New DC character gives young Aboriginal comic fans someone to look up to
The first Indigenous Australian character in DC Comics’ Suicide Squad 33-year history, Thylacine is a Ngarluma hunter from Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Ngarrindjeri comedian and comic book aficionado, Kimberly Lovegrove, shares her views on the new character.
In 2019, top selling comic book author, Tom Taylor, announced a new project as part of DC Comics’ Suicide Squad series that will be release this year. With advice from Cleverman creator Ryan Griffen and Shari Sebbens, best known for her role in The Sapphires, the Melbourne-based author created Thylacine—DC’s first ever female, Aboriginal superhero.
I have always been a fan of comics. As a child, I couldn’t really relate to any of the characters I saw in books or movies. I had no one to look up to. It’s been only recently that I’ve seen a strong sense of black power in film.
For me, having a superhero as part of something so big as Suicide Squad and proudly supported by DC just blows me away. Many people may see Thylacine not as a superhero because she is in Suicide Squad. Many of the individuals in Suicide Squad are killers and are not superheros. So, I pose the question: what is a superhero and does the Anti-Hero truly exist?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face so much negativity from mainstream media. I believe Thylacine is the first step to changing the negative stereotypes that currently exist. When I first heard we were going to get our first female superhero, I was so happy. Yes, we also have Cleverman. That was the first time I saw white people excited about knowing more about our people and culture.
I’ve seen so many artists create works of First Nations people of Australia and the feedback has been, “That doesn’t look like me”. The thing is we all look different; we do not look the same. If we did, we’d be clones and to be honest I don’t want anyone looking like me.
Looking at Thylacine, I have no issues with her. A lot of people focus on the outside rather than the inside. It shouldn’t matter what she looks like, it should matter what she means for little Aboriginal girls. It says that no matter what you’re facing in your life you can be whatever you want to be.
As a little girl, I wish I had someone like Thylacine to look up to. For future generations, now we not only have Cleverman but also Thylacine!
By Kimberly Lovegrove
Kimberly Lovegrove is a 27-year-old Ngarrindjeri woman from South Australia currently living in Melbourne. She is a stand-up comedian and a public relations consultant. Kimberly has a Bachelor in Communication (Public Relations) from RMIT University.
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