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Interviewing the AH Community: Arvid Nelson

Time Enough

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Interesting interview, though reading this I was surprised how many of the comic books mentioned were all advertised in the Image Comics I read when I was definitely too young for them. I have a strong memory of the Zero Killer art, so maybe I should contact my Independent Comics Provider about it.

Now I think Comics have a lot of potential for alternate history due to the nature of it being visual allowing it to showcase more of the environment and world around the characters which literature just can't.
 

Thande

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Now I think Comics have a lot of potential for alternate history due to the nature of it being visual allowing it to showcase more of the environment and world around the characters which literature just can't.
This is true, though like other visual media it's a two-edged sword - the written word lets the reader fill in the background and can then shock them with an unexpected reveal (a character's ethnicity is different from what OTL-influenced cues would imply, there's some shocking background thing like slavery or segregation that was never mentioned as beneath notice, etc.)
 

Gary Oswald

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This is true, though like other visual media it's a two-edged sword - the written word lets the reader fill in the background and can then shock them with an unexpected reveal (a character's ethnicity is different from what OTL-influenced cues would imply, there's some shocking background thing like slavery or segregation that was never mentioned as beneath notice, etc.)
Funnily enough I can think of a comic that uses both of those twists.

1953's 'Weird Fantasy #18' has a sci-fi short called 'Judgement Day' in which a human astronaut visits an alien planet torn by racism and gives them a speech about how it was only when earth united that they could become great and they needed to do the same thing and then in the last panel takes off his helmet to reveal himself black.

In the AH Comic 'Ministry of Space', about a british space programme coming off a more successful ww2, a minor character is a black woman who in the last panel is shown to be returning to segregated quarters, something previously not mentioned.
 

Thande

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Funnily enough I can think of a comic that uses both of those twists.

1953's 'Weird Fantasy #18' has a sci-fi short called 'Judgement Day' in which a human astronaut visits an alien planet torn by racism and gives them a speech about how it was only when earth united that they could become great and they needed to do the same thing and then in the last panel takes off his helmet to reveal himself black.

In the AH Comic 'Ministry of Space', about a british space programme coming off a more successful ww2, a minor character is a black woman who in the last panel is shown to be returning to segregated quarters, something previously not mentioned.
Indeed, but those are memorable precisely because someone managed to pull it off in a medium where it wouldn't usually be possible.
 

Charles EP M.

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I remember a guy I knew being annoyed by that segregation reveal in MiS, because if Britain's racist enough to have legally enforced segregation now, why are there black astronauts and a Sikh high up in the ministry? But they're not saying this is the law, this could be the informal norm, and it's not like racism kept black and Asian people out of all jobs forever, like there couldn't be one or two getting high up.

(To borrow another scifi, "if there's so much racism in this 1960s, how is the Nichelle character so prominent on the popular show?")
 

RyanF

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1953's 'Weird Fantasy #18' has a sci-fi short called 'Judgement Day' in which a human astronaut visits an alien planet torn by racism and gives them a speech about how it was only when earth united that they could become great and they needed to do the same thing and then in the last panel takes off his helmet to reveal himself black.
One of the absolute best EC ever did and, for all their predilection towards dismemberment and icky, drippy corpses rising from watery graves, the one caused them probably the most trouble.

The CCA suggested the astronaut not be revealed to be black, to which Gaines et al. responded "That's the wholbe fucking point!"
 

SpanishSpy

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I remember a guy I knew being annoyed by that segregation reveal in MiS, because if Britain's racist enough to have legally enforced segregation now, why are there black astronauts and a Sikh high up in the ministry? But they're not saying this is the law, this could be the informal norm, and it's not like racism kept black and Asian people out of all jobs forever, like there couldn't be one or two getting high up.

(To borrow another scifi, "if there's so much racism in this 1960s, how is the Nichelle character so prominent on the popular show?")
You could cast it as being "it's so racist that this little is seen as being progressive."
 

Gary Oswald

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I remember a guy I knew being annoyed by that segregation reveal in MiS, because if Britain's racist enough to have legally enforced segregation now, why are there black astronauts and a Sikh high up in the ministry? But they're not saying this is the law, this could be the informal norm, and it's not like racism kept black and Asian people out of all jobs forever, like there couldn't be one or two getting high up.

(To borrow another scifi, "if there's so much racism in this 1960s, how is the Nichelle character so prominent on the popular show?")
It did feel to me like a quite heavy handed way to emphasise this uk's racism that didn't feel very close to how actual racism in the uk tends to display itself.
 

RyanF

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It did feel to me like a quite heavy handed way to emphasise this uk's racism that didn't feel very close to how actual racism in the uk tends to display itself.
Works from a story perspective I'd argue. If you wanted to play it really smart it would but would lack that gut-punch which is what it needed.
 

Charles EP M.

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It's a very blunt part but that'd be the whole "downside of visually showing things" part - in prose, you can end showing how the quarters just happen to be only black women and have it dawn on us, but a comic has to make sure it visually comes across in not many remaining panels
 

Gary Oswald

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Had the class system already in place, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
There's a famous story when the king of hawaii is a guest in london and a duke refused to walk with him to which the king says 'Kamehameha is either a king or a n word, if he's a n word he has no business being here and if he's a king, a duke doesn't get to contradict him'.

Of course there was then a big public debate about whether he was a king or merely a chief.

I think in India new officers were given a list of the caste system and the princes vastly outranked any british soldiers just not british officers.
 

ShortsBelfast

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There's a famous story when the king of hawaii is a guest in london and a duke refused to walk with him to which the king says 'Kamehameha is either a king or a n word, if he's a n word he has no business being here and if he's a king, a duke doesn't get to contradict him'.

Of course there was then a big public debate about whether he was a king or merely a chief.

I think in India new officers were given a list of the caste system and the princes vastly outranked any british soldiers just not british officers.
Equally famously a Victorian book on etiquette noted that the Aga Khan claimed direct descent from God and added "an English Duke takes precedence"
 
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