Superhero Race and Gender Changes: The Un-Whitewashing Of Geek Culture

*SIGH* Let me begin by stating that I so wish people weren’t this obsessed with race. We don’t need to inject race into discussions where it doesn’t belong, but nevertheless, racial controversy has bled over into conversations about nerd-centric movies and TV shows. This applies to gender in equal measure. So… let’s do this.

INSTEAD OF throwing a collective hissy fit when a Hollywood star who happens to be Caucasian is cast in the role of a canonically non-white character, we should be acknowledging and cheering on the increasingly diverse casting that is happening in Superhero (and general Geek Culture)-Land as of late. Progress is happening, but people have a tendency to focus on the negative and controversial rather than all the good.

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Lucy Liu’s v Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson

For example, when Tilda Swinton was cast as the Tibetan sorcerer Ancient One in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, people flipped out. For every “Ancient One casting,” however, there seems to be double the instance of reverse whitewashing (colorwashing? brown-washing?) and gender-reversing (see: 2016’s Ghostbusters) going around…

LIL GRIPES DASH

“Progress is happening, but people focus on the negative rather than all the good.”

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Let’s roll the reel, shall we?

15 Recent High-Profile Examples:

1. The Ancient One (portrayed by Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, 2016)

CHANGE: Asian Male White Female

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Yes, let’s start here. Everyone complains about white male hegemony (a.k.a. “The Man”) but the fact that they cast Tilda Swinton, an actress acclaimed for her daringly androgynous roles, as a powerful male sorcerer is actually quite forward-thinking. Tilda may be “white,” but the Ancient One is one of the most powerful entities in Marvel comics. He is a teacher to many fellow superheroes and without him, Stephen Strange would not have become the Sorcerer Supreme. They chose to endow his skill set and title upon a female. Funny how this is never brought up amidst the controversial cloud that looms over this casting choice, but that is incredibly socially inclusive and progressive.

2. Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot (portrayed by Will Smith in Suicide Squad, 2016)

CHANGE: White MaleBlack Male

3. Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake (portrayed by Chloe Bennet on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 2013-present)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒  Asian Female

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This is not a colorblind case of a minority actress being repackaged as an all-white character. Actress Chloe Bennet is half-Chinese and half-Caucasian in real life, but Daisy Johnson is 100% white in the comics. They rewrote her character for the TV adaptation so that the actress’ Chinese lineage played a major factor in Daisy’s own identity. As the earthshaking superhero, her powers apparently originate from her Inhuman Chinese mother, who was a major villain in the second half of season 3.

4. Elektra Natchios (portrayed by Élodie Yung and Lily Chee in Daredevil, 2016)

CHANGE: White Female  Asian Female

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Young Elektra (Lily Chee) on the show:

One of the most iconic female anti-heroes in Marvel Comics history, Elektra Natchios, the main love interest of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, has always been closely affiliated with her Greek lineage. Well, in the Netflix adaptation of Daredevil, they finally switched her character’s heritage up. This time, she’s a woman of indeterminate Asiatic descent who was adopted by a Greek diplomat at a young age. One can’t help but think this change was to accommodate the actress’ actual half-Cambodian ethnic makeup.

5. Iris and Joe West (portrayed by Candice Patton and Jesse L. Martin respectively on The Flash, 2014-present)

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

Comics ‘ Iris West v The CW’s Iris West

Comics’ Joe West v The CW’s Joe West

Many were initially shocked at the momentous casting of Barry Allen/The Flash’s love interest and her father/his foster father as African-Americans. While race had little-to-no impact on their characters’ context, this was major cause for celebration of racial inclusion because of Iris’ major role in Barry’s life. She is his Lois Lane and she has never been depicted or portrayed as anything but Caucasian before this version. Even the most cynical of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) should be loudly applauding this moment in pop culture history.

