WAR & PEACE: THE GODS LOVE NUBIA By Robert Jones, Jr.

Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you? Nu'Bia, "the black Wonder Woman"

"The pain of nubia is only of the moment; the desolate, the suffering, the plundered, the oppressed. The gods love nubia, we have to keep believing; the scattered and divided, we are still it's heart." – Elton John.

In the 1970s, amidst rapid social changes along racial and gender lines, the comic book industry began to incorporate black superheroes into their comics. Readers of the era had mixed reactions. Some objected to this darker-skinned presence in their all-white superhero fantasies, while others bemoaned depictions that were stereotypes at best and racist at worst. But how could the depictions be otherwise? These characters were borne out of the imaginations of men whose understanding of black life lacked form, insight or nuance. And if that character happened to be both black and female, the results were doubly insulting because the writers' understanding of women's issues also left much to be desired. Nowhere were those combined deficiencies more apparent than in the figure of Nubia, "the black Wonder Woman."

Nubia was introduced in "Wonder Woman" #204 – 206 in 1973. The story reveals that Hippolyta initially created two clay statues of infants, both of which would be animated by the Olympian gods: one of dark clay and one of light. Aphrodite gives both figures the gift of life, but before the other gods can arrive to bless them both with extraordinary powers, Mars, the god of war, shows up and kidnaps the dark baby. Hippolyta is distraught - for all of one panel - until the gods arrive to bless baby Diana. At that point, she forgets about the dark baby, who is never mentioned again and, as we know, Diana grows up to become Wonder Woman. For Hippolyta, all seems right with the world. The gods love Nubia, indeed.

A View to a Kill

Years later, a strange, armored, rather angry warrior from a mysterious place called "The Floating Island" shows up on Paradise Island and challenges Diana for the right to become Wonder Woman. The battle ends in a draw and the challenger removes her face-covering helmet to reveal herself as Nubia. Hippolyta senses that she might be the daughter stolen from her many years ago. Diana, meanwhile, is fascinated by this woman who almost bested her in battle (so much so that the next black woman she sees immediately reminds her of Nubia). How it is that Nubia is, without the gods' blessings, as powerful as Diana remains unexplained.

Lookalike?

Later, Mars uses his hypnotic sway to force Nubia into fighting Diana again. Diana frees her sister from his control and together they manage to foil his scheme. The two women exchange pleasantries and Nubia returns to her people to teach them the ways of peace, which she presumably learned from her exposure to Diana and the Amazons. Diana returns to Paradise Island and Hippolyta reveals to her that Nubia is actually her sister.

The story was problematic in many ways. To begin, Nubia is a curious choice for a name. It references regions in both Egypt and Sudan, but is also used to describe the skin tone of a specific race of people. What makes it problematic as a superhero codename is that it ensures its wearer is at once defined and limited by the color of her skin. It's equivalent to Wonder Woman being named "Themyscira" or "Caucasia."

"Goolah" vs. "Kenyah"

The contrasts between Diana and Nubia are striking. Where Diana was raised surrounded by the love of Aphrodite and surrounded by thousands of mother Amazons, Nubia was kidnapped by the war-mongering Mars and raised by a savage tribe of pseudo-Africans. While Diana was raised in a technologically advanced society, Nubia was raised in a society replete with jungle vines, spears and straw huts. On Paradise Island, the Amazons live in peace and harmony and Princess Diana is their greatest hope. On the Floating Island, the men fight each other to the death for the right to become Princess Nubia's betrothed; she's the unwitting vixen and merely their object of sexual desire - and the narrative of the story reveals that none of them are worthy of her.

Imitation of Life

Nubia would not appear in "Wonder Woman" again for decades. However, she'd make a brief appearance in "Supergirl" #9 in 1974, where the newly crowned Amazon princess, Supergirl, saves her from "shark poisoning." Interestingly, Nubia, a character as powerful, skillful and resourceful as Wonder Woman, is rendered invalid for the entire story.

My black sister!

