This week, Manstream Comics posted some panels (please note that Manstream links can have icons or pictures which may be considered NSFW) from Fantastic Four #547
The complaint was not about the pencils and the posture (though there is a smaller debate on how she is drawn going on in the comments) but that Storm is upset that someone suggested her hair was not real. Many Manstream readers felt that it was a portrayal of a vain, frivolous woman and not the Storm they knew and loved.
She is also a friend, a wife, daughter of an American citizen and a black woman…and I think it’s great when these aspects of who Storm is are shown to readers as well. She is experiencing a very intimate and frustrating moment (one that many black women experience often) with family and friends. Why would the queen or goddess dominate at a moment like that?
I understand that many fans have issues with sexism regarding Storm, and there have been scenes in BP that I haven’t been happy with. However, it often seems as if whenever Storm is behaving in a warm or human manner or is involved with any aspect of African-American culture fans flip out. And I can’t help but wonder if in the same way that many male fans are irritated at having to give up “their” female characters and see them “handed over” to female fans when artists and writers finally portray these characters in decent costumes and have them act like capable human beings…that non-black fans are equally as irritated by seeing black characters like Storm who they consider to be “their” heroes being “handed over” to black fans when artists or writers portray these characters as experiencing moments that are common to black people or participating in African-American culture. It becomes “too black” for them.
Is Storm going to start telling Ben not to “get up in her grille” next?
I certainly don’t want Storm saying outdated corny phrases that no one uses anymore either. And she doesn’t seem like the type to use slang. However, Storm being openly frustrated due to rude comments about her hair isn’t the same thing as adding a “layer of jive” to black characters or a “layer of moron” to female characters. It’s showing a very real common problem that many black women face that gets under our skin. When I read that scene, I immediately recognized that Storm wasn’t being vain or flighty at all, she was a woman who had likely been accused thousands of times of being false or deceitful by wearing a weave and had finally snapped. And I realized that because of my own experiences. And I was grateful to see my own experiences reflected in a comic. To have a scene in a mainstream comic that actually acknowledges the unique experiences of a character who isn’t a white guy? That’s a step forward.
But it also brings up a good question. Should writers give up on showing the cultural experiences of characters who aren’t white American males because those instances might be regarded badly by people who aren’t familiar with the culture in question? I say no, but others might disagree.
This may seem like the laziest column I’ve ever done, but I really can’t top that comment.