This year’s Free Comic Book Day yielded an unexpected windfall – a collector’s item for fans and a meaty controversy for the media to sink their razor-sharp, greedy little teeth into.
Last Saturday retailers across North America gave away a special edition, 40-page Green Lantern comic as part of Free Comic Book Day. The book included a “sneak peek” of Flashpoint, DC’s summer event that launches today.
What DC also launched, however, was a ticking racial time bomb the media couldn’t wait to explode all over the web. Several news outlets, like USA Today spotlighted the coloring error that appears to have been branded a deliberately politically incorrect act rather than a mistake by an colorist who couldn’t be bothered to familiarize himself with his source material.
The Flashpoint preview included an image of the Flash ”family” of speedsters racing behind series star Silver Age Flash Barry Allen. One of the heroes was a mysterious white, female blonde with a ponytail, complete with a red and gold, Flash-style costume. When I opened my copy I honestly assumed she was supposed to be Jesse Quick, another white female Flash family member, but with an altered costume.
Apparently that’s what the colorist thought as well. We were both dead wrong.
The script called for the inclusion of a woman of color: Jenni Ognats, the mixed-race character known as XS, granddaughter of Barry Allen and long-time member of the 31st century DC Comics team the Legion of Super Heroes.
Did I mention she was black? Though truthfully, I’ve always thought she was more of a cocoa brown, the point is, she’s definitely not white.
The error will no doubt be corrected in issue one of Flashpoint being released today, so don’t bother racing to the comic store hoping to score a valuable misprint copy to hock online!
The correct version (via USA Today) on the left, the incorrect FCBD preview version on the right.
“A mistake that changes one of the few women of color in the Flash family, one of the few women of color in the Legion, one of the few women of color in comics is more than a mistake,” a post on the dcwomenkickingass blog said.
“Getting the character’s race wrong is a pretty big error,” said another poster on speedforce.org.
It was a simple mistake, people! Yes, the colorist in question is clearly a moron who hasn’t picked up a Flash comic in a year or two, but that’s all he is. He is not a racist attempting to subvert the minds of comic readers through subliminal messages hidden in art.
But can you imagine the mileage the media could get out of that story?
- ‘Flashpoint’ shakes up DC – and Aquaman goes to war with Wonder Woman? (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- The Speculator Hits Of Free Comic Book Day 2011 (bleedingcool.com)
- At DC, The Flash to Star in Story Event (abcnews.go.com)