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  1. #16
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    I'll share some more thoughts I had from a personal perspective. I think that it's positive when characters like Superman and Wonder Woman are left ambiguous enough to be accessible visually to non-white minorities.

    Growing up as a Latino kid in the 90's, my most identifiable version of Superman was Dean Cain, who is mixed and has Asian ancestry.


    Although I'm not the darkest Latino, I had absolutely no pause seeing myself as Dean Cain's Superman because of his features and dark hair, dark eyes, and tan skin. Similarly, when the Animated Series came out, they had both Jor-El and Clark/Superman looking pretty damn dark next to other white people, with dark eyes.



    So, I never had to think twice and "pretend" that I looked like Superman while wearing his costume for Halloween (and every day after school in the 3rd grade for like, months...) because I just did. In my head, if not in actuality. I wasn't some super race-conscious kid who constantly thought about my ethnicity, but I didn't have to do that 2nd guess that many (not all) kids consciously or subconsciously make when embracing a hero. It was effortless, the way it must be for most white kids and most heroes. My Latina cousin, who isn't much of a comic book geek, made an excited facebook post about little hispanic girls being able to see themselves as Wonder Woman when the trailer came out. She's much darker than Gal Gadot, but it's close enough that it makes a difference. I'm not saying it works for everyone or every race, but it worked for me in a way that didn't throw off the majority white fanbase.

    My anecdote simply serves the argument that the more universal-looking icons like him are, the broader the audience that can relate to him, and the more of a global hero he can become in-universe. I love Reeve, Cavill, and many blue-eyed pink Supermen of the past. But I always think to myself, when he's saving some little black girl or a South Asian boy, that it's just a little nicer when the colors don't clash so harshly. And whenever I see it in comics, I think to myself, that just looks right.

    But that's not to say that comics shouldn't work to keep diversifying comics with fresh and committed takes on minority characters, or that subtly racebending Superman is the limit and that Superman himself can't be reimagined as a different color. Just saying, a little sun goes a long way.

  2. #17
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    Hernan was probably one of my favorite interpretations of Superman.

    I'd probably say Hispanic due to the already mentioned fact of the immigrant comparison.

    Love Val and Kal though as well

  3. #18
    Concerned Citizen Citizen Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clementine - The Worst Poster Ever View Post
    I think Superman should look biracial. So yeah, I think it would be great to have Superman that isn't a white as the Superman of the main continuity.

    The Kents would also be an interracial couple, so Clark would grow up witnessing and experiencing all kinds of bigotry.

    Another missed opportunity with the New 52.
    Said with a hint of sarcasm.



    Why argue as to whether Superman should be black or white? Why not a true alien? Maybe a fish person? It seems to be the most logical option presented so far.

  4. #19
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen Kane View Post
    Said with a hint of sarcasm.



    Why argue as to whether Superman should be black or white? Why not a true alien? Maybe a fish person? It seems to be the most logical option presented so far.
    Cuz he has to grow up feeling human and we got Martian Manhunter to demonstrate life with that truly alien appearance.

  5. #20
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Some really interesting, well spoken posts here. Im glad I stepped in.

    For myself, I wouldn't take offense with Superman being drawn as black (or whatever), but I would have to ask if the narratives it opens up are worth the social backlash and disintegration of a visual that has been burned into our DNA over the majority of a century. And I ask this only because those topics of race are things that can, and have, been discussed quite successfully with other characters. Would Superman have anything new to add to that conversation beyond just throwing his weight around? love me some President Superman, and Id keep with the book (so long as quality holds, just like always) but does it really add anything that hasn't been already said by others?

    I think if you really want to explore race with Superman, and you want to stay within the themes and topics that permeate the mythos, you make Clark's ethnicity unrecognizable. Not blue skin and orange eyes or anything obviously alien, but is he Hispanic? Native? Is that some Asian in there? Middle Eastern? Greek? Italian? Scottish? It should be difficult to pin down where Clark came from, and perhaps you'd call him "white" just because he's not quite anything else. Clark's almost always got a degree of isolation in him, a sense of being The Other, of not quite fitting in and (as a child) never quite understanding why he was different, but knowing he was. So to that end, Superman shouldn't "belong" to any ethnic group.

    And you could explore Clark dealing with that through childhood comments questioning his ethnicity with a slew of racial insults, or just assuming he's part of a race someone dislikes, to say nothing of the rumors of Martha having an affair and Clark not really being John's son (or exploring bi-racial marriages or however you wanna adjust the Kents. Or just keep them white and spin the original "adoption" version). Lots you can do with an ethnically ambiguous Superman.
    "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

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  6. #21
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    Superman,the guy that's been around since 1938 is protrayed as a white guy,and has been pretty much exactly the same longer than most ppl on the planet has been alive.thats who he is,just like Mickey is a mouse,and bugs is a bunny,Kermit is a frog,that's just how it is.

    Now elseworlds or mulitverse versions are totally fair game and can play out in every conceivable way imo.

    I know these are made up characters on paper,but to me they are as much real as George Washington or Benjamin Franklin and should be treated with that same respect,as in portrayed like they are,NOT what the audience wants him to be.

  7. #22
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    One idea that I thought was interesting was something American Alien explored and that was that Kryptonians don't have a human appearance at all and he just took the form of whoever found him first. So because a white couple found him, he took the form of a white couple. Maybe later in his career he learns that he could change shape to whatever form he wants. And creates a number of personalities with different races or even genders. So he takes the form of women sometimes. He uses them for things like getting stories as Clark or for Superman to go undercover.
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  8. #23
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    For what it's worth...

