Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
As many know, black superheroes have trouble selling and making their on comics as an industry. This blog will point out why I believe that Miles Morales & Victor Alvarez (Spider-Man & Power Man) may have the best chance to change that for Marvel Comics.  
  
Point 1. Mass Appeal 
Both Black and Hispanic readers often feel like the are under-represented in comics and at this point I think it's more than a "feeling", it's more like reality. I understand that Marvel is a really old company and there was a time where minorities and women were second class citizens but once Marvel began adding characters of those types in their publications, I felt like it was fine to take baby steps in integrating them in the universe but from what i've seen in the time i've been reading comics, it's like they are taking baby steps but also backpedaling. They try to build a character up and they drop the ball when they see an opening. I feel that what always set Marvel apart from other publishers is that people view their characters as more relatable than others. I feel that Miles Morales\Spider-Man and Power Man would be alot more relatable than the black heroes that Marvel had been previously pushing like War Machine, Black Panther, & Blade. First of all they are still young, they are getting used to their powers. I feel that older readers (18-35) which is the usual demographic will read about these characters because they will find their stories and abilities interesting and that younger readers will like them because they are also young and those characters have personalities and go through things away from being a superhero that will resonate with them. Younger readers will also, kind of grow up with these characters. When I was a kid characters like Jubilee,The New Warriors,The New Mutants, they were teenagers, now that i'm an adult I don't think they are but I am starting notice a transition between their maturity both physically and storywise..which is interesting. 
 
What's also good about Spider-Man & Power Man is they are regular street levelers who happen to be of both black and hispanic origin. They aren't of a character type that would alienate them from different types of readers or stories or characters. For instance if you take Blade for instance..he's a Vampire Hunter; because of the type of character he is..it limits what types of things he can do without derailing the character and making him do something OOC. He doesn't belong among superheroes, and we know anti-heroes are never the focal point of any fictional universe..that automatically sits him in the back. Spider-Man or Power Man could be placed among just about any superhero team and not appear out of place.
 
Point 2. Powers 
Spider-Man & Power Man aren't the most unique heroes around but they have an interesting set of abilities that set them apart from the characters they take their names from. The reason this is important is, this is probably why a character like the Falcon can't keep a position on the Avengers because all he can do is fly. He brings nothing to the team that other more popular characters aren't capable of. A character like Cage probably has a problem holding his own book because his powerset is so generic that it's hard to make villains for him. Usually when a villain is created they have their own abilities that counter those that the heroes have, how many powers can you use to try and counter super-strength before is becomes repetitive or you run out of idea? You may not know that Luke Cage even has his villains..but if you were to look them up you won't be surprised by how pathetic most of them are.   
 
Point 3. Newcomers 
I feel that Marvel made their beds with previous black character as far as how they've written them for years and how they've tried to push them to make sales. With two new heroes, they have a chance to do something different. They aren't as big on retcons as DC so something like what DC did for characters like Aquaman will happen. I think Marvel has had previous openings to sell certain characters and they didn't take them, and now it's too late. To use Blade as an example again, he had 3 successful films and  his last ongoing ended 2 years after the release of the final film in the trilogy completely with subpar writing and art, which gives the impression Marvel didn't even try.

 
Point 4.The United States of the Marvel Universe 
The United States and especially New York is the focal point of the Marvel Universe. That's where most of the heroes reside, that's where the most superhero related activity happens. A character like Black Panther may have trouble surviving because where he resides seems disconnected from the rest of the Marvel Universe. When he was involved in events like Civil War it allowed to be apart of something bigger and that's where writers saw success. 
 
If Power Man were to get his own series, and Miles can keep his book going...I think these two characters have the best chance of breaking that mold of minority characters that don't sell, what do you think?
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#1 Edited by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@stumpy49er said:

Sticking to Spiderman I'll just say that I hate Miles Morales as much as I hate Ben Reilly (i think that's his name). To me there will always be one Spiderman and that is Peter Parker. I think it's just cheap and lazy to use an already existing superhero and give him a new secret identity. 

I don't think it's lazy. I think Marvel's philosophy is that Spider-Man is already popular so if they make another Spider-Man that is kind of different, they can share fans. 
 
@stumpy49er said:

I'd rather a character like Luke Cage or Black Panther become more popular. How do you do that? Hire better talent to write and draw Luke Cage. 

You think the talent level of the writers that handle these characters is the issue in why they didn't sell before? I think the talent was there but the direction wasn't. 
 
@stumpy49er said:

Sticking to Spiderman I'll just say that I hate Miles Morales as much as I hate Ben Reilly (i think that's his name). To me there will always be one Spiderman and that is Peter Parker. I think it's just cheap and lazy to use an already existing superhero and give him a new secret identity. I'd rather a character like Luke Cage or Black Panther become more popular. How do you do that? Hire better talent to write and draw Luke Cage. Then when you have the best talent working on a Luke Cage comic, put a lot of money into mass marketing Luke Cage. That is how you make a minority character into a top selling character. I wish companies would stop replacing popular white characters with some other character of another race and then acting like 'problem solved'. Then when the comic books readership goes down they act like it's the fans who are racist. It's not that. People just like Peter Parker and people don't need Peter to replaced. You want a popular black or hispanic comic book character? Don't replace already popular characters, come up with a unique character and spend some talent and dollars making said characters popular to the public.

I agree that making Miles, Spider-Man could possibly be detrimental to the character but Power Man is only using Cage's old name, he's nothing like him. He's fairly original and with a good push I think he'd be alot easier to make something of. 
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#2 Posted by Twentyfive (2845 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome post, Vance. I'm not sure if you read DC comics, but I think it would be cool if you try your best to do a DC version of this post.

