Critical Miss: Lord of the Wrongs

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Grey Carter:

XShrike:
Is this comic based on a random thought or is it triggered by the apparent outrage of a black Norse god in the Thor movie? The latter doesn't really bother me. If they are gods or advanced enough aliens they can look like whatever they want. If they want to get really specific Thor should be a red head and not blonde.

Any way, Middle Earth is based on at least Western Europe. Except for humans it didn't sound like much, if any, of the other races traveled far from their native lands. Any isolated population is going to have pretty uniform features. This would make most of the races "white". Although at the relative time they probably made distinctions among that. At the start of the 1900s people were still making distinctions among what would just be considered "white" today.

I think you (and everybody else who's going really into depth about the conditions and environment of middle earth) are kind of missing the point. Pretty much every central character in the Hobbit (and LOTR) is white. No one is disputing that (though some will argue Tolkien was very vague when it came to describing race) we're disputing that it's even remotely relevent when it comes to casting. Race is simply not central to these characters, it's unimportant, a vague background detail at best. Why not have a black hobbit? Would it effect any real changes on the character? If it breaks people's immersion then those people need to go watch more theatre.
The main gist of the strip is pointing out the hypcrisy in criticising black hobbits while the film openly casts dark haired actors as blonde characters. It's hypocritical and irritating.

For a good laugh. Find anyone arguing about multi-ethnic hobbits, go into their post history and do a search for the prince of Persia movie. See how many of them thought race was entirely unimportant when it came to casting the movie. Funny how that changes.

The differance between this and the "Prince Of Persia" movie is again that we're dealing with a visual medium. The actor they picked for the role looks VERY close to the artwork produced for the games it's being based on, which nobody bothered to complain about until there was enough exposure to get some attention.

What's more, there are enough Arabs who can pass as white, hispanic, or other ethnicities that it's been a security concern in the US. If you bothered to pay attention to the whole issue of "Homeland Security" you'd know that one of the reasons why there has been heightened border control with Mexico isn't just because of illegal workers, but because Mexico is relatively easy to get into by ship or plane from other parts of the world, their ID checking systems and such are also a bit behind the US. Apparently terrorists caught in the US had been going into Mexico, disguising themselves as natives (or US citizens who had lost IDs) and then using the same tricks illegal workers use to get into the US to cross the border. Remember these guys are still people and just as smart as we are, unlike in Hollywood where the terrorists always sail up in some yacht/freighter, or try and come into the country on a plane, it's rarely that straightforward.

The overall point being is that the guy looked like the artwork, could probably be made to "pass" in reverse with the right kind of work, and of course there is the simple issue that I don't think there are any Arabic actors out there that had the nessicary abillity to box office draw for the movie. Off the top of my head I can't think of many Arabic actors operating in the US at all, and none that would look like the character.

For all the passionate arguements people can make about it, and in defense of political correctness, I'll be blunt in saying I've become less than open minded to this kind of thing due to a lot of attempts to racially change characters from highly visual media. I thought the guy who played "The Kingpin" seemed like he might be able to pull off the role in "Daredevil" but in the end, it just didn't work. He couldn't convince me that he was the character from the comics. Then of course we have Halle Berry as "Catwoman", she's smoking hot, can act pretty well, and even had a complete reboot to try and sell it (complete with links to the old Michael Keaton movies, through showing Michelle Pfieffer in costume in photographs)... it just didn't work at all. I saw the movie in the theaters (Daredevil too) and right now I'm just not all that inclined to agree that a good actor or actress can overcome extreme differances with the artwork in question.

I had to laugh at the first joke with the Harold and Kumar reference XD

Probably my favorite one!

The orcs are already English...they just sound like they're from the rougher parts of London.

unacomn:
I think there already are English orcs. They're called football fans.

Well spotted :D

Love this and loved the Lily Allen reference. Finally! One I have noticed!

And latino giant spiders. ARRIBA ARANA!

Baalthazaq:

Gingerman:

Fronzel:

I did read the book and I don't remember this, but I doubt it came up that often.

I request a quote for proof.

Yep part of the reason why I didn't like it as it wasn't true to the history it was trying to tell which further proves my point on this whole "Staying true" to the source.

Samwise wasn't black in the book but it did state his skin was darker than the average hobbit then again he was a gardener so he probably got a tan.

Not Sam specifically, but the Harfoots as a race (of which sam is one) are described as darker skinned. Not just "darker than the average hobbit".

The Lord of the Rings, completed in 1948 (15 years pre-civil rights act, and started 10 years before that), had the darker skinned Hobbit Samwise Gamgee (Gamgee translated: Cotton-wool), who did all the hard labour, walks around calling Frodo Master Frodo, who marries Rose Cotton, in a world he sets, if I'm not mistaken 300 years earlier. There's a HELL of a lot of other stuff you can draw parallels to.

But seriously, is there any description of how MUCH darker they were exactly? No.
Therefore, could you have made Samwise black? 100% yes, and if anything many more things click into place when you do. Seriously, reread lord of the rings now. Does it make more sense or less sense?

Is it likely Tolkien had this in mind?
Does Tolkien often expand and develop stereotypes to get his characters?

This isn't a criticism of Tolkien, it's a description of a world that existed here in the same timeframe.

