Archive for the 'Race in Comics' Category



In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 4)

Dazzler threatened by police in front of anti-mutant protesters

Dazzler threatened by police in front of anti-mutant protesters

The following is the final in a series examining the validity of the X-Men’s mutant oppression metaphor. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 before proceeding.

I’ve previously discussed several ways mutants are persecuted in the Marvel Universe. Since the X-Men are superheroes, most of these systems of oppression tend to take the form of things that can be punched into submission. Unfortunately, most real world modes of oppression aren’t so easily overcome. Continue reading ‘In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 4)’

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In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 3)

The Hulk breaks Colossus' arms. The following is the third in a series examining the validity of the X-Men’s mutant oppression metaphor. You should read Part 1 and Part 2 before proceeding.

Previously, I discussed the dissimilar treatment between mutant and non-mutant super heroes, the role fear plays in oppression, and how the X-Men aren’t really representative of the mutant population.

The X-Men are simply those lucky few born with badass powers and afforded the opportunities and training to effectively use them. They may be the most powerful mutants around, but power is relative Continue reading ‘In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 3)’

Listen to the Recording of ‘Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Cosplay and Fandom’

Dragon Con LogoWe had an amazing turnout at the “Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Cosplay and Fandom” panel at Dragon Con. It was only scheduled for an hour but since we had such an awesome and engaged audience we ended up keeping the panel going for over three hours.

If you weren’t able to make it to the panel, you can now check out the audio recording!

Thank you to everyone who came out to make it the highest attended panel at this year’s Comics & Popular Arts Conference. It was truly exhilarating to be able to talk to so many intelligent people passionate about the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in comics, cosplay, and geek culture.

In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 2)

A Little Mutant Girl from Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross The following is the second in a series examining the validity of the X-Men’s mutant oppression metaphor. You should read Part 1 before proceeding.

Last post, I highlighted the difference in the public treatment of mutant and “human” superhero teams in order to establish the absurdity of fearing mutants over “normal” superpowered people. I also discussed how this fear is wielded by the majority in an effort to justify the hate and oppression of the mutant people.

But really, this argument needs to be taken a step further as most of the X-Men don’t represent the average mutant’s abilities, opportunities, or life experiences. Continue reading ‘In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 2)’

In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 1)

Triage arrested in

Triage arrested for using his abilities to heal an injured friend.

On two previous posts about the “M-word” and the mutant oppression metaphor, a couple commenters voiced concerns about the feasibility of using superpowered mutants as an effective metaphor for oppressed groups.

Readers have brought up some valid points, including the possibility that unlike real world oppressed groups, mutants really are dangerous, as well as the idea that their superpowers invalidate the comparison to real subjugated people. I think both points are interesting and deserve a larger exploration.

Do I still think that a group with super powers can serve as an effective oppression metaphor? Continue reading ‘In Defense of the Mutant Oppression Metaphor (Part 1)’

Abstract: ‘Tights, Tits, and Titian: Female Objectification from the Italian Renaissance to Contemporary Comics’

Ultimate Comics Thor Vol 1 #1 textless Scott J. Campbell variant (2010)

Women as accessories

As previously announced, I’ll be presenting “Tights, Tits, and Titian: Female Objectification from the Italian Renaissance to Contemporary Comics” at the 6th Annual Comics & Popular Arts Conference at Dragon Con 2013!

Here’s my presentation’s abstract as a little sneak peek.

From art historical depictions of “Venus,” odalisques, and nude bathers to the improbably proportioned superheroines of contemporary comics, the female form has long been the subject of objectification. Continue reading ‘Abstract: ‘Tights, Tits, and Titian: Female Objectification from the Italian Renaissance to Contemporary Comics’’

Come See Me Speak About Gender in Comics at Dragon Con 2013

Dragon Con Logo

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be speaking at Dragon Con 2013 next week as part of the Annual Comics & Popular Arts Conference!

I’ll be presenting “Tights, Tits, and Titian: Female Objectification from the Italian Renaissance to Contemporary Comics” as part of “Gender, Race, and Identities in Comics.”

I’ll also be a panelist on “Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Cosplay and Fandom.” Check out all the details below!

Continue reading ‘Come See Me Speak About Gender in Comics at Dragon Con 2013’

Kitty Pryde Responds to Havok’s ‘M-Word’ Speech

Kitty "I am Jewish. I am a mutant."Kitty Pryde has a long history of drawing parallels between the plights of mutants and those of real life people of color (see X-Men: God Loves, Man Kill and New Mutants #45).

That’s why I was excited to see her speak up in All-New X-Men #13 to so masterfully address Havok’s infamous M-Word Speech. The monologue comes courtesy of Brian Michael Bendis and I can’t help but interpret it and its lack of counterpoint as explicit commentary directed to Rick Remender. Either way, it’s a great monologue and an even better point.

Check out Kitty’s smack down below. Continue reading ‘Kitty Pryde Responds to Havok’s ‘M-Word’ Speech’

2012 Superhero Census Update

Rogue, Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Namor, Emma Frost, Storm, Magneto, and other X-MenI just want to give a quick update on the status of my 2012 Superhero Census.

All of the raw data has been collected. It’s a massive amount and information and includes roughly 250 characters that appear across more than 300 individual comics.

Right now, I’m having a few associates proof the collected sex, race, and sexual orientation of all the characters. I’m also working out the best way to display the data. Once I get all the finer points ironed out I’ll publish a series of post examining the results so make sure to stay tune!

Rick Remender, the Mutant Oppression Metaphor, and the ‘M-Word’

Captain America, Wolverine, Thor, Havok, Rogue, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, SunfireIn Uncanny Avengers #5, writer Rick Remender included a speech advocating cultural assimilation and the abandonment of a minority’s cultural identity. Needless to say, this has caused a bit of an uproar.

Before we get to the speech, here’s a little background.

For decades, mutants have served as an oppression metaphor in Marvel comics. The term “mutant,” unlike the derogatory “mutie” or “freak,” is the culturally accepted term used to refer to an individual who naturally develops (i.e. is born with) active or latent superhuman abilities. These individuals are largely marginalized and discriminated against. Continue reading ‘Rick Remender, the Mutant Oppression Metaphor, and the ‘M-Word’’


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