6. Iris West (portrayed by Kiersey Clemons in Justice League [2017] and The Flash [2018])

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Black Female

So nice they did it twice! While Warner Bros. turned their back on Grant Gustin from the CW’s The Flash for the titular speedster big-screen role, they adopted the TV adaptation’s idea of casting Iris West as a young black woman.

The CW’s Iris West and the DCEU’s Iris West:

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7. Perry White (portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in Man of Steel [2013] and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice [2016])

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

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Perry White through the years, from inception to present

8. Johnny Storm a.k.a. The Human Torch (portrayed by Michael B. Jordan in FANT4STIC, 2015)

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

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Michael B. Jordan cast as the classically blonde superhero
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Chris Evans as Johnny in 2004 v Michael B. Jordan in 2015

9. Nick Fury (portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in Iron Man [2008], Iron Man 2 [2010], Captain America: The First Avenger [2011], The Avengers [2012], Captain America: Winter Soldier [2014], Avengers: Age of Ultron [2015],  and on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [2013-present])

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

People forget this part of David Hasseloff’s career but he played Nick Fury in 1998’s Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

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As the mean-mugging, no-bullshit director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and creator of the Avengers Initiative, Nick has been quite the prolific glorified superhero babysitter ;-P

10. Jimmy Olsen (portrayed by Mechad Brooks on Supergirl, 2015-present)

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

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Jimmy Olsen in live-action chronological order, past-present

Not only is this the first non-white Jimmy Olsen, it’s also the first time we’ve seen Superman’s photographer BFF look like a buff leading man instead of a scrawny, goofy sidekick.

Again, SJWs, not only did they change an iconic protagonist from white to black, they made him pinup-worthy… and Supergirl’s love interest. In fact, the actor’s second-billed on IMDB as the leading man to Melissa Benoist’s Kara Zor-El.

11. Dr. John (now Joan) Watson (portrayed by Lucy Liu on Elementary, 2012-present)

CHANGE: White Male ⇒ Asian Female

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Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson on Elementary and Jude Law/Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson

The classic “Elementary, My dear Watson” line now refers to an Asian-American female instead of a British male war veteran. The fact that the show has been a continued hit for CBS for four years now and little raucous has been raised over this double-identity swap suggests the public is readier than most think for gender and race-bending entertainment.

12. Nikita (portrayed by Maggie Q on Nikita, 2010-2013)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female

Maggie Q as Nikita, the first Asian lead ever on a broadcast drama series:

Three previous incarnations of Nikita before the CW series:

La Femme Nikita has been a story told many times and many ways with many different starlets. The CW took a big-but-calculated risk casting this screen icon as anything other than Caucasian for the first time. Despite a decidedly shitty timeslot (Fridays at primetime), it amassed a huge cult following and excellent critical raves for its four seasons. Moreover, it made Maggie Q, previously known for being a model-turned-action star in Asia, an easily recognizable name and face in the American conscious.

13. Mercedes Graves (portrayed by Tao Okamoto in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female

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Various animated and live-action versions of Mercedes Graves

This change may feel merely ornamental at first blush. However, Mercedes (“Mercy” as Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor fondly called her) is canonically not just a cog in Luthor’s evil entourage, but his most trusted advisor and personal assistant (and sometimes bodyguard/chauffeur). Mercy has caused Superman and Lois Lane a lot of grief due to her unwavering loyalty to Lex. The appearance of Mercedes in the film was a delightful Easter Egg find for comics fans and having her look Asian is majorly indicative of mass media’s increasing acceptance of all.

14. Valkyrie (portrayed by Tessa Thompson in Thor: Raganorak, 2017)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Black Female

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An iconic superheroine based in Norse mythology is being played by an African-American actress? Her character also will be playing Thor’s new love interest (He’s ditched little Ms. Natalie Portman apparently). What a great time to be alive! Run the streets streaking in pure ecstasy!

