Not only do you get Dr. G’s 2021 Faves, but I had to make sure I gave you a bonus list! Check out Black Future Feminist Intern Jaya as she offers her two cents for 2021!!
Here is a list of my favorite things that came out and/or discovered for the first time this year. These are things that I discovered that really stuck with me through this crazy year. So for my final post of 2021 here are a few things that got me through this year and here’s to a new year!
2021 is just about over, but not before I share a few of my pop culture faves!! I wanted to compile a list of few of favorite shows, movies, comic books, documentaries, short films, podcasts, and soundtracks that made an impact on me in a major way this year!!
These are a few of my favorite things from 2021…Check them out below*:
Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Eve (Victor LaValle, Boom! Studios)
Far Sector (N.K. Jemisin/Jamal Campbell, DC Comics)
Nubia and the Amazons (Stephanie Williams/Ayala Vita, DC Comics)
Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts (Rebecca Hall/Penguin Books)
Run: Book One (John Lewis/Andrew Aydin/Nate Powell/L. Fury, Abrams Books)
So a couple a weeks ago I had the opportunity to offer a few of my thoughts about Asian representation in comic books and its relationship with the latest Marvel film, Shang-Chi andThe Legend of the Ten Rings for CNN Entertainment!! To view the complete article see here.
Check out some of the snippets below:
Shang-Chi’s early issues relied on some problematic stereotypes
Every iteration of Shang-Chi has a similar throughline: He’s always a spectacular martial artist, always playing tug-of-war with his former life as a fighter and always, always tormented by daddy issues. That blueprint was created by Englehart and Jim Starlin, the two-man team who brought the character to life (Englehart, perhaps best known for his dark, noir take on Batman, has also created characters like Star-Lord of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Starlin is responsible for MCU icons like its biggest villain, Thanos.)
In the early 1970s, Englehart and Starlin approached Detective Comics (DC) with an idea: a comic book take on the David Carradine series “Kung Fu.” (The series has been criticized for its use of “yellowface,” or casting White actors as Asian characters. Carradine is White but starred as a part-Chinese martial artist.)Starlin, an artist, loved the martial arts element of the story, while writer Englehart said he was interested in delving into Taoism and other philosophies to flesh out his protagonist. The two thought they’d found a match with “Kung Fu” — but DC thought the “kung fu craze was going to disappear,” Starlin said, and passed on the idea.
So the pair took it next to Marvel, whose executives agreed only after insisting that the pair inject some pre-existing intellectual property into their comic, both men told CNN.
In this case, the company had the rights to the character Fu Manchu, a racist caricature of a Chinese man created by British author Sax Rohmer in the early 20th century. The villain was then “grafted onto the series” as Shang-Chi’s father, Starlin told CNN in an August interview. (Racist depictions of Asian characters had appeared in comics before this, like the egg-shaped villain “Egg Fu” in a 1965 Wonder Woman issue and the 1940 character “Ebony White” in the early comic, “The Spirit,” said Grace Gipson, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies race and gender within comics.)
Gipson, a pop culture scholar who studies race and gender within comics, said hiring writers of color like Yang to helm series about characters of color is an improvement, but it “is really not a hard task.” She said while comics creators have made great strides in deconstructing norms of who a comic book reader is and what storylines they want to see, the hiring of creators of color needs to happen consistently.”It’s about making sure the voices of those being represented always have a seat at the table as well as a microphone to speak,” she told CNN.
Still, she said, as a fan of comics herself, she’s enjoyed seeing more representative stories being told in mainstream comics.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (In theaters September 3rd, 2021)
Eternals (In theaters November 5th, 2021)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (In theaters December 17th, 2021)
Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (In theaters March 25th, 2022)
Thor: Love and Thunder (In theaters May 6th, 2022)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (In theaters July 8th, 2022)
The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (In theaters November 11th, 2022)
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (In theaters February 17th, 2023)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (In theaters May 5th, 2023)
Looks like there is going to be a lot of interweaving of the MCU films and television shows, which should make things very interesting!! Definitely no shortage of engaging content for the next couple of years!!
Closing out this month on Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute, BFF intern Jaya dives back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an analysis and some commentary on the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier!!
With the ending of Wandavision, Marvel was set to release its latest series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a show following two characters that when all is said and done we do not really know. But as the episodes started coming out there became a clear divide between the praise Bucky Barnes was sent and the lack of praise and comments for Sam Wilson. Essentially Sam Wilson is being treated as an accessory within his own show.
As the show ratings progressed, it became known that Sam Wilson was not the reason why the Marvel fandom liked the show. This is nothing new, Black superheroes are constantly pushed behind their white counterparts, and are treated less than by a majority of the marvel fandom, (mostly from dudebros and uneducated fans). What most of the fandom lacks in seeing is what they deem Sam Wilson is worth. Within a week of the first two episodes Sam Wilson was at the bottom of polls conducted by various fan run sites and pop culture news outlets. For example, one had Sam polling at 11% while Zemo was at 20% (according to Fandom Wikipedia). This is a noticeable difference. It was not until the fourth episode that Sam Wilson started to gain traction as a result of John Walker, the government appointed Captain America bludgeoning an innocent person to death (episode 3). It’s almost as if Sam had to prove his worth in the eyes of the Marvel fandom in order for him to gain credibility.
As a Bucky and Sam fan myself, I noticed how Bucky polled very high early on in the show, while Sam stayed low. Interestingly enough, in the first few episodes Bucky had more lines than he did in the MCU movies, but this does not mean he was better in any way than Sam. Time and time again this pattern repeats itself, Black superheroes whether they have their own movie, or show, constantly have to prove their worth or earn their credibility in the eyes of a majority of the Marvel fandom. An early example of this is James Rhodes and Tony Stark. Through the Iron Man franchise Rhodey is treated as a sidekick or an accessory to the playboy philanthropist. We get very little backstory about Rhodey and he’s treated almost like a filler character. This continues even in the Avengers movies where Rhodey is seen as the sidekick. Even now, decades later after the last Iron Man movie, the Marvel fandom still treats him as a sidekick and not his own character due to Marvel’s lack of character development.
After watching the finale it seems even more obvious that Sam had to prove himself as a character for people to like him more, whereas Bucky was already well liked. Additionally, the finale received the lowest ratings, which is interesting because this episode is the first time we see Sam really step into his role as Captain America. On Instagram only a DAY after Sam took up the mantle people were making their own edits of Sam in the suit, along with tweets of who should be the next Captain America after as if Sam did not just become Captain America. This further proves how much Sam Wilson is treated as a side character/ accessory in his own show. As stated earlier, the Marvel fandom has shown this pattern time and time again. This is an issue that Marvel writers must deal with moving forward. A step in the right direction would be to hire more diverse writers so we can stop this pattern, because as a Black Marvel fan this constant pattern is tiring and irritating.