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Friday, June 06, 2008

Thanks to Budjette, here's Invincible Iron Man writer Matt Fraction's reaction to comments about the Triumph Division...

(Taken from the Jinxworld Forums)

SPOILERS, for people that haven't read the issue,and might want to avoid a small spoiler for IIM #4:

Respectfully, I disagree. It wasn't poorly researched; I promise-- but it was written for a predominantly American comics audience, which resulted in me making some choices for ease-of-reading rather than absolute cultural accuracy. I made that call because I felt if I had to explain and contextualize things for every reader, it would've slowed the story to a halt. Were I writing a Filipino team for a Filipino audience it would have been different.

I know Mongoose aren't indiginous to the Philippines, but they ARE there, and had i time and space to talk about the character, I would've and i think it would've made sense (it's a reference to his kung fu fighting style, but how do you casually bring that up at a ceremony like that?). St. George I disagree with-- as a judeo-christian and catholic icon, I think that's an appropropriate name, especially for the religious makeup of the country.

And as I said elsewhere upthread, I'm introducing the team twice-- read the whole story before you condemn me for creating a team just to kill them off.

I know there's been issue with the use of the faux-Buddhist/Krishna-ish monks in the scene, but as the Philippines is mostly Roman-Catholic, I wanted to pick a visual signifier for a religion and a religous group and its practitioners that, in both countries (the US and the Philippines), indicated a signifigantly small minority. To dress the bombers in a way that immediately suggested a devout religious group, and a somewhat.... not necessarily mysterious, but an exotic one. they were SUPPOSED to a startling and rare group of people, which is exactly what they were.

(this issue saw the first real editorial content note I've ever received: in the inital drafts of the script, the monks were children. the bombers were supposed to be nearly a-religious...)

I talked to a couple Pinoy friends, both here and in the Philippines (at one point even toyed with doing the whole scene in Tagalog) about the characters and the scene and felt comfortable with the way it ran. The mongoose was the one issue that came up and it was one that I chose to make (ultimately, it's a name, and just struck me as-- well, a name. Is "Green Lantern" too American a name? Etc. etc.). The rest I'd argue with similar to how I have here on the basis factual or artistic decisions.


What I have to say...

If that's the intent for the monks, well, okay. But the intent wasn't clear in the comic itself, and it doesn't have to be explained in an online forum so that Pinoy readers would "get" it, right? For me, the monks still seemed out of place.

As for the heroes not being "Filipin-ized," I really don't have a problem with that. I don't know why some folks insist that Pinoy superheroes should have a Pinoy flavor in their names or appearances. Is Captain Barbell a Pinoy name? Nope. Likewise, is Batman an American-sounding name? Not really.

Anyway... Immortal Iron Fist ROCKS. Hey, that got me to thinking... are the Chinese cultural references there accurate? Just wondering...


monsanto said...

Kung ako ang tinanung niya tungkol sa info at nalaman ko na papatayin lang? sasabihin ko wag na lang. No thanks!

St. George means pathetic tayo kasi named tayo after a king ng spain. Sorry ha? pero parang patago tayong binastos.

Emil said...

I agree. I don't have issues with non-Filipinized heroes. The problem is the way he disregards cultural accuracy for ease-of-reading. Sayang lang ang research niya. It shows that another county's culture can be disregarded for the entertainment of American readers. Nevermind if the FALSE ideas are being given. If he were to write about AMERICA to Pinoy readers, would he make changes so we can "get" it?
Edward Said says that the Orient is a blank slate that Orientalists (Europeans and Americans) "create." They "create" worlds for their own consumption. It's sad that this thinking still exists in the so-called information age.
Then again, American comics still confuse Chinese culture with Japanese culture (calling a kung fu teacher "sensei" instead of "sifu" for example). If they do that to these "major" cultures, what more will they do to Third World countries?

Josel Nicolas said...

I agree. Im so sick of people typecasting anything Pinoy with the typical signifiers for culture (tribal crap etc etc). I once saw this Thesis in UST for their advertizing course, a comic book about a sentai-ish group of pinoy heroes. That's the concept, and its okay (nothing too cranial). But dear god, the coloring choices for the gutter's were so condscendingly blah.

Ginawa nyang texture Banig yung gutters para makitang "Pinoy". Wow.

Well, rant over. Still enjoyed the comic though. Nothing too major, its not like they confused us with eskimoes or HAwaiians.

_Josel Nicolas