15. Mary Jane Watson (portrayed by Zendaya Coleman in Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2017)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Black Female

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This is, perhaps, the biggest race swap in geek film and TV history. Spider-Man is Marvel Comics’ most popular superhero by far and Mary Jane one of its most endearing love interests. Mary Jane’s race is not integral at all to her character, but devoted fans may take umbrage with the discrepancy between the image of her in their minds and their beloved comics and the one on the big screen.

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They’ll go along for the ride, though, and accept the change that has come… Because change has come. Significant progress has been made in diversity in La La Land and it would be foolish to complain about a few perceived slights and not proudly laud the bold steps Hollywood has taken forward. It’s a brave new world, folks. Accept it. Love it…

CELEBRATE PROGRESS WHEN IT HAPPENS.

LIL GRIPES DASH

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FILM: SUICIDE SQUAD REVIEWS…Will This Affect the “Justice League”?

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So in the latest DCEU news, Suicide Squad aint doing so hot with the critics. And that’s an understatement:

“[A] dank sewer of messy actions beats and misplaced machismo.” IndieWire

“Bad. Not fun bad. Not redeemable bad. Not the kind of bad that is the unfortunate result of artists honorably striving for something ambitious and falling short. Suicide Squad is just bad. It’s ugly and boring, a toxic combination.” Vanity Fair

“Enchantress is, let’s face it, the lamest DC villain since Sharon Stone stalked Catwoman.” – Variety

“There’s no big, meaty, iconic Joker scene for us to marvel at. [Jared Leto’s] occasional appearances detract from the smaller characters the movie is actually about, to the point you almost wish he wasn’t in the movie at all.” Gizmondo

“A sports dream team whose combined efforts don’t nearly measure up to the talents of its individual players.” The Hollywood Reporter

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One bit of good news: This movie, if all else sucks, seems to have Deadshot and Harley Quinn nailed down:

“[Deadshot]’s underplaying is a relief. In this headache of a movie, he provides the aspirin.” – Chicago Tribune
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[Quinn] is “radioactively watchable, swinging her baseball bat this way and that, selling this skeezy male-fantasy nut-job with wide-eyed enthusiasm.” – Chicago Tribune

1. DC needs Suicide Squad to do well.

At least at the box office. Marvel Studios/Disney has dominated the big screen for the past few years with multiple blockbusters a year, big profits and a consistently highly positive critical consensus. All the recent live-action DCEU films (Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have been the only two for the last three years) have been critical flops, while the MCU kept upping its standard with each new release.

With the upcoming Justice League franchise and solo spin-offs, the DCEU could use a huge shot of adrenaline via Suicide Squad. It seemed like the perfect film to deliver the masses such a drug. Colorful, quirky characters who are also complete lethal sociopaths. Bad guys banded together to fight even badder guys. The perfect summer ensemble blockbuster. Well, until the reviews poured in, anyways.

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Colorful, quirky characters who are also complete lethal sociopaths.

2. Bad reviews don’t mean low box office.

The reviews may not actually affect the numbers, with its trailers pushing the charms of stars Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn HARD. Jared Leto as the Joker also feels like a must-see if only to gauge whether he’s a worthy successor to Heath Ledger’s legendary take on the iconic villain.

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Jared Leto’s Joker was shoehorned into Suicide Squad, but that doesn’t mean he won’t live up to Heath Ledger’s and Jack Nicholson’s portrayals  in future Justice League movies.

 3. Justice League is too tonally different from Suicide Squad for audiences to connect the two.

Also, regardless of box office performance, the Suicide Squad franchise is tonally opposite from the Justice League films. These are a group of villains killing other villains, whereas every member of the Justice League is a Boy or Girl Scout when it comes to morals and ethics. If there is negative residue from Suicide Squad, it won’t drip onto the Justice League.

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These are a group of villains killing other villains.

4. The trailers for Justice League and Wonder Woman looked cohesive and substantive. The ones for Suicide Squad did not.

Just last week, I was telling a friend how I feared that Suicide Squad‘s trailer was so flashy that it seemed like the movie itself might lack all actual substance. And here we are.

