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  1. #1
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    Default Why are there next to no Italian American superheroes?

    There is a thread here on LGBT superheroes, so I thought that I would bring up the fact that there are virtually no Marvel superheroes that are Italian American despite about 6 percent of the population being Italian American. It is important to properly represent Italian Americans, just as it is important to properly represent LGBT people. Italian Americans are so overlooked in Marvel comics, that I have largely stopped reading them, as already we are not included in their diversity initiative. The only Italian superheroes in Marvel that there are are either thuggish murderers like the Punisher or stereotypical thugs like Strong Guy. That's it. We have not one good guy (male or female) in Marvel Comics that actually makes people more positive about Italian Americans. The idea behind my concern is that having superheroes represent your demographic group is that eventually people will only see heroes of your group as heroes as opposed to just tokens of your group. In both Marvel and DC, this is exactly the approach for ensuring that there are LGBT superheroes in comics. Why not have Italian American superheroes in Marvel? Stereotypes about my group are only getting worse and Italian American politicians and celebrities do not identify strongly with us. We need comic book representation quite a bit. I am itnerested in what the people from Marvel think. How do I voice my concerns to Marvel directly? Is anyone willing to support my humble request for representation in comicbooks?
    Sincerely,
    Dr. Christopher Binetti

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member jackolover's Avatar
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    Punisher maybe?
    Scorpion, female, Hulks daughter
    Rockslide.

    Not many.
    Last edited by jackolover; 07-02-2019 at 11:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member JackDaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackolover View Post
    Punisher maybe?
    Lol. Surely no one regards Punisher as a hero. He’s a good illustration of type casting Christopher is complaining about.

    To be fair to Marvel (and DC) getting their fictional universes more representative of actual world (in terms of “people diversity”) is really, really difficult because of way those fictional universes were first conceived 50 plus years ago when values were different AND what actually sells in today’s market. (Many more fans want to read about Spider-man, etc than latest new hero.)

  4. #4
    Extraordinary Member jackolover's Avatar
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    I mean the point to make here is that America is made up of all the ethnic groups you can imagine, so all super heroes have some ethnic bloodline in them anyway. Hell, Steve Rogers is an Irish super hero. So I don’t get which ethnic group isn’t represented by Marvel super heroes. I suggest all Marvel super heroes are basically Jewish, because of Jewish people cornering publication in the 1930’s onwards, and Stan and Jack being Jewish. But really, America was a melting pot and still is. And New York? Forgettaboutit.

    What is an American from the United States of America?
    Last edited by jackolover; 07-02-2019 at 11:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Killerbee911's Avatar
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    Why aren't they many heroes from a super specific demographic? Because representation doesn't have to be that specific guess how many non Puerto Rican Caribbean Superheroes in the Big 2 companies? By my count just one Blink .While it would be nice to see someone from my exact background. Because I am Black I get to see myself represented on the page. Now more on topic the fact that OP called Strong Guy stereotypical thug is kinda mind blowing that character is nothing like that and they are other heroes some stereotypical some not

    Punisher
    Valentina Allegra de Fontaine
    Strong Guy
    Rockslide
    Blue Shield
    Scorpion (Carmilla Black)
    Omerta
    Unuscione

    Outside of Marvel

    DC
    Zatanna
    Huntress
    Argent

    Image

    Witchblade
    Darkness

    They are a nice enough mix from what I see and if superhero comics someone is sole source of positive representation,they have bigger issues.They are many good Italian-American representation beyond comics and comics is such niche thing it would be hard for everyone to get represented to level they would like to see.
    Last edited by Killerbee911; 07-03-2019 at 12:36 AM.

  6. #6
    Ultimate Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Yeah, look at the current Avengers team.

    Iron Man - American
    Thor - Nordic
    Captain America - Irish-American
    Black Panther - African
    Ghost Rider - Latin-American
    Captain Marvel - Extraterrestrial-American (she's half Kree)
    She-Hulk - American
    Blade - British

    Melting pot, like jackolover said.