She would also appear in 1979's "Super Friends" #25. In this story, Wonder Woman, under the control of a villain called "The Overlord," sets out to forcibly free African women from patriarchal oppression. She's intercepted by Nubia, who announces that the women of Africa are under her protection. Diana, shocked, exclaims, "Nubia! My black sister!" (Apparently, the art didn't make that clear enough) and they fight one another to a stalemate. What's interesting here is that while Wonder Woman is the symbol of freedom from oppression for all women (and only women, it seems - a condition forced upon her by the writers who succeeded her creator), Nubia is limited to only black women's liberation. Anti-paternalistic? A form of self-determination? Perhaps. But also uninspired. It was as though the thought of a black woman being a savior that transcends color lines was impossible for the writer to imagine.

Why is it impossible? In what sheltered place do these men live; in what ivory tower? What is writing if not research and empathy, and why did these men exhibit neither? "It was a different time" is not an excuse; not as long as there were those who recognized the injustice even then. And to be certain, those depictions were unjust; abnormalities being passed off as normal.

Wonder Woman's "super-foe"


Nubia would also be included in the Wonder Woman toy line, which was based on the television show starring Lynda Carter. The commercial for the line of toys had its own very revealing narrative: A pretty, pigtailed black girl is playing with the Nubia doll, described in the commercial as "Wonder Woman's super foe" (even though Nubia never appeared in the actual television show). "Gotcha, Major!" the young girl exclaims, as Nubia traps Major Steve Trevor under a book. The cute, freckled boy playing with the Steve doll shouts, "Wonder Woman! Hurry!" Enter one adorable blond-haired girl with the Wonder Woman doll. She announces, "I'll save you, Major, as soon as I tie up a few loose ends." Nubia is lassoed at the wrists; it looks like she's handcuffed. The commercial ends.

The commercial raises many questions. Why is Nubia "Wonder Woman's super-foe," and not the Cheetah or Giganta or Mars? Was this the manufacturer's attempt to market to a black audience? Why, then, couldn't they have made Nubia the superhero she was intended to be? Why play into the nightmarish misconceptions about blackness? And then, of course, there's the notion that Diana and Nubia are natural adversaries, rather than natural allies. It seemingly implies that when one gains, the other loses. It's hard to imagine anyone but a man creating that paradigm. Women would know better.

Nubia is a fascinating subject for study because she highlights the essential problem with an all-white, all-male power structure: Because the point of view is incredibly narrow, so is the product. Because the product is narrow, so is the audience. And the audience grows more incestuous by the second. If the goal is to broaden the audience, then it's imperative that the point of view is likewise broadened despite obstacles or resistance. Even today, that is something with which the mainstream comic book industry struggles.

It would be two decades before Nubia would be seen again (perhaps, she was sentenced to twenty years for what she did to Steve in that commercial). In any event, she would return modernized, but not completely free from her stereotypical past.

Doselle Young, a black writer from California, reintroduced the character in 1999's "Wonder Woman" Annual #8. He altered what was one of the more unusual, and perhaps more offensive, aspects of the character: her name. Now pronounced and spelled "Nu'Bia" (nu-BEE-uh, rather than nubee-UH), the name had an urban culture ring to it. It seemed a nod to the period shortly after the Civil Rights movement when, in a quest to forge a cultural identity free from Eurocentrism, African Americans gave their children Arabic and Afrocentric names like "Shaniqua" and "Da'Quan." One would imagine that a black writer, who appeared to be coming to the table with genuine cultural experiences, would add the authenticity sorely missing from Nubia's previous portrayals, or, at the very least, disengage from the racial (if not the gender) stereotypes. Young failed on multiple levels.

Gorilla Warfare

For starters, Nu'Bia was reintroduced during DC's company-wide "Gorilla Warfare" event. That it was deemed appropriate to revive the character during an event where gorillas from a secret city in Africa forcibly take over the world and turn many heroes into gorillas, is both puzzling and enlightening. That a black man was solicited to tell this tale - and did - is maddening, but not surprising. As recently as President Barack Obama's inauguration, black people were being compared to all manner of simian life forms. Many, including a good number of blacks, couldn't - or refused to - see why this was problematic. However, that doesn't make the notion any less offensive or racist given the well-documented history of - and reasons for - the comparisons.

