HA General Discussion

HA diversity representation stats
irrevenant at 6:37PM, Feb. 12, 2015
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Representation is something I haven't really thought about until recently. I was embarrassed to realise I hadn't helped much by making Chaos a white guy purely by default. :/

I thought it'd be interesting to crunch the representation numbers on HA membership.  “Currently active members” is a nebulous thing for HA so these figures are based on the list from the Wiki of all HA members ever. Note that it includes Bujin ‘cos he agreed to represent their interests in Japan, but doesn’t include Astral and Sparkle because they never actually joined. 

Gender 
Male 74%
Female 26%

Race/ethnicity
White 53%
Black 16%
Asian 21%
Latin 11%
(yes, that adds up to 101%' cos rounding) 

Members with a disability
5%

LGBTI Members
0%

That makes HA much, *much* more diverse than DC's Justice League or Teen Titans and I *think* both the Avengers and the X-men, though I'd need someone more up on the Marvel side of things to confirm that. (As mentioned above, the LGBTI is so low largely on a technicality and I'm sure we'll see Astral and Sparkle again). 
last edited on Feb. 12, 2015 10:57PM
cdmalcolm1 at 9:30AM, Feb. 13, 2015
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I don't think it really matters. I more or less try to make people from different countries than race. The majority of my universe is white. That is due from what country they are from. I try to make heroes from as many counties as possible.


That's why I like HA. The people are from all over the world. Race should never be a factor. So long as they are honorable to the cause.
Abt_Nihil at 2:45PM, Feb. 17, 2015
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Maybe we should let Astral and Sparkle join officially then…! Also, do we really know about sexual orientation of all members? (Never really thought about that, but I'm guessing there are some characters whose sexuality hasn't actually been explored.)
irrevenant at 4:48PM, Feb. 17, 2015
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I've assumed Astral and Sparkle will be joining the team eventually - or at least becoming regular guest stars like Virtus used to be.  They're too interesting characters not to. :) 

I thought about sexual orientation being unknown for a lot of the characters.  Unfortunately where sexuality is unknown the audience tends to assume heterosexuality by default.  A sexuality isn't being represented if that sexuality isn't visible.

You see a similar thing happen when novels are converted to movies. If a person of colour is cast there will inevitably be fans of the novel protesting that the character has been changed from white *even if the book never said they were*. A recent example: There was a fan backlash when they cast a black actress as Rue in the Hunger Games - even though the character is actually described as dark-skinned in the novels. -_-
Straight white male protagonist is so pervasive that people assume it unless explicitly shown otherwise. As the Hunger Games example shows, sometimes people will continue assuming it even then… 


Abt_Nihil wrote:
Maybe we should let Astral and Sparkle join officially then…! Also, do we really know about sexual orientation of all members? (Never really thought about that, but I'm guessing there are some characters whose sexuality hasn't actually been explored.)
  
last edited on Feb. 17, 2015 4:51PM
cdmalcolm1 at 12:14PM, Feb. 22, 2015
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I already kind of wrote them in as associates of HA. You know just in case them need to contact bombshell. In my story, ruffrat takes Solarcell out to a club where astral and sparkle sometimes hangout. RuffRat thought of them as an icebreaker for being friends instead of just HA associates. However, RuffRat would have to reveal his Identity to earn Solarcell's trust. I'll explain in the story when it comes
last edited on Feb. 22, 2015 6:34PM
Abt_Nihil at 7:11AM, Feb. 24, 2015
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irrevenant wrote:
I thought about sexual orientation being unknown for a lot of the characters.  Unfortunately where sexuality is unknown the audience tends to assume heterosexuality by default.  A sexuality isn't being represented if that sexuality isn't visible.
  
 
I agree. Just saying we can't be sure :)
irrevenant at 4:32PM, Feb. 24, 2015
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It should probably be mentioned here that, as far as I can tell, there has thus far been basically zero romance in HA. The closest I can think of is the awkwardness Virtus showed towards Titan in HA #4.  Over in HU space we know that the HU Commander had a husband, that Hightide had romantic interest in her and that Vora has a bit of a crush on SHELL.  (Oh yeah, and Blonde Bombshell is married with kids). 
And that's it. Something like 95% of HA are complete question marks romantically/sexually.  We should do something about that. :) Romance issue ahoy!! \o/
cdmalcolm1 at 6:09PM, March 9, 2015
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irrevenant wrote:It should probably be mentioned here that, as far as I can tell, there has thus far been basically zero romance in HA. The closest I can think of is the awkwardness Virtus showed towards Titan in HA #4.  Over in HU space we know that the HU Commander had a husband, that Hightide had romantic interest in her and that Vora has a bit of a crush on SHELL.  (Oh yeah, and Blonde Bombshell is married with kids). And that's it. Something like 95% of HA are complete question marks romantically/sexually.  We should do something about that. :) Romance issue ahoy!! \o/



I thought about that too. I wanted for SolarCell to fall in love with an HA member, who by default is not normal looking. I though it was strange that on one has falling in love yet. Or at least have drawn out crush on someone….hell a love triangle would make things a little interesting….


