So earlier this week I was introduced, via the Cinema Snob to a character named Darna.
Here’s thing about her. She’s not a Wonder Woman ripoff. In fact, she’s been running strong in the Philippines for like over half a century. (1950 to be exact.) She has more in common with Shazam than anyone. And honestly… Outside of her rather silly looking costume (Which the perv in me doesn’t mind), she seems like an actual decent character. Unfortunately, I can’t find a single translated comic of hers.
And this got me thinking about superheroes in other countries. I’m a white mostly cis Western male who’s live most of his life in English speaking countries. And most of my exposure to heroes from other counties have been exposures to characters created by OTHER white cis English speaking Western males. And almost always, you only know that they’re from another country because their costume has some motifs of their country on it… And it comes across as less genuine and more pandering to me. I think about Sunfire with his rising sun motif on his costume.
Granted he looks less ridiculous NOW, but I bring him up because I remember in the 90s when they tried to give him a new costume and it looked like a samurai. It just seemed odd to me whenever a foreign hero would pop up, they were either always wearing some costume that screamed “FLAG!” to me or they spoke in some horrible stereotypical accent. Or both! Looking at a ton of the classic X-Men here, sadly. (Though these days, it’s REALLY gotten a lot better.)
I used to consider myself a decent comic book historian. But over the last several years, I can’t really do that anymore, because my exposure to the world of comics is pretty homogeneous. I’m really getting curious about superheroes that are CREATED by people in those countries and not just a white English speaking dude. I mean, take a Japanese superhero. When they should up in the Avengers or the Justice League… Shouldn’t they look more like Ultraman, Devilman or a Sailor Scout and less like say, Katana?
Look at Darna again. If you saw her and had to figure out what country she originated from, I would NOT have thought the Philippines. I honestly would have thought, with her helmet and costume, late Golden Age American, similar to the Phantom Lady.
Taking Cybersix here. I would have assumed Late 90s European, especially when you look at the every unique B&W style the comic series has.
Nope, early 90s from Argentina.
What about Gunturgen here? I would have assumed late 90s/early 00s, North American.
I was right about the date, but the location is Indonesia.
I guess what I’m trying to get at here, because I’m pretty sure I’m not getting it into proper words… I feel like an ignorant honky, like I should have been more aware of all these creations and the creators behind them. For all my pride I had in being well versed in comic book history, I’m VERY lacking in the subject when it comes to the entire world. And I’m looking forward to discovering more about them.
But don’t get me wrong though. I still love me some Captain Britain. :)