The short term (as a concept) and the comics industry have had an incredibly complicated relationship throughout history. Short term pushes for short term gains, long-term losses from short-term bets, and short-term trends begetting long-term classics are just the tip of the iceberg. With short-term trends, especially ones with long-term consequences, there’s an inherent compulsion to categorize them as either “good” or “bad.” The post-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles black-and-white comics boom? Bad. Buying five copies of Youngblood to try and put your kids through college? Bad. The Ultimate Comics imprint? Depends on who you ask. But as I write this, the comics industry is in the midst of yet another trend, one whose far-reaching consequences are difficult to discern.
There’s been a recent jump in the number of comics — mainly indie comics — that can be categorized as “tokusatsu,” a genre commonly associated in the West with Japanese costumed heroes and gargantuan monsters. With this trend at play, some questions arise surrounding the usage of the aesthetics as well as the creators who are currently using them. Is this trend bad or good? Should it be categorized as bad or good? What is lacking from this trend? Whose voices aren’t being heard, and who is being left behind as a result of this trend? So many questions, and so few easy answers. But in trying to find an answer, I only found myself asking more questions about the relationship that Westerners have with tokusatsu. [Read more…] about When the White Ranger Leads: On Whiteness in the Tokusatsu-Comic Trend