Geoff Johns, you blockhead!
May 14th, 2010

Geoff Johns, you blockhead!

It’s great to be a white dude in comics. You get killed, you come back. You get your leg cut off, damn straight you get that shit back somehow, probably some kind of robot leg that makes it even better, hoppin around like you’re Jumpin Flash, fuck the police I can hop everywhere.

Just don’t be somebody’s girlfriend or kid, then you’re really fucked. Also, don’t be not white.

^ 43 Comments...

  1. lynn

    First!

    [Reply]

  2. bobrasher

    well played, sirs

    [Reply]

  3. thomas

    Honestly, I’m with the argument that if you’re going to create minority characters, don’t just throw out new versions of suits that used to be filled with white guys. Create new ones so they can stand on their own. But still, I like Ryan Choi, so fuck them for killing him. Just give him a different codename and let him keep going.

    [Reply]

  4. Markus Seaberry

    I totally understand what you’re saying, and I do not think you’re racist in any way, but honestly? This strip creeped me out more than the White Lantern one. The words just sting.

    [Reply]

  5. Andre

    Sirs, unfortunatly I agree with u… we still have a big gap considering white and not-white people on comics… and even worst, on real life… =(

    [Reply]

  6. Phil Kahn

    @Markus

    Then they’re doing their job.

    [Reply]

  7. Yining

    Yay!

    [Reply]

  8. o0o

    ugghh… i hate it when characters are brought back anytime, that meta-knowledge just kills any real drama in the story itself… “welp, he’s dead for a while.”

    btw, the comment thread on that CA article is really good, worth reading through.

    [Reply]

  9. Andrew

    I think it is pretty sad that comic pundits are stooping to “Writers are just out to make things like they were when they were kids AND IT IS RACIST.” It’s just frustrating when these same pundits are saying everything sucks now and it used to be good . . . during the same era they castigate comic writers for trying to “regress” to.

    [Reply]

  10. april

    I have to say, when Chris gave me a detailed summary of Brightest Day a couple nights ago I was floored by all the examples of (what seemed to be) pretty flagrant racism. Seeing the actual issue makes me realize that he was actually not exaggerating at all. It might not be clear to everyone reading (especially to people like me who don’t read comics regularly), but this comic was a commentary on Geoff Johns and specifically, I think, that comic. And maybe it isn’t fair of me to read this one issue out of context of the rest of his work, but damn. I think this LBFA comic is justifiably a little pointed.

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  11. Cody

    I would say that Connor Hawke would be next on the chopping block, but very few artists or colorist remember that he’s half Asian. Thank God for casual racism!

    [Reply]

  12. chrishaley

    While we’re getting serious about comics here, I want to point out that we are NOT saying Geoff Johns is a racist. Period.

    We’re just making a comic about how the cumulative regression coupled with some specific comics that have recently been published can leave one with a pretty uncomfortable feeling. Many of the specific things that happened (in comics) that led us to making this comic wouldn’t seem so bad when viewed alone, but it’s this accumulation of events that really starts having an effect on how you view subsequent events and characters.

    [Reply]

  13. PeterV

    I don’t think anyone of at DC is being like “We need to kill off all them there minoritahs in er books,” but you do think that someone within the company would notice this uneasy trend. Especially when racial tensions are already kind of running high throughout the country.

    @thomas
    I agree that creating new minority characters with their own names and identities would be the best option. And there are plenty(well maybe not plenty, but some) of those in other comic company’s books. But creating and marketing brand new characters from scratch isn’t something that DC or Marvel excels at, so it does make an odd sort of sense that if you’re going to kill an old hero and replace them anyway, then hey why not make the replacement gay,or a different color, or a woman, or some sort of combination. (Man, I just realized A LOT of people are going to be pissed when Renee Montoya is going to be killed off to make room for Vic Sage to come back.)

    But the strip was great guys. It does make a good companion piece to Chris Sim’s OP/ED piece. And I smiled when I realized that Lil Geoff was rocking a Green Lantern tee.

    [Reply]

  14. Brandon Mendelson

    I love it.

    [Reply]

  15. Ricky Roboto

    I love when you guys bring it ‘Peanuts’-style.

    *sigh* Man, is the stuff happening at DC right now just completely depressing, or what? Firestorm, Atom…I have a bad feeling Blue Beetle is next. Isn’t he in a Titans book right now? Poor Titan…walking bullseyes, they are.

    [Reply]

  16. Larry Koopa

    Osiris is back, and he’s NOT WHITE. He’s also my fav’rit!

