Oh snap! This is literally my SECOND post in my Does Racebending Count? discussion feature and I knew I was waiting for the perfect topic! This post here today is dedicated and honored by the release of DC Ink’s Gotham High by Melissa de la Cruz and illustrated by Thomas Pitilli! Do you know how much I was so into this graphic novel even before I opened the book?! Okay, not gonna lie… I could see some color on that cover, and I didn’t mean the artwork okay?
But it makes me think about something… was I only into this graphic novel rendition because there was finally some POC in the mix that weren’t just in the background?
First of all, thank you to DC Ink for the graphics.
Now look at this page in the novel. Clearly, you can see that the Waynes are Asian, at least his mom. Ma-sha Dean… the most beautiful girl in Hong Kong. These illustrations aren’t hiding the fact that Bruce is part Chinese from at least his mother’s side, which I freaking love. Do you know how how cool it is to see this? Also, did you see that it was Ma-sha Dean’s money that built Wayne Enterprises? It wasn’t the Wayne family that was rich… so think about that. Sometimes it’s not just the white families that come from money or have money to invest in conglomerates like Wayne Enterprises. I won’t lie though, seeing that change to Bruce’s backstory was really great for me to see, and I think it made the story of Bruce way more appealing to me than his usual story. A part of me feels like it’s because I love seeing Asian characters living it up without having some tragic backstory of coming from rags.
No instead we have the original backstory of Bruce’s parents being killed in their home. That was pretty damn tragic though.
Did you also catch that they were watching Madame Butterfly? I got to watch that once and it was great! Although it takes place in Japan after WWII but whatever!
Oh and did you catch that Alfred wasn’t just the family butler, but was Bruce’s uncle? I mean sure, he kind of sent Bruce to boarding school somewhere after his family died and that was kind of shitty – totally wasn’t something I was anticipating – but then he realizes that he needs to be an uncle and help raise Bruce but whatever. Hey you know what? Despite family being a huge component in Asian cultures, doesn’t mean that everyone is perfect at being a cohesive family. So I’m not even going to knock Alfred’s little stint of saying “Deuces Bruce”.
Also catch that Alfred and Ma-sha are siblings. That was a cool change. To me, I like keeping the family together like this. Having Alfred step up to take care of Bruce the right way was great too, and hopefully the time that he took to grieve his sister and his life turning upside down will help him to be a better guardian to Bruce. We’ll see in the sequels because I know there are going to need to be some sequels in my life okay?
Then we have Selina Garcia Freaking Kyle, a Mexican girl next door that does actually come from money but not right now. You’ll have to read the graphic novel to see why, but I mean come on. And her being Mexican means literally nothing about her character arc, meaning that nobody makes a big deal that she’s Mexican, or not a white girl at all, or whatever other bullshit that people say sometimes. She’s just a boss ass popular girl that has some issues and is freaking hot. That’s it.
Look how cute my babies are! Just enjoying Gotham at night like high school kids do when they don’t want to get home.
Do I think they look way cooler? Absolutely. Do I think that their ethnicities change the story completely? Hell no. It’s another aspect to them that for some reason is never explored because “Bruce is canonically white and rich people can’t be POC” or whatever the case may be. I forget which group I was in on Facebook but I said it would be so cool if Bruce was Asian – didn’t specify what kind of Asian honestly because I would have been okay with anything, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, etc – and someone told me “no that wouldn’t work because the Waynes are rich.”
White people have a monopoly on being rich now?
Okay I don’t even remember what my point was about this.
Basically, I think that changing the ethnicities of Bruce and Selina did absolutely nothing to change the kind of characters we know them to be, and I’m totally happy with that. To me, this shows that yeah, canonically white characters can have a reboot as a different ethnicity and it doesn’t change the fundamental storyline. Even if it did though, what’s wrong with changing it?
Am I just ranting right now because I’m tired of people making excuses for why superheroes can’t be any other race without there being an issue? Do you remember the shit that happened when the latest Spiderman was a Latinx boy? Miles Morales? Oh lawd, the comments I saw about him. Like, what the hell, fam?
Okay no I’m done. Because this is not a rant about the beauty that is Gotham High. This is me saying that I really enjoyed this rendition of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, and I think it actually gave me a little bit more to like about Selina than usual? But that could also just be that I never really learned much about Selina Kyle during my time watching TV shows and stuff.
What do you think?