Whereas Wonder Woman and Justice League trailers allowed glimpses into stories of self-discovery, organic formation of friendships and bonds of love (in addition to the occasional Flash whooshing into a room and Wonder Woman waving that Lasso of Truth around), Suicide Squad promos seemed to be all about zingers and highlighting myriad ways their main characters do what they do best–killing people with the utmost pizzazz.

Clear indications that a trailer for a movie is probably better than the movie itself is when it’s 100% action-packed CGI set pieces mixed in with “witty” one-liners. Throw in an exceedingly hip soundtrack and it’s hard to imagine that the editors aren’t overcompensating for a product much lesser than the sum of its promotional efforts.

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5. Batfleck might be the best thing to happen to the DCEU in a while.

Although the theatrical version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (hey, could we get a longer title, please?) was generally trashed, Ben Affleck seemed to receive universal praise for portraying a better Bruce Wayne than perhaps even Christian Bale or Michael Keaton.

As a matter of fact, critics lauded Ben Affleck’s cameo in Suicide Squad, singling him out as a much-welcome “treat” who brings a few surprises with him into the film.

Hey, maybe Batfleck may not be the Batman we deserve but he is the one we need…to save the DCEU, after all.

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Hmm… Why is Batman carrying Harley into the Batmobile?

P.S. We are BONKERS over Margot Robbie/Harley Quinn’s hair, wardrobe and makeup. Spot-on for the character yet very 2016. Expect to see lots of this in cosplay come October 31

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FILM: Wonder Woman ~ Her Story in GIFs

I DON’T CARE FOR FEMINISM. I’m an egalitarian and thank God, the first live-action cinematic Wonder Woman/Diana Prince has embodied egalitarianism proudly and wholly thus far. The Diana we’ve seen so far and will continue to see in Justice League spin-offs (including 2017’s Wonder Woman) fights for justice wherever it is lacked. Her goals aren’t prioritized based on gender or any other creed. She loves men and many aspects of being feminine. FACT CHECK: She also doesn’t just fight for women’s rights; she fights for all’s rights. She is not sexless nor emotionless. We watched her flirt with Ben Affleck’s Batman as if he were a little boy (She is almost 5,000 years older than him, to be fair), using the power of her physical beauty and internal steeliness in equal measure.

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Courtesy of 123wtf.com

As the actress who portrays her, real-life Israeli wonder Gal Gadot, says, “[Wonder Woman] has many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day she’s a woman with a lot of emotional intelligence. She’s loving… It’s a mistake when women cover their emotions to look tough. I say let’s own who we are and use it as a strength.” It is silly to think being sexual or nurturing is somehow a depiction of weakness. You can have your seat at the big boy’s table while being gentle and vulnerable in addition to traditionally good-looking.

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FACT CHECK:

Wonder Woman doesn’t fight for women’s rights. She fights for all’s rights.

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With that, and the new full-length trailer for Wonder Woman released at San Diego Comic Con 2016, let’s GIF Wonder Woman’s journey in order of real-life chronology:

Note: Diana was molded out of clay and given life by the Greek god, Zeus, rendering her immortal.

Early 1900s (Wonder Woman):

Princess Diana meets the first man she’s ever seen in her 4,000 years of life–crashed pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine)–on the shores of her secluded home, Themyscira:

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Wonder Woman loves men and many aspects of being feminine.

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 After meeting Trevor, Diana realizes the world is in peril and needs her specific skill set, hence her donning various early-20th century Western disguises:

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Talk about well-accessorized. Diana knows exactly what to wear to a cocktail party. Damn, we want that dress! Will take the sword, too, please.

And then fights baddies in her true colors:

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That moment when Wonder Woman breaks a board with her friggin’ hips:

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Part 1: LASSO…

Lasso badass

Part 2: SLICE!