I actually agree with you. Reading what you have posted, coupled with some of the things I find unpleasant with the state of things now, I especially would want character like Victor Alvarez to succeed. He could be Marvel's modern black hero, and he's among their most logical choices. The only pre-existing hero he really has ties to is hardly known outside of the comics fanbase, although they are using his design in the Spider-Man cartoon currently airing. Even so, fanboys won't be crying foul that there should be only one version of the character (Blue Beetle, Spectre, Wildcat, so on) because they aren't familiar with the character. His design is sleek, and modern, although in my opinion, he could probably use a logo, a defining icon. Marvel should think about something like that. Maybe start a Power Man book with a retelling of his origin, and continue from there.

Brilliant idea.

#3 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Twentyfive said:

Awesome post, Vance. I'm not sure if you read DC comics, but I think it would be cool if you try your best to do a DC version of this post.

I do, and that sounds like a great idea. 
 
@Twentyfive said:

I actually agree with you. Reading what you have posted, coupled with some of the things I find unpleasant with the state of things now, I especially would want character like Victor Alvarez to succeed. He could be Marvel's modern black hero, and he's among their most logical choices. The only pre-existing hero he really has ties to is hardly known outside of the comics fanbase, although they are using his design in the Spider-Man cartoon currently airing. Even so, fanboys won't be crying foul that there should be only one version of the character (Blue Beetle, Spectre, Wildcat, so on) because they aren't familiar with the character. His design is sleek, and modern, although in my opinion, he could probably use a logo, a defining icon. Marvel should think about something like that. Maybe start a Power Man book with a retelling of his origin, and continue from there.

Brilliant idea.

I think Marvel should cancel Ultimate Spider-Man and just do a cartoon with a young superhero team, like DC has done with Young Justice. It doesn't have to be the Young Avengers..they could make something up. 
 
@stumpy49er said:
Maybe it's a little disrespectful to the talent that has worked on these titles to say 'better talent'. What I should have said was 'the best talent' available. Trust me, if my favorite writers and artists are working on Luke Cage, Black Panther, Mr. Terrific, Cyborg, etc. etc. I will definitely be buying these comics. I don't really have a problem with Power Man, considering Luke Cage just uses Luke Cage nowadays, but I'm not a fan of Miles Morales using Spiderman.
I think Bendis wrote Cage's last miniseries and he may not be your favorite writer but he's definitely the most popular writer at Marvel right now. I think they didn't do any more than that miniseries because Cage seems to be a hard character to write. I read his older series..personality wise, Cage is kind of a cool character but his powers are super generic and his villains are LOL worthy. I'm a fan of Black Panther but I haven't liked the writing in it since Priest's run and that didn't sell very well.
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#4 Posted by Superdork (917 posts) - - Show Bio

I love your post, and I agree with all of your points!

@stumpy49er said:

Sticking to Spiderman I'll just say that I hate Miles Morales as much as I hate Ben Reilly (i think that's his name). To me there will always be one Spiderman and that is Peter Parker. I think it's just cheap and lazy to use an already existing superhero and give him a new secret identity. I'd rather a character like Luke Cage or Black Panther become more popular. How do you do that? Hire better talent to write and draw Luke Cage. Then when you have the best talent working on a Luke Cage comic, put a lot of money into mass marketing Luke Cage. That is how you make a minority character into a top selling character. I wish companies would stop replacing popular white characters with some other character of another race and then acting like 'problem solved'. Then when the comic books readership goes down they act like it's the fans who are racist. It's not that. People just like Peter Parker and people don't need Peter to replaced. You want a popular black or hispanic comic book character? Don't replace already popular characters, come up with a unique character and spend some talent and dollars making said characters popular to the public.

Miles and Peter live in two different universes, so nbd. Miles is not going to replace 616 Peter. It's okay to have variety. There were two Batmen running around at one point. Green Lantern has been replaced a zillion times. It's like Doctor Who--a legacy. But instead of actors--it's heroes. You're making a bigger deal out of this than you need to.

And Luke Cage hasn't used the Power Man name in years. He's way better known as Luke Cage. I'm happy that Victor Alvarez took up the mantle.

I don't think Marvel or DC need to create any more minority characters. They just need to develop the ones that they have and make them major players in company wide crossovers and team books. Then give them backup stories--then maybe even solos. It's a process that hasn't been done yet.

#5 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Superdork said:

I love your post, and I agree with all of your points!

Thanks.
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#6 Posted by Deranged Midget (17599 posts) - - Show Bio

Amazing post. I feel as if Miles is extremely underrated and under-appreciated. It's obvious that most readers aren't too happy that he's basically the replacement of Ult. Peter but he really isn't. He's completely different and is his own character with a different set of powers and with different ambitions and responsibilities. He's one of my favourite new characters and I feel as if he deserves a bigger shot in the spotlight.

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#7 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent points. I would say that readers first and foremost just want a great character to follow, regardless of skin color. I couldn't agree more that Marvel (and DC for that matter) are missing the boat in regards to minority characters. Obviously there's always going to be a place for the more established characters who have been around but people want something new, as you said certain characters grow tiresome reading them over and over, and someone new could be brought in to invigorate the readers. Miles is an awesome character, those who have read the stories with him it seem to love them, the main sticking point is him "replacing" Peter, when as Deranged Midget said, he's not.

Younger minority children, and children in general .who read comics could use more role models they can relate to, and Miles provides just that. Everyone can be a hero, no matter your skin color or last name.

The media whitewashing has already gone on for far too long. Hopefully Marvel and other companies follow your advice and continue to promote minority characters.

#8 Edited by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Deranged Midget said:

Amazing post. I feel as if Miles is extremely underrated and under-appreciated. It's obvious that most readers aren't too happy that he's basically the replacement of Ult. Peter but he really isn't. He's completely different and is his own character with a different set of powers and with different ambitions and responsibilities. He's one of my favourite new characters and I feel as if he deserves a bigger shot in the spotlight.

