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#61 Thom Wade

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:14 PM

I can't imagine my black friend being white, or my white friend being black.


You only have one of each??? ;)

By the way... DC is getting hit pretty hard from the comic community or killing off non-white heroes so white characters can resume the role of the character. DC did a big "diversity" push a couple years ago... the Atom was Asian, the Blue Beetle was hispanic, Firestorm black...and so on. And not DC is slipping them off to put white guys back in the role. Their defense? We don't only have white characters! We have blue, purple and green ones. This is their actual defense that was used as recently as this past weekend at the HeroCon convention.

#62 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:22 PM

Bobbin Threadbare wrote:
: I'll buy his "appearance" simply because he's been depicted in pretty much the same way for so long in comics, but I can't think of a single way his "race" makes a difference.

"Appearance" is all you really need to know, then. "Race" is more complicated because it brings with it all sorts of cultural baggage that really shouldn't be imposed on an established iconic character such as this one.

: Are there similar controversies about Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury?

As I noted, there is a precedent for that within the comic books themselves, plus Nick Fury is not an iconic character that "everybody knows". There may or may not have been a controversy when the change was introduced in the comics, I don't know, but at least we can say that the films are working within the established comic-book tradition.

: And no one seems to care that an Australian has made 4 movies playing a character who is inextricably tied to being Canadian.

Well, whether it was the Aussie or the Scotsman who was originally going to play the character, I don't think it matters much, because both Canada and Australia, like the United States, are immigrant/colonial nations that were essentially founded by the British Empire. I don't think anybody complained when Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood played Irish-American president John F. Kennedy in Thirteen Days, either (and then went on to play another American president in National Treasure 2). NATIONALITY is not the issue here; RACE is the issue, which is something rather different.

: And of all the criticisms of Clash of the Titans the one I haven't heard is that Sam Worthington is not Greek enough.

Suffice it to say that there is a LOT that could be said about the treatment of ethnicity in movies set within the Greco-Roman period, but I don't think we want to get sidetracked into that here.

#63 SDG

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:27 PM

I can't imagine my black friend being white, or my white friend being black.

You only have one of each??? ;)

And what's worse, they're both hypothetical. Just like my fat friend and my long-haired friend. Yes, all my friends are thin, short-haired Asians, Indians, Middle Easterners, etc.

#64 SDG

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:32 PM

Are there similar controversies about Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury? Or is that just so "awesome" that it gets a pass?

Naw. It gets a pass because the Ultimate version of Fury is based on Sam Jackson. I think the discussion might have been different had Bendis made Ultimate Peter Parker black.

Um. Well. Maybe. But it just would have pushed back the controversy to the comic books. It's not like comic book creators can do whatever the hell they want, but filmmakers should stick to canon.

Any storyteller, in any medium, who makes either Nick Fury or Peter Parker black makes him a fundamentally different character from the original. Ultimate Nick Fury is a fundamentally different character than the original character. Ultimate Peter Parker isn't. (Not to belabor the obvious: Obviously, I'm not saying that race, or whatever similar construct you wish to stipulate, is sufficient to maintain continuity, just necessary.)

#65 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:47 PM

SDG wrote:
: It's not like comic book creators can do whatever the hell they want, but filmmakers should stick to canon.

Well, comic-book creators CAN do whatever the hell they want, inasmuch as they can always write "alternate universe" stories in which, say, Superman is raised in Soviet Russia rather than Kansas. (Or, for that matter, they can invent the Justice League as a substitute for the Justice Society, and then try to explain somewhere down the road that BOTH of these entities actually existed, albeit in separate dimensions.) And if filmmakers want to base their works on those alternate universes rather than the original universes (e.g., the new Green Lantern movie is based on Hal Jordan -- and apparently a very recent version of Hal Jordan, at that -- and not on Alan Scott), then that is certainly their prerogative. Where the "canon" is ambiguous, filmmakers have to take sides.

But let's remember that this all began with an article at io9 headlined "The last thing Spider-Man should be is another white guy". This did not begin as a campaign for Donald Glover, or even as a campaign for a black actor. (The original article also floated the possibility that an Hispanic actor could play the character.) This began as an "anything but a white guy" campaign, and the question we should be asking, given that Peter Parker IS a white guy and has ALWAYS been a white guy, is WHY casting agents should be avoiding white guys when casting this movie.

