White supremacists wage war on Marvel over 'Thor'

OPINION - Be mad that another comic book is being made into a movie, not mad at a studio for casting actors outside the mold to play the roles...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

The ridiculousness of a Midwestern-based hate group boycotting the upcoming film adaptation of Marvel Comics’ Thor can only be properly dissected by showing that very hate group how insane and insensitive they sound.

First a black president, now this!

Ever since it was announced in April that the Norse god, Heimdall, would be played by British actor Idris Elba, fans and comic book aficionados, alike, have been in a tizzy, and rightfully, so. Heimdall can’t be black.

Click here to view a Grio slideshow of classic black comic book heroes

Think about the last black person you saw don a Nordic, Viking helmet. Is there anything heroic about Flavor Flav? I didn’t think so.

Next black guys are going to want to be hockey players or comptrollers. While I’d never side with a white supremacist group, The Council of Conservative Citizens’ boycott of the movie has a point.

In a statement on their website they denounced the upcoming Thor picture and it’s lead saying, “It’s not enough that Marvel attack conservative values, now mythological Gods must be re-invented with black skin.”

While I don’t know anything about their values and I’m willing to acknowledge the immense anger they must operate with daily playing white supremacist second fiddle to the KKK, they’re right. And it’s not racism, its just facts.

Batman. White.

Superman. White.

Aquaman. Do I even have to say it?

Spider-Man. White. Don’t let that Donald Glover for Spider-Man movement fool you, Peter Parker is as white as the driven snow.

Speaking of snow. C’mon. Black people and cold weather? Really? Thor is the all-powerful god capable of untold feats of strength and withstanding extreme heat or cold. Chris Bosh couldn’t even stand Toronto and I’m supposed to believe this guy is really of Norseman?

Why couldn’t he just play one of the black superheroes? You know the ones that kind of play the background and have black somewhere in their name so you know, “oh yeah, he’s the black guy.”

I’m sure a Black Panther or Static Shock movie might appeal to the Tyler Perry crowd, it’s not our fault all the really cool characters just so happen to be white.

Besides, we’ve seen this ‘make a classic white character a black character’ thing fail before. Anybody remember Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps playing The Honeymooners? What about the black version of Death At A Funeral? Both of those were forgettable. Next you’re going to want Fred and Wilma Flintstone to be played by black actors.

Here’s where The Council of Conservative Citizens lost me. “It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves. An upcoming movie, based on the comic book Thor, will give the Aesir an insulting multicultural makeover. One of the Gods will be played by hip-hop DJ Elba.”
In fairness, white people reinvent themselves with black people all the time. I mean, that’s just a fact. Have you been to a rap concert in the last decade? It’s more Manhattan than Marcy projects, if you get my drift.

Plus, Robert Downey Jr. was awesome as a black guy in Tropic Thunder. Why not put Elba in white face? Like, old school, Eddie Murphy on SNL style. It could work.

And so what that Elba used to be a DJ before engraining himself to millions of people as Stringer Bell on HBO’s The Wire.

Jokes aside, this is how the online community responded to the idea of a black actor playing any role that wasn’t initially written for a character of color.

Click here to view a slideshow of black superheroes on the big screen

With the picture tentatively scheduled to hit theaters in May 2011, Elba has already addressed the lunacy of the criticism in recent interviews. He told TV Times, “There has been a big debate about it: can a black man play a Nordic character? …Thor’s mythical, right? Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That’s OK, but the color of my skin is wrong?”

Great point and better yet, of all the reasons to not want think a certain actor isn’t right for a role, no one seems to think Elba’s acting ability is one of them, and that should be the primary measuring stick.

When it comes to comic books, Angelina Jolie’s character in Wanted was actually black. Michael Clark Duncan playing Kingpin was another role where no one seemed to be upset with a black actor stepping into a role where the character was not.

Marvel Comics has a history of creating characters of color that did more than just part of the universe but contributors. From Storm in X-Men to Black Panther to Luke Cage/Power Man in The Fantastic Four, Battlestar in Captain America.

What’s more notable is the viewing audiences acceptance of actor’s stepping into these roles in the future. The movement to get Glover to be the next Spider-Man may not have gotten the attention of studio heads but it showed an outcry to shake things up.

When will Bruce Wayne be portrayed by a suave, debonair, black actor? There’s plenty of those.

Does Thor scream summer blockbuster? My gut says no, but the trailer say yes. Does it even sound like something worth seeing? Maybe. But why tear it down just because the actor in it, isn’t as light as you’d like him to be.

It’s not like they’re casting Michael Rappaport to play Michael Jordan, it’s a comic book character! A fictional being from jump. Why not let your imagination run with the same way it would by reading any other comic book?

In the same TV Times interview, Elba continued, “I was cast in Thor and I’m cast as a Nordic god…If you know anything about the Nords, they don’t look like me but there you go. I think that’s a sign of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting. I think we will see that, and I think that’s good.”

Good to some, Earth-shattering to others but not completely unheard of and nothing to buy web space over. Be mad that another comic book is being made into a movie, not mad at a studio for casting actors outside the mold to play the roles.