    I'm Asian. My dad's Korean, my mom's Filipino. I grow so tired of white-washed stories, like the movies 21 and The Last Airbender. Hollywood, if the original story calls for an Asian dude to be the main character, then effin' cast the main dude with an Asian guy. It's not that hard, and the world isn't so backwards that people will freak out if some guy named Jinho Kim played the main role instead of some guy named John Smith.

    On the flip side, I am not in favor of purposefully changing white-looking characters to non-white looking characters. I've followed race politics and race-themed blogs for the better part of 15 years, and I while it's stupid and awful that people on one end of the spectrum act as though race doesn't matter, I find the opposite end tends to take the mentality that you can pick and choose when race matters. Like, "Oh, this guy might've been born with some awful disease and will die at the age of nine, but he will have gotten to experience white privilege for nine years so..." Okay, nobody says that literally, but they practically imply it. I find that attitude repulsive. So, no, I don't see the point in purposefully making Superman look other than white just to make some statement about race. Rather, I do see the point in doing so, but I highly disagree with it. Whatever benefits you get out of race swapping are going to be met with hard feelings on the other end. And like I said, it's basically saying your hard feelings aren't as important. You could apply game theory principles here of Pareto efficiency and identify ways you can get other people engaged in the story without annoying large chunks of readers.

    Of course, none of this applies to Elseworlds stories. I would also say the same of less iconic characters such as Jor-El and Lara.

    EDIT: I saw mention of Gods and Monsters Superman, and I would reiterate that was my favorite version of Superman that Bruce Timm ever gave us. By all means, when you don't have to go by the script or template, feel free to do whatever crazy reimaginings you'd like. In fact, I'd say it would've been too bad if they just gave us another white bread Superman.
    Last edited by DochaDocha; 06-12-2017 at 07:28 PM.

  9. #24
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    Funny, he doesn't look Rao-ish.

  10. #25
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    One idea that I thought was interesting was something American Alien explored and that was that Kryptonians don't have a human appearance at all and he just took the form of whoever found him first. So because a white couple found him, he took the form of a white couple. Maybe later in his career he learns that he could change shape to whatever form he wants. And creates a number of personalities with different races or even genders. So he takes the form of women sometimes. He uses them for things like getting stories as Clark or for Superman to go undercover.
    Always liked imagining that premise. For what it's worth, there are elements of that in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, New Frontier, Kingdom Come, and the final season of JLU (I think).

  11. #26
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K. Jones View Post
    I think Superman is a great place to have these conversations, and also for him to be pretty universal. But we've actually had pretty intense topics like this before, and I think it's soooooo important to not look at him as Caucasian at all, as his dark haired features were purposefully created by his Jewish creators to not fit that Aryan/Ubermensch trope that was popular (and overused, and full of cultural misuse) even in the 1930s/40s.
    It's certainly an interesting thing to think about, but then I also think who inspired him? Doug Fairbanks, Clark Gable, Harold Lloyd, and fictional characters like Doc Savage, John Carter, and Popeye. "Plain white" guys. Clark Kent is a white guy raised in the Midwest by two white parents. For the first few decades, to get anywhere in pop culture, he had to be, and now that's just who he has been. It certainly doesn't create much conflict in the predominant comic markets: the US, Canada, Belgium, France, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Belgium, and Japan. Most comic readers look just like him and I think the lack of reception from fans who don't can be exaggerated.

    I don't think that's the battle to fight. Here's some things I'd rather see, if you follow: Tom King on Steel, Khary Randolph drawing Flash, and Ron Wimberly given a featured product for FCBD. Francis Manapul is a writing artist of Filipino descent, and while that doesn't have to come up, it's pretty great. And what about the big, big names? Geoff Johns likes Cyborg, put him on there with Ivan Reis for a run as long as their Aquaman.

  12. #27
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    I don't think Kal-El is Caucasian. He gets adopted by a white, American couple and he assimilates into their culture--but he doesn't need to be racially specific.

    While we're at it, I think Lana Lang should have Asian heritage (originally, the last name was borrowed from Fritz Lang, but could easily be Chinese or Vietnamese for Lana). Lois Lane may be Latina.

    Jimmy Olsen, however, ought to have someone Scandinavian in his family tree. He can be black, but the family name ought to have come from Denmark.
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  13. #28
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    I think you could cast an actor of various different ethnicities as Superman. As long as he still looks like Superman, I don't see the problem. Outside of Cavin Ellis and other multiversal Superman, I don't think the general audience would accept a black Superman--some for racist reasons, obviously, but the vast majority wouldn't like it simply because Superman doesn't look like a black guy. However, a Latino, Eurasian or Middle Eastern actor could easily look the part--as Dean Cain proved decades ago.

    As for the Kents, I think there's absolutely interesting stories to tell with them being an interracial couple or being black or whatever ethnicity you want. Given how overwhelmingly white Kansas is, that could be a cool angle to approach with them. Same goes for Lois, Jimmy, Perry and even Lex (although, come on, he does work best as a white guy )

  14. #29
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Personally I've always been fascinated with the idea of Lois being at least half Asian, as used in American Alien (but I'm pretty sure that wasn't the first manifestation of the idea). If you kept Sam white in fact, the depth alone it could give his character and relationship to Lois considering other aspects to his characterization like his xenophobia would be very interesting to explore.
    "They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son." - Jor-El

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  15. #30
    hate cant reach you here Harpsikord's Avatar
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    I recall there being some sort of scientific study that actually suggested that Superman and Supergirl and other Kryptonian's should be of a naturally darker bent than they are drawn as most of the time because Krypton was supposed to be closer to their sun and melanin and etc, etc, etc. I don't recall the specifics, but yeah.

    That said, I much prefer Superman to have a vague, Latino or Asian look to him as others have explained in this thread much better than I could.
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