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Let’s Talk About Cyborg


on July 20, 2016

Cyborg is really relevant to John Stewart fans and how the John Stewart character is treated at DC Comics and Warner Bros. in general, nearly as much as the Hal Jordan character. To believe otherwise is to be rather naïve. Seeing as how Cyborg affects John Stewart to such a large degree, I think the character deserves attention here at greenlantern.co.

Ever since Bruce Timm’s animated hit Justice League, there has been a precedent for having a black male on the team. Timm thought exclusively showcasing a bunch of white guys and a white girl saving the universe with a green Martian was very dated, so he added John Stewart, a black male Green Lantern. Certain sectors of comic fans were predictably against John’s inclusion, since they preferred one of the several white Green Lanterns. In the end, those fans didn’t really make any difference, and the show went on to be a big hit, and John developed a passionate fanbase from it.

Though this opened up a lot of doors for courting a demographic DC Comics had trouble penetrating—largely because they rarely ever bothered to put in the necessary effort—they were never really behind John Stewart. The late Dwayne McDuffie, one of the main writers from the Justice League cartoon, touches on this issue in the video below at the 1:30 mark.

I’m very confident Dwayne McDuffie would have been more than willing to write a John Stewart comic series, but DC had no interest in printing such a title, even at the height of Green Lantern’s popularity when the franchise could comfortably support multiple books.

It is true that John’s inclusion in the cartoon brought him out of comic inactivity… but to what? DC never utilized John for anything of note. This was very jarring to anyone who looked at what the popular cartoons were doing with him on television. Bruce Timm was moving DC Comics’ properties successfully into the 21st century, and painting a new, fresh, inclusive view of these iconic concepts for a new generation… and DC Comics, as McDuffie said in the above video, were very comfortable with what they (DC Comics) were doing.

Regardless of John Stewart’s success on television, or perhaps even in answer to it, DC was gearing up to resurrect Hal Jordan, the then long dead Silver Age Green Lantern, and put all their resources behind that character. John Stewart proved to be an inconvenience for DC, since they wanted to perpetuate the idea that Hal Jordan was Green Lantern, yet Stewart had been firmly cemented in that role in the minds of millions. DC’s strategy for surmounting that obstacle was to greatly increase Hal Jordan’s visibility, which eventually culminated in a Hal Jordan movie and cartoon show, while ignoring John Stewart in the hope that people would forget about him.

Even though DC black balled John Stewart, they rather surprisingly realized they shouldn’t just have a bunch of white heroes in prominence. I personally believe that if DC could feature just a bunch of white people without the audience looking at them with suspicion, they would. Remember, actions speak louder than words, so let’s consider what DC has done. They squelched their most popular black and diverse character–who came to be such by no effort of DC Comics, but rather by WB Animation–for the sake of a white one. What also makes me think the way I do is that DC put even less than halfhearted effort into John’s black ‘replacement’. As a consolation to black people, DC promoted the Teen Titans character Cyborg to the Justice League while continuing to more or less ignore John or only give him stupid roles.

This whole situation is problematic on numerous levels and has naturally resulted in a massive catastrophe. Despite problems every which way, from lack of care on DC’s part, lack of interest on the fans’ part, intense criticism from both traditional fans and the black fans Cyborg is supposed to appeal to, creative conflict behind the scenes, and a recent comic series that proved to be a sales disaster, DC is stubbornly sticking to their guns and continues portraying Cyborg as essentially their number one black guy. This has not worked out for them and it will not, and here are the reasons why…

Let’s discuss Cyborg by himself. Blogger sonofbaldwin wrote a great article highlighting many of the troublesome issues with Cyborg, especially with portraying him as the most prominent black character at DC. However, regardless of the negative social implications of the character (and there is a crap load), Cyborg is… just not cool.

He does not look cool. His story is not cool. He basically has no world. He has no good love interest. And his only relationships are with Beast Boy and his dad. DC has never done anything good with him that I have ever seen. Regardless of the fact that the character is missing his penis, is missing about 40 percent of his face, and is a general freak (and again, those are whoppers), black males simply do not have a cool character to get into with Cyborg. The character is similar to Maul from the Wild Cats or Beast from X-Men in that they can work in a team, and it has to be a certain type of team, but on their own… forget about it.

Everyone else on the Justice League is generally cool to at least some extent, which is what makes it one of DC’s strongest properties. Even if I don’t like a particular version of a character, like Barry Allen, The Flash is worth investing in, which is why fans fight over who should be The Flash. The Flash is a cool concept, and fans want their guy to fill that role. The same can be said of Green Lantern.

Cyborg, however, is not cool. He is lame as hell. Very few people will fight for Cyborg, and many of those who will have ulterior motives. For example, they could be Hal Jordan fans, or fans of the general New 52 Justice League status quo, or just some of those guys who think that just about anything DC does is great. I know all of this first hand, because I’ve dealt with all three types of Cyborg supporters. There are legitimate Cyborg fans. From my experience they fall into two camps.

There are fans looking for a black hero to relate to, and since Cyborg is just about the only thing DC has on the menu, they try to make the best of it rather than reject it. Typically, I believe most of these fans prefer John Stewart, but since John is sidelined, they take what they can get.

Then there are real, totally legit Cyborg fans. I honestly don’t believe there are many, but they are out there.

There is the hope for Cyborg that he is popular with a bunch of kids who aren’t making their voices known online and who do not buy comic books. That’s possible, but we can’t really say. What we do know is that a lot of the kids who grew up watching the Teen Titans cartoon in the early-2000s are young adults now, certainly of an age to buy comics and post online, and the character does not seem to garner much esteem and support among fans. It’s my personal belief that the character is just not popular, because the character IS NOT COOL.