Further, in "Wonder Woman" #154-155, Young gave Nu'Bia an updated backstory, defined, once again, in opposition to Diana's. Diana and Nu'Bia are no longer sisters and there's no kidnapping involved. But where Diana wins the tournament to become Wonder Woman and travels to Patriarch's World to deliver the message of hope and peace, Nu'Bia wins an earlier tournament and gets to spend the rest of eternity wandering the past, present and future of Hell, defending the Amazons from the horrors on the other side of "Doom's Doorway," the portal beneath Themyscira leading to Tartarus, like domestic help hired to clean out the basement. And like every mythic Mammy figure before her, she was more than happy to do it. To make matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it), Nu'Bia failed in her mission and would have died, had a god not come across her battered, bruised and broken body, and nursed her back to health.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman

She and Diana wind up battling Dr. Echo, Blue Ice, and Ahriman, the Duke of Lies - all people of color - in an effort to get back the stolen heart of Nu'Bia's lover, Ahura-Mazda, the King of Light, a person of a glowing gold color. None of this could happen, however, without Nu'Bia reverting to type. Upset over a miscalculation that causes Blue Ice to die during battle, Nu'Bia, fueled by misdirected anger, punches Diana - hard - and draws blood. Diana, meanwhile, remains ever calm.

Not only did Young's interpretation maintain the racially problematic flaws, but it also seemed to undo some of the feminist aspects crucial to the character's core. At least he gave her a new power; something called "Cold Sight," which gave her the ability to turn mortals into stone. What's mystifying is why she would need that power in a place where there were no mortals. It did help Young to speed past one of the book's plot points, though.

Nu'Bia showed up once more, in a crowd scene, during Phil Jimenez's run, in "Wonder Woman" #177 (2002), before she disappeared into the Hell she was created to inhabit.

The HBCU - Historically Black Comic Universe

Grant Morrison would try his hand at the Nubia concept in the finale of his experimental "Final Crisis" miniseries (2008). This Nubia was dressed in a costume almost identical to Diana's. She was a denizen of an alternate reality where, presumably, everyone was black. Think either the Jim Crow South or Marcus Garvey's Liberian Dream (depending on your point of view), but on a cosmic scale. The idea that a black woman can only be Wonder Woman in a universe where everyone is black (which is - intentionally or unintentionally - what this story seemed to indicate) is as unsettling as it is juvenile. It suggests one of two things: either the writer lacks imagination or he knows that the audience does - and tolerance besides. Neither is an appealing prospect.

Perhaps Nubia, however spelled, is doomed to be burdened with racially- and sexually-suspect baggage for as long as "black" and "female" are viewed as dubious or somehow inferior designations in comic book stories (and outside of them). Yet, however flawed her depictions, there remains something extremely, uniquely powerful in the idea of a Nubia. It's an idea that subverts the notion of black woman as the "mule of the world" (to quote Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison).

Imagine it: A black female figure that transcends stereotype. Powerful, free, and benevolent; not hindered by her race or her gender, but, in fact, empowered by both. Not a vixen or a Mammy or a mad black woman, but an actual human being. What a novel idea. It remains to be seen if there is someone, somewhere in the industry, who is intelligent, sensitive and brave enough to carry out such a vision.

Hopefully, that someone will possess the good sense to come up with a better name.

What are your thoughts?

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Replies to This Discussion

Oh, wow, you schooled me on something I didn't even know had such a history- and I read Final Crisis! I thought Nubia was a more recent creation.
I agree with Mr. Conyer's viewpoint. I'm an aficionado of Comic books and I had forgotten about Nubia's creation.
I do hope that if she allowed to return. It would be the version from "Final Crisis."
This was fascinating. Thank you.
I'm sorry, Robert.

Let me preface all of this by saying, quite clearly, that I don't know you and you certainly don't know you me. One thing I can tell you is that I never get involved in these armchair dissertations (particularly ones that have to do with issues of class or race) and I won't do so here. I find them generally, well, kinda boring and figure there are far more passionate people than myself to fight the good fight on that particular score (you, perhaps, being among them).

Having read your analysis of Nu'Bia/Nubia/Amazon Soul Sistah Numero Uno, what I can say is that from my obviously racially deficient point of view, you have, whether intentionally or otherwise, written among the FUNNIEST THINGS I HAVE EVER READ ON THESE HERE INTRAWEBS.

