It’s June 2013, Man of Steel has been released. The latest creation from the superman franchise owned by DC comics has hit the big screen. It is a huge success, from something that was once a humble comic book story in 1930. Tomorrow is the highly the premiere of ‘Queen Nzinga, ‘The Last Great War!’, The African warrior with the no- nonsense attitude defeated her enemies. The last film was a huge hit and this one is set to break records too. Ok, so I practically made up the last paragraph…there is no blockbuster, has been no blockbuster. I’m allowed to dream right? Let me live people!! let me live. But wait, why is it a dream, why isn’t there a soon to be released movie based on a female African leader. Where are the comic books?
If I ask random groups of people, what will they say? ‘Oh but there’s Storm from X men isn’t there?’ Storm? Where IS Storm’s blockbuster story? She’s merely a sub plot these days and to be honest, she has lovely costume; however, a in all honesty; the way her eyes trip out in the film when she gets vex is creepy and I have always preferred watching Rogue in the tv cartoon series anyway, she had funky hair and a deep southern accent, sexier outfits and her love affair with the other one was interesting. She was fit, sexy and can kick ass.
I decided to conducted a non scientific poll of comic book sisthuhs, to find out where they are. I asked a random group of people, where are the Black women in comic books?
2. ‘Shard Bishop’s sister from Marvel
3. Black Panther’s Mom???- reallly???
4. A few in the justice League????
(someone called a comic buff.. and the answers got a little better
5. Misty Knight
6. Mr Marvel
10. Fatality- A supervillian
11. Monica Rambeau
12. Ceclia Reyes
The Following five featured in a top 25 of memorable Black Comic book Characters????? – FIVE??? OUT OF 25????? —-
- The Fox– modelled after Halle Berry… sound a lil like creators fantasy.. but anyhoo
- Marth Washington
I’m still very lost. Where is the African sisthuh who defeats of DCameroncorp evil drone programs and protects her cities from exploitation and lays down good morals for her team? Well it’s unsurprising where less than ten percent of the writers in Marvel and DC are women, and I’m not even willing to ask how many of the these women have African Heritage… let’s just say minus 10. I want a superhero sisthuh who doesn’t kiss ass and can whip up jollof rice and fried kele wele just because.
I would love see it on the big screen. Today please, if not today then next week. As you ,must be able to tell by now, I love a good fantasy tale; let me share one it with you right now. I must warn you though; it ends in tragedy.
Consequently, like all tragedies there is a deep and meaningful lesson learnt and always room for inspiration.
Here goes.. So early one morning a sisthuh is sitting in a restaurant on her lunch break, she orders a couple of patties and a festival…she decides to write a letter to DC and Marvel complaining about there not being a superhero sisthuh franchise that has been converted to the silver screen. She writes.. hesitantly but she sees no harm in it and continues nonetheless.
“Dear Mr Director of Comic hero creation” (yes we can assume he’s male here),
RE: Lack of sisthuh superhero that has made it to the big screen.
I am displeased as your efforts in creating a superhero sisthuh that has made it to be on the big screen. I am aware that there are many comic characters of African heritage but yet I still feel that we are somewhat invisible in the genre. It is still very much Caucasian and very much male. We all love the fantasy and thrill of escapism in that comic books give us and despite the wide range of television channels and youtube webisodes, nothing beats a well thought out constructed story accompanied by amazing artistry. I love to read comics. It frustrates me when tv shows such as scandal or reality tv shows like love and hip hop and the like project a skewed image of a woman of African heritage. One day I will probably have a daughter and at present I see far too many poor representations of women of African women. Social conditioning is real, young minds are fragile and impressionable. How much longer can this be repackaged and sold as new? What about my sons? How can they respect her if she is constantly projected as the gold digging jezebel? Who wants to form a family with this gold digging jezebel? Is it impossible to create a character that my son can still have a major crush on her without losing respect for her, seeing as she brought him into the world in the first place. So now we have an exploitation of this stereotype inflicted on the young minds of our children who grow up believing this is progress? So because we were historically under-represented in the media, now misrepresentation is now progress? Understandingly this is not their fault, The film Precious clearly strong form of agitation propaganda tool being promoted will not stop the mental assault on young minds. It would be nice to see a fit and healthy looking sisthuh who kicks ass to save the world. I am eager to hear your views on this.
Abena posts the letter first class and sends it by email. (It is 2013 after all people). The following day, she receives this reply.
Thank you for your correspondence. It pains me deeply that you feel this way. Unfortunately, our comics are not written for the purposes of your demographic. Therefore we generally do not cater to that aesthetic as they may not be welcomed by our targeted demographic, secondly you are not a key market that we wish to explore. Please view this clip for the late awarding winning Dwayne Mc Duffie, creator of the ‘Damage Control’ series amongst others, who had first hand experience.
I would like to offer you one suggestion, that may aid your cause. Create your own. The global African presence is huge and historically your culture is rich and full of inspirational women that have changed the world. Did you know that Ex President of Ghana JJ Rawlins taught his daughters how to fly jet engines?? Is that the kinda fly kick ass sisthuh you speak of?
More recently,The Daily Mail featured this story. Which you may find interesting.
Mr Director of Comic Character creation.
So there you have it. ..My The tragedy.
I would love to hear your views guys, comment below.