Black males generally don’t want him, because they have much better options, like John Stewart, and a number of characters over at Marvel, and elsewhere. White people don’t want him because he doesn’t have much of a history, and they really have no good reason to like him. Black people have limited options and still have much better choices than Cyborg. White people have near unlimited options, and when you can get into Superman, and Batman, and Spider-Man, and Captain America, and Nightwing, and Wally West, and ten trillion other characters, why on Heaven, Hell, or Earth, would they choose to be into Cyborg!? This character with no history, no world, barely any comics of his own to delve into. He looks like crap. He can’t even have sex like most people can, and who would want to have sex with him even if he could?

This is what DC is telling black males they have to offer them? No wonder it isn’t working out!

What do white males have? Superman. It’s established all kinds of women want to be with him. Batman. It’s established all kinds of women want to be with him. Hal Jordan. He’s supposed to be a lady’s man. Kyle Rayner. A total wish fulfillment character to the point they had him date Wonder Girl in his heyday. I bring this up because sexual desirability is a regular part of superhero wish fulfillment. Cyborg is not capable of that. And to present this character as the primary black hero of their publishing company is a message to black people that they are less. Whether DC intentionally meant to send that message isn’t even important. All that matters is how the audience perceives it.

While DC offers the problematic Cyborg to black people, John Stewart sits in Hal Jordan’s shadow, being neglected or used as a side character. Who is John Stewart famous for having a romance with? Hawkgirl. John Stewart can actually have have a romance just like his white peers, and he has one with a character that probably most straight, red blooded human males wouldn’t mind being with too much.

John Stewart succeeds with black males because he got to be a superhero and naturally do the things superheroes do, including having pretty love interests. These are things many people wish they could escape to. John Stewart is a character many people would like to be. Who would want to be a mutilated Cyborg with no penis and a large portion of his face missing? Personally speaking, I would rather date Hawkgirl and have a wishing ring. I have no desire to give up my penis or face, or even for my arm to turn into a cannon.

John Stewart succeeds with other types of people, not just black males, because he is famous for being an extremely well written and compelling character, in incredibly well written and compelling pieces of entertainment that just about anyone could enjoy.

Now, let’s consider how DC has handled Cyborg. The whole endeavor was always doomed for failure because of the points above, but DC didn’t really help things with their obvious lack of interest in the character.

DC showed their lack of caring about diversity simply by putting Cyborg on the Justice League and promoting that character as their primary black hero. All this is exacerbated by the fact that in five years, DC has barely done anything with the character. It didn’t take Bruce Timm five years plus to do something worthwhile with John Stewart. Nope, it took about two episodes. Timm knew John and Hawkgirl would be in an epic romance right from the get go. Very early in Justice League’s first season, Timm planted the seeds of the romance and believably built it over the course of two seasons, and it was the focal point of the season 2 finale.

I don’t claim to be a super master comic scripter. However, I have written and drawn comics that people enjoyed, so I feel I have at least some authority to say something here. What I learned about writing comics, which is a really simple thing that you kind of already know, is that you, the writer, ARE GOD!

If I wanted John Stewart in a relationship with… Princess Iolande… I could write it, I can make it happen, and I can even do it to where it would probably be an entertaining story. The Justice League writers wanted John with Hawkgirl despite there being absolutely no precedent for that relationship, and look how well they made it work.

What my experience tells me is that Geoff Johns, the writer of the Justice League comic series for about five years, and Green Lantern for nine, has no excuse for ignoring Cyborg or John Stewart, other than he clearly just didn’t want to write them. When you’re on a book for fifty odd issues, I don’t care that Cyborg is sharing it with Superman and whoever else; you have more than enough room to do something meaningful with that character. When you’re writing Green Lantern for… I don’t even know how many issues, perhaps about 90-something… you have more than enough room to do something with John Stewart… IF YOU WANT TO. GEOFF JOHNS DID NOT WANT TO. THAT IS ALL! THERE IS NO OTHER REASON!

Why did they put Cyborg on the Justice League and then not even want to use him? Just so they can say they have a black guy, that’s why. There is a term for that type of thing. It’s “tokenism.” The fact they stomped out John Stewart and replaced him with as problematic a character as Cyborg, and then didn’t even care to do anything with Cyborg, tells me that DC didn’t really care about diversity. They cared about removing a threat to what they see as a white icon (Hal Jordan), while keeping up an appearance of diversity. I honestly don’t know what else I could glean from all of this.

The transparency of the Cyborg issue is a huge problem for DC. Most discerning people should see all the politics behind Cyborg’s inclusion on the League and thus being DC’s top black guy, because it’s all shamelessly staring you right in the face. The Hal Jordan fanboyism, the marginalizing of John Stewart, the lack of interest and care toward Cyborg… it’s all obvious.

Cyborg is on the Justice League because those in seats of power at DC do not want John Stewart there. Not because they have some special affinity toward Cyborg. Cyborg is being pushed, and I use that term somewhat loosely, because the powers that be don’t want to heavily promote John Stewart. This is because they want Hal Jordan to be seen as Green Lantern and don’t want that challenged. At least, this is how things were at the onset of the New 52, and we are still more or less dealing with the aftermath of all of that.

If you look at this situation, who benefits from it? Certainly not John Stewart fans. They’re left feeling incredibly alienated and frustrated with John’s treatment and DC’s blatant Hal Jordan favoritism. The Cyborg fans don’t benefit. They’re left continually disappointed by DC’s nonstop misfires with the character and general lack of care. Black people in general, the people who this diversity is supposed to benefit the most, don’t benefit. No one wants to be an ugly Cyborg, and no one is impressed by DC ignoring their most popular black hero, and also ignoring the black hero that DC wishes you liked.

It is the Hal Jordan fans who benefit. Unsurprisingly, it was essentially Hal Jordan fans who orchestrated this whole thing, and they did it for the sake of Hal Jordan.

Will revealing and discussing any of this really make a difference where it counts? No, I don’t believe so. DC officials may see this article, and they may even read it, but at the end of the day, DC is going to do what DC wants to do.

