Five: Board Game -Week 1

I am currently embarking on an 8-week journey to create a project that speaks to both my experience, and my design sensibility. With this is in mind I was inspired by my favorite pass-time,

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Reading comics!

Specifically, I became super interested in the newest hero, “Ironheart,” who in the Marvel Invincible Iron Man latest installment is supposed to replace Tony Stark with Riri Williams, an African-American, female, super genius. Here are some of the first drawings of her.

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These are pretty cool, until you take into account that she’s supposed to be a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL. These pictures are not appropriate for a character that is a child. They are sexy, and many fans including myself had a problem with it. While the sexualization of female heroes has always been a problem in comics in general, the real issue I have is that this echoes a deep inability for the general public to understand Black women. There appears to be a disconnect with what a Black woman really is. Is she an overweight sassy encouragement with endless advice that saves all the dumb young people around her? Is she a sexy siren that only a true man can satisfy, furthering the idea that a man can prove his worth by satisfying a SISTA? Is she a loud, angry, nag that emasculates the men around her?

It’s hard to decide with the media, and in instances that are intended to dispel these myths, i.e. the super intelligent 15 year old Riri Williams, you still see some of the stereotypes bleed through.

However, because Riri is a CHILD, it is lucky that the populace as a while rejected this, and the newer images are more appropriate.

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However, we then see that her hair texture has been loosened and her skin has been lightened, which is a a shame considering her character’s look is based off of the Disney channel actress, Skai Jackson.

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Even before the she was redrawn, when people discussed possibilities for her casting, these were some of the prominent fantasy picks.

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Oy vey. Why is it so impossible to have a dark skinned black girl who looks like a GIRL, be a super genius? Why can these things not coexist? Why does something have to give in order to make the idea somehow palatable.

It is these things that bleed over that makes me realize that despite the strides we as a people have made to overcome stereotypes, we still have a far way to go, which is why I want to create my game.

Five

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Originally I had planned to make a digital game, but I have a time restraint of 8 weeks to make everything happen.  So the first stage of my work is research, so that I can better understand how to convey my ideas.

SO, HERE IS A LITTLE HISTORY.

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mammy1

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jez1
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welfarequeen

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sbw

 

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Over the next few weeks I will be exploring these concepts more and how to make it into a game that is subtle, but powerful.

Wish me luck!

Research links:

  1. Ferris State University http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/jezebel.htm#
  1. A.V. Club http://www.avclub.com/article/iamos-n-andy-iwas-the-rare-representation-of-black-101275
  1. Alternet.org http://www.alternet.org/truth-behind-strong-black-woman-stereotype
  1. bitechmedia.org https://bitchmedia.org/post/six-annoying-women-character-tropes-in-black-romantic-comedies
  1. racism.org http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1277:aawomen01a&catid=72&Itemid=215

 

MARVEL: Apocalyptic Fiction as the Unpaid Shrink

So for the last two years I’ve been working on my senior thesis. We were told that we had freedom to choose whatever we wanted, but to assure that whatever we did we loved. Research of any persuasion can be tedious, especially when looking to secondary sources. It is difficult to be original. It is also difficult to write about franchises with entire universes.

The Marvel universe has often claimed bits of my soul during my research, and I can only describe research on Marvel like looking into a black hole. You can find things if you want to, and with the sheer size of it all, your brain starts to melt.

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However, I digress. Somehow I managed to finish my essay. It’s a lengthy darling, but I figured I might as well share the abstract. After I recover from my bouts of insanity, maybe I’ll figure out more on what I could use the essay for.

SO far my heart is set on a panel at NY ComicCon in October. Hard? Yes, impossible? We’ll see.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: Actor Tom Hiddleston speaks onstage at Marvel Studios
SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 20: Actor Tom Hiddleston speaks onstage at Marvel Studios “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Abstract:

From the DC Universe to Archie Comics, apocalyptic storylines are becoming the norm. Each of these comics has three similar characteristics: Firstly, the world is in a chaotic state, a state that will inevitably destroy it. Secondly, there has been a significant shift in comic world politics and morals, and thirdly, the most beloved characters are picked off in gruesome ways. The apocalypse itself is a Christian construct, bringing to question why Christian ideals have shifted into the comic world. America is a predominantly Christian country so the idea that the religion might unconsciously saturate aspects of our lives is not far-fetched, but why do comics bear the brunt of apocalyptic peril?

The media is full of apocalyptic themes, but most visual media is based off a comic book equivalent. Popular television shows like “The Walking Dead” or movies like “I am Legend” were preceded by comics, and in both cases were adapted into a more palatable version for the screen. This essay will discuss the emerging patterns within post-2000 comics in order to support that apocalyptic fiction fulfills the human need to battle uncertainty. Apocalyptic fiction provides a form of wish fulfillment, a way for humans to control their fear, and to live it through easily identifiable characters. Graphic novels or “sequential art” is perfect for examining humanity because it accesses our emotions in ways that are cannot be copied by other mediums. In order to prove this, the essay is divided into three segments. Firstly addressed will be the construction of graphic novels and its effect on the reader. Secondly addressed will be the reader’s effect on the plot and story of graphic novels in history, then lastly addressed will be specific examples in the Marvel world that reflect the three apocalyptic storylines, and analysis of their content.

Sydney Adams

Apocalyptic Fiction as the Unpaid Shrink, 2015