If I recall correctly, one of the DC characters is a massive stereotype. In the sense that she’s got mafia ties. Though this may not always be case as there are Italian-American comics characters who don’t fit the bill (Zatanna, Punisher who even hunts down gangsters, Strong Guy). (Likewise, DC’s Silver Banshee and Grey Ghost are probably one of the least stereotypical Irish characters, the former’s got platinum blond hair and oddly in line with folklore.)
But when it comes to Helena Bertinelli, who’s based on another heroine to say parsimoniously, she seems like she’s rooted in cliches. Cliches that offend certain Italian American readers. It’s like if she’s rooted in Mafia cliches, even if there are stories that could’ve played against it, it’s very ingrained in her character that it seems to say there’s a narrow point of reference.
Even if it’s not always the case in American and possibly any non-Italian pop culture*, it’s almost always the case that Italianness and the mafia’s heavily interlinked. I won’t doubt if organised crime’s a big deal there (actually anywhere else really). But it seems like it’s a narrow point of reference to whom some characters are.
It wouldn’t be any better to turn her into a different ethnicity except that she’s so stereotypical to begin with that changing her ethnicity would/should turn cliches on its head.
*Bear in mind that in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures, there are characters that fit the mafia angle but also those that don’t (especially the Zepelli who are martial artists and mentors).
I suspect considering how derivative Supergirl (and to some extent Superboy) are of Superman, there’s going to be some attempts at trying to make them stand out however at the risk of either altering their backstories and powers or personalities. Supergirl has been an angel and shapeshifter in the 1990s. Even when she returned to her Kryptonian permutation, her personality didn’t stay the same.
Or perhaps if she had been temperamental in the 1990s, this personality stayed once she came back to being a Kryptonian. I suspect this is what later writers ended up with. Even if it’s not always the most charismatic of all personalities, it’s different enough to stand out from Superman’s staind demeanour. Perhaps even if characters don’t always age in real time, they’d still develop in ways that’s unexpected.
Consider Josuke of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures, stories featuring characters who fight using their Stand familiars. As originally presented, he’s easily offended and has a Stand that restores things. But by the time he started reappearing in a rebooted storyline, he got calmer (I think, I don’t remember well) and different powers too.
Maybe that’s similar with Supergirl where some fans expect her to be as easygoing as she was before even if I think she did develop in ways earlier writers didn’t anticipate. Especially with regards to the personality she ended up with that even without the constant changing of her backstory and powers she was going to end up differently from where she started.
When it comes to writing and depicting characters, there will be cases where they don’t go as expected. Something like Lum becoming the breakout character of Urusei Yatsura even if she wasn’t intended to. Though that would mean either one character’s a lot more interesting, said character gets used for other stories that the author initially didn’t intend to and the like. That and reader pressure.
Whatever that is, there will be cases where characters and stories sometimes develop in ways the author never intended do. Whether if they continue writing said story or if somebody else does. To put it this way, it’s as if DC’s Harley Quinn was intended to be merely somebody’s sidekick. Sometimes without realising that she’d headline her own magazines continuously and become a protagonist.
Whatever the author’s original intentions for the characters were, they could still develop in ways authors don’t readily anticipate whenever they write them at all.
Though not every anime fan is politically conservative, it seems those who’re this politically conservative give anime a try after witnessing what seems like too much political correctness in Western media. (Ironically, I even think from hanging out at Japanese websites and the like, there exists feminists and gay rights activists over there.)
I suspect they’re more in love with a romanticised image of Japan where everybody likes anime, with little to no room for stray dogs roaming in the countryside (I actually did this before when hanging out at Japanese language websites). Considering that Japan’s a workaholic society where even students are pressured to study hard (hence cram schools) that they wouldn’t have time for it.
It’s only logical some Alt-Right believe Japan to be free of SJWs and political correctness even though it could exist on some level. Feminists do exist there, so do people campaigning for equal ethnic rights (Ainus, immigrants and Okinawans). Japan sadly exists as a romantic fantasy to them, with little to nor regard for the shadier or more boring side.
Though not always the case for other anime producers, Hayao Miyazaki felt as if some contemporary animators don’t observe from life enough to make more rounded stories and characters. Or that’s what I’m remembering. Somebody else had a point about comics in the essay ‘Education of a Cartoonist’ where they think some cartoonists really don’t read anything else and why their stories are so repetitive.
If that essay’s points were to be applied to anime, it would be the same thing really. Again not always the case but it does explain the rehashed characters, plot points and storylines. But the problem with taking such a big risk’s that it alienates fans who want more of the same thing as they expected and remembered.
It would be just as shocking if a familiar mangaka started doing Bible stories and stuff about saints. Even if it’s something truly new and different. But this involves being so out of the blue that it’s comforting to stick to stereotypes even if some anime do defy or deconstruct those.
Like I said before, anime does effect people so it’s practically no different from any other medium in their regard. But that might take an epiphany to know this. It’s as if you like watching anime with blonde tsunderes, delinquents and rich girls that it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or any other stereotype.
That’s not to say angry blonde women don’t exist but it’s complicated by many other factors like having bad experiences with people or whatever that is. There are certainly anime producers who do poke fun at the stereotype. But that’s still proving how common this is that it’s bound to colour any future creator/consumer’s expectations of such characters.
Watching anime can colour one’s expectations of Japan (though it can be applied to any other country). This would be like watching media that depict Dutch (or any other nationality) people in stereotypical manners even though in reality for all the physical and historical differences they’re still normal people like me and you.
Though that would take a reordering of ideas and exposure to better sources to undo these.
I’m not inclined to say anime or any other media’s necessarily this sinister but it does effect the way you perceive things. Something like the blonde tsundere cliche. It’s as if you watch a lot of anime with belligerent, angry blonde girls, rich blonde girls or blonde female delinquents it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy that you come to expect and create female characters like that.
(I even said that the existence of Japanese people with albinism ironically turns some anime cliches on its head when you think about it.)
Maybe with any other anime cliche really. But there’s likely a big disconnect between anime and Japan in reality, sometimes in ways you don’t expect. It’s as if you watch anime, you expect Japan to be a lot like this. (To put it this way, you watch a lot of media portraying Swedish women as nymphets even if ironically not all Swedish women are sex-mad.) That’s the same thing.
What you consume can sometimes influence you a lot. Sometimes if you watch a lot of anime featuring blonde tsunderes, you become attracted to them and expect them to be like that. Some anime producers likely know this and try to deconstruct it. But it’s common enough to effect how people would expect characters like that.
And why the media we consume still has a big say.