Johnny, be good.

Can General Hospital please get Ethan and Johnny out of the mob? Seriously, anything involving organized crime on this show is unintentional comedy gold. Who would ever believe those two are mob kingpins? Just drop the whole mob thing. Please. Johnny has an incentive to get out since Olivia is pregnant. (I just know she is pregnant.) Let him open up a nightclub. Ethan can be a promoter. Brooke Lynn can perform (and flee from that idiotic story with Nikolas) and pretty much try to ruin Johnny’s relationship with Olivia at every turn, Maxie and Brenda could hold court in VIP, and Lucky and Dante could barge in all the time to harass Ethan and Johnny. It could work, people! You could even bring in the hospital crew and the (ugh!) mob characters by having someone try to push stolen prescription pills at the club. Do it!


Shameful fandom secrets.

I still love Brooke Lynn. What is wrong with me? If a male character on General Hospital had drugged a woman in the hopes of sexually assaulting her, I would want that character written off the show—hopefully, by being brutally murdered. I’m usually the one who roots for the goody-two-shoes. This is new territory for me. Eh, at least I still dislike Carly. I haven’t gone completely off the deep end!


General problems.

I could watch Ethan, Maya, Johnny, and Brooke Lynn have wacky adventures forever. However, pairing Ethan and Maya romantically is so many buckets of no, I can’t even explain it. Not a drop of physical chemistry there. But they do have an adorable friendship and sarcastic back-and-forth that is very fun to watch. And yet Brooke Lynn and Johnny, who have tons of physical chemistry, are sidelined so General Hospital can explore relationships between Johnny and Carly and Brooke Lynn and Nikolas? What? No.

Finally, can a girl get some more friendly interaction between Brooke Lynn and Maya? They are family, after all. And Brooke needs someone in her corner—someone who is not Nikolas! By the way, I don’t want to hear any mess from you nerds about watching General Hospital. I’ve seen some of the terrible stuff you guys are into.


Lemme cast that for ya.

Heroes for Hire

That’s Terry Crews as Luke Cage, Aaron Eckhart as Danny Rand, Naomie Harris as Misty Knight, Moon Bloodgood as Colleen Wing, Sung Kang as Shang Chi and Monique Curnen as Angela Del Toro. No need to thank me. Just make the damn movie.

I know there are other actors who would be a better fit for Shang Chi, but I went with hotness over suitability. Y’all owe me one for Halle anyway. Y’all owe me several for Halle.


Okay, they’re just teasing me now.

Terry Crews, my ideal Luke Cage, is starring in the machofest The Expendables. Jason Statham, who is actually my ideal Bullseye, is also in this movie as Lee Christmas.

If at any time during this movie Crews yells out “Sweet Christmas,” I must be told immediately so that I can go see this film.


What should DC’s answer to the Blade trilogy be?

Hitman

Yup! Y’all should get on that with the quickness. Hurry! Let’s do this before Gerard Butler and Gina Torres go ruin themselves with another crappy romantic comedy.


That girl is poison.

What if Black Widow (Natasha Romanova) had her own black Captain America (Isaiah Bradley) counterpart?

It’s just a random thought I had while watching old Soviet propaganda films. What if someone like my grandmother had actually gone overseas during the war instead of singing at local USO shows and Harlem nightclubs? And what if what she saw once she left American shores seemed like a better world than the one she left behind? What if she decided that the life of Homer Smith was the life for her? Until, of course, she discovered that the Union’s embrace was as cold as the next war waiting in the wings. And a young girl named Natasha with exceptional abilities seemed to be a suitable replacement.

A black Black Widow? Might be a fun idea for an alternate universe.


Black superhero ish.

Me: I’m so mad at you because you have me thinking of movie scenes that’ll never happen. Like Steve, Natasha, and Fury eating sweet potato pie at Isaiah’s house, watching Eli toss a football out in the yard. I’ll just put that in a box with Misty and Colleen chasing the Hypno Hustler through Harlem.

Brothers: Let me find out Hypno Hustler shows up in a movie and there’s not an extended Motown song and dance number. Heads will roll. Not even kidding, I want a full ten minutes of funk and soul, Misty and Colleen as backup dancers all, “He’s gonna die for this.”

Me: If I ever wrote Heroes for Hire, the first scene would be Misty getting her hair pressed for her cousin’s wedding and Hypno Hustler coming in. You know how guys are always coming in selling ish in black salons? He’d be selling bootleg CDs as a ruse to rob the joint.

Brothers: “Hold on now, shawty. Lemme just put this in your boombox here.” “We use an iPod.” “Uhhhhhhh, a what? That don’t even sound good!”

Me: Then he leaves with the cash and you can’t stop dancing. Now Misty’s gotta chase him down 106th trying not to sweat her hair out. Black superhero ish, for real.

Brothers: Hey, I already got started on the soundtrack.