This annoyed me to a great extent - Sam worked outside, so he got a tan. He's a gardener. This does not mean he is a naturally dark skinned person. Also, Gamgee was a local word for cotton in Birmingham which Tolkien used coincidentally, he actually gave it an orgin of Elvish words meaning 'game' and 'wick.'

As much as America may seem like the centre of the world, there was no equivalent of the civil rights movement in the UK where Tolkien lived. Unlike the USA, in 1948, there were very few dark skinned people in the UK. Tolkien did not encounter dark skinned people in his daily life, from this perspective there's no reason for him to even think of including them in his epic.

While I'll admit that I haven't had time to 'reread lord of the rings,' I'm almost certain that I would gain nothing by turning Sam into a character of a different 'race.' Tolkien was mainly concerned with imitating great nordic myths and poems, not creating an allegory of anything. Tolkien had no black stereotypes to expand on.
Sorry for the random rant but I just had to put that right.

Therumancer:

For all the passionate arguements people can make about it, and in defense of political correctness, I'll be blunt in saying I've become less than open minded to this kind of thing due to a lot of attempts to racially change characters from highly visual media. I thought the guy who played "The Kingpin" seemed like he might be able to pull off the role in "Daredevil" but in the end, it just didn't work. He couldn't convince me that he was the character from the comics. Then of course we have Halle Berry as "Catwoman", she's smoking hot, can act pretty well, and even had a complete reboot to try and sell it (complete with links to the old Michael Keaton movies, through showing Michelle Pfieffer in costume in photographs)... it just didn't work at all. I saw the movie in the theaters (Daredevil too) and right now I'm just not all that inclined to agree that a good actor or actress can overcome extreme differances with the artwork in question.

With comics the objection to multi-ethnic characters is even more ridiculous. How many different versions of Catwoman have their been? In how many different continuities? Several of those depict her as being very dark skinned. There's no objection to a run that depicts Superman as growing up in the Soviet Union but a movie that possibly depicts Spiderman as black is too big a change? Absurd.
Comics are, by their nature, mutable and ever changing. With Tolkien I can understand the argument that his books represent a singular vision and that some people considering following that vision precisely is the whole point of an adaption (I disagree but it's a fair enough position) but with Comic books, the product of many different people with different visions, the objections seem shallow and racially motivated.

SirCannonFodder:

Gingerman:

Here's another great idea! lets take a race that lives in a country with a similar climate to England and throw the occasional black person in! Oh wait that makes no sense as that race wouldn't of evolved the skin pigment because the sun isn't that strong in the setting they're in.

I'm not very familiar with LotR mythology, so perhaps you could explain a few things to me. First, is the Shire the only place where Hobbits are found? If so, is the Shire located on an isolated island or otherwise completely different from the rest of Middle Earth? If the answer to either of those questions is "no", and evolution as we understand it truly takes place on middle earth as you seem to be saying, then I don't see why there wouldn't be non-white Hobbits. If Hobbits aren't exclusive to the Shire, then you likely would see the occasional non-white, just as you saw the occasional Moorish merchant/travelling scholar/physician in Medieval England. If they are supposedly exclusive to the Shire, and the Shire isn't geographically isolated and/or unique in some way, then it's likely that other Hobbit-like peoples would have evolved to fill the same evolutionary niche that Hobbits filled in the Shire, similar to Neanderthals in our world. That is, of course, assuming that evolution in LotR works in the same way as on our world, if at all, but if it doesn't, then it somewhat damages your "evolved the skin pigment" argument.

Understand something, Middle Earth is our world. The whole thing is that the world moves in ages, and changes greatly with time. It's the end of the third age, man is taking everything over, and the magic and wonder is beginning to leave (elves going over the sea, etc...). This is one of the reasons why Sauron who is making one final bid for conquest, there just aren't the kind of forces around anymore like those that laid the smackdown on him a long time ago. As you know from some of the stories they tell, Sauron was defeated by some great heroes joining forces against him, like Gil Galad. It wasn't quite the "dumb luck" thing that you saw at the beginning of the movie version, though I guess that captured the essence of it.

While the some of the things Tolkien's son "finished" after the fact changed stuff around, a key point which seemed to be downplayed a bit in the movies (though it was mentioned) is that Narsil was supposed to be a pretty powerful weapon in it's own right. The old heroes had stuff like that, and it didn't exist anymore. Reforging Narsil (which was able to trump the ring, at the expense of being destroyed itself) into Anduril "The Flame Of The West" was a big deal, and while Anduril was powerful it was only a shadow of what Narsil was and there wasn't a chance they were going to be able take Sauron in a straight fight. At one time characters like Galadriel and Celeborn might have been able to take down the weakened Sauron, but they talk about the "Diminishing Of The Elves" and how they are not only leaving, but their influance and power is fading. The elven lords just aren't what they used to be. Sauron pretty much picked the worst possible moment to make his return, and managed to get the biggest potential threats to him like Saruman pretty much on his side.

At any rate, it's been a while, so the details could be a bit wrong, the point here being that "Middle Earth" isn't a total alternate fantasy dimension, it's a distant and forgotten pre-history. All the incredible stuff fades away and the magic leaves. The hobbits who are a lot like man remain, but interbreed with men and disappear. The Rankin Bass animation of "Return Of The King" ends with the question "is there some hobbit in you?" for this reason.

