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Tuesday, December 15, 2020 

More sugarcoatings of Marvel's Indigenous Voices, in US media

PBS Cronkite News in Arizona did a report on Marvel's diversity-themed Indigenous Voices special, predictably omitting any comment on the quality of the art and scriptwriting in any entry:
Penned by Native American artists and writers, “Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1” was released Nov. 18, to the delight of Native Americans who feel underrepresented in the comic book universe.
Umm, how do they feel about the mediocre or utterly dismal art? If the artwork is bad, it doesn't reflect well on their representatives in the field.
Keith Jim, a Navajo comic book artist who became interested in comics at an early age, is proud to see Native Americans breaking through into the superhero world.

“Sometimes I feel like we’re forgotten. We are still here, so it’s important to stand up,” said Jim, who drew the comic book episode “The Heroes” in 2018.

Jim said Native American comic book characters usually are depicted in stereotypical ways, as they are reduced to complementary or side roles and are shown in feathers and loin cloths.

Anthony Thibodeau, a curator at the Museum of Northern Arizona who specializes in Indian arts and culture, said this misrepresentation of Native Americans is evident in mainstream popular culture.

“Any character that was a non-white character, they were usually represented in a very stereotypical way,”
Thibodeau said. “Either through their clothing, a lot of times how they talk or through their accent.”
I think the above ignores Dani Moonstar, who was far from stereotypical in the ways they allege. And not only that, it hilariously ignores Rogue and Gambit, who were both written with thick southern drawls for many years. I guess when the accents in question are coming out of the mouths of whites, it doesn't matter, huh?
To eliminate these stereotypes, he said, it’s important that the Marvel comics are created by Native Americans.
I fail to see how this ensures talent and merit in the finished product. This completely ignores how Stan Lee's characterization of Wyatt Wingfoot was also far from stereotypical, for example. In addition, it's insulting as can be to Lee and Kirby's memory, since here, they created a number of characters of different ethnicities, and now an ingrate's coming along and laying out a framework where the 2 famous figures would be denied the right to choose what ethnic backgrounds they could employ in storytelling today, or how. Dani doesn't have a stereotypical accent in the panel here. But, since we're on the subject, this comes from around the late 2000s, after Brian Bendis' House of M, whose goal was little more than erasing mutant powers from various characters using the aforementioned Scarlet Witch as the tool for the deed, with Dani being one of the victims of Joe Quesada's trivial machinations. I wonder how the folks interviewed for this article feel about Dani having once been a victim of editorial fiat, even if the steps were reversed and her power since restored? Does Bendis get a free pass on that?
Bushnell and Jim both said that these new heroes will help Native Americans feel inspired. Kyle Charles, an Indigenous illustrator for “Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices,” already received support from Indigenous women for his depictions of the Marvel hero “Dani” Moonstar, a member of the Cheyenne Nation who was introduced in 1982.
And as I've said before, with art - and possibly writing - inside this special, I'm not sure how anybody could feel inspired, unless it's from a leftist viewpoint, considering the horrific way Carol Danvers is illustrated, and delivers a subtle negative message. Which sums up just how "effective" this whole news report is, failing to ask objective queries about merit in the finished product, whether the stories are built on enjoyability in writing and art, and making things worse as a result. And on that note, I came upon a so-called review from Comics Bookcase, which looks pretty strained in the reviewer's wish to believe this was the greatest moment in history:
Marvel, and mainstream comics in general, have not been known historically for the greatest representations of native characters. [...]
Well, I guess that sums up what these phonies think of Lee/Kirby, after all the hard work they did to delight the common, undiscriminating reader. It also sums up what they think of Chris Claremont, after all the hard work he did introducing Dani in the pages of New Mutants. I mean, sure, Claremont lost a lot of impact by the turn of the century, became far too typecast with X-Men in terms of a scribe, yet it's clear we have a whole generation here who don't thank him any more than they do Lee/Kirby, among others for their contributions. I don't believe these are Marvel fans, or any kind of showbiz fans, writing these shoddy pieces.
The second story, “Mirage: Multifaceted”, reflects what I believe is the central tenet of the book - that every generation of heroes should have the power to define themselves - the power to be something else, something other. This comes through in the portrayal of Dani Moonstar’s indigenous identity as she seeks to solve a crime on a reservation in Arizona. This idea of claiming your family and your otherness comes through in her queer-coded relationship with Rahne Sinclair aka Wolfsbane, and the writing from Darcie Little Badger and art from Kyle Charles match each other with a sweetness and a warmth I rarely look for in my comics, but really appreciated here.
If that's the kind of propaganda this builds on, apparently an extension of radical feminism built on man-hating (something the Young Adult book industry has become known for), then it says everything we need to know about where this whole scrap pile is going. Likewise, this CBR review is just as sugarcoated:
In regards to art, Veregge's prologue some of the most eye-catchingly gorgeous work published in a Marvel comic this year; it really is artwork that just makes the reader stop dead in their tracks to admire the sheer vibrancy and level of detail that went into it. Alvitre and colorist Loughridge's Echo story has some inconsistent facial work but makes up for it with the action sequences and more cosmic sensibilities as Echo leaves terra firma. Charles and colorist Sobreiro's work on the New Mutants story feels like it's right out of the classic 80s era for the X-Men team without coming off as dated. Cutler, joined by inker Poggi and colorist Peter, has the most haunting story of the bunch and captures the most emotionally raw elements in their artwork.
Yup, including the panels where Moonstar and Danvers have their facial features drawn exceptionally awful. It's hilarious how they admit there's terrible facial drawings, and one has to wonder why we should take their word about the action and "cosmic sensibilities" supposedly compensating. I'm sorry, but terrible art can detract tremendously from action as a result, and the segment they speak of conflicts with their assessment the art is "gorgeous", so of course, why must we buy their claim the rest of the book is much better? All these news sources have done is take woke agendas and make them more of a joke, while at the same time belittling past contributors by claiming their work was nothing but junk offering nothing to think about, and acting like these self-important bozos know infinitely better. How can anyone break into the superhero world with success guaranteed if their skills are so dreadful and nobody encourages them to do better? Yet that's exactly why the Big Two are hiring them now, because they're politically driven, not because they want to entertain.

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