Me: Perfect. Misty ripping off the back window of a bus. “Don’t be alarmed, everybody. That motherfucker just owes me fifty dollars.”


Chromatic static.

I have to apologize for neglecting this blog, folks. It seems like it’s a lot easier to dish about the latest events in little 140 character segments than it is to flesh out a full blog post. At least, that’s what happened today on Twitter when I came across the latest edition of the Chromatic Comics meme that’s been making the rounds.

“This whole Chromatic Comics ish irritates me. Y’know, Marvel does have a whole boatload of POC characters. Stuff like that makes it seem like only the white ones are important and deserve focus. Y’know what would be nice? For POC characters to get the same promotion and devotion that white characters get so people don’t have to think of POC actors they’d like in the ‘important’ (white) characters’ roles.

“In other words, screw Batgirl and Jessica Jones. How about making Aquagirl and Misty Knight not suck? How about Jubilee getting some time to shine instead of shoving Emma Frost down my throat? It’s not just about seeing POC faces. There are histories and myths that come along with POC characters that deserve to be heard. And it treats whiteness as some kind of blank slate that you can just pour color on. It’s not. Daredevil was a working class Irish kid for a reason. And even though Marvel doesn’t say it, we all know Castle is a poor Italian kid from Brooklyn. I’m not just a color. I have a history. Tell it. I don’t want cinematic Photoshop.”

—Cheryl Lynn Eaton

And just like I’m not just a color, that white kid isn’t just a blank slate. He isn’t the default. And acting like he is the default hurts both him and me. My stories get shunted to the side because they aren’t considered the norm and his stories are considered meaningless—something that can be easily divorced from his culture and handed to someone of another background for a cheap grab at diversity. An empty canvas to hang someone else’s image on. I get to be seen and not heard. He gets to be heard and not seen. And neither of us is honored that way.

No matter who you are, it hurts to have your stories stolen. And if you think whiteness doesn’t provide a character with color, you’re wrong. Because growing up Italian American in Bensonhurst during the ’80s and ’90s is a hell of a lot different than growing up African American in Harlem during the ’80s and ’90s. A white actor could not tell Luke Cage’s story. A story that involved anti-black racism and being railroaded into the system for a crime you didn’t commit. A story that involved being viewed as nothing more than an animal by prison guards. A story that involved growing up and becoming a man and realizing that your community has been damn near decimated by the same drugs you pushed for the mob in exchange for a pair of new Nikes and a knot of twenties—and deciding to finally make things right.

And just like a white actor could not tell Cage’s story, a black actor could not tell Castle’s. A story that involved watching your neighbors hail common criminals as protectors and patrons. A story that involved watching the man who had Mr. Ancelotti’s leg broken treated like a king because he popped for fireworks for the neighborhood every year and made sure that he and his boys kept the blacks and Hispanics down in Sunset Park and Bed Stuy where they belonged. A story that involved finally realizing that those guys weren’t keeping the monsters at bay—they were the monsters. A story that involved realizing that tribalism is meaningless when your own family is lying in a pool of blood—spilled by people that you were raised to consider your own. And then you finally figure it out. It’s not us versus them. It’s you versus everyone.

And when you change the background, you change the story. Static and Blue Beetle are amazing and I want to see more of them. But neither character is Spider-Man. Each has his own story—wonderful stories that should not be separated from who they are and where they come from. And they can’t be.

So what do I want? I want to see POC characters getting more devotion from creators and more promotion from comic companies. I want to see fans supporting characters of color instead of just dreaming about what actors of color could be hired to portray the “important” white icons. Demand to be more than just window dressing. Our stories are phenomenal. Let’s get them told.


Almost famous.

Hello, random celebrity! I’m sure you’ve been taking note of the recent strides that certain nerd sub-cultures have made as of late and you want in on that action, don’t you? You want a role in that next big comic-book movie. You want the lead in that sci-fi drama so that you can charge seventy bucks for your autograph at conventions. And yet every tentative step you try to take into Nerd World results in angry blog posts and scathing criticism. What gives?

Don’t worry. I’m here to help! Here are a few guidelines to get you through your journey into the wilds of Comicsville. Hopefully, you’ll come out on the other side a little richer, a little smarter, and a bit more tolerant of people who are different. And by different, I mean way more awesome than you are. ‘Cause geeks rock.

Know your limits. It may be hard for a celebrity to even believe that he has limits due to simpering sycophants championing his every move. However, just because one is a talented singer does not mean that one will be equally as talented when it comes to penciling. And no, being a good actor does not always mean that one will be a good storyteller. And yes, using one’s celebrity to muscle into an occupation that one is ill-equipped to handle will result in a hell of a lot of embarrassment later on down the line when the audience discovers the truth about one’s abilities. Because they will clown you and your unbelievably wack creation. Hard.

