DC’s Flashpoint World Map Sparks Controversy

DC Comics posted a map of the world of Flashpoint today and the result… well, there’s some aspects of it that are a tad on the unfortunate side.

The now-controversial map breaks down different regions of the world showing who holds the power/threats in each area. For instance, The United Kingdom is now New Themyscira, Brazil is occupied by Nazis, Alaska is “The Land of The Undead,” and so on and so forth. The controversy, however, comes into play when you look at Africa, and the map simply claims that it’s now “Ape-Controlled.” Yep, Africa is listed as Ape-Controlled. To say that comes off as racist is a bit of an understatement, and it gets worse when you get to the fountain of creativity that is “Asian Capital,” which comes off poorly as well.

Check out the map here above and click for larger view.

There are some arguments against the racism/cultural insensitivity of this map, however. Taken into consideration, Gorilla Grodd and the citizens of Gorilla City are located somewhere in Africa, and that is clearly what DC was referring to when the map was created, so it’s obviously unintentional, but at the same time they really should have realized how everyone would take this. I know that when I was skimming over the map, everything look in order until I got to Africa. That… well… that just didn’t sit right.

Other than the alleged racism, the map is pretty standard, and a lot of the controlled areas are pretty obvious (pirates controlling parts of the ocean, Nazis in Brazil), but as a DC Comics fan, I’m really excited for the potential of several of these locales, mainly New Themyscira and The Land of The Undead. There’s a lot of potential here for some truly awesome stories, but it’s disappointing that it’s has been overshadowed by some unfortunate phrasing.

But what do you guys think? Are people making too big of a deal about this? It’s clearly unintentional, but shouldn’t DC have realized how people were going to take this? I know that’s one of the first things people look for, so shouldn’t it be one of the first things DC looks for, as well? I’m pretty forgiving, but that’s an embarrassing faux pas if I’ve ever seen one.

On the other hand, if DC is looking for some PR help, I’m ready and available.

[Source: DC | CBR]


  1.  It only looks racist if you look at it with a racist mind. I looked at it before i read the article here, and it all seemed fine. There’s no need to think that everyone will take it as racism.

    Comment by Shaun Tyrel Hartley — May 21, 2011 @ 12:15 am

  2. Anyone who reads DC regularly won’t see that as racist.  Gorilla City in Africa has been a staple of the DCU for DECADES.  

    Comment by Joseph C Wren — May 21, 2011 @ 12:44 am

  3. Actually, it can easily look racist to anyone who has paid any attention to Western culture in the last 400 years.  Is it “intentional” racism?  Almost certainly not, because as the first comment noted, there is a backstory to it.  That said, I’m not entirely sure that being either so woefully oblivious or so completely uncaring about how it can be perceived isn’t a form of racism.  I don’t care about the intentions of the map-maker(s), but rather the impact.  Frankly, it’s pretty stupid, and taking offense to it is both perfectly acceptable and understandable.  Good writers should be able to handle it better. 

    Comment by TM — May 20, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  4. Gorilla City in Africa was featured in a Super Friends cartoon in 1978.  Was it racist then? NO.  This is a comic book and people getting bent out of shape because of something like this really need to realize that there are so many more important things in this world to be concerned about.   Why wouldn’t Alaskans be offended as being referred to as Land of the Undead? 

    Comment by Gkelley62 — May 21, 2011 @ 7:24 am

  5. Anyone familiar with the DC Universe knows this is not racist. This is much ado about nothing.

    Comment by The Gent — May 21, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  6. Anyone familiar with the DC Universe knows this is not racist. This is much ado about nothing.

    Comment by The Gent — May 21, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  7. I was about to post the same thing! There’s nothing racist here unless the person looking at the map is already skewed to see it that way. I think “intent” is what makes the difference here and in this case, DC clearly isn’t approaching the map from that angle. It’s Gorilla Grodd. Case closed.

    Comment by PAUL — May 21, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

  8.  Even if you’re not familiar with Gorilla City (I’m not), I don’t think it’s racist. It’s clearly a fantasy map. Where do you find gorillas? Africa. What, are they going to walk across two continents and take Russia instead?

