MIKE GOLD: Truth, Justice, and the American Way

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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17 Responses

  1. Jeremiah Avery says:

    I read an article awhile back that was addressing as to why so many British and Australian actors are getting certain parts over American actors and a casting agent was very blunt when he said “Because they look like actual men and not skinny emos”, plus mentioned a lot of them have more training in theater and in acting in general rather than just having a “look” and showing up for jobs.

  2. Kyle G. says:

    My favorite bit of Trivia is that before Antonio Banderas Zorro had always been played by white guys. The hero of the people from poor mexican townes was the rich white guy who happened to live there.

    • Mike Gold says:

      And who would know better than rich American white actors?

    • JosephW says:

      Regarding Zorro, you might want to note that the backstory of Zorro is that he was part Spanish and that Banderas is just as much a “white guy” as his predecessors (he was born in Malaga, Spain).

      As to being the “hero of the people from poor Mexican towns being the rich white guy,” do you happen to recall who Banderas’ female co-star was in “The Mask of Zorro?” It was Catherine Zeta-Jones, a woman of mixed Welsh and Irish ancestry (can’t get much “whiter” than that) and she didn’t really look much different from Banderas in terms of skin tone. (Incidentally, in that film, Banderas was the protege of the “original” Zorro–played by Anthony Hopkins.”)

      Additionally, there were other Latino Zorros before Banderas (Banderas wasn’t even the first Spaniard to play the character–an actor named Carlos Quiney played Zorro in three Spanish films in the early 1970s and in the mid 50s, an actor named Jose Suarez played Zorro in “La montana sin ley”). The first Mexican to play Zorro was Rodolfo de Anda in “La gran aventura del Zorro” from the early 1970s.

      But, yes, let’s denigrate the “rich white guys” since there’s obviously no way that such people could ever be concerned with the poor–despite the stories of Robin Hood (many of which credit the character with having been a nobleman).

  3. If you mean “Shaman’s Tears”, I’d absolutely go see that opening night. I love that comic.

  4. George Haberberger says:

    Johnny Depp has nothing on Jay Silverheels.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Well, George, Johnny Depp has at least ONE thing on Jay Silverheels. Depp’s still alive. OTOH, I guess it would have been possible to cast Silverheels as Barnabas Collins. At least in the initial modern-day scene.

      I met Silverheels at an appearance back when I was a kid. I was thrilled out of my Underoos (well, they didn’t have Underoos back then, but I did wear underpants).

      Piece of comics trivia: Tonto was one of Gil Kane’s very favorite characters. He got to draw him in a couple of commercial projects for, I think, Aurora.

  5. Todd says:

    Metropolis in Kansas? It’s been that way recently (Smallville) but it’s often been depicted next to the Atlantic ocean. Does anyone know the history or the official DC policy? Just asking.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Official DC policy changes more often than Chameleon Boy on crack. Nelson Bridwell, back in the day, positioned both Metropolis on the East Coast, not far from Gotham City. Personally, I prefer fellow-ComicMix columnist Denny O’Neil’s brilliant description: Metropolis is Manhattan north of 14th Street, and Gotham City is Manhattan south of 14th Street. And Denny said that years before 9/11.

      As for the Smallville series, since Smallville was stated to be in Kansas I surmised Metropolis, which was fairly nearby, was around St. Louis while Smallville was somewhere slightly west of Lenexa (Go Zarda’s Barbecue!). But as the series progressed and Lois and Oliver had to get to Metropolis every day, Metropolis obviously drifted west to Kansas City — either Kansas or Missouri (Go LC’s Barbecue!).

  6. Howard Johnson says:

    Wherever did you get that great shot of Superman, by the way?

  7. Mike Gold says:

    Well, Kim Howard Johnson, I got that shot of Superman from the Superman Elseworlds’ story “True Brit,” drawn by John Byrne and written by John Cleese and… and… wait for it… Kim Howard Johnson.

    I love you, pal. Hope you’re coming into the Big City for C2E2 next month.

