The Bloody Bertinelli

Keep in mind that not all Italian American characters are portrayed rather stereotypically, especially with the likes of Zatanna and The Punisher but then again while their ethnicity’s thankfully an afterthought to who they are and what they do, that can’t be said of Helena Bertinelli. Even if she’s not a criminal, her mafia ties are almost always emphasised.

It’s not always the case but it’s cliched. According to some North Americans of Italian descent, Helena is a walking stereotype. To one red-haired Italian Canadian, she’s really stereotypical. Not only are the Italian mafia xenophobic to blacks but associating Southern Italians with Africans (especially North Africans) doesn’t do good either.

True not all Italians are swarthy in the same manner not all Italians are gangsters nor are into pasta and stuff. One blogger Ragnell noted that she’s like an exaggerated combination of Italian American cliches that it can be hard to take her seriously.

As somebody whose introduction to Italian culture were from luminaries like Mina Mazzini, Eiffel 65 and Dante Alighieri, I’d agree. I’m not even an Italian citizen but it’s rather depressing that some people’s introductions to Italiana were from a cliched character.

She’s not bad, just frustrating.

 

Who remembers the Lensman?

Considering that most early superhero writers like Stan Lee were reared on pulp fiction and even he considered writing prose himself, it’s parsimonious that their contemporaries could’ve continued fondly remembering stories like the Lensman, Doc Savage and The Shadow. The latter three are gaining fans or at least some needed attention in years.

But as they’re overshadowed by their better known counterparts in Green Lantern, Superman and Batman one wonders what would happen next if they too will be next. For one thing, most of the people producing and consuming superhero media are increasingly adult whilst most kids are more interested in whoever or whatever is relevant on YouTube.

While I won’t be surprised if contemporary writers are catching up on that, but in due time most people will outgrow superheroes and move onto the hottest fad in fashion those that continue to cling onto Batman or Ariana Grande could be left behind. For every Jesus Christ, there’s going to be the discontinued cult of Mithras.

I remember going to a Duran Duran board with one poster saying that no matter how successful Duran Duran gets to be again, it’ll never go back to its prime. It went on comparing it to the fall of druidism and the rise of Christianity, which the latter’s compared to hip hop.

Hard for me to say but it’s going to befall other franchises over time.

End of an era

Maybe not quite but I don’t think superhero media and anime will ever last in their current form at all. There will come a point when people will get tired of superheroes and only very few of them will continue to have any commercial viability, just not in their current forms. Certain factors could play a part in growing apathy. It could even create a backlash.

Anime itself would be in a bad position. There could still be a Japanese animation industry but the demand for it won’t remain the same especially when other non-Western countries prioritise their own animation industries. Be damned if the next Naruto is actually Ghana’s Anansi. Nigeria’s Bino and Fino is shaping up to be a success but others like Uganda are catching up.

Even Western animation could fill in the gap where anime left, especially considering how rapidly ageing and xenophobic Japan is. The best it can do is rely on co-productions with other countries for surviving but it’s already happening now.

The next generation of geeks would be very unfamiliar with superheroes and anime like how this generation is unfamiliar with the likes of Flash Gordon and Lensman.

The big damning future

-Due to Samurai Jack’s immense success, it becomes possible to make more successful serious animations whether if it’s bringing back Spawn onscreen or adapting the Divine Comedy. It’s up for grabs so who knows.

-Given the backlash against political correctness, we could see more purposely offensive takes on characters like Tim Drake (get ready if he becomes a black sex offender) and purposely offensive stories anytime soon.

-Be warned if anybody from certain dubious subforums like /pol/ ever get employed by either DC or Marvel.

-Japanese animation wanes and declines real badly, former anime channels like Animax would end up prioritising Southeast Asian or even African animation. Bino and Fino’s one example of a successful Nigerian cartoon, a Kenyan cartoon series with a cult following is another.

Politically incorrect

Given the never-ending complaint towards politically correct superhero media, there’s a possible reaction to it anytime soon. We’re going to be dealing with a new generation of deliberately politically incorrect stories. Whether if Tim Drake gets racebent just to spite him or if a racebent character suddenly has albinism (though the latter could be accidental), it’s going to happen.

It probably happened or at least came close, just not on a massive scale let alone with any real calculation. If it did happen at all, it’s going to cause a commotion bigger than anything else. Somebody went around deliberately provoking people by having Tim Drake be a stereotypical black sex offender because the writer hates him.

Here we have a purposely offensive version of a familiar character that got published to the detriment of everybody else and DC still banks on it despite everything. (One could suggest that having a proxy like Duke Thomas is objectively better than having Tim Drake go black.)

Possible forecasting

Just as the backlash against Rob Liefeld gave away to a preference for photorealism, political incorrectness could rise as a backlash to political correctness in superhero media. Who knows what shape it’ll take though there are signs of where it’s heading. A more damning and controversial one would have a racebent character now played by a black actor with albinism.

It’s always possible for people of colour to have albinism and have themselves get doubted and teased for their oddness. A racebent character that’s gone albino would have people wondering about how pointless racebending is if it returns to its old self in a strange way. Alternately speaking, a character could be racebent out of spite.

So it’s racebending having its head turned out because instead of being politically correct, it becomes deliberately offensive and provocative. Especially if it’s done to a character that somebody dislikes like Tim Drake. You know if they made him an Afro-Latino with dreadlocks, well-endowed and a criminal at that.

Or make Spoiler a disgusting man-hating, short-haired lesbian. It’s still the same purpose of deliberately offending people who like them otherwise.

It’s hip and in

It’s inevitable that to remain relevant in the market, cartoonists and writers would have to change with the times though some can do that voluntarily on their own. It’s like back in the 1990s when Rob Liefeld was popular, it’s common practise for other employees to follow and imitate his success. I think that’s the same with what Marvel and sometimes DC are doing.

It’s not their fault that they’re following up on what’s popular and relevant but such popularity brings in backlash. Again back in the 90s there was immense backlash for Liefeld and almost anybody else who drew like him. In the same manner today there’s backlash for political correctness in superhero media.

Rao knows what other trend would catch fire and ire in the 2020s if the American comic magazine industry survives at all.