    Comment by BitLooter — May 21, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  9. What a non article. So sick of people jumping and thinking everything is raciest. The fact is the only people that do think it is raciest, are people that feel guilty of being raciest themselves. They call that projection in professional circles.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 22, 2011 @ 12:51 am

  10. As a norwegian, I’m more worried about the fact that half of Norway is gone. I can’t say I’ve kept up with the DC Universe, but I really hope there’s a story entailing it’s destruction. :)

    Comment by Spelwright — May 22, 2011 @ 8:16 am

  11. dp

    Comment by mrsachmo — May 23, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  12. we really are taking PC too far. this is hyper sensitivity at it’s finest.

    Comment by mrsachmo — May 23, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  13.  I don’t think it’s racist, I mean, come on, when most of us think of Africa, what comes to mind? Lions, Gorillas, Rhinos, Pyramids, Tribes people, and the like. It only looks racial if you’re willing to look at it from that point of view. DC did the only relevant thing, gave Africa to the Simians.

    Comment by Hector D. Garcia — May 23, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  14. The only thing racist here is the fact that someone is associating Apes with Africans. Did it occur to you that there are  large populations of gorillas and other primates in Africa. You immediatly determine that apes must be a derogitory statement about Africans ? You should check your moral compass and quit digging for racism where it does not exist.

    Comment by jammer4o — May 24, 2011 @ 6:46 am

  15. It’s the usual Anglocentric drivel really, the fact that people still get mad about this is surprising enough. But it’s to be expected, Superhero comics have always been the most horrible shit to come out the USA.

    Comment by Google — June 3, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

  16. To read this as racist is specieist against actual apes. They have a right to Africa as well. #onlyhalfkidding

    Comment by Lalo Martins — June 5, 2011 @ 7:44 am

  17. Then don’t read them

    Comment by Badman5150 — June 24, 2011 @ 9:05 am

  18. Give me a break.  Grodd is from Africa.  Anyone who reads Flash (and many other DC titles) knows that.  It made sense that he would control that area.  For a country that elected a black president, people really need to get over this racist thing, especially where it doesn’t exist. (Like here).

    Comment by Badman5150 — June 24, 2011 @ 9:08 am

  19. people need to grow up and get over themselves
    this article should focus on the ignorant people who find racism in anything and everything and call them out on being oversensitive to something they should never have been sensitive about to begin with

    Comment by i hate ignorant people — June 26, 2011 @ 12:02 am

  20. 1) Not racist.
    2) If you’re that worried about Africa, they have some real, non-comicbook, problems that could use some attention. http://www.ehow.com/how_2273580_help-africa.html

    Comment by Troy Powell — July 10, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

  21. I am tired of the simplist things being taken and twisted by those who have nothing but their own political objectives in mind. There is nothing racist about this. As you and others have posted, Africa is where Grodd’s home is and this makes perfect sense, just as if they would have chosen to make Germany Nazi controlled, the U.S. Indian controlled or even flooed half the land masses and allowed the dolphins to rule the world.

    I am all for equal opportunity and when I was growning up and racism still dominated our culture, I was irritated by it. However, that irritation can quickly be affected by those who wish to cry racism at any hand. How could a level thinking person even think what racism is anymore if it is gong to be claimed over the least little thing? I am a comic fan and would appreciate it not being brought into this. It is a chance to escape the real world and enjoy some honest to goodness heroism.

    In fact, I am not sure I would have even thought this had not somebody who obviously is in it for their own agenda brought it up. That is downright sad that somebody would ruin a good story for their own political goals.

    Comment by kevin stamps — July 18, 2011 @ 7:30 am

  22. To MK2Fac – what are you babbling about? Grodd controls Africa. Oh, how shocking. How racist. Unless you consider that gorillas… COME FROM Africa. Where the hell else are you expecting to find a gorilla – Iceland? Where was Tarzan living, Idaho?

    Get over it, and try thinking about these things for at least five seconds next time. You just look plain ridiculous going on about this. But thanks for re-posting the map.

    BTW, kangaroos & koalas come from Australia. Just in case they’re connected to a future plot point somewhere.

    Comment by Nightflyer28 — August 2, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  23.  exactly! when i looked at africa and it said under ape control, my first thought wasn’t “oh they must be referring to the locals” it was “well that’s grodd” christ, people will find racism in  anything and everything if given the chance.

    Comment by naturallybornbad — June 3, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  24.  so because we don’t immediately look for the negative in everything somehow we haven’t been paying attention? you sir are a fool. no one should take offense because there is nothing to get offended about. It is fool’s like you that stop society from moving forward

    Comment by naturallybornbad — June 3, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

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