Yea, the I think that is the one thing that may hold Miles back and the one thing that held characters like War Machine back as well. People see War Machine and go "He's just a black Iron Man, nothing special". What odd is that DC has characters like Batgirl,Nightwing,& Supergirl that do pretty well despite their similarities to Bruce & Clark. Does DC, know something that Marvel doesn't? Or do people only not have an issue with characters that are tied to more popular ones when they are black? Batwing isn't doing as well as I thought it would an he's the least like Bruce out of everyone in the Bat-Family. 
 
@Xanni15 said:

Excellent points. I would say that readers first and foremost just want a great character to follow, regardless of skin color. I couldn't agree more that Marvel (and DC for that matter) are missing the boat in regards to minority characters. Obviously there's always going to be a place for the more established characters who have been around but people want something new, as you said certain characters grow tiresome reading them over and over, and someone new could be brought in to invigorate the readers. Miles is an awesome character, those who have read the stories with him it seem to love them, the main sticking point is him "replacing" Peter, when as Deranged Midget said, he's not.

Younger minority children, and children in general .who read comics could use more role models they can relate to, and Miles provides just that. Everyone can be a hero, no matter your skin color or last name.

The media whitewashing has already gone on for far too long. Hopefully Marvel and other companies follow your advice and continue to promote minority characters.

I think characters like Black Panther,Cage,War Machine have SOME potential left but I think Marvel would have to work harder than they are willing to, to give them the exposure they need.
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#9 Posted by Deranged Midget (17599 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro: I can't help but think that Marvel readers are just less accustomed to change and become so offended or threatened when change is afoot. Yes, Peter was a fantastic character. We saw him grow and we grew with him. But Miles has been slowly proving himself, he's more human of a character than almost any other person I've seen written in the Marvel Universe. He's caring, compassionate, inspired and something that all kids should look up and relate to.

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#10 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Deranged Midget said:

@Vance Astro: I can't help but think that Marvel readers are just less accustomed to change and become so offended or threatened when change is afoot. Yes, Peter was a fantastic character. We saw him grow and we grew with him. But Miles has been slowly proving himself, he's more human of a character than almost any other person I've seen written in the Marvel Universe. He's caring, compassionate, inspired and something that all kids should look up and relate to.

What's sad is that Peter Parker of Earth-616 is arguably the most popular character Marvel has to offer and some people are still unwilling to give Miles a chance to shine.How much more Peter Parker can you ask for?
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#11 Edited by Metatron_Da_Don (1037 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

@Deranged Midget said:

Amazing post. I feel as if Miles is extremely underrated and under-appreciated. It's obvious that most readers aren't too happy that he's basically the replacement of Ult. Peter but he really isn't. He's completely different and is his own character with a different set of powers and with different ambitions and responsibilities. He's one of my favourite new characters and I feel as if he deserves a bigger shot in the spotlight.

Yea, the I think that is the one thing that may hold Miles back and the one thing that held characters like War Machine back as well. People see War Machine and go "He's just a black Iron Man, nothing special". What odd is that DC has characters like Batgirl,Nightwing,& Supergirl that do pretty well despite their similarities to Bruce & Clark. Does DC, know something that Marvel doesn't? Or do people only not have an issue with characters that are tied to more popular ones when they are black? Batwing isn't doing as well as I thought it would an he's the least like Bruce out of everyone in the Bat-Family.

War Machine is a grown man though. Nobody wants to see a grown minority man equated to blumbering sidekick.

War Machine - military African guy gets a suit, never be as smart as Tony. Always

Falcon - random black guy gets superpowers and a suit, due to his age I don't see how he can ever rival Cap in abilities and thus popularity

Batwing - random black guy gets superpowers and a suit, due to his age I don't see how he can ever rival Batman in abilities and thus popularity

Robin, Batgirl, Supergirl - little kids, acrobat/detective prodigy, due to his age and rate of development he can one day rival or surpass Batman/Superman

Its problematic to equate grown black men to little kids. Cant call of the top of my head any cool grown men sidekicks. Its just sad.

War Machine goes back to his military roots and has Stark-tech re-integrated to his body. But now its deliberately so he can have the brains to Rival Tony. Plus with cybernetics under his skin he could be the ultimate spy. Invisibility field. For most part he looks like a normal person but has some weapons and wire interfaces under his skin like the Deus Ex Machina guy or Ghost in The Machine woman.

Tired of being a token bum sidekick -- Falcon undergoes a SHIELD training regimen/gets a microchip in his brain that makes him an excellent spy and more like Rogers barking orders in the field of battle. Give him the black wings from Ultimate Marvel. He is a marksman with rifles, guns, tanks etc. Uses lethal and nonlethal ammo. Smoke Bombs, Flash Grenades, etc. He is the ultimate soldier and uses intellect to defeat villains. Does Redwing stay around? You know you're a lame hero when you're a sidekick, a token AND the only sidekick you can get is a bird. Seriously though I do not know how Redwing can be around other than as a scout. Imagine if Krypto kept fighting Superman's battles. Redwing is a crutch.

And Luke Cage ... Bendis wrote him in Alias and got him married. The natural progression is now family stories like Modern Family or FF right? Except his wife just convinced him to retire from superheroing. Maybe he can resume being a private investigator...but then I can already see the storyline he cheats on his wife with a supervillain or his family gets kidnapped or killed while he's away... I don't see how Luke Cage has anymore potential. Generic power and skillset... But then again Im no writer!