Like what if Amalgam has a secret crush on Bomeshell….it could have started from the look he gave her at the end of ninja issue. Or have the unlikely Titan fall for one of the guys on HA.



Race again should not be an issue, but why not throwing Religion into the mix? I don't know any Jewish HA members. Or a Buddhist. My hero is a demon….she just don't remember herself being that way one she enters the HA universe. Is Peligroso a demon? Still confused about what he really is. I know he has a demon with him from time to time.



Me honestly don't care if a character is Black, White, Asian, Jewish, Buddhist, Gay, Straight, or a different species, I believe the character is what makes the character. Conflicts, climaxes, love triangles, drama with some humorous antic here and there will drive the story. Like when I watch thunder cats……I see cats. I don't see race at all. That's how I see HA. I Love that fact. You writers are doing something right. Bombshell is the bomb. She also don't care too much about age, race or religion. she wants to know the availability and dependence of each member. As a matter of fact I don't recall any issues about race before this forum.



Anyways, if I went off the handle, I am truly sorry. Somehow I believe my last paragraph might be stepping into a whole other issue.
irrevenant at 4:01AM, March 10, 2015
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Peligroso is not himself a demon, but he is powered by one.  You can read his origin at: http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Heroes_Alliance/5372213/

I basically agree with you: if a character is interesting, it doesn't really matter to me what race or gender they are.  Unfortunately, in the entertainment industry, when it doesn't matter what race or gender characters are, they almost always seem to assign characters the “default position” of white and usually male.  And that's a shame, both because it means that a lot of people grow up surrounded by media that has no heroes like them and because it means all of us are missing out on stories that contain a representatively diverse array of characters like the world we actually live in.  So I think, when it doesn't matter what race, gender, etc. a specific character is, it's worth consciously choosing something other than the white male that seems to be the automatic default.

I didn't mean to imply that race, etc. was an issue in HA.  It's not.  HA has a very representative and diverse mix of characters.  These stats were mostly just a “congratulations” for how much better HA is doing in this regard than the “Big Two” without even particularly trying.  I assume that's probably a side-effect of HA having a much more diverse array of creators from all around the world (and the internet).
Abt_Nihil at 6:59AM, March 10, 2015
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The Blue Beacon was buddhist, actually, but he was only part of Heroes Unite, not Alliance (he had a major role on HU: EGO). Kaleidoskop is muslim, but she isn't part of HA… yet. I've also been thinking that it would be nice to introduce a Jewish superhero (not about any character specifically, just generally).
 
Also, great point about the lack of romance - we definitely should change that. Any more suggestions who could be interested in whom?
 
On that note, my personal take on drawing the page on which Aria/Bombshell walks in on Brad/Relik after his, um, fling with Lustra was that she really didn't mind taking a look at his, um, goods and presenting hers (and that she was deliberately looking disinterested, rather than being disinterested; she's definitely sizing him up in panel 3 :p )…
PIT_FACE at 7:12AM, March 10, 2015
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 “Like when I watch thunder cats……I see cats. I don't see race at all.”
   
Or cat people!! but I agree and want to elaborate on your point. Just as important as it is to take diversity into account, it's also important that IF you are going to represent a certain race, creed, sexuality, whatever, you do it right. That is, you dont just do it for token status or else it just becomes cliche. It detracts from the story so that it's actually better that that character isnt there at all and that's definitely counter productive. 

You see cats  because the characters arent acting in some ridiculous fashion just to point out to you that the character is “diverse”. This is important and I think the reason why we tend to stick to writing characters similar to our own demographic. Though, I DO find it interesting that writing a different gender than what you are seems pretty common. I'm a girl and my main character's a boy. Abt is a guy and his main character's a woman. Maybe this has something to do with projecting the writer's fantasy though (wink wink, nudge nudge) Anyways, I'm digressing. I'm just saying, the more diverse our writers are, the more diverse our characters are more likely to be.