To begin:

1) "He altered what was one of the more unusual, and perhaps more offensive, aspects of the character: her name. Now pronounced and spelled "Nu'Bia" (nu-BEE-uh, rather than nubee-UH), the name had an urban culture ring to it. It seemed a nod to the period shortly after the Civil Rights movement when, in a quest to forge a cultural identity free from Eurocentrism, African Americans gave their children Arabic and Afrocentric names like "Shaniqua" and "Da'Quan."

Um. No. It wasn't an intentional nod to 'urban culture.'

I just threw in the name change to differentiate her from her Bronze Age counterpart in case some other writer (obviously faaaaaaaaar more talented than myself) should choose to use the original at some point in the future.

My mother named me "Doselle" for cryin' out loud. and I have to confess that thank the stars every morning it wasn't "D'oselle", "Do'Selle" or some other overwhelmingly self-conscious derivative. That said, the derivative "DOS-EL" has always been fine because, like, you know? The idea of meeting MY KRYPTONIAN COUNTERPART FROM EARTH 3 is just FREAKIN' COOL-AS-SHIT!!

I mean, who wouldn't wanna do that, right? But I digress...

2) "One would imagine that a black writer, who appeared to be coming to the table with genuine cultural experiences, would add the authenticity sorely missing from Nubia's previous portrayals, or, at the very least, disengage from the racial (if not the gender) stereotypes."

Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea...

Hey, wait a minute! What's this...? What 'genuine cultural experiences' am I supposed to have had that would have added 'authenticity' to a remarkably goofy comic book character from the 70s. While I don't think it was intentional, you suggest, Robert, that you've somehow gotten a bead on exactly what the authentic black experience is.

Really?

As I said before, I don't know you and, to the best of my knowledge, you don't know me. Unless I'm suffering from amnesia, I can't recall the two of growing up together. And, even if we did, I can say, with a fairly high degree of certainty, that we did not grow up in the same house.

As such, its really not for you to judge the nature of my unique 'black experience' and whether or not it was somehow reflected in the story. Hint: Its in there all over the place if you know where to look. Will I apologize that, as such, it didn't reflect your experience. Nope.

Ain't gonna happen.

Is Nubia black? Yes!

Is Nubia going to considered relevant to a certain portion of the Venn Diagram of people of color? Sure.

Does any of that make Nubia even an ounce less goofy? NOT AT ALL!

The fact of the matter is: Nubia has always been and will always be pretty much an obscure throwaway character brought out now and again just to keep hold of a copyright. Unless she becomes a regular supporting character in a marquee title or the star of her own book (undoubtedly a limited series), she's never gonna have her name up in lights and I think that's okay.

The truth is: home girl was never intended for the big leagues.

She's a derivative of Wonder Woman; a character whom, despite her popularity, as ALWAYS been a terribly flawed idea from the start.

3) "For starters, Nu'Bia was reintroduced during DC's company-wide "Gorilla Warfare" event. That it was deemed appropriate to revive the character during an event where gorillas from a secret city in Africa forcibly take over the world and turn many heroes into gorillas, is both puzzling and enlightening.That a black man was solicited to tell this tale - and did - is maddening, but not surprising. As recently as President Barack Obama's inauguration, black people were being compared to all manner of simian life forms. Many, including a good number of blacks, couldn't - or refused to - see why this was problematic. However, that doesn't make the notion any less offensive or racist given the well-documented history of - and reasons for - the comparisons."

I would never try to disabuse you of your emotions here.

If you were offended, you were offended and that's pretty much the end of that. You own that, buddy! But, as painful as it may be; in the case of Nubia's presentation I have to say I think you're suffering from a benign case of apophenia.

In other words, you're seeing patterns where none exists.

Do you imagine that there was some MANDATE by The White Powers That Be (hereto referred to as TWPTB) that Nubia/Nu'Bia/Amazon Soul Sistah Numero Uno be brought back during The Gorilla Invasion?

There wasn't.

For starters, that's not really how publishing works when it comes to characters like Nubia. Trust me when I say "NO ONE IN A POSITION THAT MATTERS CARES ABOUT NUBIA".