No matter how much people warn them, no matter how much people tell them they don’t like what they’re doing regarding all of this, DC will not change. If they were going to change, they would have done so by now. Rather, we see Cyborg continuing to be on the Justice League looking ugly, with that same tired storyline of his (apparently the only one he has). We see him continuing to get another series despite his previous one being a big failure. We see John Stewart shoved firmly behind Hal Jordan in a title called Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.

Cyborg, despite DC failing with him, and basically no one being happy with him, is slated to hit the big screen, and there is no official word on the status of John Stewart. If John Stewart does appear in film, he will probably be, once again, shoved firmly behind Hal Jordan. It doesn’t matter if the Hal Jordan movie and cartoon ultimately failed. It doesn’t matter that a bunch of people would rather see a John Stewart led movie. It doesn’t matter that multi-million dollar actors would love to play John Stewart. None of that matters, because, again, DC/WB are going to do what they want to do, and unfortunately for the John Stewart fan, DC could give less than a fart about him.

If you don’t care for all of this, all you can do in response is say so and choose not to support DC Comics. There are other alternatives in comics and entertainment in general that would probably frustrate you a whole heck of a lot less.



  • Kal

    Cyborg is a good character with a lot of potential. I haven’t read the JL book in a long time so I’m not sure what he’s been doing there, but I enjoy what they are doing with him outside of comics. He is always given a lot of emphasis in animated movies, video games or the Lego DC films. Based on his cameo appearance with the Mother Box in BvS, he would have a big role in Justice League next year too. Not sure why why you seem to be particularly interested in Victor Stone’s mid regions, but no judgment here.

    • Fig. 4

      A lot of potential? Sure, good character? Not the way he’s been handled. He’s been doing nothing in the JL books and has been doing nothing for the past 5 years.

      Outside of media, his appearance has been decent, but nothing spectacular. I don’t watch the Lego stuff, but in most of the animated films I’ve seen him in, he’s pretty inconsequential to the overall plot. He never gets a good fight either.

      As for Vic’s nether regions, I’m pretty sure Desh explained pretty well why he has a problem with it. Heroes are part wish fulfillment, and it’s quite obvious Vic stands out when it comes to the physical aspect of that. Every member of the League has an idealized body figure, except for Vic. All of the JL members have been shown, on page, to be capable of physical intimacy, except Vic. You might not think it’s important, but it stands out to folks. Nevermind the historical connotations as pointed out in the SonofBaldwin article. People who like Vic, or in my case, just wants him to succeed until DC gets off their butt and offers me something better, just wants him to be on equal grounds with the rest of the League. As it stands, he’s not. DC talks him up, but has yet to show any actual care in the character. He’s only important by association.

      • Kal

        Not sure about inconsequential, thus far he is the only character in the recent animated movies who has something that resembles character development. They show how his transformation affects him, they gave him a potential love interest, they gave him a bff in Shazam, they had him offer the plans for the Hall of Justice and the Watchtower, they established his friendships with the Titans, etc. The guy is doing pretty well there so far, as well as in the Lego movies. They definitely treat him better in other media than Aquaman for instance.

        As far as his look goes, I always thought this is what made him different from the others. In terms of being someone who can’t just take his costume off and blend in with the crowd. He is also the youngest and most inexperienced of the bunch, which is totally exploited in the Lego DC movies. The guy is also a walking computer, which I don’t think is off-putting, I think it’s what can make him relatable to people who use modern technology 24/7. And of course he is not terribly OP, he is a more grounded character which is more than welcome when you have demigods, alien all-powerful beings, living lightning bolts or space cops flying around. The role of the more grounded character shouldn’t be always occupied by Batman. They can take many directions with a character like Cyborg, from trying to adjust to some kind of normal life, to questioning if he has any business being on a team with Batman or Superman, to realizing he doesn’t need to take himself that seriously(apparently him and Flash would be buds in the 2017 movie), they can do anything with the guy if they have a solid plan for his role on the team. That’s the potential I’m talking about and I’ve certainly seen some of it before.

        I don’t know about wish fulfillment, I don’t think about Superman’s junk when I see him go into battle. And that is a character that many people still say is not relatable mind you, despite that on paper he should be the most relatable character ever created. So I don’t think it’s right to say people won’t relate to Victor because of the way he looks. That sounds awfully superficial. Give the guy a good story, treat him as someone that matters and he would do fine.

        • Fig. 4

          As I said, it’s decent, but nothing spectacular. I felt they covered most of those beats in the Justice League War movie.

          As it stands, it seems highly unfair to treat Cyborg like that when he’s among other people who don’t have that problem. It worked in Teen Titans as, at that time, all of them were outcast in some form or another. Here, none of the Justice League members are like that. Vic stands out, to some, negatively as that further “others” him from the rest of the group. That “othering” of him stands out moreso because he is a black character, who already have to deal with that sort of thing. He can be a cybernetic marvel, all we ask is that he have the ability to turn into a human and that he have a sleeker more modern look. He actually should be OP on some level as all of the League members are. Even Batman.

          Those directions you point out are, ironically, the only directions they seem to be able to tell with the character. They’ve actually done those stories several times with him already and he can’t seem to bypass that part of his characterization. What you see as potential, has been done to death with the character.

          You usually don’t have to think about it with Superman, but it’s assumed. Nearly all of the League members have alluded to being intimate at some point in time, including Superman, who we’ve seen post coitus a few times lately. They actually showed Batman in mid-coitus a while back. DC released a variant cover aping Magic Mike, a film about male strippers, and all the male members of the League, sans Vic, were on the cover. DC clearly wanted to show those characters sex appeal, but Vic was missing.

          I respect your optimism, but there are a lot of social implication in his current portrayal that can be seen as problematic. And these implications are amplified as the character is the sole black character they are currently promoting in DC. If DC did better with there other black characters, it’d be fine, but as of right now? That isn’t the case. His character is going to be further solidified by the upcoming film and, personally, I’m not looking forward to it as it’s basically going to set the tone for his character for years to come.

