Saturday, September 25, 2004

Racism, Frank Miller and "Crazy Man Who Can't Stop Talking"

A poster on Newsarama asks if Frank Miller is a racist:

I got the Daredevil VIsionaries volumes because I no longer have my old Daredevils and wanted to reread them. This is the first time I read them all at once as an adult and noticed how badly the blacks were depicted. Even when he started and McKenzie was doing the writing, his depictions of blacks in the background were disturbing. They were often shirtless, angry looking, had cornrows, or had disgustingly long nails and contorted grimaces.

When he started writing, there was lots of stereotypical dialogue and buffoonish behavior from supporting characters and extras like Turk and various other black criminals. One shirtless thug tried to take Heather Glenn to a back alley and wanted to rape her. Power Man and Iron Fist guest-starred and Power Man was written very stupidly and stereotypically. Although both Power Man and Iron Fist were both used for comic relief, Iron Fist had some scenes where he was used effectively, fought Daredevil and was complimented on his martial arts prowess. Power Man's only contribution was his buffoonish behavior, though.

Posters respond:

I don't know if he is racist, or just not that interested in developing support characters. He admitted when he first moved to NYC and was doing Daredevil, his depiction of the streets was more influenced by childhood memories of Kojak rather than what was going on around him. As good as his writing can be, he frequently relies on stereotypes to convey blunt messages, and I personally think he does not handle female characters well. The vast majority of Miller women are whores, strippers, assassins, or some combination thereof. Is there a message there? I don't know... maybe.

I [think] Miller just has a tendency to use stereotypes. Lots of his stories feature recurring types like Crazy Man Who Can't Stop Talking, Stalwart Trenchcoat Man. Ninja Whore and Uber-Ditz.


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