#12 Posted by Metatron_Da_Don (1037 posts) - - Show Bio

In other words I don't feel it has anything to do with race. I don't read a lot of Bat-Family but from what I know Batman takes in kids and raises them and they become successful because they are successful replicas of him in some way or another. The problem Marvel has had is they take guys who are full grown men and make them sidekicks. If Falcon were white its not going to change anything. His character arc is horrible. He gets powers, he becomes a pimp, I dont know what he's developed over 40 or 50 years since his intro. War Machine most notable things, fools everyone by covering as Iron Man for a few issues, then in the 2000s he runs the Mutant internment camp, becomes a cyborg, becomes human again, Secret Avenger. The BatMan family is easy. Take a kid, show him becoming Batman. Batgirl is basically female Bats, then she gets shot. Dick grows up from a kid and becomes his own man. One kid doesnt grow up at all. One Robin is his son. etc. etc. You can make some of these black grown men white, but it doesnt make any difference. They are grown men already with limited skillsets compared to their premiere hero like Iron Man (supergenius). One thing that Ive liked is giving/playing up the guy military abilities. Like D-Man became the new Scourge. But you have to have a character learn something to make the person interesting.

#13 Edited by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

In other words I don't feel it has anything to do with race. I don't read a lot of Bat-Family but from what I know Batman takes in kids and raises them and they become successful because they are successful replicas of him in some way or another. The problem Marvel has had is they take guys who are full grown men and make them sidekicks. If Falcon were white its not going to change anything. His character arc is horrible. He gets powers, he becomes a pimp, I dont know what he's developed over 40 or 50 years since his intro. War Machine most notable things, fools everyone by covering as Iron Man for a few issues, then in the 2000s he runs the Mutant internment camp, becomes a cyborg, becomes human again, Secret Avenger. The BatMan family is easy. Take a kid, show him becoming Batman. Batgirl is basically female Bats, then she gets shot. Dick grows up from a kid and becomes his own man. One kid doesnt grow up at all. One Robin is his son. etc. etc. You can make some of these black grown men white, but it doesnt make any difference. They are grown men already with limited skillsets compared to their premiere hero like Iron Man (supergenius). One thing that Ive liked is giving/playing up the guy military abilities. Like D-Man became the new Scourge. But you have to have a character learn something to make the person interesting.

I think it has plenty to do with race. Marvel doesn't know what to do with characters that aren't white heterosexual males. How you can have 3 successful films based on a character but you can't get  people to buy a 3$ comic every month starring the same character is just a massive fail in marketing and effort. I don't think Marvel has a problem with making "grown men, sidekicks". The only character mentioned that is technically a sidekick is Falcon and nobody likes him for the obvious reasons. He's lame as hell. War Machine isn't a sidekick. He's Iron Man's best friend. He's as much a sidekick to Tony as Elektra is to Daredevil (in other words), not at all. They are allies but Rhodey is no sidekick. 
 
There's no reason that Batwing shouldn't be selling just as well as Nightwing and Batgirl (Other than race or exposure). He's not a "grown man sidekick", I can count on my hands the number of times Batman has even appeared in his book or vice versa. His skillset may not be comparable to that of Bruce Wayne's but that also applies to Nightwing and Batgirl and they aren't children anymore, they are adults. To be honest because of his armor, without prep..I don't know if Bruce could take David..but that's best left to battle forums.
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#14 Edited by Metatron_Da_Don (1037 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro:

I think it has to do with backstory.

"If "Marvel doesn't know what to do with characters that aren't white heterosexual males. How you can have 3 successful films based on a character but you can't get people to buy a 3$ comic every month starring the same character is just a massive fail in marketing and effort."

Are you talking about Blade? Because I can agree they don't know what to do with him...but he's not really a superhero or a sidekick. And his last film wasnt successful because they tried to develop the white sidekicks Biel and Reynolds instead of focusing on developing Blade.

Falcon - "I don't think Marvel has a problem with making "grown men, sidekicks". The only character mentioned that is technically a sidekick is Falcon and nobody likes him for the obvious reasons. He's lame as hell."

Yes because he's a grown black guy forever in another man's shadow and occasional token on the Avengers. He is like Stingray with less armor and less brains. He has no military skills compared to other humans like Natasha or Hawkeye. He has no qualifications to be an Avenger and if he does they are so obscure... I mean this guys most notable story arc was he got mind controlled into being a pimp right?.

War Machine

* "Rhodey" is a sidekick who has Tony play the white knight role and bless him with a job as a pilot/engineer, armor, etc.

* If his identity is that of "Iron Man's" best friend then Daredevil's comparison is Foggy Nelson not Elektra.

* Elektra's backstory and resulting character is unique and involves her being transformed into, According to Marvel Comics"the world's most lethal woman and one of Marvel's most cold-blooded characters." Notice how it says woman. They acknowledge the gimmick. War Machine is not acknowledged as Marvel's most anything. If they were he'd be most lethal black man in a war suit? He was a Marine pilot who got shot down and helped Iron Man escape. Eventually Tony Stark hires him as his personal pilot. So basically he's an air chauffeur with combat experience.

Being Tony Starks best friend might make for interesting party stories (maybe Marvel: Entourage) but to date "Rhodey" has been bad. Does the black Iron Man have to have less money and have less intelligence? And his attitude is very generic. What is he good at that lends itself to being an A-Class superhero?

* There's no reason that Batwing shouldn't be selling just as well as Nightwing and Batgirl (Other than race or exposure).

How do you get race? Very little time was spent on explaining what makes Batwing a good heir to Batman. He is a former child-soldier that kills but becomes a policeman.

Morrison used 2 gimmicks - black man + high tech Bat-suit. Comparing him to Nightwing and Batgirl. 1) He has less backstory that lends itself to Batman readers. Even starting from the New 52 Dick Grayson and Batgirl were still trained by Batman to be peak intelligence and martial arts.

