Succeeding in the Super-Biz


“. . . succeeding in the super-biz was difficult for anyone who wasn’t white or male or a white male.”

I’m reading Xaime Hernandez’s God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls and was struck by the panel above.  The collection is vaguely Love & Rockets related, featuring Maggie’s love of comics and wrestling women as a point where the fantastical superhero world and the world of the reader intersect.  There is even a suggestion that it is Maggie’s identification with these Latina super-heroines that give them power – that make them real in her world.

Simultaneously, I picked up Marvel’s Savage Wolverine (written and drawn by Frank Cho).  Don’t ask me why. . . a moment of nostalgia perhaps?  It was as bad as you’d think it was. . . but there was an echo for me between the panel below and the one above.  The Wolverine title is taking place in the Savage Land, where dinosaurs, extinct early mammals, neanderthals and bone-in-the-nose natives (the latter two existing for easy nameless othering as to better kill them with impunity) all living side by  side in a huge Antarctic oasis. It is home to Shanna the She-Devil.

I guess what struck me (aside from Shanna’s ridiculous double-ds (triple-Ds? double-Es?) in the leopard print bikini, was her origins as African jungle heroine in the context of Xaime’s panel and the overall story of his heroines.  Of course, the hero in Africa is some buxom blonde woman gone native, you wouldn’t have had a black woman be the hero. . . even Ororo (aka Storm) of the X-Men would not meet success in Africa (where she was depicted as worshiped as a goddess to the backward people of her “Dark Continent”) but had to wait until she hooked up with a white dude in Westchester to be worthy.  When one set of dark skin savages as backdrop to Shanna’s white beauty became impolitic, she was moved to the Savage Land to shack up with blonde Tarzan-among-dinosaurs boyfriend, Ka-Zar, allowing for more fantastic version of “backwards” dark-skinned people.

I think the case can be made that the super biz is still difficult for anyone who is isn’t white or a male or a white male.


2 thoughts on “Succeeding in the Super-Biz

  1. Pingback: The International Comics Art Forum 2016 | The Middle Spaces

  2. Pingback: Report on ICAF 2016 | Comics Studies Society

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