          I really hope you can at least understand some of these concerns and issues.

          • Kal

            I do understand the concerns and thank you for this comment. He is a character that I always felt should be a bigger deal, so I’m glad to see he is getting a big push now and this entry rubbed me the wrong way, but I know what you’re saying.

    • Desh Derringer

      Cyborg’s appearances in outside media have not been that good. Most of the time he has just been present but has not really done much of note. I explained in the article why I have a problem with Cyborg’s mid regions. Perhaps you should re-read that part, because I would just be repeating myself to go over it again. If you can’t understand why Cyborg’s mid regions are problematic, well, with all due respect, I think the problem ultimately lies with you.

      • Kal

        And I explained everything in my previous comment about why I think saying he can’t be relatable because of how he looks is superficial. It’s your site and your opinions so obviously you’re free to feel however you want about the guy, but I think you’re being kind of unfair to him. His appearances in other media have indeed been good, or based on what Fig.4 said, seemingly way better than in the comics.

        • Desh Derringer

          So, let me get this straight. You think that the black males, or people in general, who have a problem with Cyborg because of how he looks are being superficial, while the white people have Batman, Superman, and so on, who are, in the narrative, supposed to be incredibly good looking characters? You think the people who have a problem with Cyborg’s looks are the ones who are off base? Why can’t black people just have a good looking character on the Justice League like ALL the white characters?

          • Kal

            Cyborg’s ethnicity had nothing to do with my comment. I simply said to me he should not be deemed unrelatable because he is half machine. I never said there shouldn’t be prominent good looking minority characters. It’s just my belief that Cyborg, as any other superhero, should be judged more on his actual characterization and less on his physical appearance.

          • Steve Rogers

            I think what Desh is trying to say is that it’s not just characterization, (whether he’s a good character or not doesn’t matter here). People still try to relate “physically” with other super heroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern. They’re physically in shape and don’t have to worry about hurting their partner in sex. It’s much more easier to have wishful fulfillment on beautiful looking superhero characters. And out of the 7 JL members Cyborg seems to be the only superhero on that roster, who doesn’t even have love interest. Have you ever seen yourself as wanting to be that character both mentally and physically?

          • Kal

            I’m pretty sure if I was 9 years old and stumbled upon these characters for the very first time, the last thing that would cross my mind is how Cyborg can have sex. Wish fulfillment is not limited to physical appearance, it’s how the characters manage to fight against adversity. Kids live vicariously through superheroes because of what ideals they instill and how they manage to succeed against whatever life throws their way, not because of how shredded their are or how women can drool over them. Cyborg is different for all the reasons I pointed out, it’s okay to be different, I think that’s a message that’s important for future generations that take interest in characters like these.

          • Steve Rogers

            You kind of didn’t answer my question about did you want to see yourself as wanting to be the Cyborg character mentally and physically over every members of the JL.

          • Desh Derringer

            Many people judge superheroes largely by how they look, and there is nothing wrong with that, because to ignore that would be a disservice to all the great designs out there. Heck, many Superman fans are upset that Superman doesn’t wear trunks anymore. Cyborg is an incredibly crappy super hero design to me.

            I do not want to relate to Cyborg, because, as I see it, there is nothing desirable about him or his world, or lack thereof, that draws me in. The very concept of the character, from his look to his story, just don’t intrigue me.

            I’ve often seen these types of excuses you’re making for Cyborg when it comes to black characters. These reasons to hold them back as if it’s somehow beneficial for them or the product they’re in.

            “Cyborg is ugly and stuck in a tin can, but this is good for the character, because it makes him unique among all the other Justice Leaguers. He stands out!”

            “Well, Rey and Finn should just be friends, because we’ve already seen romance in Star Wars, so it will be fresh to do something different this time. Actually, maybe they should put Rey with Kylo Ren, because that would be fresh!”

            “Finn shouldn’t be a force sensitive or get a lightsaber, because I think he’ll be a better character without any of that.”

            “TJ and Cassie from Power Rangers should just be friends, despite the likelihood that if TJ was white, there is an 80 to 100% chance they would have a romance and we would be all into it.”
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy12AuzmfvY
            http://www.rangerboard.com/showthread.php?t=174235
            ^ Check out people’s reaction when somebody even entertains the idea of romance, which, going by previous fiction, would’t at all be a stretch just by the above video, which is one moment among many the characters have.

            I believe that if you’re going to do a black male hero character, it should ideally be something black males would like to get into. If I was to create my own black male hero, and especially if he was the only one I was going to push in media, here is a checklist of things I would not do.

            – Make him look like a garbage can.
            – Make him ugly.
            – Make him asexual.
            – Make him weak.
            – Make him unimportant.
            – Make him useless.
            – Make him mutilated.

            However, these are all things we’ve seen, and continue to see come out of DC Comics, despite people telling DC they don’t like it, over and over and over and over and over again.

            If your favorite characters were like that (hideous, asexual, looking like tin cans, and so on) [by the way, is Hal Jordan one of your favorites? I just have a feeling), I’m willing to bet you’d be considerably less interested in them.

          • Steve Rogers

            This is very accurate and I know you’re not exaggerating about this. If you go on and check out the Green Lantern facebook page with the comments on the release of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, I’ve seen people took up for Cyborg about he may not look good as the other league members, but he’s still a strong addition to the team. And everyone who I seen argue about this from that site and other sites out there are Hal Jordan fans.

            You don’t even see DC comic fans having wishful fulfillment to be Beast Boy, Raven, Elemental Woman. Characters like that (including Cyborg) are very obscure.