Blah blah balh disclaimer: I'm not at all trying to say that people dont ever venture out of their comfort zone, I'm sure there can be thousands and thousands of examples anyone of you can bring up to counter that, I'm just speaking generally of course. 

last edited on March 10, 2015 7:23AM
Abt_Nihil at 3:49PM, March 13, 2015
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I've been thinking about what you said for a few days now. I agree that characters shouldn't just have this token status. And the fact that we're all not sticking to the “write about what you know” rule, to varying degrees, makes me think that being a tad ignorant about a character's ethnical or gender properties can be forgiven if they're just good characters, overall, and written sincerely.
 
Taking the example of my writing women: Of course I can have no real idea what being a woman is actually like. So I guess my characterization will always be off to some degree, and be a projection. But I'm not writing women because it's necessary to include them as tokens, but because I want to. Because it's interesting to me. (And probably because I like drawing them…) Similarly, I've been writing people practicing religions which I don't, or doing jobs I've never done. Heck, I've even written aliens! ;) There's probably a fine line between missteps which can be forgiven, and ignorantly endorsing stereotypes, but I don't see any other way than just risking these missteps if you don't want to strictly stick to the “write about what you know” rule. And I certainly don't want to.
cdmalcolm1 at 4:42PM, March 25, 2015
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The only real time I write by race when I write in by standards or backgrounds crowds. If I was writing HA, I would write it how you all are writing now. I go by characteristics of the actor. I'll be honest with you all. A lot of HA characters are strange to me. Odd even. Not a standard set of heroes or villains. Makes it a challenge to write for. So when I created SolarCell at first I was having a hard time making her odd or a little strange so she can fit in. So I made Her powers odd of sorts. Also, her good side personality makes her not like what her body is doing when she gains weight without her control. It creates awkward moments for story telling.



Here is what made me love Heroes Alliance. The simple fact that no matter how quarky they are to me, they are a very serious bunch. Its genius. The differences of each character is what makes the story works well without things like relationships or love. However, introducing things like love and having close relationships will make things more so interesting.



I'm also in the opposite when it come to writing a women role as my main character. I want to also introduce a love at first sight story for her.
PIT_FACE at 7:33PM, March 25, 2015
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Abt-Oh no, and I'd hate for people TO stick to the “wright what you know” deal. I wouldnt even want to call it a rule because that's still a bit too final. It's more of a comfort zone than a rule I think. And as writers, it IS not only good but necissary to LEAVE one's comfort zone. It's not so much about getting every little thing right as much as it is about making sure you dont get the crucial things wrong. Like you dont REPLACE the crucial core elements of a character, the substance, withsimply “being something”.


And I dont know why I'm going on about it. It's not like I've seen anyone here be all sterotypical about the way they write their characters. We were just on the subject, it seemed worth bringing up. It's the other end of the spectrum I think.

shastab24 at 9:31PM, June 28, 2015
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I hardly ever go to the other sections than “Stories”, so I missed this conversation for a bit.  Anyways, Astral and Sparkle can easily just be on Heroes Alliance.  Nepath has plans for Nemesis that exclude the ability for me to do the Stormfront story I wanted to, and that was the story that was ging to bring my two characters officially into HA.  It's easy to bypass an official entry issue and have them be members.  I mean, I really shouldn't be writing scripts with such important things for my characters getting in the way of the story, anyways.  My next script will have Astral and Sparkle as full HA members, as they've been referred to in their comic, anyways.
 
Thinking about race, though, I find it interesting that my only two white main characters from my comic are the ones I put in the HUniverse.  It's certainly not due to any foreseen whiteness to the HUniverse, but instead just how things played out.  I do have secondary characters that can easily be used when/if people want that are canonically in my comic part of the HUniverse:
 
Noggin - telepath, black man (sexuality not mentioned)
Technica - technopath (actually established in the recent story as a member of HA who will fill in for HUB from time to time), Indian woman (sexuality not mentioned)
Purple Power - energy powers and flight, Asian man (sexuality not mentioned)
Locomotive - super strength that increases the faster she moves (slight super speed), white woman (LGBT, but haven't determined where she fits on the spectrum)
The Herculean - Golden Age Superman powers (speed, strength, durability), albino man (sexuality and race not mentioned)
 
As for relationships, I do want to establish that Sparkle has a crush on Relik and Astral has one on Bombshell.  Neither are comfortable enough to act on it, though.  Sparkle is incredibly shy and Bombshell is scary at times and Astral doesn't want to possibly say the wrong thing (his astral body may be indestructible, but she most likely would know exactly where his physical body is at the time).

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