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Sunday, February 19, 2023 

Valdosta Daily Times sugarcoats Eric Nguyen's "White Savior", and a DC comic starring Space Ghost

About a month earlier, I'd written about a PC project titled White Savior, by artist/writer Eric Nguyen. Now, the Valdosta Daily Times has - surprise, surprise - served an apologist for this very comic in their pages:
From Tarzan stories to “Avatar,” novels, movies and comic books are filled with the “white savior” trope.

You know the story: A white Westerner is the hero in a story set in a non-white land, where the white Westerner rescues the non-white people.

Eric Nguyen turns that idea on its head in the comic book spoof “White Savior.”

“In this case, the ‘outsider destined to save everyone’ is actually an idiot and the real hero is an Asian American teacher who time travels to feudal Japan and has to convince everyone not to follow the ‘white savior,’” Nguyen said.

“The comic is all about showcasing representation and diversity, and is being published by Dark Horse (‘Hellboy,’ ‘Umbrella Academy,’ first look with Netflix).
Anything with Netflix involved is surely a recipe for disaster. That aside, Nguyen's confirmed what's wrong with the marketing. It's all about political correctness, not about entertainment value. Worst:
The “white savior” is a drunken lout, whose plan to save the relatively peaceful people of Inoki, is to warn the brutal enemy that the Inoki are coming and will attack them in an uphill battle.

Todd, who has fallen through time and space to land in feudal Japan, knows the doomed ending to this attack.

It is a story he’s often heard from his grandfather.

The Inoki people consider Todd an idiot for warning them that listening to the Westerner will mean their destruction.

[...] Nguyen blasts the “white savior” trope out of the water with satire. He uses humor to scuttle a serious issue with a story that so far does not take itself too seriously. Not an easy feat but one Nguyen handles with grace and excellent comedic timing.
Seriously, what's so amusing about a story where a drunkard ends up telling the vile enemies the goodies are going to attack? This doesn't sound very funny at all. It sounds sick. Shame on the columnist for rushing to gushing over this PC project. What's really insulting is how this is considered a genuine substitute for a story where a POC could be cast as the savior of a peaceful community, and emerge heroic and admired. Instead, they make it more about an incompetent bungler whom a time-traveler's trying to warn about than something that could inspire.

In addition to the above, the same paper also took a weak view of a comic based on Hanna-Barbera's Space Ghost originally produced in the late 1960s. They say:
Younger generations have no idea who or what a Space Ghost is.
Of course not. That's because these antiquities may no longer be broadcast in wide circulation, available in video archives, or because nobody encourages younger generations to check them out and see if they consider them decent escapist fare. But they definitely shouldn't be introduced to Space Ghost through the following:
In 2016, DC Comics reintroduced “Space Ghost” to a new generation and older fans in a miniseries that shucked off both the talk show parody and the Saturday morning cartoon vibes.

The “Space Ghost” miniseries is an origin story – how a law-enforcement officer became the masked hero Space Ghost. Also, it explains how he adopted the twins Jan and Jace, who accompanied him in the Saturday morning adventures. It also introduces bad guys like Zorak.

This Space Ghost is fueled by revenge, a need to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife. Something that definitely was not part of his cartoon adventures.
But definitely not original either. And definitely abhorrent as a premise. Do we really need to hear this kind of setup again? How many times the murdered-while-pregnant premise been regurgitated, I can't be sure, but it's by far one of the sickest of its kind. And we don't need to hear of it anymore. Interestingly enough, it's told that:
DC knew it had an uphill battle finding its audience with “Space Ghost.” It opens the book with a full page titled “Who is Space Ghost?”
Indeed, it's steeply uphill. I wouldn't buy it, and neither should anybody else.
But DC’s reverential revival didn’t go far.

Other than the miniseries, Space Ghost teamed with Green Lantern for a storyline. and then he appears to have become a ghost once again.
With that kind of premise in the comic adaptation, no wonder. It perpetuates the darkness-laced directions that became a sad staple of modern showbiz, and with the way DC, along with Marvel, have been run in the past 2 decades, it doesn't take much to realize this is one of their most cynical offerings, doing a terrible disservice to the original cartoon, and not recommended to anybody who finds the scorched-earth landscape passing for entertainment today alienating.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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