          • Kal

            You mean you and Desh believe my comments towards Cyborg are some kind of disingenuous smoke screen to push Hal Jordan? Talk about paranoid. But I guess not surprising, since I read through some of the older entries and basically all Desh seems to do on this site is trash DC because they push characters he doesn’t like over characters that he does. That’s fine, it’s his site, he can do whatever he wants. I think Vic deserves to be treated with more respect, hence my comments here. You’re suggesting I’d stumble upon a fansite dedicated to a certain character, respond to an entry about another character… because I want to push a third character? lol You’re giving me way too much credit, Steve.

          • Steve Rogers

            My post is kind of long.

            DC doesn’t even treat Cyborg with respect. It’s the same ol man or machine concept. They even seem like they don’t care much for the character. Even putting in an unknown writer for his book. DC doesn’t even listen to Cyborg fans. In Forever Evil crossover, he accepted being part human and part machine, so why is all of these questions coming back as if it’s unanswered? DC reverted his costume to the horrible bulky looking one, instead of using the same one from David Walker’s run. His costume is ugly and horrible looking at the JL Action series. DC screwed up the character and now it’s one of the worst sales post-Rebirth. That series isn’t going to last long. I don’t even see how there’s some people acting like it’s nothing wrong on what’s happening to Cyborg here.

            Hal Jordan fans (or any other GL fan other than John Stewart) who I experienced with taking up for Cyborg, usually never wanting to be like Cyborg, but would rather like to have him around. Having a character around and being that character is two different things. Even if Cyborg was white, I’m sure he would be the last character for a white fan who would want to be him. I could actually understand why African Americans from these forums complain about this issue. I’m sure if Black Lightning or Vixen was on the team instead of Cyborg, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Because they’re normal looking characters like the other JL members, instead of looking like a sub human, who African Americans has to be forced to want to identify themselves as, because he’s the representational for African Americans at DC. Characters having physical appearance are very important to the reader. Cyborg looks like an outcast with the rest of the JL members and he’s the only black guy on the team. If Cyborg was white on the team, he would still look like an outcast, but at least there would be other white heroes to choose from to the fan who has a wish fulfillment. If the majority of the JL members were black, including Cyborg on the team, this wouldn’t be as much as a big problem, but it would still be a problem, because he looks like an outcast and doesn’t belong there, but at least African Americans can choose a black JL member other than Cyborg. That’s the sole problem on what’s going on in JL. It won’t hurt white comic book readers, but only hurts African American comic book readers, because he represents the head of the African American superheroes.

            I know you’re arguing about how his power-sets or whatever makes him a strong indication of the team and it’s your right to do so, but I strongly disagree with comic readers suggesting African Americans to ignore his physical appearance and just focus on other internal aspects of the character and appreciate that. If it was the other way around, where all JL members were of minority, while the only white character looked mutilated then it would be a big issue for me as well as the majority of white readers out there.

          • Desh Derringer

            It would be a big issue for me, too, if the only white character on the League was a freak, and everyone else looked idealized. I’d fight against that situation and criticize it the same as I am this one.

          • Steve Rogers

            I just find it rather strange that when arguing with others on this issue, they seem to just fully ignore his outer appearance that’s complained by many people.

          • Kal

            What excuses? Believing that a character should have so much more to offer than the way he looks is an excuse? Why are you trying to turn this into a racial debate, let alone to generalize me? I would’ve said the same thing about Cyborg if he was of any other ethnicity. You believe the looks of a character of color is crucial to his/her appeal with the masses, that’s fine, I on the other hand believe that any character of any ethnicity should be judged on their own merit that goes beyond their physical appearance.

            No, I’m a 90s kid and I’m a Kyle fan, but it’s obvious that your contempt towards someone like Cyborg is primarily based on the fact that you think he is somehow “stealing” John Stewart’s spot. You’re free to feel however you like, but don’t try to label people or lump them in with others just because they disagreed with your views.

          • Desh Derringer

            I make this a racial debate because it is one. If you read the article I wrote, along with the sonofbaldwin article I linked to, you should find that these articles are largely about race. I am not tip-toeing around the issue, but rather addressing it head on. It seems to me you would rather ignore race completely, hence why you can’t or couldn’t understand the negative implications of a castrated black guy as the main black hero at DC.

            If we go beyond Cyborg’s abominable physical appearance, he still doesn’t have much to offer. As I wrote in the article, he has no world and hardly any history of his own. In the Justice League comics, he rarely does anything worth mentioning. He has no good love interest, and barely any comics of his own for people to delve into, despite being around for 30 plus years. I don’t see any reason for this character to be on the Justice League aside for tokenism purposes, and DC has not shown me any reason in the 5 plus years Cyborg as been there.

            You keep saying that “Desh does this, and Desh does that, and Desh does that and the other, but it’s his site, so whatever” as if me criticizing DC is bad. And yet here you are criticizing me for writing content you don’t agree with. I suppose it’s a never ending circle, isn’t it?

            If you want to know the core reason why I criticize DC the way I do, it’s this:

            They’re monumentally stupid at diversity (and other things). Their comics are often off-putting to people of color because DC chooses to portray some of their key PoC characters as unimportant, ugly, or DC stops their momentum when the characters have a bunch, as in the case of John Stewart. DC puts the favoritism of some of their executives above anything else, and in so doing, they are alienating people. And it doesn’t even really need to be that way.

            For example, a title called “Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps”? Is that really necessary? For one it’s a mouthful, for two it sounds bad, and for three, and most importantly, it’s going to alienate fans and further fracture the Green Lantern fanbase. Yet DC did it anyway.

            I think these are things worth criticizing and discussing. Apparently, you’d rather I kept my mouth shut and accepted it all with a big smile. I am sorry, but that is something I cannot and will not do. That is not my personality, and I don’t believe that is the right thing to do.

