As a comic book nerd, we've all experienced that excitement of hearing news about a new superhero movie or television show.
We become excited at the prospect of getting to see our favorite superheroes and related characters in live-action (just like the many times we've imagined when acting it out with our friends).
Once the project is announced, we become excited to know every detail about it. The need to know everything leads us to speculate and always be tuned in to learn the latest news about scripts to the actors.
However, when choices are made about the project that we don't like, it can leave us with major disappointment.
A movie or television show without comic book accuracy isn't necessarily the end of the world.
The one thing people always tend to forget is that all these things based on the comics are only adaptions.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an adaption is a "composition rewritten into a new form", like the screen adaption of a novel.
This means that the things we see on-screen will not be perfect carbon copies of the comics.
It's our expectations for things to be perfect that leads to disappointment and we end up not enjoying the television show or movie like we should.
As exciting as it is to watch the comic book world come to life on-screen, it can become quite boring when we already know what will happen. The movies and shows provide the chance for these stories that we love to be expanded.
Even in today's age of technological advancements, it is sometimes near impossible to portray something on-screen as it is in a comic book. In addition, there are sometimes where a story or action won't translate well to screen.
The comic books are meant to be a guide to the creative process with shows and movies based off of them. Also, the keyword here is based. The stories from the inside of the comics may be done, just not in the same way or the way you're expecting.
A large part of today's adaptations are changes that are meant to reflect modern society. Since the basis of many comic books was created in the 20th century, they lack the diversity and equality that is apart of today's media.
The changes are made to allow room for diversity and representation in the comic book universe. For a long time, only a certain subset of consumers was thought about in the creation of comic books.
Slowly over time, everyone is getting their chance to see themselves represented in the comic book stories that they consume. There are characters of different races, genders, sexualities, and other identities. This allows those who lacked representation to finally be able to connections that others have over the years.
In recent years, roles that were traditionally white have been played by actors of color. On the CW's "The Flash," Iris West and Cecile Horton are portrayed by black actresses, Candice Patton and Danielle Nicolet, respectively. Superman's best friend, Jimmy Olsen, is played by Mechad Brooks on the CW's "Supergirl."
(Left) Cecile Horton on CW's "The Flash" and (Right) Cecile Horton (O'Malley) in the Flash comics Instagram / Collage by Aisha Turnquist
In "Thor: Raganorak" (2017), Valkyrie was portrayed by black actress, Tessa Thompson.
This also brings to issue the need for comic book accurate costumes, especially female characters. When many of the costumes were designed originally, they were drawn in ways that sexualized these female characters. This, of course, appealed to the large heterosexual male base who read the comics. In today's climate, the call for women empowerment needs to also be reflected in the comic book world.
It would make sense for a warrior to be wearing full-fledged clothing and armor, and not some scantily clad outfit.
The costumes now seen in shows and films are much more practical and still pay homage to the original design.
The character not having red hair or the exact color boots doesn't change anything. If the character still retains their powers and everything that truly defines their character, we should be good to go.
However, it becomes an issue when changes are made that erase identities important to the character's story.
There is a reason people have problems with white-washing and it's because being a person of color was important to their story. This also includes the erasure of other parts of the character's identity. If the character being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, a specific religion, etc. is a major part of their story it shouldn't be removed.
In addition, the stories that already feature diversity are getting more attention, like Marvel's "Black Panther."
Black Panther's story lies in being African and hailing from Wakanda. You change this and you change the story. It's why its necessary and cannot be changed.
"Black Lightning" which premiered on The CW this spring features a black superhero family. It also focuses on the sexuality of Anissa Pierce (aka Thunder), who is a lesbian. Anissa being black and a lesbian is essential to her story and thus needs to be included and unchanged.
There are more important things than the character's appearance. In many of these films and shows, the role was given to the best actor that could bring the character to life. The character's personality and portrayal should be the key things to having a perfect character.
Of course, there are those hiding their discriminatory thoughts behind the guise of wanting comic book accuracy. You can't be concerned about comic book accuracy for one character, and not the other. If you're about comic book accuracy, you're about it for every character. If you're not advocating for accuracy for everything besides specific things, you have an agenda.
No one is taking anything away from anyone. It's just making the playing ground more equal.
For many years, others lacking representation had to learn to adjust and enjoy content without seeing themselves. It is now your time to adjust as well. Let others be able to enjoy the comic books, movies, and television shows the same way you did.
When these film and television shows are made, they are often created with many goals in mind. The most obvious of the goals is to create buzz and make money. In addition to making money, these projects work to show an appreciation and love to existing comic book fans. These existing comic book fans also identify as the creators of superhero films and television shows. This is a reminder that the creators are also fans just like us. When it comes to creating, many have us in mind and will do their best to please longtime comic book fans.
Although, they also have to bring in new fans or viewers who wouldn't normally consume this genre. For this to be done, there are changes that need to be made to engage the unlikely consumer. One of these changes includes an increase in diversity and representation. These changes may not be as appealing for you, but they work to achieve the goal.
This is not to say that comic book history isn't important to these films and shows. There are important things to the superhero mythos that need to be retained to tell the story. The relationships between the superhero and their lover are essential to the legacy of many of these characters. Major examples are seen with Superman's Clark and Lois and The Flash's Barry and Iris.
In addition, the origin stories of the superheroes and their villains (the important parts, i.e. Bruce Wayne's parents being killed) should not be changed as it affects the story. This could also be said about the careers of certain characters like Lois Lane being a journalist or Bruce Wayne being a billionaire.
The plot points that are integral to the story are the most important. The details that surround the story are at the discretion of the creator. Even though it may please us to have exact details, these are things we shouldn't blow out of proportion.
Of course, we're all going to imagine things differently than any of the creators.
It's perfectly fine to have expectations for certain things, but it is also something you should tread lightly on. It's one thing to be unable to enjoy a film or television show because it's not something you like.
The issue lies when your expectations and dislikes lead you to harass the creators of the project, including the actors. You may not agree with the creative methods of the show/film, but there is no need to send hate regarding it.
The creator and the consumer will always agree to disagree. If we want to express our thoughts, there is a proper way to do it. We can send and have conversations with the creators and actors in a respectful manner. Many have proven they love to hear from us and are willing to use our input. The hate will get you nowhere. It just continues to turn them away from us.
We should always strive to remember this.
At the end of the day, the best thing we can do is to appreciate each project. The projects don't have to be made and for that, we should be grateful. We can love the comics and their adaptions individually.
Just try and remember to not get so hung up on the perfect adaption.