In a (now deleted) tweet thread from April of this year, writer and artist Kate Leth went in on superhero media for the lack of queer representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The thread was fine and absolutely valid right up until the last tweet where she wrote that:
“There were queer characters in Ragnarok and Black Panther whose scenes were cut. Okoye was awkwardly made straight with a plot that went nowhere. Loki exists in subtext. It’s bullshit, pardon my french, that we’re just supposed to go “oh yeah of course, because of money”
You know what this tweet shows me?
It shows me that Leth might not be able to tell Black women apart from one another and that she doesn’t see the value in a character who chooses love of country and her faith in justice over the love of her life (after he sets himself against their country).
It shows me that while Leth knows the basics about the characters and the film (the cut scene with Ayo flirting with Okoye and the Ayo/Aneka relationship in the World of Wakanda comics), she doesn’t know enough to recognize that Okoye and Ayo (or Aneka) aren’t the same characters.
From Hannibal Lecter eating the rude across the northeastern United States to Loki’s attempts to subjugate the human race and Kylo Ren’s patricide and misogyny, fandom just loves to look at villains who have committed atrocities and decide that they’re in fact complex characters who just need a redemption arc to set them on the right track (because they have a good reason for what they did/the heroes of the series are in fact the real villain) …
I loved Spider-Man: Homecaming way more than I probably should love a film that takes a huge chunk of what (little) I liked about Brian Michael Bendis’ origin story for Afro-Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales and… gives it to (a still white) Peter Parker.
The things I loved about Homecoming are simple. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is adorable. Jacob Batalon, playing his best friend Ned (OBVIOUSLY based off of Miles Morales’ best friend Ganke) is pure and perfect. The movie gives me even more fuel for my Tony Stark hate shrine. I think we’ll be fired up and full of rage against the man in the iron suit until 2020 at least.
But most importantly… Spider-Man: Homecoming gives us little glimpses at BlackGirlExcellence with Laura Harrier’s Liz Allan and Zendaya’s Michelle Jones (MJ apparently), two of three female characters with semi-significant screentime and importance to the plot. However, the film doesn’t do enough with those two female characters to satisfy my desire to see Black girls represented onscreen.
So here are four things that I wish Spider-Man: Homecoming could’ve done differently for Michelle and Liz (whether or not they’re even remotely plausible because of time constraints or whatnot):Read More »
After eight years, fourteen feature-length films, and four separate television series, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally managed to place a Black man front and center in his own narrative. Luke Cage, a character previously seen as a supporting character in the first season of the Netflix-exclusive series Marvel’s Jessica Jones, is the first Black character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to star in their own series rather than remain a poorly-fleshed out sidekick to a white character.
Marvel’s Luke Cage is one of the only series out on television today that provides a close and realistic look at what it means to be a Black person in a world of superheroes. The series’ significant focus on agency, trauma, power, and personhood as they relate to Black bodies—as well as its portrayal of powerful, multi-faceted Black women like Mariah Stokes, Misty Knight, and Claire Temple—puts it above and beyond the very white superhero television and film franchises that dominate the media.
I wrote this piece on Marvel’s Luke Cage series for Strange Horizons and I’m really proud of it!
I got to talk a lot about the role power and agency play in the series, how Jessica Jones really had issues with antiblackness, and how Luke Cage matters as significant representation both to us in the real world and within the MCU.
I’m really grateful that Strange Horizons gave me the chance to write this piece and I think that if you read nothing else from me, that you should read this because a lot of work went into it and I feel that it comprehensively covers the things that Luke Cage did right and how important the show is.
Yesterday, internet gossip revealed that 12 Years A Slave actress (and all around adorable human being) Lupita Nyong’o was in talks to star opposite Chadwick Boseman in 2018’s Black Panther solo movie. One of the earliest (now seemingly refuted) tidbits of information about this potential role was that Lupita would be playing the female lead and specifically would fill the love interest role.
Almost immediately, the concern trolls came out of the woodwork.
“Why do you have to reduce Lupita to a love interest,” they cried. “She’s a strong Black woman who doesn’t need a man. She should play one of the Dora Milaje or T’challa’s sister Shuri or someone else who has no romantic life and exists to be strong and undesirable (because Blackwomen can’t be strong and desirable at the same time).”
One of the things I complained about on twitter is that I legitimately don’t understand how Tony could think that he and Steve were friends — like BFFs on the level as him and Bucky or chill buds like he is with Sam. It’s been a few days since the Civil War trailer and I still don’t get it.
And this is coming from someone like me that thinks of Tony as neuroatypical and as someone that misses a lot of social cues in life due to reasons directly related to his neuroatypical nature.Read More »
After months of waiting, the first trailer for Marvel’s next big hit movie is out and yeah, it’s freaking awesome. (Mostly because of this one scene at the end that made me laugh out loud… You’ll know it when you see it.) I’m excited for this movie in a way I wasn’t for Age of […]