The Hobbits are also very localized, and only from that one place. A key point of the stories is that the hobbits are such a minor race and so insignifigant that they were totally overlooked by Sauron and Mordor. The whole point of the scourging of the shire at the very end was that as a result of the war, their innocence was gone and they would no longer remain unnoticed. Sauron overlooked the possibility of something that was innocent and magic resistant enough to resist the temptation of his ring being used as a courier to dump it into the one place where it could be unmade.

The point being that hobbits DO vary in skin tones, and can have ruddy complexions or occasionally an olive coloration. There are no massive hobbit nations out there on other continents, or other settlements, there is just one "Shire" where these guys live, and while to them it seems like it's teeming with life, their numbers are ridiculously small even compared to the fading elves and dwarves.

Now to be honest, an arguement can be made that the guys riding the "Oliphants" could very well have dark skin tones. Sauron conquered a good portion of the rest of the world, and he wasn't just fighting with orcs and stuff from Mordor, but with armies from the rest of the world moving in on the last remaining bastions against him. That means that you probably had guys from Africa, India, and other places in some of those armies. The "Black Fleet" Aragorn took control of with the spirits of the dead was supposed to be crewed by humans (pirates pretty much).

If you read some of the backround information and timelines, there were huge battles taking place that weren't part of the story directly, or shown in the movies. Sauron pretty much had his armies divided into "hands" each with five fingers, each finger being a massive army. While Minas Tirith was the big stepping stone to quash the remaining meaningful resistance, you also had some huge battles taking place in the forests of the elves at the same time, in one of the timelines I remember reading they managed to hold out (barely) cutting off three fingers of one of his hands (so to speak) by the end. The elves and their king and queen being th other major force resisting him (purely defensively) along with the Men Of Gondor.

HankMan:

Grey Carter:
Cory Rydell and Grey Carter think you're just evil, your just some racist who can't tie our laces, your point of view is medieval

To be fair, the Lord of the Rings IS medieval.
Assuming that the one Black Dwarf in the Hobbit is a gangsta and having him hold the drugs while the white dwarf makes the pitch,
now THAT'S racist
Plus, The wizards were gay in the book, or do you not recall Saruman's "cloak of many colors"?

You DO realise that its a play on words of the song Fuck You by Lily Allen.

I loved this comic :D

but Fuck You by Lily Allen.....really

i'm probably being dense but i cant see anything female about the female nazgul. what am i missing

Reminds me of Dr. Who
You had black guys when they went to historical settings
Always made me ):

XShrike:
Is this comic based on a random thought or is it triggered by the apparent outrage of a black Norse god in the Thor movie? The latter doesn't really bother me. If they are gods or advanced enough aliens they can look like whatever they want. If they want to get really specific Thor should be a red head and not blonde.

Any way, Middle Earth is based on at least Western Europe. Except for humans it didn't sound like much, if any, of the other races traveled far from their native lands. Any isolated population is going to have pretty uniform features. This would make most of the races "white". Although at the relative time they probably made distinctions among that. At the start of the 1900s people were still making distinctions among what would just be considered "white" today.

Actually that's not true. The "aliens" logic which was explored in the "Universe X" (Alternaverse) explained that they pretty much took on the apperance and properties that people expected of them. Certain gods who were believed to be able to shapechange could, but the other ones looked that way constantly.

In the general continuity the only gods who could change what they look like fundementally are Loki, Odin, and Karnilla. The Enchantress can do enough illusions to pull it off, but I don't think she can actually shapeshift.

Thor himself has a unique property in that he's the spirit of a god who uses mortal hosts. Thor is blonde because Donald Blake, who is the host (or was originally, it's changed from time to time) is blonde. This is incidently why you've seen cases in various universes where Thor has been a woman, and similar things. There was also an entire storyline with Thor battling another, properly "mythological" Thor with red hair who was the original version (it's complicated) and then the whole "Beta Ray Bill" thing. The bottom line being that duplicates of Mjolnir can, and have been made, which have given various characters the same powers as Thor. Storm even had one briefly when Loki "recruited" her as Thor's replacement during that whole "X-men in Asgard" storyline.

Basically if Thor's host died, and a worthy person found the hammer they could also become Thor and would look like an idealized version of themselves. If that person was black, then you could have a black Thor. This however does not apply to the other Norse gods however, this is one of his tricks. Loki, Sif, Odin, Volstagg, Baldur, etc... do not occupy and empower host bodies the way Thor does.

People tend to forget the whole thing with Professor Donald Blake having the hammer hidden in his cane and then tapping it three times to turn into THE MIGHTY THOR! I mean cripes. I understand the fact that this element of things rarely comes up anymore (with Thor being Thor most of the time) but I get tired of people bringing up the issue that Thor doesn't look like the mythological version, when this was covered pretty much from the get go. He had a secret identity, and the whole thing started with the hammer being found at a dig site. I believe Thor's first storyline where this was found involved him fighting the Stone Men From Saturn or something like that. :P

Also Thor *HAS* gotten pretty silly at times with the whole possesion bit. There was a time when Loki turned Thor into a frog, and what this ultimatly did was create "Thor: Frog Of Thunder!" which was a bullfrog with all the powers of Thor (and the costume and hammer). It was kind of amusing at the time, but I still roll my eyes today thinking about it.

