Asian baby. Éponine is what the musical says she is, a French girl. Similarly, I've been to plays where black and white actors are cast as siblings, and I don't think I'm expected to believe that they are not biological siblings.

A Polish Denzel Washington might be more difficult to buy (not saying it can't be done), and it would be wrong to change Stanley Kowalski into a black man.

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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 10:56am | IP Logged | 19  

Didn't Sir Patrick Stewart do a stage production of Othello with an all black cast?

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Thanos Kollias
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 11:58am | IP Logged | 20  

If we are to cast a black guy as Spider-Man, we should also cast a tall guy as Wolverine!
Er... oops!
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Brian Joseph Mayer
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 12:04pm | IP Logged | 21  

So, what if it was done, and what is it turned out better?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 22  

So, what if it was done, and what is it turned out better?

••

What if the world was full of unicorns that ate sunshine and pooped rainbows?

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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 3:27pm | IP Logged | 23  

I think that Abe Vigoda should be the next Spider-Man. 

***

He'd make a helluva Terrible Tinkerer!

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Pete Carrubba
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Posted: 03 June 2010 at 3:54pm | IP Logged | 24  


 QUOTE:
Tom Cruise?

Yes, Tom Cruise.


With a youth serum, of course.

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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 04 June 2010 at 1:51am | IP Logged | 25  

Would have to be a strong youth serum - Cruise is pushing 50.

As for my two cents about a black Spider-Man: NO! Just as I wouldn't want to see a white Luke Cage.
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