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Oh yeah,  I fight old-school. F*** your bullets! (NOT an anti-gun stand. Yay, 2nd Amendment!):

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2016 (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice):

An antiques dealer now in the 21st century, Diana Prince is seen mostly in fancy civilian garb for much of this movie:

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She suits up with heavy metal again in the film’s third act, when she flies in to save Batman from obliteration and joins forces with the Bat and Superman to fight Doomsday:

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This face she makes. “Bad boy, Doomsday! Bad boy…I’m gonna cut off your arm now.”

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She lassoes Doomsday so Batman and Superman can take their respective swings at him. Girl can work on a team!

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Diana takes her licks in battle in stride. When she smiles at Doomsday for knocking her down… SO HOT:

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Wonder Woman will return in 2017 in June for her solo film and again in November in Justice League:

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The first official cast photo for Justice League (2017)

And we will return with a Marvel post ha-ha. Maybe something…Strange ;)

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THE FLASH: Ezra Miller over Grant Gustin. WHY?

Ezra Miller (below left) is The Flash in DC Comics’ cinematic universe. Grant Gustin (right) is not.

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Gripers (like me) gonna gripe, but grief is a process and it is time to move past the stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression into one of Acceptance of this tragically appalling news. After all, Miller is already neck-deep into filming 2017’s Justice League with Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman as forensic scientist Barry Allen-turned-fastest man alive, The Flash. He is also confirmed for 2018’s solo venture, The Flash.

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Official concept art for Justice League: Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Ezra Miller as The Flash

We’ve all heard Zack Snyder, who directed Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will be helming Justice League, give his decidedly canned excuse for why the insanely popular and critically acclaimed Grant Gustin wasn’t a “good fit” for The Flash of the cinematic universe he created. Basically, Gustin and his CW series about the speedster superhero were deemed too tonally light for Snyder’s depressing and ever-moody features.

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Sorry, Grant, you’re too happy to be The Flash apparently.

The Bargaining Us would have retorted, “Have you seen Grant Gustin do dark on his show? When he cries, WE ALL CRY.” The Zen and Accepting Us spots THREE POSSIBLE- AND REASONABLE- ULTERIOR MOTIVES for why the DC and Warner Bros team made such a bizarre snub:

1. They wanted to cast a female Asian Flash without casting a female Asian Flash.

There has been a lot of retconning in both DC and Marvel comics lately to make characters non-white or a different gender or sexual orientation, with the most recent example being a black and female Iron Man:

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15 year-old RiRi Williams is inheriting Tony Stark’s mantle as Iron Man (Iron Girl? Iron Woman? Iron Badass B?)

Here’s my official stance: If your core demo wants to see a character take on a different cultural, racial or sexual identity, do it! Comics’ business model, perhaps more than any other’s, has a direct line from Consumer to Business. That relationship between comics and reader is highly personal. For that same reason, however, it is unwise to go around retooling, willy-nilly, these hyper-iconic figures just to please a small-but-vocal group of SJWs who barely read the comics. Forced progress is never any progress at all.

… Which brings us to: DC seems to have gone for a sound middle ground with the selection of Miller for the role of Barry Allen, who has always been buff, blonde, and manly in the comics.

This hilariously off-color meme sums up not just the evolution of The Flash but the overall state of comics and comics-based movies and TV shows over the past two decades:

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Miller is effeminate without being female and Asiatic without being Asian (The actor’s lineage is 100% Caucasian).

DC can avoid a potentially franchise-killing controversy for casting a non-white Flash while appeasing those who have been incessantly demanding non-Caucasian males on the small and big screens. The preternaturally boyish Grant Gustin isn’t the traditional Barry Allen in terms of looks, either, but his chameleon-like acting chops won the most purist of comics fans over the moment his pilot aired.

Plus, The Flash is not He-Man; a super-fast guy should look lithe and limber, not bulky and stout.