Like most comics, consistincy is not it's strong suit (since there have been storylines with Thor shown as a blonde boy in Asgardian flashbacks, with various convoluted storylines explaining this and how it related to other apperances with his "original" red haired host body) but as a basic concept, especially when you look at how it launched, it's pretty straightforward and I'd expect people who know comics enough to get excited about a Thor movie to at least know about Donald Blake, and the basics of Thor's origin.

First of all you can't prove anything about Gandalf. Secondly the "Gangsta" dwarf thing has already been covered by Terry Pratchett. And Thirdly, why can't orcs celebrate their success with Bowler hats? Successful Trolls do. *ZING!*

[quote="Ernil Menegil"

PS: Oh, and actually, there really WAS a female Nazgul among the Nine. Was called Amraphel, if memory serves me well.[/quote]

Adunaphel.

Grey Carter:

Therumancer:

For all the passionate arguements people can make about it, and in defense of political correctness, I'll be blunt in saying I've become less than open minded to this kind of thing due to a lot of attempts to racially change characters from highly visual media. I thought the guy who played "The Kingpin" seemed like he might be able to pull off the role in "Daredevil" but in the end, it just didn't work. He couldn't convince me that he was the character from the comics. Then of course we have Halle Berry as "Catwoman", she's smoking hot, can act pretty well, and even had a complete reboot to try and sell it (complete with links to the old Michael Keaton movies, through showing Michelle Pfieffer in costume in photographs)... it just didn't work at all. I saw the movie in the theaters (Daredevil too) and right now I'm just not all that inclined to agree that a good actor or actress can overcome extreme differances with the artwork in question.

With comics the objection to multi-ethnic characters is even more ridiculous. How many different versions of Catwoman have their been? In how many different continuities? Several of those depict her as being very dark skinned. There's no objection to a run that depicts Superman as growing up in the Soviet Union but a movie that possibly depicts Spiderman as black is too big a change? Absurd.
Comics are, by their nature, mutable and ever changing. With Tolkien I can understand the argument that his books represent a singular vision and that some people considering following that vision precisely is the whole point of an adaption (I disagree but it's a fair enough position) but with Comic books, the product of many different people with different visions, the objections seem shallow and racially motivated.

The differance is that those differant versions are one shots and (usually) short lived alternate continuities. There is typically one version of a character that exists in the actual, canon universe (or set of universes). Sure, someone has done stories like "what if Superman was raised in Russia" but that has no bearing on the actual main DC continuity and the character itself. What we're seeing is them doing movies based on the character, selling a movie as "Superman" or "Thor" where the idea (and what people expect) is to provide a movie rendition of the actual canon character, as opposed to something that someone threw out in a series like "What if..." at some point.

There have been stories like "What if Ironman mass produced his armor for the US goverment" which explored the concept of "The Iron Guard" pretty much smacking down all the bad guys on the planet, making super heroes irrelevent. Tony Stark is a billionaire shut in, and paranoid like nobody's business. Eventually Magneto shows up with his whole "Mutants are the Master Race" agenda, nobody has heard of him, and being the IRON guard he winds up wiping them out rather easily, and the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants makes a grab for world domination. Some of the guys with powers come out to try and stop him, where we've got Spider Man and Wolverine as fat middle aged men and stuff, they predictably get trashed. Tony being off his rocker reveals that the entire Stark Industries building is one giant suit of Iron Man armor (sort of like "Earth X") and the last scene is the building-bot firing on a about-to-be-swatted-like-an-ant magneto.

It's been a while, but the exact details are unimportant, the point is that the above is one of those "alternaverses" someone did for fun. I can justify there being a fat, middle aged Spider-Man who can't keep out of his own way for example, I mean it's been in the comics! So basically if I decided to launch a movie based on THAT version of Spider Man, played by James Gandolfini... and do it seriously, not as a comedy (with the watchword being "pathetic" more than anything), your basically saying that fans should just embrace that because, hey, it's been in the comics.... No, people who go to these movies want to see the actual characters fro the mainstream continuities as they know them. They want the young, wise-cracking, agile, effective, crime fighting Spider-Man, who looks like Peter Parker in the comics, and wears the costumes from the comics... (in comparison to say the terrible Doctor Strange movie from the 1970s where at the end he gets a typical "generic superhero" suit).

People are defending the race change because of politics, but in the end it's the same thing as doing a movie about "fat spider man" even if you were to play it deadpan seriously as opposed to what I described from that comic. People defend this because it's a "racial issue" and has to do with skin color which is a deadpan issue. I doubt anyone would be defending an obsese actor playing Spider Man, even if someone was to bring up issues of "dicrimination against heavy people" and ask "well why can't Spidey be fat?" with the same enthusiasm that people seem to throw down in saying that characters can be re-interpeted as other ethnicities.

The issue becomes hard to argue, like any issue that involves race does, which is at the root of a lot of society's problems (above and beyond this), it prevents needed dialogue on a lot of subjects. Nobody wants to risk being stigmitized as a racist, for wanting to defend the proper portrayal of an established character.

... and for the record, I very much doubt many people would flock to theaters to see a movie about Russian Superman either. There are very few "alternaverse" concepts that would even have the geek following to carry even a second rate movie. Perhaps something like say "Kingdom Come" could be turned into a movie, although that left most of the major characters more or less unchanged (other than setting the clock ahead, and showing how things might turn out), or maybe Marvel and DC joining forces briefly to combine their movie making successes into something based on the "Amalgam Universe", or the "DC Vs. Marvel, Marvel Vs. DC" storyline which ended it.

