Mar. 14th, 2012

  • 10:45 AM
la_vie_noire: (kashira kashira)
Postcolonials Read Comics (And We’re Pissed).

Gail Simone depicted Singapore in Birds of Prey as a crime-riddled, totalitarian state inhabited by decadent drug lords. That’s not as bad as Marvel’s Principality of Madripoor, a parallel Singapore of authoritarianism and corruption eventually salvated by neo-colonial occupation; but that’s still better than in The Authority, where the fictional PRC destroyed the fictional Singapore in a secret nuclear attack.

Another interesting relationship between Singapore and superheroes: Ng Chin Han played the villainous Hong Kong accountant Lau in The Dark Knight.

[...] I want to see a Singaporean superhero genre that can amply offer critique on issues like race and gender politics in Singapore without relying on orientalist tropes or orientalised narratives of Asian political authority. [...] Asian political systems are either failed states or dictatorships, because the Orientals cannot be trusted to govern themselves. – A sign of how deeply we have internalised this discourse is evident in even homegrown criticism of the political system. I trust we can analyse and critique without resorting to such imagery, such portrayals.

Singaporean superheroes? I’ve been dreaming of this for years. If we postcolonials could take steampunk – with its intrinsic Victoriana – and subvert it, can we do the same for the superhero genre?


I could talk about the depiction of every non-western/developing nation in western comics. But I wouldn't end.

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