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Whitewashing Comic Book Characters

Whitewashing is the act of making a person/character of color whiter or completely white, erasing their ethnic background. You might not think this happens nowadays but one very recent example that is the main focus of this blog is: Storm in the latest X-Men series Marauders.

Storm

Below is Storm in Marauders:

With combat from fans the colorist has changed storm back to her true appearance.

However, this is not just an issue of the colorist, the whole creative team and editors had to see the way Storm was and approve it. There is not a single person to blame, but rather everyone involved. This was completely unacceptable and I am glad they changed their mistake. The comic series is very interesting and I was torn between stopping my support of the series due to its interesting plot and tie ins with the other ongoing X-Men series.  

Sunspot

Sunspot is an Afro-Brazilian X-men character who is originally depicted as shown below:

However, whitewashing occurs throughout various comics and one can not tell his Afro-Brazilian heritage. He loses his curly hair and dark complexion.

Whitewashing Examples in Movies & Shows

Unfortunately, this occurs a lot with the casting not matching the identity of the characters.

  • Wanda Maximoff and Quicksilver in the MCU. Both characters are of Romani descent and are Jewish and the actors playing them are not.
  • It is suggested that the MCU Spider-Man movies are taking characteristics from Miles Morales and his comics.
  • Dick Grayson (Nightwing) in the Titans TV show. Dick Grayson is of Romani descent but his actor is not of that same heritage.

Race Bending

Personally, I don’t think a white character who is now black in a movie (for example Heimdall, Valkryie, Johnny Storm, Mary Jane) is necessarily hurtful. So often black or poc characters are white instead in comics and movies. Who is to say that perhaps these characters were originally a poc and just changed to white due to discrimination? However, I also think characters should just stay the way they are. Simply, comics need to create more poc characters instead of changing them. This already seems to be a common phenomenon with amazing characters such as Miles Morales, Moon Girl, Ironheart and more. 

Why Is This Important?

To simply put it, everyone deserves a superhero or character that they can look up to that shares their perspective. For a little kid to see a hero that looks like them when most heroes don’t, is inspiring. Heroes are a role model for many and its important for everyone to have one. For example, a lot of people of all ages were excited and very emotional to see Miles Morales on the big screen in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.

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