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Old 07-11-2014, 06:40 PM   #101
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What's the point in keeping characters the race they were introduced as? Is this a trick question?

You sound like a token-er.
In Mirage, her ethnicity was never fully mentioned, was it? I viewed her as ethnic there, personally.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:33 PM   #102
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Frankly, I think it's generally best that they just come up with entirely new characters rather than "tweak" existing ones. If for no other reason than, someone always WILL complain and it's just safer. It always seems like a cheap attention-grab when they take a well-known character and do something they know for a fact will be controversial.

And it's not like they haven't tried, like how I referenced Milestone comics earlier (Which DC didn't actually create, they were simply licensing partners, although DC eventually did absorb pretty much the entire line later on). That was an honest, earnest attempt at creating a metric ton of black super-hero characters. In fact, there weren't a whole ton of Caucasians walking around Dakota City at all, if memory serves. That raises the question, why didn't the line survive? The reason most-often given is "Lack of consumer interest". So, why didn't anyone want to read the books, which were written, created and drawn by black creators, marketed to a black audience, and featuring an almost-entirely black cast of characters? In absolutely no way could that effort be called pandering, as so many other efforts to be "progressive" in comics have been. So why wasn't there more reader support? Honest question.

Honestly, I think *that* is more along the lines of what's needed to "diversify" comics. Organic progression, not controversial race-swapping. I find it funny and a little sad, that it's easier for us to accept a character we already knew, with a "fresh coat of paint" (as if that's all it would be - not an entirely different family background, upbringing, educational opportunities or lifestyle, just a simple coat of paint), than we would accept a brand new character. Create a rival reporter who works at Channel 6, give her her own fully-developed backstory, and have her role essentially be, "The Black April O'Neil"? Hey, that's great, and might actually make for some decent stories, too. Expand their universe, make some new friends/enemies, there's some mileage there. Take April herself, who MOST people readily identify as Caucasian, and make her black because "Why Not?" I think that's honestly a poor idea that still comes from a good place, but is not exactly the right way to move things forward.

It wasn't bad when they made Perry White a black guy in "Man of Steel". You know what I liked even *better*, though? When there was a multi-year storyline in the Superman comics where Perry and his wife, Alice, readily adopted a black child named Keith Parks, who was left an orphan after his mother died (I want to say of AIDS, but it's been a few years since I re-read it, and as I said, it went on for years). Keith himself had been well-established in the books for a long time by then (and had actually been occupying the "Jimmy Olsen" role far more frequently than Jimmy himself had been at that particular time, being of great help to Superman on numerous occasions), to the point where once he was adopted by Perry and Alice, it wasn't just accepted, it was *expected*, and it went over quite well with the readers. Probably because, Keith was his own character, they didn't just paint Jimmy Olsen black, or have Perry suddenly be black so his son (adopted or otherwise) could be, too. My memory is fuzzy, but it may have been the first (or at least among the first) examples of a mixed-race family in mainstream comic books. Talk about progressive! I really liked that whole arc; sadly, a few years later, some bored editors retconned the whole thing out so that it never happened. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

My point being, I'm all for fictional universes being more inclusive, but I think there's a right and wrong way to do it, and I think pallette-swapping is the wrong way. It's lazy and controversial for the sake of being controversial, most of the time. I'd prefer to see newer, fully-realized characters fit those roles. When someone at DC thought they needed more minorities in the Justice League, they created Vixen and Cyborg, both of whom turned out great. Much better, I say, than if they just decided to "paint" Wonder Woman or Aquaman, "just because".

To be fair, they also created Vibe at the exact same time, so obviously they were still trying to figure the whole thing out.


those are really good points that do make a lot of sense, tho i still personally don't think its such a big deal to do a pallete swap. maybe it IS just to be controversial or whatever, but as long as the execution is done well, the work itself will speak over the controversy and level out the waves caused by the change.

one thing i'm curious about is how you feel about movies and tv in this sitch.

what if the best actress they found for april in this flick happened to be black or hispanic? what if the work ethic, chemistry and overall personality of an ethnic actress fit the actual movie-making process for this film better.

in this case there is an organic reason to make the change, but its not one that has to do with plot or story. the controversy is sure to come along, the same as it would for any other reason in this situation, but the justification is "well, this actress has better chops and fits the cast and crew better than any of these other actresses."

would it be better to not rock the boat or keep everything as its always been?
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:43 PM   #103
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I agree that it shouldn't matter if a character is black or white. Truly I do. But the problem with this kind of discussion is that in changing an established character, the people arguing for the change tend to disregard that if it doesn't matter that a character is black or white, then there should be no reason to change the character in the first place.

