So what better way to extrapolate the consequences of racism than fiction? Mark Waid and J. G. Jones transport us back in time, to 1927. Geographical location? Mississippi. Chatterlee is a town ridden by political turmoil, violence and racism. It’s also the final destination of a strange visitor. A man impervious to bullets, stronger than a locomotive and more powerful than any other human. Does that ring any bells? Of course it does, but this is no Man of Steel, the strange visitor is a black man, a superhuman black man that embodies the archetypical nature of Superman, but with one huge difference: race.
In this southern region, black men are constantly exploited and abused. Although slavery has long been abolished, black people are still subalterns, without voice or vote, forever doomed to please their white bosses. The story begins with Sonny, a black man who is hunted by the Ku Klux Klan. When he’s about to get captured and killed, he’s suddenly saved by the strange visitor, an alien that has arrived to Earth in a small spaceship (just like Superman did in the classic DC comics). And new questions arise. Can the world deal with the idea of black supremacy? Should American leaders kneel before this invincible black man? Could this strange visitor save his brothers from oppression?
|Ku Klux Klan|
|Strange visitor / Extraño visitante|
J. G. Jones has always been one of my favorite artists, and even 15 years ago he was already one of the best illustrators in the comic industry, as can be attested with works such as Marvel Boy and many others. For the past decade or so, J. G. Jones has been famous mostly for his iconic covers (for instance, in DC’s 52), so as soon as I heard he would be doing interior art for this project, I became very, very interested. He pencils, inks and paints every page, creating a cohesive and beautiful artistic proposal. With deeply detailed imagery and painstakingly elaborated coloring, this talented artist meticulously reproduces the 20s, providing historical accuracy with hyper-realistic portraits and gorgeous settings that feel as real as a photography; at the same time, action, dynamism and visual harmony are constant elements in every panel. J. G. Jones won the 2015 Arion’s Achievement Award for Best Artist, and once you take a look at his pages you’ll realize he deserved this and many other recognitions.
El racismo es una extraña manifestación cultural. Difícil de explicar y a veces incluso más difícil de definir, el racismo como concepto ha sido una postura tradicional (siglo XVIII), un discurso científico (siglo XIX) y un estigma social (siglo XX). Y aunque ha habido muchos cambios en la forma en que las civilizaciones occidentales hablan del racismo, no ha desaparecido. Para Slavoj Žižek, el racismo es una fantasía intersubjetiva, y debido al elemento de fantasía no puede reducirse a la lógica, la razón o la ciencia, escapando así a todos los enfoques teóricos que tratan de abordar este complicado tema; en tanto fantasía, el racismo puede ser más persistente que la realidad misma, y por eso no puede ser totalmente erradicado.
|Lost in the south / Perdido en el sur|
|Victim or Hero? / Víctima o héroe|
|Violence and racism / Violencia y racismo|
|Out of control / Fuera de control|
|The strength to make changes / La fuerza para hacer cambios|