Im supposed to believe because he's a police officer he is peak detective/intelligence? No. Thats why he has the Batsuit. As a crutch. So now black Batman from the get-go has less experience using his intelligence than Batgirl and Nightwing. Lets move onto physical attributes - he's black and he was trained by marauders... That happens every day in real life.

Is he an Olympic level marksman? Am I supposed to believe he's an Olympic level athlete because he was a child-soldier? Obviously not thats why he has a suit. As a crutch.

He's James Rhodes with a bat motif.

Nightwing and Batgirl did not get their own series to start out. These characters are like 70 years old and have been training under Bruce for a long time.

Damian Wayne is more popular than Batwing and he would likely only be more popular if he were black. The black son of Batman trained by Assassins since birth.

Batwing on the other hand is a horrible backstory/ idea. The idea is that a child-soldier lends itself to being a superhero?In real life this guy would have had to rape and pillage and take drugs to cope. The best story's you can tell probably involve him as a recovering addict or a PTSD patient. Or if you play up the military aspect of him. The only thing that his bio says he was good at was killing/using guns. -_- Maybe they can make him a Russian sniper version of Batman. But as it stands he's a strange mix of War Machine with a Bat motif and a batcave and no genius intelligence or money to provide depth to his character.

He is not the adopted son or daughter of Batman and that's why he's not selling like BAtgirl or Nightwing. His backstory has nothing to do with Batman or lends itself to becoming a potential heir to Batman like the better selling Batgirl or Nightwing. All it takes is a good writer I guess but all the good Bat-Family have been raised since childhood to be master martial artists and detectives and MENSA members lol. I don't know why Batwing had to be so inferior.

If he was a black African/black American Damian Wayne or Nightwing or even a black clone ala Terry McGinnis then he'd be selling like hotcakes. Grant Morrison and DC missed a great opportunity here. He really doesnt have any connection to the things that make Batman characters readable.

The successful Batman characters that sell were master martial artist and a master detective. So why is the first African Batman character neither?

#15 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

Are you talking about Blade? Because I can agree they don't know what to do with him...but he's not really a superhero or a sidekick. And his last film wasnt successful because they tried to develop the white sidekicks Biel and Reynolds instead of focusing on developing Blade.\

His last film WAS successful. 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

Yes because he's a grown black guy forever in another man's shadow and occasional token on the Avengers. He is like Stingray with less armor and less brains. He has no military skills compared to other humans like Natasha or Hawkeye. He has no qualifications to be an Avenger and if he does they are so obscure... I mean this guys most notable story arc was he got mind controlled into being a pimp right?.

I understand all this, but you said that Marvel's problem is making "grown men" sidekicks and that's not why people don't like the Falcon. 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

War Machine

* "Rhodey" is a sidekick who has Tony play the white knight role and bless him with a job as a pilot/engineer, armor, etc.

* If his identity is that of "Iron Man's" best friend then Daredevil's comparison is Foggy Nelson not Elektra.

* Elektra's backstory and resulting character is unique and involves her being transformed into, According to Marvel Comics"the world's most lethal woman and one of Marvel's most cold-blooded characters." Notice how it says woman. They acknowledge the gimmick. War Machine is not acknowledged as Marvel's most anything. If they were he'd be most lethal black man in a war suit? He was a Marine pilot who got shot down and helped Iron Man escape. Eventually Tony Stark hires him as his personal pilot. So basically he's an air chauffeur with combat experience.

Being Tony Starks best friend might make for interesting party stories (maybe Marvel: Entourage) but to date "Rhodey" has been bad. Does the black Iron Man have to have less money and have less intelligence? And his attitude is very generic. What is he good at that lends itself to being an A-Class superhero?

He's not Iron Man's sidekick and he never was. He's an ally of Iron Man. I used Elektra for comparison because War Machine is no different from her accept for she was Daredevil's girlfriend and not his best friend. I didn't use Foggy because he's not a hero of any type, he's a lawyer\district attorney. You basically saying that Elektra's success as opposed to Rhodey's is based on the fact he doesn't have a hyperbole nickname like the "most lethal woman" (which she's not). You're saying that his backstory is the problem when several other characters who get more recognition have the same one, Elektra included. No, the black Iron Man DOESN'T have to have less money and less intelligence, but neither does the female Batman. For everything you can find wrong with War Machine's backstory there is a white superhero that has the same attributes and is more successful. 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

How do you get race? Very little time was spent on explaining what makes Batwing a good heir to Batman. He is a former child-soldier that kills but becomes a policeman.

He's not an "heir" to Batman in the first place... 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said: 

Morrison used 2 gimmicks - black man + high tech Bat-suit. Comparing him to Nightwing and Batgirl. 1) He has less backstory that lends itself to Batman readers. Even starting from the New 52 Dick Grayson and Batgirl were still trained by Batman to be peak intelligence and martial arts.

Im supposed to believe because he's a police officer he is peak detective/intelligence? No. Thats why he has the Batsuit. As a crutch. So now black Batman from the get-go has less experience using his intelligence than Batgirl and Nightwing. Lets move onto physical attributes - he's black and he was trained by marauders... That happens every day in real life.

Is he an Olympic level marksman? Am I supposed to believe he's an Olympic level athlete because he was a child-soldier? Obviously not thats why he has a suit. As a crutch.

He's James Rhodes with a bat motif.

Nightwing and Batgirl did not get their own series to start out. These characters are like 70 years old and have been training under Bruce for a long time.

Damian Wayne is more popular than Batwing and he would likely only be more popular if he were black. The black son of Batman trained by Assassins since birth.

