June 06, 2005

Soviet goth (slight return) and other superhero stories


Reader Bas VanHoof unites two current themes - comics and Soviet goth - by drawing my attention to the great comic artist's Enki Bilal's Partie de Chasse, which, according to Bas, has 'both has a soviet and a gothic feel'.

Some pages from the original comic are reproduced here, and it seems that an English version is now available.


Speaking of the Soviet comics connection (and of superheroes I fancied/ identified with), we must mention Black Widow, a former Soviet spy, who, sadly, defected and became an agent of SHIELD. (It seems that there is to be a Black Widow film.)

Other superheroes well worth a mention are the animate-inanimate couple Scarlet Witch and The Vision: a witch married to a 'synthetic human'.


Meanwhile, Northanger cites the following moronism (quoted from this site): "I have never liked black superheroes and I don't really think that they are believable. I didn't mind the Kingpin being black in the DAREDEVIL movie because he's a villain. I don't want to relate to or care about the villains, only the heroes. I know that this may sound like a racist statement but look at the society that we live in. If you look at the majority of crimes and lawlessness in this country most of it is caused by African-Americans. The kind of movies, television and music they endorce [sic] is full of violence, drug use, abusing women, attacting [sic] law enforcement officers, rape and murder. That's really all that needs to be said."

Northanger goes on to observe that 'black people, when i was growing up, were not superheros' and 'when i was growing up the people that looked like me were washing dishes.' The Museum of Black Superheroes lists a number of black heroes, but few are iconic, most are forgotten. In addition to the previously mentioned Black Panther - the breakthrough black superhero, although the break was not followed by a proliferation of black heroes, to say the least, and it took 11 years for the Panther himself to get a short-lived run of his own book - perhaps only Luke Cage attained any degree of recognizability. I first remember seeing the jive-talking 'hero for hire' Cage battling Spiderman, and he had his own title, and a 'presence' throughout the Marvel universe; it seems that he, too, is to be the subject of film.


The shortage of black heroes is in direct disproportion to the impact that Marvel in particular has had upon black music. From Wu Tang through to Doctor Octagon and Underground Resistance, black music has been saturated with references to the superheroic.

I'm leaving out Falcon, who, as a sidekick of Captain America, was worse than neglible. Which brings me to the answer to the question posed in the expanded version of the meme, namely 'Which superheroes did you hate?' Captain America provoked detestation in me from a young age; not so much for his stars 'n' stripes patriotism as his square jawed patriarchal moralism (something for which I also loathed Reed Richards). Although when Jack Kirby drew the not-so good Captain, he did look fantastic, of course.

Posted by mark at June 6, 2005 06:40 PM | TrackBack