  7. #7
    Mighty Member KangMiRae's Avatar
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    A villain named Pizza Pasta should be included into the Marvel Universe, straight from the Punch Out arcade game.
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  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    Do you really want a hero crying "mama mia" every page and who can't say a full sentence without adding a couple of Italian words?

    Cause that's what going to happen you know. That's how subtle writers are.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Raye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackolover View Post
    I mean the point to make here is that America is made up of all the ethnic groups you can imagine, so all super heroes have some ethnic bloodline in them anyway. Hell, Steve Rogers is an Irish super hero. So I don’t get which ethnic group isn’t represented by Marvel super heroes. I suggest all Marvel super heroes are basically Jewish, because of Jewish people cornering publication in the 1930’s onwards, and Stan and Jack being Jewish. But really, America was a melting pot and still is. And New York? Forgettaboutit.

    What is an American from the United States of America?
    I mean, there are degrees of ethnicity depending on when your ancestors immigrated, and how much they tended to stick to a community of people with similar backgrounds.

    to use my family as an example here, my mom's side, at least a good chunk of them, immigrated to North America over 200 years ago, they participated in the land rush, and lived in sod huts, fought in American wars and revolutions, (Sam Houston is one of my ancestors), and we have a diary of one of our ancestors who took the very first coast to coast train ride. It's a North American ancestry, more than anything else. In terms of origins, it is a general mix of everything you can imagine, if you trace the family tree back far enough you have Irish, Scottish, Dutch, Spanish, First Nations, and who knows what else. So cultural ties outside of North America are not terribly important on my mom's side. My dad's family, on the other hand, immigrated from Denmark when he was 10 years old. Both his parents are Danish, and their parents were Danish, or at least Scandinavian, and on and on. On his side, keeping some of the traditions and the food, and general connection back to Denmark is much more important, they are members of the Danish Canadian Club, the family gathers there for special occasions, we celebrate Christmas in the Danish way, etc.

    What I think the OP is asking for is something more like my dad's family, but Italian, not someone who may have a few drops of Italian blood in them from some forgotten ancestor.
    Last edited by Raye; 07-03-2019 at 12:49 AM.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Drops Of Venus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starter Set View Post
    Do you really want a hero crying "mama mia" every page and who can't say a full sentence without adding a couple of Italian words?

    Cause that's what going to happen you know. That's how subtle writers are.
    Even Marvel knows that this kind of ''representation'' doesn't fly with audiences nowadays. When stuff like that happens, people are quick to call out writers for their lack of understanding of one's ethnic background. Hiring italitan-american writers or italian-american consultants is a good way to reassure that you'd have a more genuine and accurate representation of that specific ethnicity. If you get a writer who's passionate about that demographic the same way Greg Pak is about asian people or G. Willow Wilson is about muslim people, it shouldn't be hard to make it happen. It just seems like Marvel hasn't found the person to do that for italian-american characters yet.
    Last edited by Drops Of Venus; 07-03-2019 at 01:10 AM.

  11. #11
    Mighty Member chamber-music's Avatar
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    Victoria Montesi guardian of the Darkhold.

    Blue Shield, Rockslide and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine are some other notable Italian heroes. Most Italian American Marvel characters are villains though.

    The honest answer is the that many comic characters are built off lazy stereotypes. A number of Italian comic characters have thuggish of organised crime backgrounds because in the past that was how they were prominently portrayed in American media and unfortunately things are slow to change.

    Many of Marvels' most popular characters were created decades ago.

    Marvel could make a new Italian American hero. Making new characters that can generate enough fans to stick around in comics is a uphill battle already and the chances of them being a major hit are slim. It would probably be easier just revealing an established hero character has a Italian background.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member JackDaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raye View Post
    I mean, there are degrees of ethnicity depending on when your ancestors immigrated, and how much they tended to stick to a community of people with similar backgrounds.