What works for a short print run aimed at hardcore nerds looking for something a little differant isn't exactly going to wallow in mainstream appeal. Especially when you consider that ideas like "Communist Superman" are meant to be disturbing, or darkly amusing as much as anything.

Gingerman:

Fronzel:

Baalthazaq:
Samwise was originally black... read the book... seriously people...

I did read the book and I don't remember this, but I doubt it came up that often.

I request a quote for proof.

Gingerman:
lets remake braveheart but instead of William Wallace being a white guy we'll make him a Chinese midget with no legs. Oh wait no that'll be rather historically inaccurate and insulting.

Braveheart is already rather historically inaccurate and insulting.

Yep part of the reason why I didn't like it as it wasn't true to the history it was trying to tell which further proves my point on this whole "Staying true" to the source.

Samwise wasn't black in the book but it did state his skin was darker than the average hobbit then again he was a gardener so he probably got a tan.

Sorry if I come off a bit hostile there but this attiude to race is dangerous as it sugar coats the whole damn problem by saying "Oh no see we like you! look we put a black man into the film! we aren't racist honestly!" (not saying you have this attitude but it seems the author of this bland comic does)

Make a character black because it suits the character not just to seem not racist.

As usual, the only people bringing up the R-word are the white guys whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiining about this horrific raping of the character by changing the skin color, which we all know is important for historical accuracy in portraying our fictional characters in settings where skin color is not an issue in the slightest or even mentioned.
And of course, when discussing the topic, the apparent-non-racists can only come up with extreme examples like turning Abraham Lincoln into a blonde Filipino elf, because otherwise, they just look like racists complaining that someone whose skin color makes no difference is a color they disapprove of in the role for no explainable reason. Using actual parallel examples and explaining the issue would just complicate matters and make for a "discussion".

I get to the end of an amazingly humorous comic and get mindslapped by a Lilly Allen lyric? Consider me laughing out loud enough to have the girl at the next desk look at me like I'm crazy.

matrix3509:

Soylent Dave:
snip

The problem is that the Harfoots are described as "browner of skin". Browner than what exactly? Browner than orcs? Browner than Haradrim? Of course not. What he means is browner than Fallohides. Which could mean any number of things.

Harfoots = Browner
Haradrim = Brown

So who the hell is darker than who? Its pretty obvious from the context of those quotes you so willfully removed them from.

And again, this.

@Soylent Dave
The idea repulses me because any attempt on mangling the internal logic of any author's setting is an idea which I find abhorrent. I reacted much the same way when I saw Glorfindel was completely omitted from the first film, for no apparent reason, when his scene would've still made all bloody sense.

You are, of course, correct in your quotations, but as matrix points out, you completely removed said quotes from context. And from de-contextualized quotations, anyone can draw erroneous interpretation. As he points out, in context, they really should not be considered to be of the same profile as people we know for certain are ethnically similar to real-world counterparts of southerners such as the Haradrim. Hobbits may be ethnically diverse, but that does not mean they are as diverse as humans', especially when we consider the time during which the work was written (it was not the most ethnically-minded of times) and the author's concerns, which clearly did not aim toward a multicultural agenda but rather to materialize a mythology.

Data Snake; I seriously do not remember where I read it. I am not sure if it was in the History of Middle Earth series or somewhere else, so you might be perfectly right.

Female nazgul and gangsta dwarves made me lol

Female Nazguls...

*shivers*

Can you imagine a Nazgul PMSing?

Very clever n' witty. Though why is all medievil stuff based on LOTR? Why do dwarfs have scottish accents? When Scotts are typically tall. Why do they always have long hair? And Beards, its either a light one or one that could sink a destroyer.

Eclectic Dreck:

Zhalath:
Ah, female Nazgul. Almost as controversial as the Female Space Marine.

The logical compromise then is to make a cosmetically similar but obviously inferior Nazgul for the females. It worked for Warhammer after all.

So, -4 Str?

Chazfreakish:
The orcs are already English...they just sound like they're from the rougher parts of London.

I am very glad to see someone else spotted this. Took 3 pages though. My first thought on reading that panel was pretty much LOLWUT?!? The orcs in Peter Jacksons adaptation couldn't sound more (pretend) English if they started doing a rendition of the entire score of Mary Poppins in 'Dick Van Dyke cockney'.

Said the same thing in Thor: If its a minor character, no damage done. Main characters, however, characters who have backgrounds already created for them and are supposed to look/act a certain way, those should be left alone. I don't think I'd be as satisfied with this movie if a hobbit were black, though unless they stereotype him I don't think it'd lose any entertainment value. I would be just as displeased if Rand Al'Thor were played by a short, Asian women with black hair (Unless they somehow CGI'd her into full Rand splendor), when he is clearly a huge, white male with abnormally red hair. 's how it works.

Grey Carter:

XShrike:
Is this comic based on a random thought or is it triggered by the apparent outrage of a black Norse god in the Thor movie? The latter doesn't really bother me. If they are gods or advanced enough aliens they can look like whatever they want. If they want to get really specific Thor should be a red head and not blonde.

