by Dominick Marconi
There was this popular meme that recirculated in 2020 which featured a still frame from the Dreamworks animated film Madagascar. It showed the four main characters, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, Marty the Zebra, and Melman the Giraffe with puzzled expressions on their faces and overlaid text that read, simply: “Why are you black?”
Everytime I see it I laugh. Everytime I think about it I laugh. I cannot speak as to why anybody else might find it funny, but to me, the comedy not only stems from the absurdity of the question's nature, but in its truth.
by Scott MacLean
Can you name one gay superhero? I can’t. How about a wizard? Warrior? Villain? The sad fact of the matter is that I’ve read over two hundred young adult fantasy books and I know of only one that has a main character that’s gay. Now I know what you’ll say, media and literature is much more inclusive these days, which is true. According to a 2019 report done by GLAAD, the percentages of LGBTQ representation are at an all time high, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s nice to have more options, especially in literature, but why hasn’t this translated to fantasy and other genres?
I’m glad I can watch a show like Schitts Creek or read a book like The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper, examples of quality LGBTQ stories that aren’t entirely centered on the fact that the characters are gay, but unfortunately, kids aren’t dressing up as Kurt Hummel from Glee on Halloween. They’re dressing up as Harry Potter, Daenerys Targaryen, or Harley Quinn, heroes from epic stories full of adventure.
by Christopher M. Comparri
The appeal of books, movies, television and any sort of story-telling platform can be boiled down to two key components: having a great story and having great characters to fill out said story. As viewers and readers, we often find ourselves rooting for certain characters and despising others to the pits of our very soul. This can be for any number of reasons: rooting for the underdog, finding a character that is relatable, finding one that embodies the essence of what we feel is right or wrong with the world. Finding the handful of characters that you feel strongly about builds an emotional tie between the content produced and the individual consuming it. However, the trend of incorporating huge casts of characters into stories is now having an adverse effect. People are finding too many characters to like or hate in passing. These characters are being masked as huge markers in a story, but the reality is quite different. In literature, sometimes less is more.