And so, there are two truths here:

Truth #1, it shouldn't matter what race a character is unless that race is somehow pivotal to the character's depiction or struggles in the story.

Truth #2, characters are changed seemingly with disregard to the fact that just as other races want representation, so do white people. However, the modern trend is to make white people villains if they disagree with a change, which in of itself is actually racist against white people. The reality is simple: stop usurping characters when some people feel have an established heritage, and instead be creative and create new, important characters of diverse backgrounds.

Again, it's not one or the other. Both things can be true. This country needs a smart, well rounded generation of young people - not a generation of manipulators.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:13 PM   #104
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IMO, adding more diversity and representation to a genre (and media as a whole) that doesn't have enough of it is a good reason in itself.
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The second being, yes, while it's probably better to introduce new characters with their own identity, who can make better use of their backgrounds, I'm all for changing a character in a new interpretation as well, if it helps diversify a cast more believably. Multi-decade fictional properties (what we're talking about when we talk about comic-book franchises) are inherently inorganic things. They're more established and increasingly more niche, making the launch of entirely new characters difficult. Most fiction is one-and-done. It doesn't stick around for decades of alteration and retelling. We're going to get change here. Since the status quo reflects inherently inorganic limitations to begin with (namely that, for some of the older properties, companies would whitewash an entire cast in the name of propriety), I have no problem with that being altered to, let alone be more inclusive, just be more realistic.
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April's not defined by her race. She could be black, white, or asian and still be April. She's been a reporter, archaeologist, scientist, and antiques seller throughout all her incarnations; despite the changes, she's remained April. Changing her ethnicity wouldn't do anything beyond being a breath of fresh air, in my opinion. They were definitely going to make her blonde in 2k12:

http://media.tumblr.com/177b56c7ab27...ilx1r46ii7.jpg

Not to mention have her shipped with Raph.

Anyway, I've already made my multiracial April:

http://th03.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/...ss-d7jk52y.png
Great artwork, Darth Empress! You rock.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with changing an established character to be non-white, or to be more inclusive in general. I woke up this morning to the usual round of "BAWWW, GAY AGENDA" re what they're doing with upping the quota of LGBT characters in the Batgirl series. It's ridiculous, this attitude that "oh, I can't relate to a character if they're black, or gay, or a woman - I don't want to read about that... PC gone mad grumble grumble grumble".

People of color are woefully underrepresented in pop culture, and I'm personally sick of it. The entire world isn't made up of straight, white people. Entertainment should be diversified to reflect the world that we live in, not to maintain an outdated status quo.

White people dominate the majority of entertainment out there. White people have enough privilege as it is. We're not a disenfranchised race, we're not somehow being discriminated against if a previously white character is now being written as black.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:48 PM   #105
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To what ends, though? People can rightly argue, "well, a majority of characters were created in less-enlightened times," but does that give another creator license to go back and tinker with someone else's work? Do we go back and remove every single offensive word from, say, Huck Finn, because we want the character to seem more progressive or enlightened? Why not go all the way, make Huck himself black, and take all the heat off of him entirely? Just make him black so that he can in no way be portrayed as a bigot, despite how often he uses That Word. Seems to make sense on the surface, right? Or, would that be completely undoing the original spirit of the work? Granted, that's an extreme example, but frankly, I'm not comfortable with taking someone else's work and changing it outright, even if it's done with good intentions.

I also don't think you can move forward by looking or reaching backwards. I genuinely think it's more earnest and effective when people come up with new characters. For one thing, it requires a lot more effort and thought on the part of the writer/creator, and shows they're actually trying. I find the New Paint Job "solution" to be pandering. I think it comes from the right place in the heart, but it's a very shallow and cynical approach to solving a much deeper problem.