Any way, Middle Earth is based on at least Western Europe. Except for humans it didn't sound like much, if any, of the other races traveled far from their native lands. Any isolated population is going to have pretty uniform features. This would make most of the races "white". Although at the relative time they probably made distinctions among that. At the start of the 1900s people were still making distinctions among what would just be considered "white" today.

I think you (and everybody else who's going really into depth about the conditions and environment of middle earth) are kind of missing the point. Pretty much every central character in the Hobbit (and LOTR) is white. No one is disputing that (though some will argue Tolkien was very vague when it came to describing race) we're disputing that it's even remotely relevent when it comes to casting. Race is simply not central to these characters, it's unimportant, a vague background detail at best. Why not have a black hobbit? Would it effect any real changes on the character? If it breaks people's immersion then those people need to go watch more theatre.
The main gist of the strip is pointing out the hypcrisy in criticising black hobbits while the film openly casts dark haired actors as blonde characters. It's hypocritical and irritating.

For a good laugh. Find anyone arguing about multi-ethnic hobbits, go into their post history and do a search for the prince of Persia movie. See how many of them thought race was entirely unimportant when it came to casting the movie. Funny how that changes.

Right. Considering that I've re-read LOTR and the Hobbit once a year for the past decade, got umpteen Tolkien reference books in my collection, and made it through the entirety of the Silmarillion three times (no mean feat, I can tell you), I'd like to think I'm as much of an authority on Middle Earth as anyone you're likely to find here. So please let me argue, in as much detail as I can, the reaons why I think you, and everyone calling the racism card, are wrong:

Firstly, the whole Fallohide/Harfoot issue. While Harfoots are described as being darker of skin, this is explained as being a result of their constant outdoorsyness. Now, as luck would have it, my dad is pretty much an ideal model to compare to. He's short (just over 5 foot), got sticky out ears and curly hair, and has done nothing but outdoor labour jobs for pretty much his entire life. As a result, his skin has toughened up and darkened in pigment. However, and this is important, no-one in their right mind would mistake him for a black or asian person. His skin is darker, but he's still an obvious pale pasty Englishman compared to anyone of Asian or African descendance. All those suggesting that Harfoots, by virtue of working outside, are capable of just as much racial insensitivity. Working outside in the sun does not turn you into a black man, and to suggest so is just as offensive as the 'racism' you're decrying.

The second argument people use: that Middle Earth is a large place, so hobbits would be very ethnically diverse. That would be true were it not for a few key facts. Firstly, the Shire is about as far West as you can go in Middle Earth, and the deserts of Harad (the nearest desert, where you would expect people to naturally develop darker skin) is way out to the east and south of Mordor. Y'know, that place they spend three fucking novels walking to! It's not a hop, skip and a fuckety jump across the street, it's a distance of thousands of miles! Now, if Hobbits were well travelled, there would still be an argument, but they're not. Tolkien specifically and intentionally wrote them as a race who have kept to themselves. Within the Shire, anyone who ventures more than twenty miles over the border is actually regarded as a bit of a loony. This is not a well travelled race, this is a race who are so insular and out-of-the-way, the all seeing flaming eyeball of a Dark Lord didn't even realise they fucking existed! Multi-culturalism really is not something hobbits do. In fact, they're pretty damn against it. They treat anyone from over the border as someone to keep an eye on. This isn't something Tolkien condoned, in fact he uses his position as author to call them out on it as the story progresses, but it's there nonetheless.

Now to your point Mr Carter: if this was any other author, your point would stand. Tolkien, however, was legendarily particular about every aspect of fantasy. He fucking well called out C.S. Lewis for having fauns, minotaurs, dwarves and nymphs altogether in the Narnia mythos. For Tolkien, the devil wasn't just in the details, it was in the details of the details. When people say that Tolkien was the best world-builder in literature, it's not simply due to the size of the world he created. It's because, no matter how closely you look, everything within the world makes sense and fits in the context. Rivers flow the way they're supposed to, mountain ranges are arranged in suitably realistic formations, and being a world where long distance travel amounts to hoping you can scab a lift off the occasional eagle, the various peoples of Middle Earth are described as much by their physical appearances as their cultures. The Rohirrim are typically well built, with pale skin and blone hair, much like the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen who inspired their creation. The Haradrim, living out in the desert regions, naturally have darker skin pigmentation. And Hobbits, living in a pastiche of Middle-Age/17th century England, are for the most part white, with the outdoorsier types sporting a tan. That's not a result of Tolkien being racist, it's a result of him thinking long and hard about the effects of the various environments of Middle Earth on the peoples who live there.

It is not racist to demand the same attention to detail in the films as Tolkien showed in the books. Did anyone call out the Fellowship movie for not depicting black hobbits? No. People accepted that it made sense in context. If this lady had never gone for the audition, no-one would be talking about it. Would people still accuse the makers of the films of being racist? Or are we only talking about it because someone has caused a fuss where there wasn't one before.

Oh, and in response to your picture of Morgan Freeman:

image

And if you didn't find a black man walking around Sherwood Forest under highly contrived circumstances distracting, maybe I could point you to Kevin Costner's accent in the same film? If you're going to argue that skin colour is irrelevant in film roles, then surely accent is too. And after all, Americans and English folk are both white, so it's practically the same thing.