            If the articles here really rub you the wrong way, you’re free not to read them. I’m sure greenlantern.co and Desh are very easy to ignore if they bother you. I am not that big of a deal, and I control absolutely nothing with these characters, nor am I harming anybody. It is you who keeps choosing to come here and read the content,

          • Kal

            Where did I try to shut you up or tell you not to criticize DC? I was talking about your opinions on Cyborg here and then I expressed what I noticed in some of your other entries. How do you take this as a way to try to silence you? I was never disrespectful to you, I just disagreed with your assessment on what Victor Stone can or can not bring to the table as a JL member. Instead you chose to make assumptions that I’m some kind of undercover Hal Jordan fanboy or that I’m attempting to silence you because I don’t share your views. Your site doesn’t “bother” me, I saw it in the external links of John Stewart’s wikipedia page and thought I’d check it out. Then I saw the newest entry was about Cyborg, a character that I’m a fan of, and decided to give my two cents. The fact that you assumed I may have some ulterior motive or that I was purposely trying to antagonize you, let alone prevent you from expressing yourself, is laughable to me. This is going in circles indeed, I’ve said everything I wanted to say on the subject and you don’t seem to offer much solidarity towards opposing opinions. I’m out.

          • Desh Derringer

            You said the content rubs you the wrong way, which implies it bothers you. But in any event, have a good day. I would respond to some of the other things you mention, but since you’re “out,” I don’t really see the point.

  • Steve Rogers

    Got some bad new for John Stewart fans. It looks like John Stewart is not going to be in Justice League Action. Hal Jordan is going to make the appearance on the show. This is just nonsense, because the JL is what made John widely popular, but they refuse to put him in JL!? I guess we lost all hope.

    Desh, do you have any plans to make an article about it? Because I think John fans should know what’s going on here, who isn’t aware of what’s happening.

    • Desh Derringer

      Hmm… I don’t want to jump the gun, so I think I’ll keep quiet for now. I saw the promo art with Hal Jordan (and probably the worst Cyborg design I’ve ever seen), but John may still appear. It’s not known yet, as far as I know. Unless there’s been an official announcement that says John won’t be in it.

      But if I had to guess, I’d say John won’t be there.

      And while I’m not happy about that, and while I understand if some people are really disappointed about that, I kind of don’t even care. I’m at the point where I’m just not even interested in what DC does. I still love John Stewart (and always will) and I’m working on more Starlit Crisis stuff as I post this, but it’s mainly so I can get better at comics in general and do my own project that will be similar to Green Lantern in some ways, and will essentially be what I would do with the franchise if I owned it. And it will be starring a John Stewart-esque character, in some ways. I feel if DC wants to piss John and a lot of the potential GL has away, someone ought to make use of it.

      • Steve Rogers

        Yea, you have a point there. Have you ever thought about becoming a writer for DC Comics? That would be very nice to see. But either way, it’s nice to see someone doing a John Stewart project, regardless whether it’s fan fiction or not.

        • Desh Derringer

          Thanks!

          Well… if the opportunity presented itself, I wouldn’t necessarily say no, unless DC wanted me to write something I really didn’t agree with. But for the project I talked about. my dream/goal is to go to Image, primarily because I don’t have any intention of surrendering the rights of it to DC/WB.

          • Steve Rogers

            I honestly don’t blame you at all here. DC doesn’t deserve it. I don’t whether this is true or not, but I hear that Image is easier for comic book writers to have their freedom of creativity.

          • Desh Derringer

            Oh yeah, definitely, because the creators are working on their own creator owned projects, so I doubt they have editors breathing down their necks nearly as much, If at all.

          • Steve Rogers

            That’s really good. BTW, here’s a picture of Cyborg in the recently released JL Assemble photo:

  • Evan

    After reading all the posts here, I’d like to interject and offer some further point of view. First off, make no mistake, Cyborg had no business being promoted from the Titans to the Justice League. Everyone should know by now that he got his JL founding member status by virtue of “token black guy”. Not because he’s a special kind of guy. Now let’s talk picturing fiction as reality. In reality, how many men of all races would give their left and right testicle to be an alien from Krypton who looks like a handsome Caucasian male who can fly and who is considered the most powerful being on the planet you reside on. And your only weakness is a rock fragment that isn’t even in your solar system and would have to be self made on Earth by wealthy entrepreneurs. Then there’s a billionaire playboy from a city that is as dangerous as Chicago and he too is handsome and he donates tons of money to charitable organizations and hangs with gorgeous women during the day, while terrifying criminals at night. You’ve got a demigod warrior who is a princess and the daughter of Zeus, she’s gorgeous with a fantastic body and she is someone that every woman on the planet has paid doctors thousands of dollars to alter their features only to look like a faction of what WW is. And what guy wouldn’t want to be called king, if they got to reign over the seven seas and be able to live on both land and within the deepest depths of the oceans. Of course wouldn’t it be cool to be a speedster. You never have to use transportation again. You never will be late. And you even can dip into the speed force and do stop time travel on your leisure time. As a GL regardless of which one, you can go into outer space and explore areas of the universe that not even all the wealthiest people in the world can buy. And the ring that you wield can help you create anything your hearts desire as long as you will it to life.

    Then there’s Cyborg…while it may be cool to be part terminator and part bionic man; In real life he’d be considered one of our fallen veterans from war overseas who lost several limbs and came home to have prosthetics in place of his lost limbs. In real life the only reason why you would have such technological advances is because you were nothing more than a government project as they funded everything to make you their weapon within the department of Homeland Security. How did things work out for RoboCop in his personal life after his transformation? I’m sorry to all the the Cyborg lovers out there, but no one in real life would ever give up their humanity and lose parts of themselves that they were born with, just to have what Cyborg has, when they could be a billionaire playboy, a Kryptonian alien, an amazonian warrior, the king of the seas, a space cop explorer with an epic ring or a speedster who can even time travel. If I were Cyborg I would be depressed all the time. No one would know what it felt like to be me, the government would be lecturing me and threatening me that they made me and gave me a second lease on life, and I would never have the kind of standard human connection that I once had. Most or some of what was once me has now been replaced by a human machine with a built in WiFi brain. Sorry no thanks, you can keep that…I’d rather be dead.