You know who else I really liked? Ron Troupe, the guy who replaced Clark at the Daily Planet when Clark/Superman was dead. There was another really solid black character that got totally swept under the rug a few years later, after a ton of build-up and execution. Why can't we have more of that instead? They actually did the work! Every time someone suggests color-swapping an existing character, we lose a character like that, it seems. I actually find that less progressive, personally.

I mean, I get what people are getting at, I just think there's a natural way to handle it and a forced way to handle it. I mean, there was a time when almost any new racially-specific character was also a blatant stereotype, so even that wasn't the greatest idea itself, but we're way past that by a few decades. I'd just generally rather see more, better new stuff than tweaks to old stuff. I'm not a huge fan of retcons in general.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:21 PM   #106
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Laird says that April was never intended to be black and although his memory is kind of bad I think he'd remember something like that. So there. I think it would be odd to change her race entirely at this point. TMNT can do way better with having a more racialized cast; however Hamato Yoshi, Oroku Saki and Karai are Japanese, Baxter Stockman is usually black (not that that's particularly good, since he's usually a joke), and Angel is sort of mixed race in some way. It would be nice if she didn't come from the rough side of town, though. Kind of stereotypical.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:42 PM   #107
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Laird says that April was never intended to be black and although his memory is kind of bad I think he'd remember something like that.
I don't think he would -- I don't think Laird cared that much about April's race.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:20 PM   #108
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To what ends, though? People can rightly argue, "well, a majority of characters were created in less-enlightened times," but does that give another creator license to go back and tinker with someone else's work? Do we go back and remove every single offensive word from, say, Huck Finn, because we want the character to seem more progressive or enlightened?
There's a false equivalency when we talk about one-off fiction and long franchises, though.

1) Huck Finn is a particularly terrible example because his racial ignorance is actually part of that story, as opposed to, say, too-white comic-book casts which just handwave diversity because of the era they were written in, no other agenda.

But, more saliently, 2) Huck Finn isn't a franchise character. He hasn't changed. He wasn't made to change hands between authors. There aren't new versions of him every year. He isn't an evergreen, in-print-every-month, endlessly re-imagined character.

Comic-book properties, including Turtles, are. They change all the time for any number of reasons, have multiple versions running at once, etc. They stay updated. Which brings me to the question I brought up last page:

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Splinter can be a mutated rat, or he can be the once-human Hamato Yoshi. He can be a vengeful, short-sited purveyor of the old ways, or he can be a humble father intent on keeping his sons from harm. Casey can be a whacked-out vigilante, a father, a struggling teen. April can be a reporter, a frustrated computer technician, in her thirties, in her twenties, in her teens. Karai can be an amoral ninja leader, Shredder's conflicted daughter, or a sycophant villain. None of the Shredders are even remotely similar.
How, and why, would an ethnicity change be any more egregious than what we've already seen?

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You know who else I really liked? Ron Troupe, the guy who replaced Clark at the Daily Planet when Clark/Superman was dead. There was another really solid black character that got totally swept under the rug a few years later, after a ton of build-up and execution. Why can't we have more of that instead? They actually did the work! Every time someone suggests color-swapping an existing character, we lose a character like that, it seems. I actually find that less progressive, personally.
It's not like you can't have both, though. It just feels like a way of shutting down the conversation.

There's zero reason the next version of TMNT couldn't have Angel and a non-white April.

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Laird says that April was never intended to be black and although his memory is kind of bad I think he'd remember something like that. So there. I think it would be odd to change her race entirely at this point.
For what it's worth, I think Eastman's said the opposite at some point: that he did intend for April to be black or of some non-white background. Which Laird disputed, but I think the takeaway is that it's just not something either one of them thought or cared much about, and she could appear one way or the other depending on the art team until later on.

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Old 07-11-2014, 10:41 PM   #109
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I also don't think you can move forward by looking or reaching backwards. I genuinely think it's more earnest and effective when people come up with new characters. For one thing, it requires a lot more effort and thought on the part of the writer/creator, and shows they're actually trying. I find the New Paint Job "solution" to be pandering. I think it comes from the right place in the heart, but it's a very shallow and cynical approach to solving a much deeper problem.