The truth is: I threw Nubia into the story because it was fun for me to do. I picked up a gig for a Wonder Woman Annual (that year's admittedly lamentable theme was a Gorilla Invasion) and, as long as some gorillas invaded Paradise Island, I could do whatever I felt like doing.

Was it the best thing I've written. Hell, no! (SHAMELESS PLUG: Please track down MONARCHY#5 "The Boy Who Talked To Spiders" or my novelette "Housework" available in the prose anthology THE DARKER MASK) but I had fun and it worked out well enough for me to do another couple of issues so I brought her back again.

4) She and Diana wind up battling Dr. Echo, Blue Ice, and Ahriman, the Duke of Lies - all people of color - in an effort to get back the stolen heart of Nu'Bia's lover, Ahura-Mazda, the King of Light, a person of a glowing gold color. None of this could happen, however, without Nu'Bia reverting to type. Upset over a miscalculation that causes Blue Ice to die during battle, Nu'Bia, fueled by misdirected anger, punches Diana - hard - and draws blood. Diana, meanwhile, remains ever calm. Not only did Young's interpretation maintain the racially problematic flaws, but it also seemed to undo some of the feminist aspects crucial to the character's core.

Gee. Its all sounds so darned racial when you put it like that.

Funny as it, here, it seems you're being rather the opposite of apophenic; failing to see what was right in front of you. Practically the entire two-issue arc revolved around characters of color (some good, some bad) and that doesn't seem to made an impression at all. I brought in the Zoroastrian deities because, in a book that pulled heavily from Greek mythology, I thought it would be fun to spin the tale that Nubia had traveled OUTSIDE the influence of the Greek Gods into other more unfamiliar realms--including the realm of the Zoroastrian gods who would have been, historically speaking, among the very oldest of deities.

As for the god of light being all glow-y? Dude. Really? He's a god of light?

What's a niggah supposed to do?

As for rest of your analysis, what is there left to be said? You're obviously an intelligent and thoughtful person and I genuinely mean it when I suggest you should be commended for bringing a keen eye to the puzzle pieces in front of you. But then, that's the funny thing about art, there's always more than one way to put the puzzle together.

Cheers.

Doselle Young

THE DARKER MASK (TOR, 2008)
http://twitter.com/DOSELLE
Interesting...
Great discussion! This board was a real find in that rarely do I see the viewpoint of a reader put up against the intentions of the writer. After that fascinating article the last thing I expected to see was Doselle's comments below. I can personally somewhat empathize with both viewpoints, but I've never even heard of the character before now (I'm not much of a DC reader) and am coming in entirely fresh. I can see how without any personal insight into the process, Nubia's history seems pretty offensive (particularly her inexplicable transformation into a villainess for the toy line). As to her various appearances, do you (Doselle or Terrence) feel that white writers generally stay away from trying to pen black characters out of a fear of their creations being put under the microscope by black readers? Does this (in addition to a deficit of black writers in Marvel and DC) have anything to do with the shortage of good black characters in mainstream comics? I'm curious to know what everybody thought of Isaiah Bradley the black Captain America that was introduced some years back. I was ecstatic about the idea of the character when I first heard of his origin (an inspired nod to the Tuskegee experiments), but was not at all thrilled by the execution (in Truth: Red, White and Black). Lastly, are there any black characters in Marvel or DC that seem well-rounded? Falcon is sort of a sidekick....Blade or War Machine? Black Panther is pretty ethno-centric...could Storm from X-men be a well-rounded superheroine? I feel like her ethnicity is almost never brought up. But is totally ignoring her ethnicity another bag of worms entirely?
A Black Wonder Woman with a soul sista name, I guest it wasn't for the lack of trying. No doutb it was for the money.

Doselle Young said:
I'm sorry, Robert.

Let me preface all of this by saying, quite clearly, that I don't know you and you certainly don't know you me. One thing I can tell you is that I never get involved in these armchair dissertations (particularly ones that have to do with issues of class or race) and I won't do so here. I find them generally, well, kinda boring and figure there are far more passionate people than myself to fight the good fight on that particular score (you, perhaps, being among them).

Having read your analysis of Nu'Bia/Nubia/Amazon Soul Sistah Numero Uno, what I can say is that from my obviously racially deficient point of view, you have, whether intentionally or otherwise, written among the FUNNIEST THINGS I HAVE EVER READ ON THESE HERE INTRAWEBS.

