Tuesday, February 26, 2008
So, I've had some thoughts about the black and blind character, Reggie, who is apparently based on a friend of Kurtz' from college (?). I've read various comments here and there bemoaning the frequency of Reggie's appearances (or lack thereof).
FSM Thought One: Reggie is a good character and we don't see enough of him.
It's nice to see him because he brings a fresh point of view to the strips he's in. That's not to say that black jokes or blind jokes are what he's good for. On the contrary -- Reggie usually acts as a foil, taking the usually predictably droll strips and giving us refreshing new drollness.
FSM Thought Two: That's ok with me.
While it would be nice to see more of him, I think diversity for the sake of diversity is rarely a good idea (college admissions notwithstanding). Artists (or anyone) do best when they write what they know, and social circles tend to be mostly homogenous. (Tend to. Mostly.) The results of trying to write an "ethnic" or otherwise "diverse" character if/when you have no exposure or access to that culture are often disingenuous at best, insulting at worst.
FSM Thought Three (and my point): Kurtz did himself a disservice by only creating one character based on his friend.
How easy is it, really, to write for a black and blind guy? I think we could see him more frequently than we do, but for frequent usage, a character has to be able to be used as a general player, not just a featured one. The difference being the difference between the person who plays the morgue attendant on a cop show and the person who plays the suspect. You have to write for the latter, but you can just write anything for the former and cast whomever you want.
(Of course, I say "have to" but it's not really true -- you could have a black and blind morgue attendant, but as soon as the option comes up the director is all "Won't the audience be distracted wondering why this guy is black and blind?" It's annoying, but that's usually where it ends for the black and blind guy.)
If Kurtz had created a black character and a blind character, I bet they would both get more play than Reggie does.
You know -- that gives me another thought...
FSM Thought Four: Has there ever been a "Crisis on Infinite Earths"- or "Year Zero"-level event in a web comic?
DC and Marvel occasionally (infrequently but regularly) shake up their universes to weed out week characters, refine strong ones and introduce new ones, mostly in the name of selling their titles more effectively. Have any web comics experienced such an event?