BleedingCool.com ran an article a month or so ago about how some fans reacted negatively to DC's African American characters who look like monsters.
To a lot of fans, the negative reaction toward monstrous Black Characters did not make sense since there are plenty of White characters who are monsters. So why can't Blacks be monsters too?
Well, it has to do with Black history. For hundreds of years, Blacks have been regarded as sub-human. This idea did not just pervade social thought, but also scientific thought. Plenty of scientists have tried to find scientific reasons for why Blacks are inferior and subhuman.
Some people think that racism is dead because we have a Black President, but this is far from true. Not only was there a huge racist backlash in comics against Miles Morales from some fans, but recently a songstress has called for the extermination of subhuman Black people.
And this songstress was born and raised in New York City. In America.
Racism is obviously not dead in America, and is sure as heck is not dead abroad. Sometimes people forget that other countries around the world are not as open minded as some Americans. In China, there are recent documentations of women who use skin lighteners because they find dark skin disugsuting. Some claim that if they were to become as dark as Black people, then they would commit suicide.
Now I deeply appreciate DC Comic's commitment to diversity. Not only is it important to provide Black youth with positive role-models. It's also a way to showing people that Black people are not inferior or sub-human.
DC has done a great job with their Cyborg. I love the character and am happy that he is finally in the lime-light--even though some fans still don't think he is Justice League material.
But the problem is the negative image that it puts forth for the Black Community nationally and internationally. He depicts this image of Black people as less human. A half-man.
Some people think that Cyborg can't work as a character unless he looks physically monstrous--unless he has a metal plate covering his face (even though White characters like Metallo constanstly have prosthetic skin). Cyborg needs something to stew over.
I think that he can still stew over the fact that even though he looks human, he is separated. He's had to give up his dreams. It works for Clark Kent. Bruce Wayne broods simply over the fact that he has a mission that he can't back away from. He doesn't need to forever be separated from humanity in every conceivable way. I don't think that he would be able to star in a solo title if he remains the way that he's been in the past, because he's too much of a one note character. If readers can't relate to his situation and they don't want to put themselves into his situation, then he won't sell titles on his own. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and even Aquaman all have a high degree of wish-fulfillment and relate-ability. Cyborg doesn't have either.
Even Hulk and Swamp Thing can revert to looking human.
There's a reason that Marvel's Thing can't hold a solo either: he's too pigeon-holed into his role as the team brooder. He's too depressing.
I want Cyborg to be a successful, popular, stand-alone character but being DC's version of the Thing won't lead to that.
My Solution: make his robotics internal like in Smallville. Get rid of the face plate. Sometimes a little goes a long way.
Pity the black man. Make him monstrous. He'll still appeal to blacks who are still aware of how society views them, right?