What Black Panther and Wonder Woman Have in Common

Subtext. Though sometimes it’s less subby and more in-your-face text.

First, if you’ve never understood the concept of subtext, lets break it down. It’s defined as the underlying theme of a narrative. Well, great, but don’t you also have to have a regular theme overlying your story? Yup. Which is why subtext is not called theme. Let’s make sure theme is understood, too, so we know the difference.

Theme is what you’re trying to say about some aspect of the human condition. Subtext is the social or cultural forces that play out underneath (acting as a backdrop) to the characters and plot that ramps up the conflict.

According to this article, Black Panther’s theme is about the “good, bad, and ugly side of family.” Underneath is the subtext of racism in America brought to light by Killmonger’s character. Killmonger, because of his past experiences with racism (and that thing with his dad), is driven to face his family. This creates conflict between the characters, which drives the emotional journey for T’Challa .

Black Panther uses both the theme of family and the subtext of race to deliver a powerful and entertaining film.

Then let’s look at Wonder Woman. Feminism. Amiright? Black Panther also embraced a feminist flare, but Wonder Woman ran with it. Set during WWI, Wonder Woman’s sense of confidence, power, and refusal to do as men demand sets her against expectations of the time—many of which still stand today.

But is feminism the theme? No. The theme revolves around how violence and war don’t solve anything. Which would make the underlying gender issues of the time drive the undercurrent of character conflict as Diana tries to find and defeat Aries.

Here’s a quick test. Is Wonder Woman about feminism? No, but it makes quite the commentary on it anyway. Is it about saving mankind from itself? Yes. Is Black Panther about racism? No, but it hits some powerful notes along the way. Is it about accepting all facets of family? Hell yeah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two movies, totally different in their approach and meaning, yet by using juicy subtext, each excels at conflict, motivation, plot, and especially character.

Just shut up and take my money.

 

Random Rant—Hobbies and Nerdom

First up: Wonder Woman, amiright? I don’t even have to say more, you know I loved it. Beautiful bad ass women getting shit done their way? Yes. All the yes.

Second up: Netflix. What are you doing? Why are you canceling Sense8? I JUST wrote a post about how that show is everything TV needs right now to promote acceptance, love, and proper representation. Seriously, WTF? I called them. Me. I called Netflix and complained (1-866-579-7172), and it probably will do no good. A moment of silence for all shows canceled before their time.

Third up: As part of a general life movement to own up to who I am, I’m also owning up to one of my hobbies. I draw Disney fan art in the form of mandalas. Yes, I’d like to branch into Star Wars and Marvel, don’t worry, I’ll get there. I do these in my down time between books or when my brain feels like mud. Lots of people color mandalas for meditation, but I draw them. I’m a perfectionist and a little obsessive compulsive (yes, even my doctor says so), so regular art and I don’t get along, but the control and balance of these totally does it for me. I may or may not be planning on a tattoo relating to them.

Can you guess which movie each one is? There are layers pulled from each movie woven into the mandala, plus traditional design elements from henna tattoos.

I’m spreading these all at once because I know people will copy/steal (thus the obnoxious watermark), but I’m tired of hiding yet another aspect of who I am. So there you have it. These are mine and I’m damn proud of them. (Which is why you’ll also see them on pinterest, deviantart, instagram, and wherever else I can think to plaster them!)

All are hand drawn, with the exception of the copy of Beauty and the Beast  The inked version had the rose off center, so I adjusted it in Photoshop and darkened it. Otherwise it’s still original, complete with minor mistakes, wobbly lines, and fun weird bits that can only be from me!

Cheers to being a nerdy, bad ass woman!