If you can’t do it, buy it. One of the great things about being a celebrity is that talented people will willingly share the rights to their work just to be associated with you. And even stranger is that some people will willingly give up all the rights to their work and let you take credit for it for a large enough sum of money. Yes, people are still that crazy. So, say you’re a celebrity who wants your name and face plastered all over a hit comic so that Hollywood will sit up and take notice. However, you can’t draw and you’re a horrible writer. Never fear! Have your people make a few phones calls and everything will soon be taken care of. Bam! You’re suddenly the “co-writer” of a hit comic featuring a popular creative team! And it all happened because of your hard work name and wallet. Just make sure your people hire the right people…or you’ll end up like Danity Kane.

Don’t ignore the audience you have to sell to the audience you want. If your fans are mostly women in their twenties and you spend all of your time marketing your new comic to teenage boys, you’re being foolish. Even if you want to broaden your horizons, selling to the audience you have can create enough of a buzz to get the audience you want to take notice. And if you’ve tailored your content to appeal to that new audience—and the content is of a good quality—you’ll find yourself with a new fanbase.

A little research goes a long way. A little honesty goes even further. You want a major role in a comic book blockbuster so bad that you can taste it! Unfortunately, you don’t know anything about comics. And so, when some soulless reporter gets a chance to interview you, you pretend to be an expert, blather on about what little you do know, and make yourself look like an idiot. And you are subsequently clowned on every geek message board known to man. Why? Because nobody likes an ill-informed poser, that’s why. A little research can keep you from publicly campaigning for a role that most comic fans think you are totally wrong for. A little honesty can keep you from getting caught in a blatant lie. And a bit more research can keep you from looking like a complete fool in public. Read an omnibus or two. Poke around a few news sites. And don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something or ask questions! The only thing geeks love more than telling people about comics is telling hot celebrities about comics.

Do a little something for the geeks. When I saw the preceding photo of Ciara, I had to wonder why she just didn’t do a photo shoot as DC’s Vixen and save us all from that dreadful Super C nonsense that pretty much went over like a lead balloon. Nerds would get to see a well-known celebrity dressed up as their favorite character, Ciara fans would get to see Ciara in a skintight outfit, and Ciara would have gotten a nice little bit of buzz from both black entertainment blogs and comic blogs. And no one at DC would have been peeved as long as blogs and entertainment rags were the only places the photos showed up. What a wasted opportunity. Ah, well! Halloween is coming, right? Maybe there’s still time for some House of Deréon intern to whip up an Angela St. Grace costume.

Damn it, Kelly! Photo shoots only! Don’t let me catch you out in the streets again looking like you escaped from a George Perez sketchbook!


Hair apparent.

Did anyone wear a kinky hairstyle to the Good Hair premiere? I’ll never knock a woman for wearing straightened hair or a weave, but it’d be nice to see a bit more variety in how black women are represented. How do we stop kinky hair from being demonized if it is constantly hidden away?


Uh, Roman Polanski supporters?

Uh, you do realize you’re all nuts, right? Dude committed a crime and then decided to bounce. And decades later he was caught. And he should now serve time for his criminal act. I don’t see how this could be any simpler, folks. Listen, I understand that you guys really like the movies he directed. After all, Chinatown was fantastic. But, hell, 12 Play was great too. Doesn’t mean that R. Kelly doesn’t deserve some time in a cell because I like to sing “Sex Me (Part II)” in the shower. Suck it up.


True Blood. Truer words.

“It’s really maddening out there for dark-skinned actresses in terms of the opportunities we get. There’s just so much talent that is being overlooked.”

Rutina Wesley

Oh, Rutina. I hear you, girl. It’s gotta be tough out there battling those stereotypes in the public eye day after day. Lighter is better. Straighter is more refined. You can’t escape it. Not even in the articles written about you trying to escape it.

“The long, swishy braids of her character were nowhere in evidence, replaced by a straighter hairstyle that lent an extra softness to her beauty.”

Greg Braxton

It’s everywhere. It’s like fighting air.


So, Hollywood?

I know this is a bit of an odd request. However, it’s 2009, so I don’t think this is too much to ask. Can I have one movie where a dark-skinned female character makes the transition from comics and cartoons to movies with her melanin intact? Just one movie would do. Seriously, why do you hate us so much?


Real to reel.

The more people talk about Hollywood mining the world of comics for story ideas, the more I wait in eager anticipation of each hilarious and awkward moment where Hollywood tries desperately to cling to both the world of comics and its racist practices at the same time. A Ronin movie? Seriously? Will you still want it when it stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox? There’s no way in hell you’re going to see an Asian male lead and a black female love interest in a summer action blockbuster. Period. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get my popcorn ready for Beyonce’s epic role in Martha Washington. Of course, now I’m imagining a Stephen Chow and Sanaa Lathan love scene. Woah.