  8. JosephW says:

    So, would you care to offer your opinion of casting Chinese actors to play Japanese characters? There was a bit of outrage when that happened in “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

    Or what about a Mexican actor being selected to play a Castilian Spanish or an Argentine character? Gael Garcia Bernal did both, playing a Castilian in “Bad Education” and Argentine in “The Motorcycle Diaries” (and he had to convince Almodovar that he could pull off a Castilian accent for “Bad Education” and he adopted a Rioplatense accent for “The Motorcycle Diaries” to play Che Guevara).

    Why does it seem that only CERTAIN changes can be made without a sense of outrage while others provoke cries of racism? Your comment about Heimdall’s being “Asgardian” is nonsensical. Who worshipped the Asgardians? The Norse. I don’t recall anything that indicated there were a lot of dark-skinned people living in Scandinavia or the Teutonic areas of Europe in pre-Christian times. I didn’t have any problem when the producers of “Smallville” chose an African-American actor to play Pete Ross. I had no problem with an African-American Kingpin in “Daredevil.” I could even overlook an Asian Ra’s al-Ghul in “Batman Begins” (especially as the character was basically a front). Even Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury in so many of the recent Marvel films was no big deal (just don’t expect me to believe that he was the same Nick Fury from WWII–unless we’re going to pretend that the Marvel-Earth USA managed to end racism long before WWII; if so, please make sure there’s a bit of backstory that spells that out explicitly–once the “Captain America” movie featured the integrated US military, it took me out of the story, but I digress…). Hell, even Halle Berry as Catwoman wasn’t an altogether idea (the execution on the other hand……).

    But……..let’s consider what the reaction would be if someone decided to remake “The Color Purple” with an all-white cast. Would the overall story really change? Certain details might need a change and a couple of characters’ motivations might need to be reworked, but the story is very much one of the human condition. But still, there would be so much outrage and hysteria over the “whitening” of a classic piece of African-American fiction, that almost no one would sign on for the film, and if such a film actually made it to the big screen, it would flop. (Compare the reaction to Lifetime’s recent announcement for an all-Black made-for-tv version of “Steel Magnolias.” No outrage. No public condemnation. Not even from die-hard fans of the 1989 movie. Everything’s been a “well, that’s interesting” type of reaction.)

    And as to the seeming Brit-takeover of “American” characters, what American actor has played a Romany in France and a number of British characters (some of whom were REAL people)? None other than Johnny Depp. He played Romany in “Chocolat” and was an English character in films like “From Hell” (Inspector Abberline), “Finding Neverland” (JM Barrie–actually Scottish), “The Libertine” (John Wilmot), “Sweeney Todd” (the titular character), and a little series of films called “Pirates of the Caribbean” (playing Jack Sparrow). Additionally, if the upcoming “Dark Shadows” is true to its TV origins, Depp will be playing an American pretending to be English (Barnabas became a vampire in 1795–presumably born a British subject and then becoming an American following the Revolution–but, after being revived, he presented himself as being from the Collins family’s English branch; interestingly, the character was first played by Canadian actor, Jonathan Frid, and was played by English actor Ben Cross in the 1990s TV remake).

  9. mightycleric says:

    One thing I find interesting about Heimdall is that, according to wikipedia (which, I’ll admit might be wrong, but is normally fairly strictly policed to be correct), he was actually stated as “the whitest of the gods”. I find it interesting that, if that is the case, they chose to cast a black actor in the role. I would have thought that, if they were going to remake one of them as a black god, that it would have been somebody else, but that’s not what they decided.

    However, that being said, I thought he did a great job in the role, and in fact I thought that, from top to bottom, Thor was one of the best cast super-hero movies (with Natalie Portman being the weak link for me, but I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of her overall, and am not trying to turn that into a debate).

    I think the biggest thing about casting in a movie should simply be: who can portray this character the best that will act the role for us? If that question is answered, then I don’t think that the race or anything else should matter.

    • darius404 says:

      If you’re going to fictionalize a mythology, I think liberties can be taken. With the extent that Marvel has taken it, I think it is completely reasonable that Heimdall could be black, real mythology or no.