Batwing on the other hand is a horrible backstory/ idea. The idea is that a child-soldier lends itself to being a superhero?In real life this guy would have had to rape and pillage and take drugs to cope. The best story's you can tell probably involve him as a recovering addict or a PTSD patient. Or if you play up the military aspect of him. The only thing that his bio says he was good at was killing/using guns. -_- Maybe they can make him a Russian sniper version of Batman. But as it stands he's a strange mix of War Machine with a Bat motif and a batcave and no genius intelligence or money to provide depth to his character.

He is not the adopted son or daughter of Batman and that's why he's not selling like BAtgirl or Nightwing. His backstory has nothing to do with Batman or lends itself to becoming a potential heir to Batman like the better selling Batgirl or Nightwing. All it takes is a good writer I guess but all the good Bat-Family have been raised since childhood to be master martial artists and detectives and MENSA members lol. I don't know why Batwing had to be so inferior.

If he was a black African/black American Damian Wayne or Nightwing or even a black clone ala Terry McGinnis then he'd be selling like hotcakes. Grant Morrison and DC missed a great opportunity here. He really doesnt have any connection to the things that make Batman characters readable.

The successful Batman characters that sell were master martial artist and a master detective. So why is the first African Batman character neither?

The rest of this is just your opinion on the quality of Batwing's back story and I don't agree with it. Nightwing and Batgirl AREN'T better than Batwing. They are just different. They aren't selling more because they are smarter than him or because they are better martial artists.
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#16 Posted by ExtraLarge (243 posts) - - Show Bio

The sad truth is that women and minority characters don't sell comics. I enjoyed War Machine's last series more than Iron Man, but Iron Man sells comics so he has a series and War Machine doesn't. Ms Marvel's last series was good and lasted 50 issues, which is pretty good for a female series. Now Marvel has retooled her as Capt Marvel to give her another shot, and while it has been good so far, it probably won't last. The simple truth is that most comic readers are white males and they buy what they relate to. I think Miles Morales is terrific, and hopefully he will be around long enough to sway some white male minds enough to give other minority characters a fighting chance at maintaining a book.

#17 Posted by Metatron_Da_Don (1037 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro:

The casual fan would consider War Machine a sidekick. Going by the wiki definition, A sidekick is a subordinate ally. Most people would say War Machine is a subordinate ally and thus a sidekick. He goes on his own adventures but at the end of the day he's Iron Man's pilot who has a great design but no character. You take away the superhero identity and who is James Rhodes? A random guy on Tony Starks payroll with combat experience.

Elektra was Matt Murdock's girlfriend until her diplomat father was killed. She then develops into the worlds best assassin and the hook is she is a female and yet the most dangerous martial artist and that she is trying to kill Matt before she knows his secret identity. She developed her own skills:

Elektra's primary abilities are a strong knowledge of martial arts and weaponry. Elektra learned ancient martial arts of China, Siam, and Japan.

She is a master combatant with the Japanese Sai, her usual weapon of choice. She is also highly skilled with the katana, daggers, three-sectional staff, and shurikens.

Elektra is an Olympic-level athlete, strong in gymnastics and swimming, with a high level in athleticism in human strength, speed, stamina, agility, dexterity, reflexes & reactions, coordination, balance, and endurance. She is resistant to pain and extreme heat and cold. She is also able to keep to the shadows and move with such speed that she can remain unseen even in daylight.

Elektra has the ability to mesmerize others, and as such make them see illusions or other phenomena./ Elektra also has the ability to "throw" her mind into those of others/temporal mind control / Elektra has demonstrated low-level telepathy.

-----

I'm not a fan of Elektra but I'm saying War Machine isn't an interesting character or skillset aside from the fact he is a soldier who got armor from Tony Stark. Daredevil didn't give Elektra anything except maybe a conscience. It would be different if War Machine was a fellow genius but invented his own armors for evil/vigilante use and then Iron Man came along and helped him see the good. But Rhodey isn't a master inventor or assassin like Stark or Elektra.

And I did try to think of a white hero that has War Machines attributes and is more successful. I can be wrong but I couldn't name anyone : 1) works for a superhero benefactor 2) military background 3) power-suit

----

As for Batwing he is very similar to War Machine. Again I can't name any white guy who is similar to him and successful. He's a former-soldier who has a rich Benefactor and an armor suit. Maybe if he and War Machine had romance in the books... But to compare Batwing to Batgirl and Nightwing and say they arent selling because of race is not fair.

Fans got to see Batman train Batgirl and Nightwing as master martial artists. If Batwing was white you'd look at his background and say this is bad, he survived a war but he has a bland skillset and backstory with no connection to Batman.

And if Nightwing was black in New 52 people would still pick up the book because he's still Batman's adopted son, a master detective and a master martial artists. Race doesnt have anything to do with it Batwing is not on Nightwing's level of development or backstory or skillset. Personally as a black man I read the book and saw it for what it was. A gimmick.

Now if you had made him a detective ward of Batman and black and he didn't sell - I would be surprised. Even if he had never appeared before like Batwing. I would have expected it to make news headlines etc If he is black you still have to develop him like Cassandra Cain, Barbara, Damian, Dick, Jason Todd, Tim Drake. Then he would be showing up in all the Bat stories and it make sense and be more popular. His backstory is bad and so is most of Batman Inc.

I am as unbiased as you can get imo, Batwing wasn't given a proper backstory. And that's the writers fault. The writers make the fact that they are black the most superordinary part about the character and its slightly racist imo. But if I am wrong and it is the readers then give me some white soldiers that got robot suits from a benefactor and gadgets and voila they were great?

#18 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@ExtraLarge said:
The sad truth is that women and minority characters don't sell comics.
They do at DC.
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#19 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

The casual fan would consider War Machine a sidekick. Going by the wiki definition, A sidekick is a subordinate ally. Most people would say War Machine is a subordinate ally and thus a sidekick. He goes on his own adventures but at the end of the day he's Iron Man's pilot who has a great design but no character. You take away the superhero identity and who is James Rhodes? A random guy on Tony Starks payroll with combat experience.

