thespithouse asked: oh also, if you could tell me a bit more about yourself, such as who you are, what you do, what your cultural/social background is, how you identify yourself, and also what kind of comics you are drawn to or normally read, what you look for in a comic, what you were expecting from marra's work and how you think he could have done certain things differently as to not be as offensive, if possible. it would be really helpful to help me research and understand the scenario, thank you
Ok, I’m a 30 year old black male (African American/Carribian American), middle class background, lifelong comics reader. I read comics of all sorts, superheroes, newspaper strips, Franco-Belgian/bande-dessin(sp), shonen, shoujo, seinen, josei, minicomics, literary graphic novels, The New Yorker… really everything.
Problem with Marra’s comic (“Lincoln Washington: Free Man”) was that he comes at the blaxploitation genre as a plaything, something presumably from his youth that he wants to push as far as it can go. The problem with that is that it reads as pure fetishism. Granted, actual blaxploitation is built on fetishism of the black experience (it’s in the name of the genre) but there is a different sense of dignity in the films because those were real actors who internalized those scripts and made them their own. In a comic, this is impossible and so what we get in Marra’s comic is a story of black fetishism which actually lacks real black people. So while actual blaxploitation films contained a collaboration of black actors, black directors and white actors, producers and directors, a comic like this one by Marra comes solely from the mind and hand of a white man.
Things like slavery, whipping, rape and the Ku Klux Klan exist as they only can in the imagination of a person who is quite removed from the attrocities. Someone whose family didn’t come from that history of bondage and someone whose direct relatives (parents) weren’t marching for their rights as recently as the 1960s.
This comic troubled me and made me feel physically ill because it has nothing at all to do with black people, even as an action hero story. It had everything to do with the fantasies and romanticism of black pain for the pleasure of a white audience who would never dream of considering themselves anything short of culturally accepting.
And while I should have anticipated that going in, somehow, I picked up the comic out of foolish hope because I wanted to believe that this story would be something other than a punch to the gut.