To begin:

1) "He altered what was one of the more unusual, and perhaps more offensive, aspects of the character: her name. Now pronounced and spelled "Nu'Bia" (nu-BEE-uh, rather than nubee-UH), the name had an urban culture ring to it. It seemed a nod to the period shortly after the Civil Rights movement when, in a quest to forge a cultural identity free from Eurocentrism, African Americans gave their children Arabic and Afrocentric names like "Shaniqua" and "Da'Quan."

Um. No. It wasn't an intentional nod to 'urban culture.'

I just threw in the name change to differentiate her from her Bronze Age counterpart in case some other writer (obviously faaaaaaaaar more talented than myself) should choose to use the original at some point in the future.

My mother named me "Doselle" for cryin' out loud. and I have to confess that thank the stars every morning it wasn't "D'oselle", "Do'Selle" or some other overwhelmingly self-conscious derivative. That said, the derivative "DOS-EL" has always been fine because, like, you know? The idea of meeting MY KRYPTONIAN COUNTERPART FROM EARTH 3 is just FREAKIN' COOL-AS-SHIT!!

I mean, who wouldn't wanna do that, right? But I digress...

2) "One would imagine that a black writer, who appeared to be coming to the table with genuine cultural experiences, would add the authenticity sorely missing from Nubia's previous portrayals, or, at the very least, disengage from the racial (if not the gender) stereotypes."

Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea...

Hey, wait a minute! What's this...? What 'genuine cultural experiences' am I supposed to have had that would have added 'authenticity' to a remarkably goofy comic book character from the 70s. While I don't think it was intentional, you suggest, Robert, that you've somehow gotten a bead on exactly what the authentic black experience is.

Really?

As I said before, I don't know you and, to the best of my knowledge, you don't know me. Unless I'm suffering from amnesia, I can't recall the two of growing up together. And, even if we did, I can say, with a fairly high degree of certainty, that we did not grow up in the same house.

As such, its really not for you to judge the nature of my unique 'black experience' and whether or not it was somehow reflected in the story. Hint: Its in there all over the place if you know where to look. Will I apologize that, as such, it didn't reflect your experience. Nope.

Ain't gonna happen.

Is Nubia black? Yes!

Is Nubia going to considered relevant to a certain portion of the Venn Diagram of people of color? Sure.

Does any of that make Nubia even an ounce less goofy? NOT AT ALL!

The fact of the matter is: Nubia has always been and will always be pretty much an obscure throwaway character brought out now and again just to keep hold of a copyright. Unless she becomes a regular supporting character in a marquee title or the star of her own book (undoubtedly a limited series), she's never gonna have her name up in lights and I think that's okay.

The truth is: home girl was never intended for the big leagues.

She's a derivative of Wonder Woman; a character whom, despite her popularity, as ALWAYS been a terribly flawed idea from the start.

3) "For starters, Nu'Bia was reintroduced during DC's company-wide "Gorilla Warfare" event. That it was deemed appropriate to revive the character during an event where gorillas from a secret city in Africa forcibly take over the world and turn many heroes into gorillas, is both puzzling and enlightening.That a black man was solicited to tell this tale - and did - is maddening, but not surprising. As recently as President Barack Obama's inauguration, black people were being compared to all manner of simian life forms. Many, including a good number of blacks, couldn't - or refused to - see why this was problematic. However, that doesn't make the notion any less offensive or racist given the well-documented history of - and reasons for - the comparisons."

I would never try to disabuse you of your emotions here.

If you were offended, you were offended and that's pretty much the end of that. You own that, buddy! But, as painful as it may be; in the case of Nubia's presentation I have to say I think you're suffering from a benign case of apophenia.

In other words, you're seeing patterns where none exists.

Do you imagine that there was some MANDATE by The White Powers That Be (hereto referred to as TWPTB) that Nubia/Nu'Bia/Amazon Soul Sistah Numero Uno be brought back during The Gorilla Invasion?

There wasn't.

For starters, that's not really how publishing works when it comes to characters like Nubia. Trust me when I say "NO ONE IN A POSITION THAT MATTERS CARES ABOUT NUBIA".