Gingerman:
Meh he's got a good point, lets make Gandalf 2 feet tall have bright pink hair and speak only as if he's got a nail through his tongue. Oh wait no that'll make the character look rather silly.

Here's a better idea! lets remake braveheart but instead of William Wallace being a white guy we'll make him a Chinese midget with no legs. Oh wait no that'll be rather historically inaccurate and insulting.

Here's another great idea! lets take a race that lives in a country with a similar climate to England and throw the occasional black person in! Oh wait that makes no sense as that race wouldn't of evolved the skin pigment because the sun isn't that strong in the setting they're in.

Don't give me the bullshit that its a fantasy novel, its in a low fantasy setting so although it has magic and shite it still adheres to some rules, for example if I booted Frodo off a cliff gravity would make him fall.

Not casting black/Asian people for hobbits is not racist its common sense, yes maybe have tanned hobbits because that is possible (hobbits near Bree are more tanned I think). Anyone who thinks this is racist really needs to grow up and stop being so bloody PC.

If a film was being made on Martin Luther King and the actor was white I'd be really pissed off, it doesn't matter if one is real and the other is not the book states that they are white and therefore if you want to stay true to the book (which they do I'm guessing with LOTR) then only white people should be hobbits.

Or if you want Pink haired 2 foot Gandalf would be awesome.

Edit: Have to say love the last panel goes to show how short sighted you really are. Gandalf wasn't gay in the films the actor was. His sexual orientation had no effect on him being a white old man and playing Gandalf just as he is in the books. Legolas's problem is merely a continuity error that was over looked the rest of Bloom was ok in relation to the books (apart from his acting)

Yeah with you on this one. It is a shame the comic artists have gone trendy and sided with the, let's have multi-cultural hobbits, you're racist if you don't! We have a small isolated people in the shire, they've been shown to look one way in the films thus far, now with the possibility they will be pc-ed, it is going to look ridiculous, damage verisimilutude and continuity if implemented. The comic artists sure made a mistake on the gay wizard comment. Characters and actors people, characters and actors.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Grey Carter:

XShrike:
Is this comic based on a random thought or is it triggered by the apparent outrage of a black Norse god in the Thor movie? The latter doesn't really bother me. If they are gods or advanced enough aliens they can look like whatever they want. If they want to get really specific Thor should be a red head and not blonde.

Any way, Middle Earth is based on at least Western Europe. Except for humans it didn't sound like much, if any, of the other races traveled far from their native lands. Any isolated population is going to have pretty uniform features. This would make most of the races "white". Although at the relative time they probably made distinctions among that. At the start of the 1900s people were still making distinctions among what would just be considered "white" today.

I think you (and everybody else who's going really into depth about the conditions and environment of middle earth) are kind of missing the point. Pretty much every central character in the Hobbit (and LOTR) is white. No one is disputing that (though some will argue Tolkien was very vague when it came to describing race) we're disputing that it's even remotely relevent when it comes to casting. Race is simply not central to these characters, it's unimportant, a vague background detail at best. Why not have a black hobbit? Would it effect any real changes on the character? If it breaks people's immersion then those people need to go watch more theatre.
The main gist of the strip is pointing out the hypcrisy in criticising black hobbits while the film openly casts dark haired actors as blonde characters. It's hypocritical and irritating.

For a good laugh. Find anyone arguing about multi-ethnic hobbits, go into their post history and do a search for the prince of Persia movie. See how many of them thought race was entirely unimportant when it came to casting the movie. Funny how that changes.

Right. Considering that I've re-read LOTR and the Hobbit once a year for the past decade, got umpteen Tolkien reference books in my collection, and made it through the entirety of the Silmarillion three times (no mean feat, I can tell you), I'd like to think I'm as much of an authority on Middle Earth as anyone you're likely to find here. So please let me argue, in as much detail as I can, the reaons why I think you, and everyone calling the racism card, are wrong:

Firstly, the whole Fallohide/Harfoot issue. While Harfoots are described as being darker of skin, this is explained as being a result of their constant outdoorsyness. Now, as luck would have it, my dad is pretty much an ideal model to compare to. He's short (just over 5 foot), got sticky out ears and curly hair, and has done nothing but outdoor labour jobs for pretty much his entire life. As a result, his skin has toughened up and darkened in pigment. However, and this is important, no-one in their right mind would mistake him for a black or asian person. His skin is darker, but he's still an obvious pale pasty Englishman compared to anyone of Asian or African descendance. All those suggesting that Harfoots, by virtue of working outside, are capable of just as much racial insensitivity. Working outside in the sun does not turn you into a black man, and to suggest so is just as offensive as the 'racism' you're decrying.

The second argument people use: that Middle Earth is a large place, so hobbits would be very ethnically diverse. That would be true were it not for a few key facts. Firstly, the Shire is about as far West as you can go in Middle Earth, and the deserts of Harad (the nearest desert, where you would expect people to naturally develop darker skin) is way out to the east and south of Mordor. Y'know, that place they spend three fucking novels walking to! It's not a hop, skip and a fuckety jump across the street, it's a distance of thousands of miles! Now, if Hobbits were well travelled, there would still be an argument, but they're not. Tolkien specifically and intentionally wrote them as a race who have kept to themselves. Within the Shire, anyone who ventures more than twenty miles over the border is actually regarded as a bit of a loony. This is not a well travelled race, this is a race who are so insular and out-of-the-way, the all seeing flaming eyeball of a Dark Lord didn't even realise they fucking existed! Multi-culturalism really is not something hobbits do. In fact, they're pretty damn against it. They treat anyone from over the border as someone to keep an eye on. This isn't something Tolkien condoned, in fact he uses his position as author to call them out on it as the story progresses, but it's there nonetheless.