#66 SDG

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 03:04 PM

Well, comic-book creators CAN do whatever the hell they want, inasmuch as they can always write "alternate universe" stories in which, say, Superman is raised in Soviet Russia rather than Kansas. (Or, for that matter, they can invent the Justice League as a substitute for the Justice Society, and then try to explain somewhere down the road that BOTH of these entities actually existed, albeit in separate dimensions.) And if filmmakers want to base their works on those alternate universes rather than the original universes (e.g., the new Green Lantern movie is based on Hal Jordan -- and apparently a very recent version of Hal Jordan, at that -- and not on Alan Scott), then that is certainly their prerogative. Where the "canon" is ambiguous, filmmakers have to take sides.

What I mean is that comic-book creators are subject to the same fundamental narrative alternatives as moviemakers. Anyone can tell a story about a black character called Peter Parker who becomes Spider-Man, but whoever does this, it's a story about a fundamentally different character.

So I don't think that, say, Bendis has a fundamentally different kind of creative freedom to revise characters than a moviemaker (though he might have different legal rights, or enjoy some nebulous difference in audience tolerance, or something). To me, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is pretty much the same proposition regardless whether Jackson was first cast in the role on the comic-book page or the big screen. Jackson's Fury isn't the original Fury. Ultimate Fury isn't the original Fury.

Suppose that before Ultimate Fury was introduced, a filmmaker had first cast Jackson as Fury and the comics had followed suit. I can't say I see what difference it would make. So it's not like I accept Jackson in the role because of the comic book. No sequence of events can make him be the same character. Neither version of the character is any harder to accept as a completely different Nick Fury than the other, and neither makes the other easier to accept. There's the original Fury, and the Ultimate/Jackson Fury, they're different characters, and that's the end of it.

Edited by SDG, 07 June 2010 - 03:07 PM.


#67 Anders

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:45 PM

I guess what I find confusing about this argument is that there are times when I feel writers have written Peter Parker as a fundamentally different character, due to behaviours or character traits that I can't imagine Peter Parker having, while still keeping him as a white dude with dark hair. Race didn't have to come into it. The writers didn't understand the character. Are we still going to argument that he "just isn't the same character" in the same way we are if he's black? I think you agree with me, since you're saying that a character can be stretched to breaking point.

OTOH, I can imagine a black Peter Parker who would fundamentally have the character traits that make him Peter Parker. What specific character traits (I'm in agreement with PTC the fact that RACE is fundamentally different than NATIONALITY and is actually more constitutive to our personality than mere cosmetic appearance, which is what made the Eddie Murphy/Dave Chappelle skits where they played white guys so effective) do you feel would need to be changed if Peter's race were different? Skin colour is not a character trait, though for the sake of argument I might entertain that some character traits could be more prevalent in a certain race. I'm thinking that one could easily write about a kid from Queens, whose parents are dead and lives with his uncle and aunt, who is interested in science and a nerd, who is quick witted, etc. and basically identical to the Peter we know and love, AND is black. I'm trying to understand your argument more. Why is race a breaking point more than those other traits that have fluctuated through the history of the character?

#68 SDG

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:49 PM

I guess what I find confusing about this argument is that there are times when I feel writers have written Peter Parker as a fundamentally different character, due to behaviours or character traits that I can't imagine Peter Parker having, while still keeping him as a white dude with dark hair. Race didn't have to come into it. The writers didn't understand the character. Are we still going to argument that he "just isn't the same character" in the same way we are if he's black? I think you agree with me, since you're saying that a character can be stretched to breaking point.

Yes, I agree. I seem to recall running into stories like that. I stopped reading during those periods.

Why is race a breaking point more than those other traits that have fluctuated through the history of the character?

I'm not saying it is. Other traits can be breaking points too. By this point I should think my position is about as clear as I can make it.

#69 Persona

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 09:28 PM

By this point I should think my position is about as clear as I can make it.

It'd be more clear if you weren't so damn white.

#70 SDG

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:14 PM


By this point I should think my position is about as clear as I can make it.

It'd be more clear if you weren't so damn white.

True, I'm about as white as anyone in my part of the country ... which, in the grand scheme of things, is somewhat but not very. At least, white Europeans tell me we're
we're all relatively black compared to them.

Of course, I'm also quite blond, and Peter Parker isn't. Whatever. I still suspect that in this country the notion that skin color is a superficiality that doesn't really matter tends to be a pretty white idea.

#71 Bobbin Threadbare

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:25 PM

io9 has a new story rumoring Jamie Bell as Spider-Man/Peter Parker.

