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Old July 30 2008, 04:13 AM   #26
Rear Admiral
Re: Black Panther animated trailer

Thanks for the links. I read a good deal of them, and to be honest I think a lot of the critics are trying to ream Hudlin for stuff other people do as well.

-For one, I saw a lot of criticism about he doesn't know how nations work. I mean, come on BP is a comic book. And BP is based in the Marvel universe where Namor and Dr. Doom, among others are actual heads of state, and all types of intergalatic empires. You have to allow some fantasy elements in there.

-Storm and BP are being criticized for being written as African-American, not African. If I recall, wasn't Storm's father African-American? And even if not, she lived in America quite some time. And were people criticizing Claremont, Byrne, or any of the other white writers who probably knew as much about African cultures as Hudlin in regards to Storm's cultural depiction? I think a lot of foreign characters have been written by Americans and characterized/depicted through an American lense. Likewise, a lot of Brits write American characters, and no bats an eye. This goes far beyond BP.

-Lionization of Priest's run. If Priest was so great, why didn't he sell more books? Priest did a good job with Panther, but why should Hudlin be beholden to Priest? Comic characters get reimagined all the time. And Hudlin did keep the Dora Milage (sp.). Everett Ross made a cameo, and I'm sure he has done other things.

-Racism. Where is it? Hudlin's BP is very confident, and a bit of a know-it-all, but so is Batman for example. What makes his portrayal racist? Should he be more deferential to white characters? He is a king, so being a little high-handed or dismissive shouldn't be out the norm. And I haven't seen too much of that from either Hudlin or Priest's BP.

Also, when you take into account the history of Africa, and Africans in Western Hemisphere, there is a long, sad, bloody history of tragedy and mistrust between blacks and whites. It would make sense for Wakanda to be cautious of European powers, since in the Marvel universe, they carved up pretty much the rest of Africa (also in the real world), tried to encroach on Wakanda before, etc during the colonial era and even after. That viewpoint doesn't seem so "American" to me. One thing I noticed to, was that the Panther God in the BP marriage issue was a white panther (one person had said BP had a dream in one of the issues in which he was attacked by a white panther or something).

-Perhaps what is driving so many people mad is that Hudlin has perhaps done something that white writers did to black characters for years, and sometimes continue to do, marginalize them. White characters are not the guiding, central characters in Hudlin's BP and I wonder if it isn't disconcerting to a lot of people. Especially after Priest used Ross as a narrator, once again telling a black person's story through a white person's eyes (ie. Last King of Scotland, Cry Freedom, Ghosts of Mississippi, Mississippi Burning, etc., etc.). Priest purposely did that to build up white readership, and he still had weak sales.

-I don't think that Hudlin's characters are overly concerned with race, though they are conscious of it, and in many ways they proudly embrace their racial heritage. Perhaps some people don't feel it's a heritage (s) worth embracing but Hudlin does. And I applaud him for that. A book written from a more pronounced 'black' perspective isn't a bad thing. I think it can help broaden perspectives, it's already generated a lot of debate, and maybe turn more people on to comics who have been underserved in that regard.

Now, does his run on BP have problems. Yeah. His writing is okay, but he needs to work on villians, character development, etc. But I don't think his book is racist. As for the sexism charge it's something I would have to look through the books again to see if I spot a pattern there.
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