War Machine doesn't answer to Tony though, that's what a "subordinate" is. Robin is a sidekick because he answers to Batman. War Machine doesn't have to take orders from Iron Man or even give a damn what he thinks. 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

Elektra was Matt Murdock's girlfriend until her diplomat father was killed. She then develops into the worlds best assassin and the hook is she is a female and yet the most dangerous martial artist and that she is trying to kill Matt before she knows his secret identity. She developed her own skills:

That's what you're not understanding. She doesn't have her OWN skills. ANYTHING she can do, he can do better. She's not his equal, she's inferior to him in most ways. Her powers are irrelevant because she's doesn't even use them. They've only been shown in a miniseries, years ago. 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

I'm not a fan of Elektra but I'm saying War Machine isn't an interesting character or skillset aside from the fact he is a soldier who got armor from Tony Stark. Daredevil didn't give Elektra anything except maybe a conscience. It would be different if War Machine was a fellow genius but invented his own armors for evil/vigilante use and then Iron Man came along and helped him see the good. But Rhodey isn't a master inventor or assassin like Stark or Elektra.

And I did try to think of a white hero that has War Machines attributes and is more successful. I can be wrong but I couldn't name anyone : 1) works for a superhero benefactor 2) military background 3) power-suit

That's fine if you don't think his interesting but the reasons you don't apply to alot of other characters that sell more books and have had more ongoing series than he has. I'm drawing a contrast between the interest of comic readers in general not mine or your own personal preference. When I said that War Machine's character attributes can be found in more successful characters I meant "ideally" not "literally".  
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

Fans got to see Batman train Batgirl and Nightwing as master martial artists. If Batwing was white you'd look at his background and say this is bad, he survived a war but he has a bland skillset and backstory with no connection to Batman.?

I don't think there's anything wrong with his backstory and he's black, so how does this make sense? Also how can you get on him for having a "bland skillset" when Nightwing and Batgirl have the SAME exact skillset as Batman but on lower levels? It's not bland to just copy a blueprint and reduce it? 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

I am as unbiased as you can get imo, Batwing wasn't given a proper backstory. And that's the writers fault. The writers make the fact that they are black the most superordinary part about the character and its slightly racist imo.

His backstory may be why YOU don't care for the character but there's no indication that it's the same for the majority of those who aren't reading the book. 
 
@Metatron_Da_Don said:

But if I am wrong and it is the readers then give me some white soldiers that got robot suits from a benefactor and gadgets and voila they were great?

Not being able to name a character like this doesn't make you right or me wrong.
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#20 Posted by Deranged Midget (17599 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

@Deranged Midget said:

@Vance Astro: I can't help but think that Marvel readers are just less accustomed to change and become so offended or threatened when change is afoot. Yes, Peter was a fantastic character. We saw him grow and we grew with him. But Miles has been slowly proving himself, he's more human of a character than almost any other person I've seen written in the Marvel Universe. He's caring, compassionate, inspired and something that all kids should look up and relate to.

What's sad is that Peter Parker of Earth-616 is arguably the most popular character Marvel has to offer and some people are still unwilling to give Miles a chance to shine.How much more Peter Parker can you ask for?

I couldn't agree more. Killing off Ult. Peter was emotional for a lot of people and it was written quite well and considering the creation of Miles, perhaps a lot of people are pissed that Pete has no chance of returning now. But I don't understand the outrage. I have always preferred 616 Pete and I feel that with Miles, we have something unique, new and interesting to follow and Bendis has done a FANTASTIC job with both the Ultimate Spider-Man series and Spider-Men. It's emotional, heart-warming, creative and quirky.

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#21 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Deranged Midget said:

I couldn't agree more. Killing off Ult. Peter was emotional for a lot of people and it was written quite well and considering the creation of Miles, perhaps a lot of people are pissed that Pete has no chance of returning now. But I don't understand the outrage. I have always preferred 616 Pete and I feel that with Miles, we have something unique, new and interesting to follow and Bendis has done a FANTASTIC job with both the Ultimate Spider-Man series and Spider-Men. It's emotional, heart-warming, creative and quirky.

It's by far some of the best recent stuff i've read from Bendis.
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#22 Posted by Deranged Midget (17599 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro: I know! Yeah, his Avengers stuff has been a little sub-par as of late, but his stuff on Ult. Spidey is some of the best stuff Marvel has put out in years.

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#23 Posted by Duke_Nasty (1017 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice post.

I agree Marvel does need a young black character that is interesting but it needs to be in the 616 universe to be effective.

And about Batwing, I disagree with the posts saying he is a bland Batman knockoff and thats why the book isn't selling, if that were the case Batwoman would have been cancelled by now. I've liked Batwing and I can't understand how someone would want to buy 4-5 Batman titles(Several of which are awful), Batgirl, Batwoman and Nightwing but not Batwing.

#24 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Duke_Nasty said:

 I disagree with the posts saying he is a bland Batman knockoff and thats why the book isn't selling, if that were the case Batwoman would have been cancelled by now. I've liked Batwing and I can't understand how someone would want to buy 4-5 Batman titles(Several of which are awful), Batgirl, Batwoman and Nightwing but not Batwing.

My point exactly. Thank you for saying that.
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#25 Posted by Blacharrt1 (751 posts) - - Show Bio

@Superdork said:

I love your post, and I agree with all of your points!