2. DC wants indie credibility. 

DC is losing big-screen dominance to Marvel Studios/Disney and part of the reason is that MARVEL KNOWS HOW TO CAST. Their secret formula? Taking actors formerly famous for only being critics’ darlings and plopping them in the middle of these epic set pieces and storylines. Miller is the perfect get if this is DC’s newfound endgame. He’s exclusively known for small, non-studio films for which he’s received mucho critical clout inhabiting these quirky, prodigiously insightful characters. Gustin has no such reputation. Before The CW’s The Flash, he was only known for being a too-cool-for-school prepster on FOX’s millennial-centric musical Glee.

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Ezra Miller (far right) with Emma Watson and Logan Lerman in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

3. DC is unwilling to keep track of continuity.

Marvel Studios’ motto is “It’s All Connected,” meaning that all current Marvel Studios TV, Netflix, and cinematic properties are running simultaneous storylines in the same universe (officially known as the MCU). At the same time that Loki was plowing through midtown Manhattan with an alien army in The Avengers, Matthew Murdock from Netflix’s Daredevil was already practicing his nighttime vigilantism in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC with just a bandana covering his face. The Netflix series had yet to even be developed when The Avengers was released but “The Battle of New York” is now constantly referenced as having impacted the events of Daredevil. These are just two examples. Off the top of my head, Marvel Studios has had to maintain continuity throughout all of the following shows and feature films so far:

In no particular order:

  • The Avengers
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Iron Man 3
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Agent Carter (recently cancelled)
  • Daredevil
  • Jessica Jones
  • Ant-Man
  • Deadpool
  • Upcoming Netflix shows: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher
  • Upcoming MCU films: Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, etc.

DAMN.

Marvel is already visibly struggling to keep all these stories synced chronologically and contextually. Casting Gustin as The Flash in the cinematic DC-verse would mean entangling every last piece of canon previously established on his show with those in past movies like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the upcoming Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Wonder Woman.

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Courtesy of Mic.com

DC don’t want none of that action. Sorry, Grant. They’re just too lazy? Who knows?

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Forget Sad Keanu Reeves. Say hi to Sad Grant.

 

DISCLAIMER: Ezra Miller is a fine young actor.  My beef isn’t that I think he’ll underperform…It’s that it was entirely unnecessary to recast the Flash when Grant Gustin’s performance has been one of the most sensational and popular in recent superhero movie/show history. You are fixing what isn’t broken and taking a risk on a new unknown variable versus hedging your bets on the likability of a familiar face.

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I Started Vlogging… And It All Went to S***

I HAD HOPED the first entry back from our summer hiatus would begin on a more positive note, but I can’t keep contained any longer the maelstrom of insecurities, self-hatred, and the general detriment to my mental health that I’ve been experiencing since attempting a YouTube career.

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Yay I’m back! Sorry for the gripe-y tone of this post.

 What happened?

I pride myself on being an above-average writer and I will hold that conviction dearly ’til the day I die. As Lil Gripes™ flourished in theme and followership, I began hearing encouragement from trusted friends and associates that I should begin a vlog extension to the brand. So I did, as the previously blogged-about stream-of-consciousness freakout detailed).

YouTube, as with blogging, is 100% marketplace distinction. What the hell do I have to offer that others don’t already? I am the girl who loooooves fashion, beauty and art as much as I love crude humor and sci-fi/fantasy/superhero films and TV shows. I bookmark WhoWhatWear.com as well as ComicBook.com.

My inaugural video should combine all of those things, I figured. I wore a floral Marc by Marc Jacobs bikini top along with a pair of high-waisted leather Topshop shorts as I enthused about my expectations for the then-upcoming blockbuster, “Captain America: Civil War.” It was all done with a wink, nod, and mischievous smile.

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Not so surprisingly in hindsight, I couldn’t please them all.

There were many who watched and supported me and GOD, do I appreciate every single one of you (seriously, big smooches xx), but the whiners are always the most audible for some unholy reason. Many took to my comments section, my blog and my Twitter to complain repeatedly about how the sex appeal was too subtle, as if that was the entire point of my channel.

