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Marvel In The Civil Rights Era: A Noble Panther, A Gritty Cage

Marvel In The Civil Rights Era: A Noble Panther, A Gritty Cage

Perfectly timed, this essay penned by mystery writer Gary Phillips, was actually posted on the LA Times’ Hero Complex site a day BEFORE last night’s report that Marvel Studios might be pushing forward with a Black Panther movie.

It doesn’t seem like it was read by many, so I’m sharing it here so you can check it out.

Here’s a snip:

Gone are the days when every African-American hero needed the word “Black” in their name (why limit the mandatory skin-color identification? Ladies and gentlemen, meet White Flash, Magenta Sinestro and Green Hulk). But when curious fans and frustrated creators ask why comic book titles are dominated by white characters, they get the oft-repeated industry line: Books with a person of color at the center of their mythology are seen as tailored only to readers who fall into the same race or heritage. That despite the fact that, in most superhero comics, race plays little or no factor in the stories.

Do white audiences only want white heroes? Will Smith is arguably the biggest movie star in the world, and it’s pretty safe to say that it’s not just black folks paying good money to see him play the hero in “Hancock” or “Men in Black 3.” But he no doubt is seen by the studios as the exception to the rule. After all, Luke Cage and Black Panther film projects have been bandied about for years and but have yet to get off the ground.

Read the full essay HERE.

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