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How effective is changing the race of a preexisting character as helping to create diversity in the comic world?

There’s a steady mix of both praise and outrage at the idea of a black Captain America; but the real issue is not a question of Steve Rogers or Sam Wilson. It’s a question of what diversity means to different fans and what solutions can be reached to ensure the inclusion of everyone invested in comic book culture. Does changing the race of a well known character help this process? Would it be more effective to just create new characters?

  • Fascinating topic! The most important questions to consider are probably: Does it make a positive impact to move Sam Wilson, a black character, to the forefront by giving him the identity of a more prominent, well known superhero? What kind of implications are there when Sam Wilson abandons his own superhero identity as Falcon in order to take on the persona of a white superhero? Are there negative connotations about the way we value one race of superhero over another? Would a better solution be giving Falcon a more prominent place in comics, with promotion, more issues, etc? Or is this a strategic move to use the large audience that Captain America has in order to depict diversity to a larger audience? – KTPopielarz 5 years ago
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  • I think it would absolutely have been better for Sam to stay Falconear and just accumulate more publicity under that persona. That way he wouldn't be tied to a white identity at all – SomeOtherAmazon 5 years ago
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  • It's interesting to examine how comic book fans--who have traditionally felt they resided outside of the realm of the mainstream--are adjusting to the new, wider audiences comics are gathering. Also interesting to think about: what are the main goals of the big publishers? Are they trying to gather a more diverse audience? Are they attempting to reflect the diverse audience they already have more accurately? Are they motivated by the bump in sales generated by the buzz and controversy? – allisonparker1 5 years ago
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  • I really do worry that some of these race and gender changes are just a publicity grab from the publishers. If we don't have solid storytelling to back these characters up then nothing good will actually come of it. Like personally I thought Batgirl of burnside was not good, but it's supposed to be this beacon of social justice in the comic world. It felt like a money grab to me- the villains were lame. We don't get the sense that Barbra is fighting for something bigger like we did in Gail Simone's title. I'm afraid it's the same way with a lot of these race swaps- all flash and no substance. – SomeOtherAmazon 5 years ago
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  • Love this topic! I really really would like to see new characters personally, because it would give them a chance to make an entire new backstory and interpret the struggles of African Americans if they wanted, as opposed to, going from a caucasian character to an African American one, it doesn't get a chance to get that backstory if that makes sense. I can't wait to see what happens with this one! – scole 5 years ago
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  • It's a shame that the world has to become so PC that we have to change beloved comic book heroes who have been around for decades need to be tweaked because it doesn't coincides with today society. It's like comic book creators cannot come up with original characters or that if they did create new characters, they wouldn't stack up to the tried and true characters of the past. – JustJohn 5 years ago
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