Now to your point Mr Carter: if this was any other author, your point would stand. Tolkien, however, was legendarily particular about every aspect of fantasy. He fucking well called out C.S. Lewis for having fauns, minotaurs, dwarves and nymphs altogether in the Narnia mythos. For Tolkien, the devil wasn't just in the details, it was in the details of the details. When people say that Tolkien was the best world-builder in literature, it's not simply due to the size of the world he created. It's because, no matter how closely you look, everything within the world makes sense and fits in the context. Rivers flow the way they're supposed to, mountain ranges are arranged in suitably realistic formations, and being a world where long distance travel amounts to hoping you can scab a lift off the occasional eagle, the various peoples of Middle Earth are described as much by their physical appearances as their cultures. The Rohirrim are typically well built, with pale skin and blone hair, much like the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen who inspired their creation. The Haradrim, living out in the desert regions, naturally have darker skin pigmentation. And Hobbits, living in a pastiche of Middle-Age/17th century England, are for the most part white, with the outdoorsier types sporting a tan. That's not a result of Tolkien being racist, it's a result of him thinking long and hard about the effects of the various environments of Middle Earth on the peoples who live there.

It is not racist to demand the same attention to detail in the films as Tolkien showed in the books. Did anyone call out the Fellowship movie for not depicting black hobbits? No. People accepted that it made sense in context. If this lady had never gone for the audition, no-one would be talking about it. Would people still accuse the makers of the films of being racist? Or are we only talking about it because someone has caused a fuss where there wasn't one before.

Oh, and in response to your picture of Morgan Freeman:

image

And if you didn't find a black man walking around Sherwood Forest under highly contrived circumstances distracting, maybe I could point you to Kevin Costner's accent in the same film? If you're going to argue that skin colour is irrelevant in film roles, then surely accent is too. And after all, Americans and English folk are both white, so it's practically the same thing.

You've clearly got some knowledge on the subject here. Yes the isolationism and northern western climate. Why can't people understand what tanning involves?

Dey see me minin! They hatin!

honestly I don't see a reason to not have non-caucasian hobbits, but I also don't see it wrong for the casting director to refuse (unless it was blatant racism in his/her remarks)

unacomn:
I think there already are English orcs. They're called football fans.

TOP SCORE! Just don't say that at an English football game.

Sometimes, a racial change works.

I mean, look at the SWAT TV show. Note how the leader's white.

Now look at the movie they made, with the leader being played by Samuel L. Muddaeffing Jackson. IT so totally works.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

image

And if you didn't find a black man walking around Sherwood Forest under highly contrived circumstances distracting, maybe I could point you to Kevin Costner's accent in the same film? If you're going to argue that skin colour is irrelevant in film roles, then surely accent is too. And after all, Americans and English folk are both white, so it's practically the same thing.

Interesting thing though. Freeman was by far the best actor played the best character in the entire film. As for accents, you're proving my point as much as you're disproving it. Audiences are far more tolerant of bad or innacurate accents than they are of a character being the "wrong" colour. I'm not arguing for multiethnic casts in every film. I'm arguing that people picking and choosing which gross innacuracies they choose to get offended by is hypocritical and motivated by predjudice.

HankMan:
To be fair, the Lord of the Rings IS medieval.
Assuming that the one Black Dwarf in the Hobbit is a gangsta and having him hold the drugs while the white dwarf makes the pitch,
now THAT'S racist
Plus, The wizards were gay in the book, or do you not recall Saruman's "cloak of many colors"?

Actually the white dwarf has a sack in his hand, the black one is rifling through his duffle bag where he keeps all of his watermelon and grape soda. Interesting fun fact, I originally designed the white dwarf to be latino, but Grey had me change it because a button-up just buttoned at the top is too much. We were trying to not be too racist or something and since I havent been to enough seminars on proper PC protocol, I didnt know what to do. So Bam! white dwarf. Also the horse is a low-rider horse.

foxyexplosion:

HankMan:
To be fair, the Lord of the Rings IS medieval.
Assuming that the one Black Dwarf in the Hobbit is a gangsta and having him hold the drugs while the white dwarf makes the pitch,
now THAT'S racist
Plus, The wizards were gay in the book, or do you not recall Saruman's "cloak of many colors"?

Actually the white dwarf has a sack in his hand, the black one is rifling through his duffle bag where he keeps all of his watermelon and grape soda. Interesting fun fact, I originally designed the white dwarf to be latino, but Grey had me change it because a button-up just buttoned at the top is too much. We were trying to not be too racist or something and since I havent been to enough seminars on proper PC protocol, I didnt know what to do. So Bam! white dwarf. Also the horse is a low-rider horse.

Cory originally came to me with concerns that the strip did present some unfortunate racial stereotypes.

I said it was fine. I'm English and I don't find it offensive at all.

Evilsanta:
Hahaa. Funny stuff. But i kinda feel bad for the balrog, Can't you just outrun him or just walk up some stairs get away?

Well, remember the fucker can fly.

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