Dehumanizing a character negates the value of making a character a sidekick or a hero. It often merely means those subhuman characters are well trained. I’d much rather be a villain but human nonetheless
I’d be happy if they were more like, “There is some inherent value to this work despite the racism embedded in the work. In the end it is a work of its time and it carries with it the flaws of the time and its people. AKA Racism…but I still like it.”
In this case when people fail to indict…when they make excuses for the wrongs of the past they make themselves complicit in the perpetuation of the collateral damage of institutionalized racism. Real Talk. Own it instead of just offsetting your guilt. If people start owning up to shit like this then maybe I can start seeing “tales of High Adventure” instead of “Colonial Fantasy” and nostalgia for “simpler times”
PS. David, you should have given that interview.
“In many cases, one finds Floyd deliberately trying to avoid using a stereotype straight. His susceptibility to the era’s norms allowed him to show African island natives as humanized monkeys who talk like Southern hicks; but in “Mickey Mouse Sails for Treasure Island” (1932), he nevertheless has these characters fighting on Mickey’s side against white bad guys, and ultimately saving Mickey’s life. One step forward, one step back…”
— ‘Mickey Mouse’ Editor David Gerstein On Bringing Floyd Gottfredson’s Classic Strips To A Modern Audience - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews This is something a lot of people do to excuse racist imagery of the past, but it really just boils down to “They’re horribly offensive, but they’re also good guys/sidekicks! That counts for something!” I’ve seen it with Eisner the most, but other works from the early 1900s get the same sloppy kiss. Being a hero or sidekick counts for something, sure, but it counts about half a percent as much as being depicted as subhuman. It’s okay to condemn things, even if you like them.