    Cyborg’s character is being used a a tool for DC/WB to force feed the public who they think we should adore and accept. Tell me something…if BvS: Dawn of Justice received such scrutiny by critics and that was using the holy trinity of heroes, what chance does a 2nd tier “B” level, last ranked founding member token black character have in the boxoffice?

    • Steve Rogers

      Good post.

      Everything about Cyborg describes tragic. And it’s the same “am I a man or machine” meme. He’s not even being moved forward, but instead going backwards after Rebirth. I think no one, including fans would want to trade themselves in to be Cyborg. All of his parts as shown on the poster above is mostly metal, aside from half of his face. I already asked a fan here, who argued and took up for the character and he avoided the simple question to whether he would want to be Cyborg physically. Most of these Cyborg fans seem like they can’t differentiate between a fan who likes having a character around vs a fan who can see themselves as being that character. The main topic from this article isn’t really about whether it’s cool or not to have the character around in comics, but rather seeing yourself as a disfigured human that lost parts he was born with. And that’s the only option that DC has to offer for African American hero representation, since Cyborg is part of the big 7. Cyborg is a cool character to be around, but I don’t want to be him. RoboCop is a cool character to be around, but I don’t want to be him, either, because they’re unattractive males, who lost something that they were born with. Batman is a cool character and I would want to be him, because he’s an attractive male that can walk the streets without worrying about people feeling uncomfortable of his obscure looks. Visual appearances with these characters are night and day. No man in their right mind wants to lose human organs.

    • Desh Derringer

      Excellent post, Evan. That’s a point I really wanted to bring out. Cyborg is actually worse off than the regular person, while all the other League members are more than the regular person. Powers or not, most people would not give up what they have to be like Cyborg. The great majority of people have no desire to lose their face or their bodies.

      Because of that, because he’s such a poor visual design, because he has no good stories, and because he’s generally boring, the character does not appeal to me in the slightest. This isn’t a knock on Cyborg’s fans, they’re free to do what they want, of course, but I personally think the character itself is terrible. and I don’t think DC/WB will ever succeed with him.

  • Evan

    Thank you Steve & Desh for your acknowledgment of my post. And for whomever else is reading this, make no mistake, I am not hating on Cyborg nor do I dislike his character. I don’t even mind him on the JL team itself, as long as he’s considered to be an extended member like in the JL: Unlimited series…and not a founding member. I find that Cyborg is a unique character and appreciate his presence and all that he does, but let’s be honest and realistic, he is in fact a side character. He is a top tier hero on the Titans, but on the JL team he’s not only not in their league, but he was being used as a pawn by the DC/WB execs. Martian Manhunter was screwed out of his rightful place as founding member just to include Cyborg. I’m actually upset for the Martian and all his fans that he got kicked off the team in favor of political correctness and affirmative action.

    During and after the famous JL & JLU run, John Stewart was at the height of his success and popularity, and as Desh stated, (DC more so than WB) wanted to make sure that the public only saw the face of the GL franchise to be a dated Caucasian male in Hal Jordan. They never thought Bruce Timm using another Lantern not named Hal would actually stay in the public consciousness. To this day the execs probably hate Bruce Timm for introducing the public to an alternative option. The GLC is made up of diverse races and species; and to no surprise, the higher ups at DC/WB want the face of the GLC to be Caucasian. I don’t care if the face of the franchise is Mogo or Ch’p, just as long as it’s not yet another Caucasian face and another male at that. Like MM, John Stewart was also screwed over. They wanted to make sure that he is never as successful as he was in the animated series ever again. Thus all the backing that the execs put behind Hal, and when that global project failed back in 2011, what do they do, insult our intelligence, by stating that they will hold off another GL film until the next decade so that the public will suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and forget that we love John Stewart and that the Hal Jordan project was a bust. I can’t believe that they were so bold that they intended for that 2011 movie to kick off their DCCU. Could you believe that? They wanted to kick it off with Hal instead of Superman, Batman or WW. How scared and racist must you be concerning John Stewart that you had to force Hal Jordan upon us by any means necessary and is still doing so. And the joke of it all is in 2020 the GLC will have John and perhaps Kyle as a part of the Corps, but Hal as usual will be the featured main event. Why do you think here in 2016 we have “Hal Jordan & the GLC”.

    MM was screwed and dismissed from the JL, John Stewart was screwed and buried in the comic book cemetery and what is DC/WB’s answer to that so that they don’t get sued and lose millions of viewers and/or fans, they present us with the biggest pawn in DC’s history in Cyborg. Congratulations Cyborg, you made it bro, you’re in the big time now. Congrats as well DC, your plans worked, Cyborg is the man…oops I meant to say the machine who was once a man. Now he has a 2020 film. I noticed that they pushed it all the way into the next decade. I wonder why, perhaps to bye you some time to figure out how you can possibly sell mediocrity to the global public? I cannot stress enough, if BvS was heavily scrutinized by critics and fans alike for whatever the multitude of reasons, what chance does Cyborg have. If DC even thinks that it will pull Deadpool – like numbers, then they are truly insane. As a matter of fact, do they even have a plan for Shazam? Yeah the film that was since forgotten. I will watch every comic book film, both from DC/Marvel, and I will enjoy the heroes on the page become the heroes on the screen, but DC should be ashamed. Marvel has given us a true black hero in the Black Panther. He’s a king and one of the wealthiest people in all of comics. What does DC do, screw over MM, bury John Stewart because he poses as a threat to their Caucasian champion Hal and present Cyborg, a hero that we don’t mind seeing but would never want to dress up like at any comic con. Speaking of which, how many John Stewart costumes at any comic con this year have we seen as compared to Cyborg? I saw John Stewart was at the Miami, FL Supercon event earlier in the month of July. Let’s face it Desh is right about everything and the only ones who would be offended, is the ones who are still sleep and dreaming of the perfect world.