You know who else I really liked? Ron Troupe, the guy who replaced Clark at the Daily Planet when Clark/Superman was dead. There was another really solid black character that got totally swept under the rug a few years later, after a ton of build-up and execution. Why can't we have more of that instead? They actually did the work! Every time someone suggests color-swapping an existing character, we lose a character like that, it seems. I actually find that less progressive, personally.

I mean, I get what people are getting at, I just think there's a natural way to handle it and a forced way to handle it. I mean, there was a time when almost any new racially-specific character was also a blatant stereotype, so even that wasn't the greatest idea itself, but we're way past that by a few decades. I'd just generally rather see more, better new stuff than tweaks to old stuff. I'm not a huge fan of retcons in general.
Yeah, I get where you're coming from - my partner actually has the exact same opinion so we're always debating about it. Honestly, I don't know what the solution is - it just seems like when they try to create original characters, it doesn't work because the comic buying community is so set in their ways that they don't give it a chance. If it doesn't have a bat or an X on it, it struggles because nobody wants to pick it up and see how it pans out - they have to buy the 50 different Batman comics that're coming out instead.

I dunno, I could just be talking out of my butt here - I'm not in the world's best mood today so feel free to take what I've said with a grain of salt.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:44 PM   #110
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Cipher: Admittedly, sometimes I use broad strokes to make a point. The point was: Franchise character or one-off, is it either necessary or proper to take an existing fictional work, make a judgment of it, say "We know better now than we did then," and then alter and re-present it? In either case, I'd argue that it's not, in fact, necessary. It was a broad example on purpose, because if you can do that with one type of fiction, it may as well be "allowed" to "re-imagine" everything.

And that's where it goes away from specifically being about race (or religion, or sexual orientation), and becomes about, "I don't think retcons are a good idea, in general, and people would be better served to create their own original ideas rather than tinker with what others have done." Not trying to shut down any conversation, just a personal point of view that retconning in general is lazy storytelling and that color-swapping is a flimsy example of progression, one that often rings false.

Pennydreadful: I get it, I just think race-swapping pre-existing characters is more an illusion or progress than any actual progress. The creators get to have it both ways, playing the role of forward-thinkers without having to do any actual work or actually address any issues. I get the "any progress is an improvement" point of view, I just don't embrace it, and feel that, in some cases, it stifles real change. But I totally get where it comes from: Usually, a genuine desire to see some more diversity in fiction. Which is great, just do it the right way. Put a little more thought into it than, "Well, it's the same character you always knew, just a different tone of ink." I think it over-simplifies a complex issue.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:45 PM   #111
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Leo656 is pretty much saying what I'm thinking. What I don't like is when they change a characters race when they easily could have just used an existing character. Like why did Marlon Wayans have to be Ripcord in G.I. Joe? Couldn't he just have been Stalker, Alpine, Doc, Iceberg or any of the other black characters? Or why couldn't Laurence Fishburne have played Franklin Stern in Man of Steel? Would that have ruined the movie?
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:57 PM   #112
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And that's where it goes away from specifically being about race (or religion, or sexual orientation), and becomes about, "I don't think retcons are a good idea, in general, and people would be better served to create their own original ideas rather than tinker with what others have done."
But they've already made April a teenager! They've made her a reporter!

Splinter was a rat and now sometimes he's a former-human. Sometimes he's an asshole and other times he's father of the year. Karai went from an honorable, middle-aged ninja executive to Shredder's sycophant evil granddaughter. Sometimes the Turtles are reincarnated Japanese children. Which is all fine, because, hey, different versions. Baxter Stockman is Baxter Stockman whether he's black, white or purple (and he's actually on the consistent side of this franchise, character-wise).

We've already seen changes so extreme the characters only resemble other versions in name and general concept. How would it be any different if, next Turtles incarnation, April wasn't a white redhead?

