White Scripts and Black Supermen | Chicago Reader

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52 minutes · 2012

This documentary about black comic-book superheroes zips past the sidekicks of the 40s and 50s—like Lothar, who served as muscle for Mandrake the Magician, and Whitewash Jones, who provided comic relief for the Young Allies—and never gets into the more credible superheroes that came along in the 80s and 90s, as black artists got into the game. Instead director Jonathan Gayles focuses on the 60s and 70s, when white creative directors at Marvel Comics and DC Comics were fumbling around with such dubious characters as the Falcon, a pawn to a white supremacist villain, and Luke Cage, who wore a tiara and demanded cash payment for his good deeds. An assortment of comic book artists and pop-culture academics weigh in on this odd period, noting its cluelessness and compromises; their smart and funny discourse makes you wish that Gayles had continued his study into the present day.

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