This past weekend I had the pleasure of being a panelist for The Geek Initiative on their “The Big Two On The Big Screen: Do DC and MARVEL Do Enough?” panel.
While Marvel has James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Sam “The Falcon” Wilson and now King T’challa aka Black Panther, it appears they beat DC hands down with um… people of color.
But everyone forgets that DC was kicking major ass on the TV screen with The Flash, Arrow, and now Supergirl. To me, their representation better suits people of color because of the characters in these shows — mostly Joe West, followed behind by John Diggle.
The most important message we’ve seen come from a superhero work in the last 20 years has to be from The Flash. Here, we have this little white boy who is basically orphaned, losing his mother to murder and his father to prison. He is then moved into the home of this single, black father, who not only raises him as one of his own, but also molds Barry Allen to be a successful, well-rounded, healthy, happy adult-turned-hero. That’s Joe’s doing.
I’m sure Barry’s bio parents would have done a fine job, but the fact remains Joe raised Barry to be the man he is, which is why I lament over the season finale ever so much, as I fear it may undo this amazing father/son relationship.
Usually, we see this trope in reverse, and I will forever love this show for delivering this message, and giving us Joe West: one of the best TV dads EVER.
Then we have Diggle, who Oliver Queen (Arrow) often refers to as his brother — not his best friend (which is awesome), which we see on Marvel with Sam and Rhodey, but his brother; his family. And let’s not forget John’s credentials: a decorated ex-military-turned-hero vigilante fighting by The Arrow’s side.
At any rate, this amazing message — in addition to the shows’ extreme popularity over the last couple of years — is a HUGE reason why DC should crossover their film-verse with their TV-verse. The groundwork laid on these shows over the course of seasons would have a poor translation on film, and may not even be cast with people of color.
The fact of the matter is, they’re already established, and beloved by millions of people who would happily spend their money to see them on the big screen next to Batman and Superman.
Arrow‘s Stephen Amell had this to say:
“I feel like they made a decision to keep things separate, and whether that’s a decision that’ll last forever remains to be seen. It all depends on the success of a bunch of films. Until a film is released, it’s a theoretical film, right? It’s always going to be an ever-changing landscape.”
If DC is truly going to catch up to Marvel (and boy do they have miles to go), then utilizing their TV properties with Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, etc. at the helm would be essential.
Jill Robi is the author of Fangirl and The Good Soldier, and the creator of Fangirl, Whedon World, and The Living Richonne. To learn more, visit HouseOfFangirl.com.