Just for argument’s sake, I’ll explain the point: Me + bikini was my idea of including me and all other women in on the joke that, in order to reach a male audience, you have to appease their appetite for sexuality. NO SHAME… On either side! Men are visual creatures and that’s totally fine. Women can embrace and empower themselves through their sexuality and that’s totally fine.

Le Sigh–I guess satire is world-famous for soaring over some’s heads.

When people are screaming in your face, WTF? I came to see this girl in her bikini and not babble on about superheroes [despite that being the clearly stated M.O. of my channel]” and your videos are better on mute,” you pause for a sobering self-evaluation of your vlogging capabilities. It’s funny how criticism has a way of registering way deeper than compliments do. I had prepared myself for the inevitable scrutiny projecting yourself out into the Youtube-sphere will bring but I lost more than just my confidence… Two full-time corporate gigs perfectly suited to my skill set sought me out because of my blog and I’m 99% sure they both cut me loose during the last stages of vetting due to my vlog.

I lost a step or two after that setback. I hadn’t been actively seeking any fulltime 9-to-5 jobs so it was like this great beam of hope shined on me without me even reaching for it and then it got snuffed out right between my fingers because of my stupid little channel.

On top of all the negative vibes flowing my way the past few months, it just so happens that summer is a notoriously huge lull in the superhero show/movie calendar and the well had seemingly dried of topics on that front.

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Now, as I’ve cathartically purged this through my keyboard with my dog mid-snooze on my lap, I’ve realized it’s not all over. I can come back from this:

  1. Summer is still Superhero Season. Tis the season for those passionate about it comme moi to weigh in on the casting news pouring in. Marvel’s Doctor Strange just confirmed Mads Mikkelsen‘s much-anticipated villainous role, Arrow on the CW cast two exciting new supporting characters and DC’s Justice League movies have been continuously adding interesting faces to its payroll. More on these in subsequent posts…
  2. I’m a friggin’ amazing writer. I have defined myself by the title of “writer” since I was a wee tween listening to both Britney Spears and Jim Morrison religiously.
  3. Rejection always makes me push harder. I don’t know the precise fate of my YouTube channel, but the more people tell me I can’t, the harder I always push back, like it just became my sole mission in life to prove them wrong.
  4. I will prove them wrong.

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LIL ‘TUBE: 2 Weeks Into YouTube and I’m Freaking Out!

“WHY AM I DOING THIS?”

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…is the predominant thought running off-and-on through my head the past two weeks since I’ve posted my inaugural video on https://lilgripes.com/video/

~

YOU SEE, I never had aspirations for myself or Li’l Gripes to be the next PewDiePie or Jenna Marbles. Making it on YouTube, given the mounds of talent (and clutter) amongst which one can easily get lost, seems as much of a pipe dream as making it in Hollywood. At multiple friends’ and associates’ suggestions, however, my initial reservations about making my brand vulnerable to the indiscriminate scrutiny of a platform like YouTube mutated from “never gonna happen” to… “screw it, let’s give it the ol’ college try!” Li’l Gripes prides itself on its devotion to both geek culture and the power of aesthetics… It is difficult to make the case that it should not have a visual streaming component, as well.

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WHY YOUTUBE IS HARD

So here we are, 1.1K-and-some-change views later, and YouTube has been… stressful… hella stressful.

There is a good reason why only a select few percolate to the top of the class on the ‘Tube. The recipe for YouTube success is a complicated, layered mixture of hard work, talent and luck…Just as it is in La La Land. That hard work entails a lot (like, buttloads of “a lot”) of time spent on writing, storyboarding, and editing your material outside of the time you simply spend shooting. Every channel attracts its viewers for unique reasons but one common denominator in retaining audiences is the craftsmanship behind each video. Originality and creativity can’t be faked or copied but it also requires dogged devotion and dedication for anyone to use natural-born talents to create cohesive storytelling in a single YouTube. I.e. that translates into hours of preparation (and perspiration insert sweat emoji) and post-production for minutes of finished footage.

“Making it on YouTube seems as much of a pipe dream as making it in Hollywood.”

