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In terms of race, do comics offer stereotypes?

Yes in most cases, comics offer stereotypes when it comes to race. I believe that this is true for comics from the sixties. Luke Cage is a great example of the African American stereotype. In the first issue of Luke Cage: Hero for Hire shows him as a very angry character who gets his power while in prison. He represented a stereotype of African Americans during a time of the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement and the notions of Black Power helped evolve these stereotypes of race in comic books. Davenport describes in his article how organizations helped change the portrayal of African Americans in the media. He also mentions how studies have been done on the development of stereotypes. In a 1971 study, blacks were still characterized with certain traits, such as aggressive, emotional and hostile. This proves how stereotypes were still around in the seventies, and in comic books.

Comics showed these stereotypes through many different characters. Marvel created a black character called the Black Panther, who debuted in the Fantastic Four. Although this was an attempt of Marvel to establishing an African American as a character, it was only a start. It was a start because the Black Panther was not American, nor was it easy to tell that he was black. He was dressed in all black clothing, therefore it was assumed that he was black. This was an early attempt for Marvel since Dell's African American western comic failed. It was a safe approach for Marvel. As I stated before, the Civil Rights Movement, and Black Power movement did help to evolve stereotypes that were not always positive. Although Martin Luther King, Jr. was the symbol for civil rights and peace, other movements like the Black Power created negative stereotypes. Others after Martin Luther King, Jr., such as Malcolm X, were more prone to violence, which contrasted the peace of King. This call for violence and aggression influenced other African Americans to follow suit. Therefore as the Civil Rights Movement progressed, more of these stereotypes became seen in comic books. Black stereotypes have been present throughout comics and has progressed. In the beginning, blacks started to appear in the background, which progressed and became more prominent as blacks became central characters and superheroes.

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