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Old 07-11-2014, 10:57 PM   #113
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Leo656 is pretty much saying what I'm thinking. What I don't like is when they change a characters race when they easily could have just used an existing character. Like why did Marlon Wayans have to be Ripcord in G.I. Joe? Couldn't he just have been Stalker, Alpine, Doc, Iceberg or any of the other black characters? Or why couldn't Laurence Fishburne have played Franklin Stern in Man of Steel? Would that have ruined the movie?
okay then...why can't we just have a new character that's black. She'd be have the same role as April but just be called something else

though I'd just know people would rage saying "where's April??, why couldn't they just have April instead??" XD
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:11 PM   #114
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Or why couldn't Laurence Fishburne have played Franklin Stern in Man of Steel? Would that have ruined the movie?
DUDE that's the verrrry first thing I said when I heard the casting, because he would be PERFECT for Franklin Stern! Actually, so was James Earl Jones, who got to play Stern on Lois & Clark.

...Franklin Stern, I should note, who's been erased from recent continuity entirely. There's another strong and above all originally created black character, that editors in more recent, "more progressive" times have swept under the rug. What, a black guy can't be the owner/publisher of the freakin' Daily Planet in the New 52? BAH.

Come to think of it, though, but Superman comics sure did have a lot of people of color in positions of power and/or taking up prime storytelling real estate in the years since 1986. I mean, it's usually pretty subtle, but it's always been there. Steel. Franklin Stern. Keith. All original characters who were presented on equal ground with the established cast. See, I like that. Put the message out there without clubbing anyone over the head with it. And, unlike what would inevitably have happened if the editors had, say, changed Jimmy Olsen, I don't recall anyone raising any objection to those new characters at all based on race, and in fact, they were all very well-received, Steel in particular. I just feel it works better that way. When people aren't so distracted by Change, they can more fully embrace the actual character.

Cipher: I do get what you're saying, and all I can offer is, I've also argued often that I wish the various TMNT interpretations weren't SO disparate so that people could occasionally be more on the same page with things. Lots of differing points of view on that, obviously. I do think it's a flaw in any franchise, frankly, when there's 6 or 7 wildly different versions of the same "basic origin story". I think it limits inclusion and accessibility whenever the answer to a question as simple as, "What is this character's origin?" is to say, "Which one? In THIS version..." I think it's a huge reason why a lot of people dismiss comics and cartoons outright. But again, that's opening up an entirely new and different can of worms.
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Old 07-12-2014, 02:20 AM   #115
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April is most recognizable as a redhead white girl like Barbara Gordon, but if they changed her up to be some other race I really wouldn't care too much. As long as they're not like "NEW BLACK APRIL WITH FRIED CHICKEN AND GRAPE SODA ACCESSORIES" and describe her as "THE TURTLES' WELFARE MOM FRIEND" I'm down with it.

They already played with her age and it turned out well. No reason they couldn't change her race, too.
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Old 07-12-2014, 04:09 AM   #116
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SHE IS NOT WHITE, SHE IS GINGER

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Old 07-12-2014, 06:41 AM   #117
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April is most recognizable as a redhead white girl like Barbara Gordon, but if they changed her up to be some other race I really wouldn't care too much. As long as they're not like "NEW BLACK APRIL WITH FRIED CHICKEN AND GRAPE SODA ACCESSORIES" and describe her as "THE TURTLES' WELFARE MOM FRIEND" I'm down with it.

They already played with her age and it turned out well. No reason they couldn't change her race, too.
I don't think that was necessary to say all that. This thread is starting to get a little cringe-worthy.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:23 AM   #118
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Anyway, I've already made my multiracial April:

I like your design! Strangely enough, it doesn't look all that different to me from what I've come to expect April to look like... reminds me quite a bit of some of Ross Campbell's April drawings.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:13 AM   #119
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I like your design! Strangely enough, it doesn't look all that different to me from what I've come to expect April to look like... reminds me quite a bit of some of Ross Campbell's April drawings.
Thank you! Ross is a cutie pie and he's going to get an ego boost from this when I tell him XD
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:19 AM   #120
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Why is this so controversial? Yes, it's a little jarring that she's black, but as long as she acts like April O'Neil, it shouldn't matter.
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