black cartoon character

Black Cartoon Characters On Television

I’ve been seeing the posts regarding black cartoon characters on television. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t see Lt. Commander Claudia Grant of the Robotech Macross Saga.

It was the very first time that I saw a black cartoon character on tv that wasn’t just a token. She was fleshed out and intelligent. Claudia was third in command of a spaceship and was grace under pressure personified. And…

She had a man! I was too young to appreciate this at the time. Claudia could have been stripped of her sexuality like a lot of shows do to black female characters but the Japanese creators saw differently. Lt. Commander Grant was engaged to Commander Roy Fokker, ace pilot and leader of the Skull Squadron that helps defend Earth from alien invaders. Claudia could have been a black woman who “don’t need no man” but one of the best and shocking scenes of the entire story is when Roy pulls her into bed for some hanky-panky. It’s implied yet you CLEARLY know what’s about to happen. 

Claudia and Roy were also the first and only interracial pairing I’ve seen in animation and keep in mind that this was in 1985. If I remember correctly there was some pressure to omit their relationship when the Robotech series was adapted for American audiences. Again, I’m wondering how Japan could get it so right while America could get it so wrong. 

I always fear I’m not living right
So I feel guilty when I go to church
The pastor tells me I’ve been saved, I’m fine
Then please explain to me why my chest still hurts

- Human by Jon Bellion

Things that always bother me in fiction

No one ever seems to consider the logistics of certain changes in how people’s bodies would respond to certain changes that should really be addressed.

For example, certain characters tend to have something permanently grafted to their bodies or certain anatomical features are removed in favor of allowing a monstrous character to be able to burst of their clothes and have nothing show.

But these leads to all sorts of problems, So Baron Zemo, who had his mask permanently grafted to his face and, in some versions such as Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest heroes it seems like his entire outfit is grafted to him. So how does he eat?

And follow up question, how does he produce waste if it is the versions with the fullbody version?

I bring this up because I’m watching The Batman (Okay cartoon series, mostly fun action show, does not have as much villain pathos as B:TAS but does alright when it does it.) And there’s this character, Black Mask, a crime boss, big organizer. My experience with him in the Batman Arkham games is that the mask is exactly what it says on the tin, a mask he puts on and off, seeming to only be there as a sort of mark of authority or fear tactic, we see Roman Sionis without the mask plenty.

But in The Batman the mask may not be permanently grafted, but it’s so well on there no one seems to be able to take it off except for him who probably knows the secret to it.

Black Mask has been in jail. He wasn’t just allowed to sit and starve. And it seems as though he’s never taken off the mask, so how on earth are they feeding him?

I don’t have specific examples I can think of for characters who have now lost the ability to dispense with waste matter due to transformation or sudden onset of grafted body parts, but it’s gotta be something people think about, right? I mean it’s sort of why I go out of my way to avoid it, because it just doesn’t make sense and I gotta think of characters as living breathing people that gotta get along in the world that eat, sleep, love, and poop like everyone else regardless of whether they’re good or bad.

I mean, does anyone else think about this and how messed up it is?

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Yesterday my brother and I had a very long Twitter exchange where we mentioned just a few of our favorite black cartoon characters because growing up these characters were us. Because no mater what people will try and tell you representation maters.