    • Desh Derringer

      I wouldn’t have taken Martian Manhunter out of the League. If it came to it, I’d just have eight members, including MM. When you have seven, it’s not like eight would make a huge difference.

      I have a feeling that if certain people at DC weren’t whispering in WB execs’ ears, Green Lantern would have just moved on to John Stewart and he would be in the Justice League film. After the 2011 GL fiasco and the huge acclaim of JL/JLU, making John the Green Lantern really is the most sensible way to handle the franchise.

      DC/WB have essentially been telling us that no matter what, John will never be given an opportunity again, and if things are like that, then I have no more business with DC. We got him on JL/JLU by a sheer miracle, but it seems there are people in power now who are actively against something like that happening for him again.

    • Steve Rogers

      Another excellent post, Evan.

      Btw, there’s some good news. It looks like John Stewart is making an appearance in Justice League Dark. Although it’s confirmed that the Justice League is on the animated film, the story’s main focus is on Justice League dark.

      Here’s the sneak peak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cddLDL_kKOU

      John is at the 1:30 mark. And he’s also at the 0:10 second mark. I believe he’s the Green Lantern of the Justice League. You’ll see him sitting down on those JL chairs in a meeting. Although the scene is not finished.

      And speaking of Martian Manhunter, he’s going to be in it, too.

      There’s no signs of Cyborg in the JL on this film.

      Superman, Batman, Green Lantern John Stewart, Hawkman, The Flash and Aquaman are in it.

  • Blakk Jakk

    Damn, I’m late again! This is such a great article Desh. Articulated better than I could but I’m gonna try anyways. I’m not a black person obviously but I feel the closest that whites have when it comes to DC is Etrigan the Demon but even that might not entirely be comparable.

    Still, Cyborg’s in need of a massive revamp and to step down from the League. He hasn’t shown himself to be capable enough of joining the League. We’ve had a lot of the Wolfman Era Titans go there and there’s few from that team who I feel don’t fit in with the later members of the team.

    Cyborg being a founding member of the League would make even less sense had it been Changeling. We’ve seen Dick and Wally and Roy and others show how competent they are and what they bring to the table with the JLA. Cyborg hasn’t done that and that’s because he hasn’t done much.

    The fact DC only just now notices him in the wake of John’s popularity makes it worse. Sticking Cyborg on the League partly screams to me as appealing to the people who grew up watching the Teen Titans cartoon without getting what they want.

    While he wasn’t as idealized as Robin was, he did have character arcs and most of Season 3 dedicated to him. The New 52 and beyond hasn’t given that to him as of yet.

    It shouldn’t be hard to please Cyborg’s fans and modernize and expand the character but that hasn’t happened yet because he’s a token block for John Stewart and it’s made worse that J’onn is also off the team.

    If DC made an effort in giving him character and demonstrating why he deserves to be on the League, I wouldn’t mind instead of asking why John and J’onn are both replaced by him when they’ve been shown worth being on the League.

    • Desh Derringer

      I think the best way to appeal to people who watched Cyborg on the Teen Titans TV show is to have Cyborg with the Teen Titans, characters millions of people are used to seeing him around. I don’t think anyone really questioned his role there, and while I never liked Cyborg, he never seemed way out of place on that team to me.

      Don’t get me wrong, the issues with Cyborg (missing his genitalia and all that) are STILL there on the Titans, just not quite as glaring, because he is often seen associating with a green kid, who is also a freak. That said, even though Starfire and Raven are quirky characters, they’re normal enough for girls to want to be like them, and Robin is your typical white alpha guy in that group who gets to lead and have the prettiest girl around (Starfire). So, it’s not like the Titans are completely a group of freaks. Cyborg is actually perfect for a group like the Doom Patrol. His missing penis and face would’t even be an issue there, since the concept of the team is that they’re majorly screwed up in various different ways.

      • Blakk Jakk

        I ultimately agree. The Titans and the Doom Patrol are where he belongs, not the League. Martian Manhunter needs to get his spot back and John should be allowed a place in the League whether it be alternating with the other Green Lanterns or sharing the spot. Maybe Cyborg could develop as a character with the Titans and the Doom Patrol to prove his worth as a recruit for the League but I’m doubting that. Keeping things as close to the cartoon is probably the best way to please fans of the series. Maybe if DC genuinely cared about Cyborg, maybe he could hold a solo title while a member of either team but I don’t see that happening or how that would work. I don’t want to say there is or isn’t potential for Cyborg as we’ve never seen him go anywhere but if DC wanted to show there was potential, then they should start by pleasing the cartoon fans and then try to make him his own character.

      • Steve Rogers

        Other people I’ve spoken too said Cyborg look like an outcast in Doom Patrol. What do you guys think of the image? He does seem to fit in, doesn’t he?

        • Blakk Jakk

          Cyborg looks fine in that picture. The only thing I could ask is that he look less busy. I’ve always preferred a sleeker, smoother looking Cyborg. Something you’d see out of a Tokusatsu or Tokusatsu inspired series might fit. Give him a cool Ultraman or Guyver inspired look and he’ll at least look presentable and a lot less busy. I say the less details on him, the better. I’ll admit that I’m just a huge Tokusatsu fan in general but I think the less bulky he is, the less he resembles an oversized trash can as he does now. There’s some other stuff DC could do with Cyborg like giving him a world of his own, side characters, a rogues gallery and probably an ideal or set of ideals he stands for but that would take actual skill to do which DC is badly lacking. If DC wants us to give a damn about Cyborg so badly, they should start doing it themselves.

        • Desh Derringer

          Yeah, I think he fits in well with Doom Patrol. And I’m not just saying that in an attempt to ‘get him out of the way,’ but conceptually and visually, Cyborg just fits with that team perfectly.