Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Comic Book Image of the Week


That's funny. She doesn't look like Eva Green.

In fact, the lady in the above drawing does not look that much like a white woman at all, especially given the angle from which she is drawn. I don't know whether or not that is intentional. After all, Sin City creator Frank Miller has not been shy about drawing people of color in the past. Yet he usually is not so ambiguous in his creation of such characters either. So could he be trying to tell us something by making Sin City resident Ava Lord out to be a black femme fatale? Or am I just seeing things?

After all, dark-skinned minorities are more often than not absent from most classical examples of the film noir that inspired Frank Miller's Sin City. Even Raymond Chandler's novel Farewell, My Lovely -- which made little effort to downplay the fact that its hero's office was located in a poor black neighborhood and that its first major conflict involved a white gangster throwing his weight around in a black-run tavern -- was considerably whitewashed when it was adapted for the movies and renamed Murder, My Sweet.

Then again, you don't exactly have to be a rocket scientist to guess why Frank Miller would not want his fans to instantly perceive Ava Lord as a black woman. After all, if there is anything more politically incorrect than a unrepentant femme fatale who brags about herself being evil, it's a black femme fatale who does the same thing. Yet one of Frank Miller's characters in one of the other chapters of Sin City is a black prostitute and yet another is a female Japanese assassin so it is not like he's above drawing nonwhite criminals.

I guess only Frank Miller knows for sure which race Ava Lord is supposed to be and so far he's not telling. And since director Robert Rodriguez has chosen to cast a white actress in the part, I suppose that should settle the question.

And yet I can't help but wonder what difference it would make if Ava Lord were black. Or Hispanic. Or Asian. Ideally, it should make no difference but then we don't live in an ideal world.

Then again one could argue that dark-skinned actresses have enough problems without being cast as evil women. So it should be all right to leave those roles for white people. After all, no one objected too much when the producers of the Broadway production of Miss Saigon chose to cast a white guy as a biracial and half-Asian pimp...

Oh, wait. They did.

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