Filmhouse @The Fed: White Scripts And Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books
Filmhouse @The Fed
The Fed Galleries present an ongoing series of film screenings highlighting engaging topics related to art, design, and contemporary culture. All showings are free and open to the public.*Presentation lengths vary
March 30th | 7:00pm - 8:00pm
A valuable and colorful examination of 40 years of changing representations of Black masculinity in a significant area of popular culture - comic books.
Twenty years ago, Marlon Riggs produced an essential documentary critique of the images of African Americans in US television in his award-winning Color Adjustment. Now comes a documentary on representations of Black masculinity in comic books; a popular culture genre which existed before television and whose reach extends into other areas of cultural production such as movies and animated TV series. White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books analyzes the subject for the first time and looks at it over a 40 year period.
In a serious, lively and humorous manner, the film examines the degree to which some of the first Black superheroes generally adhered to and were burdened by stereotypes about Black men. However we also witness how some images shifted - oftentimes clumsily - to reflect the changing times. In fact the documentary was formerly entitled Shaft or Sidney Poitier: Black Masculinity in Comic Books to signify two types of characters, one with hyper-masculine urban swagger (Shaft) and one with remarkably "dignified" behavior (Sidney Poitier). Ultimately, it became clear that there was much more "Shaft" than "Sidney Poitier" in these early Black superheroes.
Along with images from the comic books themselves, it features commentary by scholars and cultural critics (Jelani Cobb, Mark Anthony Neal, Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua) producers, writers and artists (Reginald Hudlin, John Jennings, Tony Isabella and the late pioneer Dwayne McDuffie.) They provide tools for critiquing all media as they introduce and analyze the leading Black comic book superheroes of the late 60's to late 70's including Black Panther, the Falcon, John Stewart (the Green Lantern), Luke Cage and Black Lightning. (55 minutes)