Sticking to Spiderman I'll just say that I hate Miles Morales as much as I hate Ben Reilly (i think that's his name). To me there will always be one Spiderman and that is Peter Parker. I think it's just cheap and lazy to use an already existing superhero and give him a new secret identity. I'd rather a character like Luke Cage or Black Panther become more popular. How do you do that? Hire better talent to write and draw Luke Cage. Then when you have the best talent working on a Luke Cage comic, put a lot of money into mass marketing Luke Cage. That is how you make a minority character into a top selling character. I wish companies would stop replacing popular white characters with some other character of another race and then acting like 'problem solved'. Then when the comic books readership goes down they act like it's the fans who are racist. It's not that. People just like Peter Parker and people don't need Peter to replaced. You want a popular black or hispanic comic book character? Don't replace already popular characters, come up with a unique character and spend some talent and dollars making said characters popular to the public.

Miles and Peter live in two different universes, so nbd. Miles is not going to replace 616 Peter. It's okay to have variety. There were two Batmen running around at one point. Green Lantern has been replaced a zillion times. It's like Doctor Who--a legacy. But instead of actors--it's heroes. You're making a bigger deal out of this than you need to.

And Luke Cage hasn't used the Power Man name in years. He's way better known as Luke Cage. I'm happy that Victor Alvarez took up the mantle.

I don't think Marvel or DC need to create any more minority characters. They just need to develop the ones that they have and make them major players in company wide crossovers and team books. Then give them backup stories--then maybe even solos. It's a process that hasn't been done yet.

I completely agree with this

#26 Posted by GundamHeavyarms (701 posts) - - Show Bio

Personally, I still think that a lot more people would have been willing to give miles a chance if he was introduced before peter died. The transition from Peter to Miles was haphazard, and I think that's why people were so upset. I read the first trade with Miles in it. I didn't think it was bad, but it wasn't good either, but I still think that its great that there is a book with a black male lead.

I've read a little bit of the New Power Man as well, I think he's an okay character, but I'm not really interested in him.

I do think that Marvel and DC are missing out on not developing minority characters. On some level, I understand why they don't do it, it's because most of the time, it didn't work in the past, and I am sure that characters that have had successes like Static and Miles Morales are viewed as "flukes." Which leads to another point.

I think that there is a difference between how fans see comics and how businesses see comics. Fans see comics as an art form, and art should change and evolve with the times. That includes seeing characters who are not straight white males. Though thats not to say that straight white males are the "enemy" they are viewed as the default, and more and more fans want more than the default. Businesses see comics as a way of making money, and most businesses go after the money they know that they can get rather than taking risks, they hate risks because they might lose money. They know that there are sections of fans who want to buy books with minorities in them, but they are most likely viewed as a small, fringe, group, rather than the majority.

The same goes for movies, and tv shows as well.

#27 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@GundamHeavyarms said:

I think that there is a difference between how fans see comics and how businesses see comics. Fans see comics as an art form, and art should change and evolve with the times. That includes seeing characters who are not straight white males. Though thats not to say that straight white males are the "enemy" they are viewed as the default, and more and more fans want more than the default. Businesses see comics as a way of making money, and most businesses go after the money they know that they can get rather than taking risks, they hate risks because they might lose money. They know that there are sections of fans who want to buy books with minorities in them, but they are most likely viewed as a small, fringe, group, rather than the majority.

The same goes for movies, and tv shows as well.

It's weird that it's like that when Joe Quesada is an artist and writer himself. He should be more in tune with how a comic universe is supposed to flow. Money is being made but I think the outlook of comics as a form of entertainment is pretty grim, right now. There is a serious lack of creativity. I haven't been excited about anything in years.
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#28 Posted by GundamHeavyarms (701 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro: You could also say the same about Dan Didio and Jim Lee, but maybe they have to do what the shareholders want.

#29 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@GundamHeavyarms said:

@Vance Astro: You could also say the same about Dan Didio and Jim Lee, but maybe they have to do what the shareholders want.

I don't know about that. 
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#30 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

I just recently thought of this, Vance, tell me what you think. What if more minority characters were introduced through digital comics first? That way the costs would be lower since you wouldn't have to print the comics and distribute them to stores, and the money saved there could be used in other places like more advertising to increase the characters exposure or maybe hire more well known writers. Then once they've developed a following (or if) you can start to introduce them into print comics. And if they don't produce you're out less money.

#31 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Xanni15 said:

I just recently thought of this, Vance, tell me what you think. What if more minority characters were introduced through digital comics first? That way the costs would be lower since you wouldn't have to print the comics and distribute them to stores, and the money saved there could be used in other places like more advertising to increase the characters exposure or maybe hire more well known writers. Then once they've developed a following (or if) you can start to introduce them into print comics. And if they don't produce you're out less money.

That sounds like a great idea not just for minority characters but for any type of character that Marvel is having trouble selling.
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#32 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

@Xanni15 said:

I just recently thought of this, Vance, tell me what you think. What if more minority characters were introduced through digital comics first? That way the costs would be lower since you wouldn't have to print the comics and distribute them to stores, and the money saved there could be used in other places like more advertising to increase the characters exposure or maybe hire more well known writers. Then once they've developed a following (or if) you can start to introduce them into print comics. And if they don't produce you're out less money.

That sounds like a great idea not just for minority characters but for any type of character that Marvel is having trouble selling.

Make it happen, Vance. You have my full support.

#33 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Xanni15 said:

Make it happen, Vance. You have my full support.

Cool i'll try. I'll let you know when Marvel let's me in.
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#34 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

@Xanni15 said:

Make it happen, Vance. You have my full support.

Cool i'll try. I'll let you know when Marvel let's me in.

I'll start a petition on Facebook, those things have a 100% success rate. Give it a day, two tops.

#35 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@Xanni15 said:

I'll start a petition on Facebook, those things have a 100% success rate. Give it a day, two tops.

I can't wait. The suspense is killing me. 
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#36 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro: