George Pérez Described Deathstroke In The Same Way As John Ridley

On Tuesday, DC Comics published The Other History Of The DC Universe, written by John Ridley, which explicity described the character Slade Wilson, Deathstroke, as a "pedophiliac rapist" for his treatment of the character Terra, as well, as the way Terra has also ben portrayed. I understand that the Deathstroke description was approved at the highest levels at DC, this wasn't something that "slipped out". But it's not like this description is new, it's just new for a DC Comics publication.

In The Modern Masters Vol 2: Collection of George Pérez interviews, published by TwoMorrows Press in 2003, he talks about the original Deathstroke storyline, and is just as explicit in his language as John Ridley, even though it is with a very different tone. Emphasis ours:

GEORGE: So with Terra, Mary came up with the idea that he wanted to bring in a new character—similar to how Kitty Pryde was brought into the X-Men—but he knew from the very start that this girl was going to be a traitor and that we were going to be killing this character off—killing her definitely and, as far as we were concerned, finally. We were plotting it always with that in mind, knowing the dramatic irony of every single thing that she said and did, We supplied all the clues logically, because we knew where we were going. Certain things we took chances on because we didn't have to worry about the ramifications beyond that storyline.

One of the primary things was that we had Dcathstroke the Terminator have an affair with a minor—this is statutory rape—and the fact that she is so sociopathic. Since we knew we were planning to kill her and have her meet her deserved end, we didn't worry about what kind of moral lesson it was. She was going to be punished. Anyone who thought after seeing how truly bad she was that we would find a way of redeeming her was being a little naive. We wanted her to be as much a viper in the garden as we could.

One of the great times I remember in plotting this rather manipulative story is Marv and I sitting in a diner in New York and discussing—obviously without context for anyone who was overhearing us—the death of a 15-year-old girl. Here we arc talking about how are we going to kill off this 15-year-old girl? We've gotta make sure everyone sees the body," and this type of thing, without realizing there might be some heads turning. But only in New York would nobody report us. [laughter] Again, Marv came up with the initial idea and it was a very courageous thing to do. I think they blunted the impact by bringing back another Terra character. That was something I had no control over. Marv was writing the series and he had his own opinion about it, but as far as he and I were concerned Tara Markov was dead.

The only thing we had to compromise on in doing Terra was—strictly one of those weird, serendipitous coincidences—Mike Barr on Outsiders had come up with a character with almost the same, exact powers as Terra. So coming up with the characterization for Terra, now she had a brother, which wasn't in the original plan. We didn't want Mike to have to make a compromise, because Mike's character was ongoing. We knew our character had a finale to her, so we compromised. Marv and Mike Barr were friends, so they worked out the relationship between Geo-Force and Terra.

MM: And then you did the crossover with the Outsiders during that storyline. In your design for Terra, were the buck teeth a way to give her a look of innocence?

GEORGE: Oh, yes. I wanted her to be cute, but not beautiful. She looked like a young girl. I gave her a very substantial overbite, her eyes were wide, her body was slim, she wasn't particularly busty. I wanted her to look almost elfin, so that when you see her for the first time wearing full make-up and dressed in a provocative outfit where you know she's just been in bed with Deathstroke that it does jab you a bit. "Whoa, good God! This little girl is a slut!"

You can see why, when rewriting the history of the DC Universe, and Deathstroke, John Ridley might want to address one or two things.

 George Pérez Described Deathstroke In The Same Way As John Ridley
TwoMorrow Press, Deathstroke by Perez

(W) John Ridley (A) Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrea Cucchi (CA) Giuseppe Camuncoli, Marco Mastrazzo
1983. Japan. Tatsu Yamashiro's life has been taken from her. Her home, her children, her husband are all gone. With nothing left but a burning pain and the sword that stole her family from her, Tatsu begins a long journey of healing, self-discovery, agency, and rebirth. This is the story of Tatsu Yamashiro, the woman known to many as Katana—a hero who became more than the world ever intended for her, ultimately making a family of like-minded Outsiders who rally together for the common good amidst xenophobia and oppression. The long-awaited miniseries written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, Let It Fall) and beautifully illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi continues to look at the mythology of the DC Universe as seen through the prism of DC Super Heroes who come from traditionally disenfranchised groups. Retail: $6.99

Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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