Field Book Entry #2

In America’s current climate regarding its police and criminal justice systems how do we make a police presence more digestible in media like comics? It definitely is a tough topic because of how police currently handle problems is inhumane, deadly, violent, and highly unnecessary with communities of color. In comics we have the protagonist, the hero, who usually brings justice and order. Which can be a direct correlation to law enforcement, which in American society we are taught to see them bringing justice and order. Which is not always the case, so how do we fix that justice representing heroes in comics? After reading ‘5 ways to fix the policing problems in superhero stories’ I thought the best way is just to make the story and characters more progressive. Which is another problem is the superhero/comic culture already. By making stories more progressive you bring more diversity in the comic industry, which is definitely lacking in the department of POC, LGBT, Etc. Comics also shouldn’t shy away from complex and difficult issues, as much as I would love a story about a POC superhero who deals with only super villains and not racism,but we should have that story. It’s not realistic to not deal with racism when comics are a way to show you real world parallels. In the article I read it gave a really good example of Riri Williams ‘Iron Heart’, dealing with real world issues by not policing them but using community building to solve these issues by using her HQ as a community center. Having a young smart black woman is an amazing role model for not only other young black girls but also everyone else, because it is normalizing diversity. And going back to what I said before about the issue with diversity in the comic industry, I’ve seen such a negative force about new characters being “forced diversity”. The current standard for superheroes are mostly buff white men, which has catered too long to a male white audience. Diversity is good and sorely needed in comics because we live in a diverse world. Having not only diverse characters but stories as well, even having stories with a sprawling adventure but pacifist and non violent solutions to issues. I think one of the best stories to portray that is ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’, the story follows 12 year old Avatar Aang. He uses his pacifist ways to avoid and settle conflict, while the show can fun and light hearted it doesn’t shy away from heavy issues like genocide, and imperialism. Even when the odds are against him and his past lives tell him a final and violent end is necessary, Aang finds a way to end conflict without death. The show’s title tells you 2 key facts about Aang, 1 he’s the avatar, and 2 he’s the last air bender. He’s entire culture was erased by the fire nation so you would think Aang is absolutely entitled to his revenge against the fire lord. Instead he beats the fire lord and takes away his bending, I believe that is one of the best examples using pacifism to end violent conflict. (Also I think ATLA does a great job of showing these heavy themes through a mythical storytelling, without completely losing sight of the themes they’re showing)So where does this leave us? Are superheroes representing an oppressive police force?  No, a lot of times we see the hero having to not only face the villain but also the police as well. One of the driving factors of a hero to become a hero is having their powers or abilities, why do they use their powers though? If the police were doing enough and doing things right they wouldn’t need to be a superhero. Though that wouldn’t make for a good story with its real world messages, it’s because they have the ability to make a change. While that is a powerful and hopeful message in every superhero story imaginable, it has darker implications that normal law enforcement never was enough to make that change. Though I’m hopeful for the future, I’ve seen some great new diverse characters and stories that are making a change.

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