MOMENTS OF DOUBT AND PANIC

Welp, this is all to say nothing of the internal struggles I’ve had over the past few weeks about the content I choose to release. Turning a camera lens on oneself and having the confidence-slash-hubris (is there a difference, really?) to post it with the expectation of an audience is… bold on anyone’s part.

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In a way, one would have to be narcissistic and/or egomaniacal to have his or her own YouTube channel. Who am I to demand someone else’s time and attention span in such a way? What do I have to offer? How far do I have to go to make it worth everyone’s while? -WHY DOES MY HEAD HURT- Ain’t I a disappointment enough to my parents as it is? Ok, relaaaax… Wait, should I be twerking? Why am I not twerking in a bikini? Wouldn’t that only be fair? I’M HUNGRY AND I NEED INTERNS!!!

…On the plus side, I learned I do have a great/maniacal smile:

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If you enjoy Lil and/or LilGripes.com, please subscribe and give us some calming encouragement! Our episodes will be more and more tightly edited as we continue doing what we do best: bringing sexy geekiness to your phone/tablet/computer screen.

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Lil Joins the Shorthaired Heroine Hall of Fame!… and Site News

LI’L GRIPES IS ALWAYS GROWING..

And with that, we have assembled an updated (as of April 10, 2016) analytics presentation of our website for all viewing interests: Li’l Gripes by the numbers!

Not bad for a brand that blossomed from a bored Millennial’s casual hobby of writing

Now, onto equally, if not more, important things, LET’S TALK HAIR! Lil herself recently joined a special breed of heroines from comic books- the shorthaired:

With your Wonder Woman‘s and Supergirl‘s, one of the phrases associated with the most popular heroines in comic books isn’t “cropped hair.” Yet, there is a surprising number who do rock it. Five recent examples as portrayed on live-action television or in film are as follows, in no particular order:

1. STORM, X-MEN

Halle Berry (Left) and Alexandra Shipp (Right) as Storm

Also known by her birth name, Ororo Munroe, Storm is the famously mohawked flying member of the X-Men who can control the weather. Portrayed by Halle Berry in 20th Century Fox’s live-action X-Men films (and her younger self in X-Men: Apocalypse by newcomer Alexandra Shipp), Storm is consistently a fan-favorite and the first prominent black female character in either DC or Marvel comics.

2. MAGGIE GREENE, THE WALKING DEAD

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As a farm-raised, zombie apocalypse-hardened fighter, Maggie (played by Lauren Cohan on TV) has always sported her hair at various lengths of barely-there. In the comics, she has always worn a pixie cut and on the adapted AMC series, she recently cut it from a bob to such. Her character’s defense for the snip was to not have anything distract her from the big battle coming.

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Lauren Cohan after and before Maggie’s onscreen haircut

 

3. DAISY JOHNSON, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet on TV)’s look was directly modeled after that of Angelina Jolie’s character in the film Hackers. This is befitting her live-action interpretation, which paints her a Computer Science genius. Her superheroine name is Quake, on account of her ability to generate powerful waves of vibrations that produce effects resembling those of earthquakes.

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Daisy has her own FUNKO POP! action figure!

 

4. BLACK WIDOW, THE AVENGERS

The most prominent female Avenger, along with the long-locked Scarlet Witch, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson in film) famously has a pragmatic chop that allows her to execute her signature acrobatically butt-kicking moves without worrying about wispy strays. While not superpowered like most of her compadres in the Avengers, her lethality comes from a lifetime of training (she was raised from childhood to be an assassin) and an extraordinary set of hand-to-hand combat skills.

5. AEON FLUX, AEON FLUX

Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron in film) wins the award for the most stylish bob this side of the dystopic future. With choppy layers as fierce and as edgy as her warrior tactics, Aeon, a character borne out of a MTV animated series, translated into a graphic novel and video game, and then adapted into a live-action film, fully embodies the radical superheroine aesthetic.

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