    [Reply]

  17. Jon Callan

    Totally understand the point. It’s just a Catch-22 because:

    1. The market will not support new superheroes, white, asian or otherwise. Sadly, no one’s interested in reading the monthly adventures of Freedom Ring.

    2. When a minority character replaces an established character it is often seen as a cheap ploy to diversify at the expense of a character’s history. A decision made for PR reasons and not good story-telling.

    [Reply]

  18. martinimanjoe

    im just kinda tired of reading this site and seeing only a huge number of posts when the subject matter is race. Theres a lot more things in comics that I’m passionate about and a lot more things I hate than just racism. Anyway blackest night and brightest day are and were two terrible events that I hate that I wasted money on….oh snap theres a forest in star city….green arrow kick it there…..weak sauce…hey guys call em out for more than racial overtones!

    [Reply]

  19. april

    Joe,
    Let’s pretend you and I are in a wacky romantic comedy about two lawyers on either side of a Big Case. We fight a lot, but it’s only because we love each other.

    I submit for the jury’s consideration…

    LBFA comics about racism in comics:
    http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2010/05/14/white-supremacy/
    http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2010/02/02/burning-them-two-at-a-time/

    LBFA comics about bad writing, bad art, bad editing, and other callings-out not related to racism:
    http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2010/04/09/lux-aeterna-by-way-of-winkerbean/
    http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2010/03/10/deal-or-no/
    http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2010/01/26/bomber-jacket-not-included/
    http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2009/06/05/burning-the-m-bridge/
    http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2009/06/28/its-under-investgation/
    (in both categories because it’s about a lot of different bad-ness)http://www.letsbefriendsagain.com/2010/02/02/burning-them-two-at-a-time/

    Even The Strip That Made Martiniman Famous wasn’t about racism in comics, it was about something unintentionally seeming racist (which could be used to defend writers like Geoff Johns and Mark Millar, who probably AREN’T intentionally being insensitive). It only seems like our guys are talking about racism all the time because anytime anyone talks about racism it’s like a big blinking arrow gets pointed at it. It’s a cognitive illusion. Like Sean’s pants.

    The defense rests. Come out tonight and I’ll buy you a beer and tell you about the novel I’m working on.

    [Reply]

  20. thomas

    Peter, you are totally correct in your argument, “Hey if we HAVE to use a legacy character, why not use it as an opportunity to diversify,” but i’d like to think that man, you don’t have to make up legacy characters, make up something new! But my argument is one of those ‘in a perfect world’ arguments.

    [Reply]

  21. Max

    Totally with you guys.

    [Reply]

  22. lynn

    The first time I read this, I thought the third panel said “And all the white people were black.” Hmmm…that still would’ve stirred up some controversy.

    [Reply]

  23. The Real Derek

    Hey, the Spectre is bla….. ummmm, nevermind.

    In all seriousness though, it’s pretty silly. I love some aspects of DC, but most of it’s legacy characters are just that: the legacy of white men who wrote in the 30′s, 40′s, and 50′s, who’s ideas on race were not exactly egalitarian at best and outright bigoted at worst. Superman’s genetic superiority and stolid, mid-west upbringing, batman’s noblesse oblige, and don’t even get me started on wonder woman. These things don’t totally define these characters, but they can’t help but inform them. The culture of DC is that of protecting and expanding on a mythos based on Classical ideals mixed with mid-20th century American propaganda. It’s awesome when Zeus and Hades fight the Nazis (or would Superman be Apollo? It’s just that Shazam always the more youthful quality, but I digress).Toni Morrison isn’t a natural fit into that. A certainly worthwhile endeavor, I’d think, but I’ve always gotten the feeling that DC was about adapting the old myths, while Marvel was out to create the new ones. They could end up highly embarrassing at times (Luke Cage’s origin), but I admire them for trying.

    [Reply]

  24. Scott

    What’s the difference between any of the three Flashes? The first two were scientists who were messing around in a lab, and then same thing happened to the second guy’s nephew. I understand that there are subtle character differences, but at the risk of upsetting Flash fans, those three guys are basically interchangeable. Who’s ever looked at a Flash pinup and had to look for the minor costume tweaks that show it wasn’t Barry? The fact that the guy who’s been writing Flash for the past several years is throwing out the current Flash in favor of the Silver Age version makes me think that this is an across-the-board thing without any consideration of the racial politics at all. Things looked a lot more whitebread back in the 60s, and we notice it now because our society has become more inclusive to the point where white-washed casts look out of place in a pluralistic society.

    [Reply]

  25. chrishaley

    Scott – If you haven’t spent the last 15-25 years reading all of the work that was put into making Wally West a well rounded character, please do not say that Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West are interchangeable.