The truth is: I threw Nubia into the story because it was fun for me to do. I picked up a gig for a Wonder Woman Annual (that year's admittedly lamentable theme was a Gorilla Invasion) and, as long as some gorillas invaded Paradise Island, I could do whatever I felt like doing.

Was it the best thing I've written. Hell, no! (SHAMELESS PLUG: Please track down MONARCHY#5 "The Boy Who Talked To Spiders" or my novelette "Housework" available in the prose anthology THE DARKER MASK) but I had fun and it worked out well enough for me to do another couple of issues so I brought her back again.

4) She and Diana wind up battling Dr. Echo, Blue Ice, and Ahriman, the Duke of Lies - all people of color - in an effort to get back the stolen heart of Nu'Bia's lover, Ahura-Mazda, the King of Light, a person of a glowing gold color. None of this could happen, however, without Nu'Bia reverting to type. Upset over a miscalculation that causes Blue Ice to die during battle, Nu'Bia, fueled by misdirected anger, punches Diana - hard - and draws blood. Diana, meanwhile, remains ever calm. Not only did Young's interpretation maintain the racially problematic flaws, but it also seemed to undo some of the feminist aspects crucial to the character's core.

Gee. Its all sounds so darned racial when you put it like that.

Funny as it, here, it seems you're being rather the opposite of apophenic; failing to see what was right in front of you. Practically the entire two-issue arc revolved around characters of color (some good, some bad) and that doesn't seem to made an impression at all. I brought in the Zoroastrian deities because, in a book that pulled heavily from Greek mythology, I thought it would be fun to spin the tale that Nubia had traveled OUTSIDE the influence of the Greek Gods into other more unfamiliar realms--including the realm of the Zoroastrian gods who would have been, historically speaking, among the very oldest of deities.

As for the god of light being all glow-y? Dude. Really? He's a god of light?

What's a niggah supposed to do?

As for rest of your analysis, what is there left to be said? You're obviously an intelligent and thoughtful person and I genuinely mean it when I suggest you should be commended for bringing a keen eye to the puzzle pieces in front of you. But then, that's the funny thing about art, there's always more than one way to put the puzzle together.

Cheers.

Doselle Young

THE DARKER MASK (TOR, 2008)
http://twitter.com/DOSELLE
Its definatly a "Should I, Shouldn't I" situation. Give the writers more freedom, and I believe we will really see stories generate a more open idea about characters. Not just what best suits culture.(black or white)

Edward M. Erdelac said:
Great discussion! This board was a real find in that rarely do I see the viewpoint of a reader put up against the intentions of the writer. After that fascinating article the last thing I expected to see was Doselle's comments below. I can personally somewhat empathize with both viewpoints, but I've never even heard of the character before now (I'm not much of a DC reader) and am coming in entirely fresh. I can see how without any personal insight into the process, Nubia's history seems pretty offensive (particularly her inexplicable transformation into a villainess for the toy line). As to her various appearances, do you (Doselle or Terrence) feel that white writers generally stay away from trying to pen black characters out of a fear of their creations being put under the microscope by black readers? Does this (in addition to a deficit of black writers in Marvel and DC) have anything to do with the shortage of good black characters in mainstream comics? I'm curious to know what everybody thought of Isaiah Bradley the black Captain America that was introduced some years back. I was ecstatic about the idea of the character when I first heard of his origin (an inspired nod to the Tuskegee experiments), but was not at all thrilled by the execution (in Truth: Red, White and Black). Lastly, are there any black characters in Marvel or DC that seem well-rounded? Falcon is sort of a sidekick....Blade or War Machine? Black Panther is pretty ethno-centric...could Storm from X-men be a well-rounded superheroine? I feel like her ethnicity is almost never brought up. But is totally ignoring her ethnicity another bag of worms entirely?
Superman looks like a bit of a pansy in that outfit, but WW looks HOT. And powerful.
Heh heh. It's always good to see four sides of an argument. We've got two here. I'm so glad you responded Doselle.
This is why we have a Black Age of Comics Movement. To tell our own sto

ries. To win the war for minds and market shares away form the dominance of a few mainstream companies.
OH....outstanding article. Do come to a Black Age event this year, y'all.....

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