Of course I'm furious that since Peter Parker's defining trait is being a New Yorker even talking about casting a Brit just chaffs me.

I kid. Bell was by far the best part of 'Jumper,' and I think e'd bring a nice energy to the role. Thinking about it, energy was what Macguire lacked most of the time. His Parker was a bit too sedate.

http://m.io9.com/555...-new-spider man

#72 SDG

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:23 PM

Bell was by far the best part of 'Jumper,' and I think e'd bring a nice energy to the role. Thinking about it, energy was what Macguire lacked most of the time. His Parker was a bit too sedate.

"e'd bring"? He doesn't drop his h's, does he? :)

As long as he doesn't sound British, he might do very nicely. Heck, if Colin Farrell can bury his knee-deep brogue in a Tennessee twang, I'll believe a man can fly, or that a Brit can climb walls and live in Queens.

Yeah, Maguire's Parker, while not flat-out wrong, is pretty bland. I'm not sure I've ever explicitly put it this way before, but it occurs to me that he comes off as pretty self-consciously a fanboy proxy. This was most glaringly a problem by the third film, by which point Peter should have developed more maturity and awareness than he exhibits. He could also have been brighter, quicker and more thoughtful, instead of just technobabble "smart."

#73 Bobbin Threadbare

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:30 PM

Yeah, Maguire's Parker, while not flat-out wrong, is pretty bland. I'm not sure I've ever explicitly put it this way before, but it occurs to me that he comes off as pretty self-consciously a fanboy proxy. This was most glaringly a problem by the third film, by which point Peter should have developed more maturity and awareness than he exhibits. He could also have been brighter, quicker and more thoughtful, instead of just technobabble "smart."


My problem with Maguire was that he never got the one essential element of Spider-Man that makes him enjoyable(to me at least). Spider-Man loves being a super hero! His life may be in the toilet most of the time and Peter Parker just can't catch a break, but he still can swing around the city and crack jokes with ridiculously dressed bad guys.

No amount of Maguire "whoo-hoo"-ing will convince me he was having a good time. He just seemed to angst ridden. The third film was, as you say, the worst offender, but he just wasn't energetic enough in the previous ones either. I mean, look at Alfred Molina's Doc Ock. He was relishing being a villain, even if he had semi-tragic reasons for being one.

#74 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:33 AM

Totally, totally delayed reaction here, but I was just reminded that there is one other black-actor-playing-an-originally-white-character that we could add to the mix here -- and again, as with Kingpin and Nick Fury, the character isn't particularly well-known to the average viewer, so it arguably doesn't matter. On the other hand, the character in question is a Norse god, and therefore one might think that being, y'know, Norse would be kind of essential to the character. Thoughts, SDG?

#75 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 06:36 AM

In this case, Branagh might get a pass because the Norse gods, and Valhalla, is given a sci-fi explanation. As far as I understand it, they're not really gods, and don't have any direct connection to the Norse people.

#76 Overstreet

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 07:09 PM

SonyPictures tweet:

BREAKING NEWS: ANDREW GARFIELD CAST AS PETER PARKER IN NEXT SPIDER-MAN


That would be Andrew Garfield of

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Social Network

and
Never Let Me Go

Wow. Talk about going from zero to sixty in one year!

Okay, there's a hyperbole, so I'm sure someone will pick on it: But what I mean is just that it's going to take a very short time for folks to go from "Andrew who?" to "ANDREW GARFIELD, heck yeah!"

Edited by Overstreet, 01 July 2010 - 07:11 PM.


#77 Overstreet

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 11:47 PM

Wait... this is a reboot about Parker in high school, and Garfield is 27 years old?

#78 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 11:56 PM

Overstreet wrote:
: Wait... this is a reboot about Parker in high school, and Garfield is 27 years old?

Well, Tobey Maguire was 26, almost 27, when the first Spider-Man came out, and THAT film took place in high school, so it wouldn't be unprecedented.

#79 Ryan H.

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 12:07 PM

I think Garfield is a rather boring choice. He's Maguire Mark II. He's generally a convincing actor, but from what I've seen, he lacks that "star" charisma and the energy that are required for a hero like Peter Parker.

#80 Overstreet

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 12:44 AM

Ryan, has your opinion of Garfield changed yet? I'm quite impressed with him after seeing Never Let Me Go and The Social Network in the space of a week.

I can't seem to find a thread for the first Sam Raimi Spider-man movie. Surely there was one!