    Also, Geoff Johns has not been writing the Flash for the last several years. Back in the early 2000s he did a fantastic stretch writing about Wally West, but since then up until the last year (roughly) several other writers have been responsible for writing the Flash(es).

    The whole difference between Wally and Barry was that the only things you could say about Barry Allen (in the Silver Age) were that he was The Flash, he was a police scientist, he loved Iris, he was always late, and he wore a bow tie. A lot of people put a lot of work into giving Wally West an actual personality and making him a fully realized character. Geoff Johns/DC is trying to give Barry a personality retroactively.

    [Reply]

    Lightning Reply:

    I don’t have anything to add really, I just want to extend an internet thumbs up to this post.

    [Reply]

  26. Yining

    Replacing Wally West with Barry Allen is also racially charged. Wally has a Korean wife and biracial kids.

    [Reply]

  27. Matt Drane

    It’s crazy. I seem to remember a few years back (around Infinite Crisis/52) reading an interview with Dan Didio specifically stating that one of his agendas as EIC was to bring more diversity to DC’s line-up. He cited Ryan Choi, Jason Rusch, and Jaime Reyes as examples (along with new Batwoman for sexual diversity). But with all of the returns and resurrections and “Rebirths” it seems like they kind of went the other way on that one. These minority characters will be absolutely forgotten over time, reduced to footnotes at the bottom of a Wikipedia page. What’s especially interesting is the Legion of Superheroes, set 1000 years in the future – if population growth continues as it has in the coming years, white people will be the minority. Maybe if DC continues to put out these “Earth One” graphic novels somebody will do one where the Legion is almost entirely Hispanic. But it probably wouldn’t sell very well…

    [Reply]

  28. Hayduke666

    Wow. What an extremely fucked-up point of view…

    [Reply]

  29. Curt Franklin

    I like wieners and ballsacks on my face.

    [Reply]

  30. Curt

    White wieners and balls?

    [Reply]

  31. Great Blogs of Fire! « read/RANT!

    [...] Let’s Be Friends Again has a clever little comic about the racism charges that have been levelled against DC lately.  I smailed at the title: Geoff Johns, you blockhead! [...]

  32. Curt Franklin

    Racist wieners and ballsacks only.

    [Reply]

  33. Curt

    What is happening here. I am confused. D:

    [Reply]

  34. Larry Koopa

    “Curt Franklin” is obviously the real Curt, because he’s the Curt WITH A SHIELD.

    [Reply]

  35. Matt Ampersand

    I think the point that Scott was trying to make above is a valid one. It is a HUGE universe, surely there is space for two Firestorms, for two Blue Beetles, and definitely two Atoms, just like there is somehow space for a bunch of Bat-related characters, who all have different personalities but the same basic character traits (non powered costumed heroes who work mostly at night!) and a shitload of Green Lanterns (magic rings for everyone!).

    I understand not wanting to use Ryan Choi for the moment, as there was clearly not a whole lot of interest, with “at the moment” being the key word. Sooner or later, someone is bound to come up with a good take on any character, if not look at something like Guardians of the Galaxy over at Marvel. If you had told me five years ago that a book starring Rocket Racoon, Groot, and Bug and a bunch of other lame characters would be one of Marvel’s best, I’d say you were crazy.

    So let’s say DC wanted to make way for Ronnie Raymond, Ray Palmer, and Barry Allen to be at the center of the DCU, then they could send Wally Went to play with the Titans, Ryan Choi with the JSA, and Jason Rusch with REBELS, or along those lines. Worst case scenario, you leave them in limbo, with the possibility of being used later. Killing them is short sighted, and has obviously lead the company down this road where everyone is wondering if they are completely race-blind in the worst possibly way.

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  36. o0o

    the main problem i have with this strip is that snoopy sits on the doghouse typing, not any of the kids that i remember.

    [Reply]

  37. martinimanjoe

    what i love is that dc and marvel do so many things to make us mad…but we never do anything about it…myself included…i dont know what we could do but the only voice we have is what we buy…and we continue to buy the product…and they continue for the most part to let us down…i have like seven books i get excited about every month but i prob buy 20…u know what i mean?

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  38. chrishaley

    o0o – That’s because Snoopy was the only writer in the Peanuts group.

    Joe – Speak for yourself, man. I’m only buying stuff I enjoy now. Every now and then I buy something I think I’m going to enjoy and end up not liking it, but I’m trying to do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen these days. You’re right though, not buying awful, awful comics is the best thing you can do to influence the market. Oh, or complain your ass off on the internet. One of those two should definitely, definitely work.

    [Reply]

  39. Adam

    Sick burns!

    [Reply]

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