Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wolverine & The Xmen: Forge

Quick question. In the new animated show, Wolverine & The Xmen - is Forge supposed to be Native American? I've a friend currently fangirling him really hard and she sent me to the show's site.

So I'm watching Ep 5, because the character drawing for Forge showed a beard and didn't mention anything at all about him being NDN. Now I'm aware it's not true for the whole group /obviously not for those who are mixed, but in general First Nations Peoples of the Americas aren't hairy folk. And Forge is supposed to be Cheyenne.

Then again, a quick peek in Wikipedia shows him with a moustache.

So does anyone know whether or not this new Forge is white?

I saw Amara's now blonde with a slight accent I couldn't place. And she didn't seem to look non-white to me.

Do I even want to know what happened with Sooryaa (Dust)? Cause her bio pic shows her hands clasped as if for prayer, making me think of a nun in an all black habit instead of a modest Muslim woman wearing abaya and niqab.

So far this isn't making me want to watch the show.

PS: In Evolutions, while he wasn't used much, when he did show up, Forge looked plenty First Nations to me. And Amara was brown.


  1. I can't claim to know, but in the couple eps I've seen, my immediate reaction was "Um, why is Forge white?" Then again, in the 80s, I didn't know he wasn't until he actually said so. How much of that was the moustache, how much was the art and/or coloring, and how much was Clueless White Teenager Reading, I'm not entirely sure.

    As for Amara, I've been out of active comics reading too long to know if things have changed in recent years, I always knew her as blonde. Which was lame when the she was supposed to be descended from ancient Romans, and somehow even lamer when she turned out to be a brainwashed modern English girl. Even though that did explain the blonde. Nova Roma was a dodgy construct any way you slice it, and chucking it to just make Amara a Brazilian girl was one of the Evolution people's smarter choices. I think that's the only place that version of her appears, though I'd be happy to be wrong about that.

    (Pardon the sudden delurk, BTW. Usually I'm happy to read and absorb -- wandered in from various RaceFail links, and stuck around as, erm, an auditing undergrad? -- but I figured I could actually be useful today.)

  2. Valerie:

    Wolverine & The Xmen list her on the site as Amara Aquilla. I can believe Alison Crestmere as a blonde daughter of a British businessman, born in Brazil. It would also make sense with the private jet and the overbearing father (also of dubious race since he was half in shadow - but he seemed white to me.

    Amara Aquilla on the other hand, smacks of them wanting an exotic name. Exotic names traditionally go to the brown folk. She was very not brown; darker than Forge, but they also have Forge as some kind of twenty-something, goatee wearing, awkward bodied, geeky, looking for approval nebbish shut-in. And that just does not square up in my head with Forge at all.

    The whole 'powerful, mystic shaman' thing has always made me roll my eyes. And I loved Evolution's twist on it that his battles in the astral plane were actually things happening in a shifted/alt dimension.

    Still, when the 14/15 yr old Forge has more confidence in his abilities and creations than the 20-something goatee wearing adult - I start thinking if he is supposed to be First Nations, he's being presented as some follow-the-leaser/surface Tonto to Logan's Lone Ranger.

    Maybe it isn't all like that - but again it was something I couldn't finish watching (cause I didn't -care- about the characters with the tropes I was seeing). Forge is after all, canonically a man STORM & MYSTIQUE have had romantic relationships with. Those two? Not at all likely to be attracted to a waffler. Comparison points - T'Challa & Victor Creed, Magneto, Wolverine.

    I came across someone's thoughts on the new generation of match-stick thin X-men women. And it made me think about media subtly re-writing history, or at least popular culture. Comics & cartoon adaptations specifically come to mind with the white-washing of various characters. There will be, is there isn't already, a generation with no clue that these heroes are of colour, or that these women eat sandwiches.

    PS: I can handle a class audit. It's a good analogy.

  3. In The New Mutants, "Amara Aquilla" was the construct personality overlaid on Alison Crestmere. And it was totally a "let's have an exotic name" situation. It was ostensibly supposed to be Roman, though I remember a reader taking them to task in the lettercol because she had too many names (Amara Juliana Olivians Aquilla) and Amara meant nothing in Latin. IIRC, it got handwaved with "they've been in this hidden city for 2000 years, assimilated with Incas, so some things have shifted." It was later on that they "revealed" that there was never a colony from Rome, and the city hadn't been there for 2000 years, but the whole thing was a hoax populated by brainwash victims. I don't remember offhand whose hoax it was -- it was after I stopped reading regularly -- but that's where Alison Crestmere came from all of a sudden.

    I'm not sure you even want to know about her initial introduction, as one of a group of fake "Amazon Indians" who turned out to be a bunch of white girls from Nova Roma in disguise, hiding away from the city to avoid being sacrificed by Selene. Not even a very good disguise -- she falls in the river, Rahne fishes her out, and suddenly just from water (and I'm directly quoting Rahne here -- it's one of those panels that are imprinted indelibly on my brain due to the sheer WTF factor), "Why, her skin's as white as mine! And her hair's...blonde?"

    In sum, the rampant skeeviness and illogic of basically her entire early arc made even my clueless 13-year-old head hurt.

    As for Forge -- yeah, "And why is he this weird hyperactive geeky guy?" was my second thought. He's just... not Forge. Not the one I know from the comics, not the one I know (a very little -- haven't actually seen much of it) from Evolutions. It seems like they've just stamped him from the standard techno-geek character template, because that's his power/skillset, rather than actually adapting the character we know. From the couple eps I've seen, he's not the only character to suffer from the cookie-cutterization, but definitely the most glaring.

    There will be, is there isn't already, a generation with no clue that these heroes are of colour,

    Which was what made Evolutions' handling of Amara so noteworthy: They reversed that process. They looked at a character who was originally white, and decided that she made more sense as a CoC. Which she totally does.

  4. P.S. And as much as I'd like to give the Evolution folks credit for saying "Say, this character with the seriously skeevy and problematic origins could be made into a much cooler CoC" all on their own, I have to wonder if they didn't sort of meld her background with Sunspot's. 'Berto being a rich Brazilian kid with a powerful black businessman father (who eventually joined the Hellfire Club, as almost any powerful business type related to a main character tended to do at that time) and white archaeologist mother, they made some reasonably respectable stabs at the I-don't-fit-anywhere issues a kid like that would have even if he weren't a mutant. And then the team went on an educational cruise down the Amazon with Mom, and there were many months of skeevy stereotypes and WTFery.