    to use my family as an example here, my mom's side, at least a good chunk of them, immigrated to North America over 200 years ago, they participated in the land rush, and lived in sod huts, fought in American wars and revolutions, (Sam Houston is one of my ancestors), and we have a diary of one of our ancestors who took the very first coast to coast train ride. It's a North American ancestry, more than anything else. In terms of origins, it is a general mix of everything you can imagine, if you trace the family tree back far enough you have Irish, Scottish, Dutch, Spanish, First Nations, and who knows what else. So cultural ties outside of North America are not terribly important on my mom's side. My dad's family, on the other hand, immigrated from Denmark when he was 10 years old. Both his parents are Danish, and their parents were Danish, or at least Scandinavian, and on and on. On his side, keeping some of the traditions and the food, and general connection back to Denmark is much more important, they are members of the Danish Canadian Club, the family gathers there for special occasions, we celebrate Christmas in the Danish way, etc.

    What I think the OP is asking for is something more like my dad's family, but Italian, not someone who may have a few drops of Italian blood in them from some forgotten ancestor.
    This post really "resonates" with me.

    When I read the first 30 or so issues of Ms Marvel (I need to catch up with this series sometime) one thing that I particularly enjoyed was reading about some one with a completely different family lifestyle (to mine), and I liked that writer could put enough effort in to make it feel "authentic" (at least to an ignoramus like I).

  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member Mike_Murdock's Avatar
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    I recently visited Los Angles where I came across their Italian-American History museum. It's not great, but it's free. They had a little tribute to Italian-American comic book artists. The list was John Buscema, Frank Giacoia, Carmine Infantino, John Romita Sr., Dick Giordano, Joe Orlando, Bob Montana, and Rocco "Rocke" Mastroserio. Montana is an Archie guy and I've never heard of the last guy, but the list is significantly a list of second-wave Marvel guys. One would have hoped there would have been more influence there.

    Frank Castle is the one that immediately comes to mind as a clear choice, but he really is the only one that comes to mind. A lot of early Marvel tended to go for WASPy characters and, when it doubt, went with Irish. I wonder if that has to do with the background of people like Stan Lee, who just encountered the Irish more growing up. The one that stands out is Dino Manelli from the Howling Commandos. There was a clear deliberate effort to include as many ethnic groups as possible in that book and Manelli was a clear Frank Sinatra-inspired character who was one of the more fun ones (dashing Hollywood star who spoke English, Italian, and German, he was one of the more useful characters). But they also had Izzy Cohen as a prominent Jewish member and Gabe Jones as a prominent black member. Manelli was just one of the bunch. Countess Valentina Allegra de Fontaine from Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD would be probably the most prominent Italian character for decades, so I'll mention her as well.
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  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Tycon's Avatar
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    We could really do without the backhanded comparison to the LGBTQ+ community.

  15. #15
    Fantastic Member tbaron's Avatar
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    I dont know why there is this big push to make everyone feel included in comics any way. I can understand not wanting to have all white heroes and wanted to include African American heroes. But why the big push to have gay heroes or Jewish heroes? Does it really add that much to the story? When has Ben Grimm ever gone to temple in The Fantastic Four? When has Northstar gone to a pride rally. I know they did his wedding and that was cool to see. But in the end it really doesnt change my enjoyment of the characters to know what religion they are or if they are gay. Does it really matter that much when Ben belts Dr Doom that he is Jewish? Does it change things that much? I am a gay male and I dont feel any more affinity to Northstar just because he is gay. A good writer will make me enjoy the story no matter what the backround of the hero is. I just dont see why it is such a big deal.

    I guess my point is if we want everyone to be equal in this country then why are we going to such extremes to keep pointing out how they are different? I am a gay male but it is not how I define myself. I define my self by being a good human, not a good gay man.

    Why do we have to always qualify everything? First Anrican American does this... First gay man in baseball.. Why cant we just celebrate the achievement without qualifying what race a man is or what his sexuality is.

    Ben Grimm, Black Panther and Northstar are heroes. They do the right thing and fight for what is right. That should be all anyone needs to know. Everything else is just secondary.

    I know I am going to get a lot of hate foe this I am sure. I am not trying to troll. Just understand why it is such a huge deal for people because i dont get it.
    Last edited by tbaron; 07-03-2019 at 07:44 AM.
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