Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Marvel, Please Stop Pandering, Ok?

So, I'm a comic book fan, I'm looking forward to the premiere of Iron Fist on netflix to what is frankly an absurd degree, most of my workout gear is super hero themed, and I can rattle off lore for the heroes and villains of the big two publishers like a cape obsessed Rain Man. The problem is there is a problem at Marvel, that problem is social justic warrior pandering. don't believe me? Ok, check this out.

That is Titania not only giving up to the female Thor because of feminist solidarity. And letting herself be cracked across the jaw. Titania has killed female heroes in the past to prove she is the strongest woman alive. Smart, mean and powerful, she has always been portrayed as utterly ruthless when it comes to getting what she wants. The poor gray schlub on the ground in that top panel is the absorbing man, Titanias husband. Thor just broke his jaw for saying feminist like a it's a dirty word.

Let that sink in and then realize that this isn't an isolated incident in their run. Look up Danielle Cage, the female Captain America from the future. No she isn't from some elseworld comic or alternate reality, she is in th 616 universe. Then there is Riri "Ironheart" Williams, the teenage african american MIT student who reverse engineered some Stark tech and made her own Iron Man-esque suit, right down to the paint scheme. Need more proof? How about Dr Toni Ho, the teenage asian american female Iron Patriot.

How about this?I thing they actually pretty accurately make my point for  me. The focus has shifted from telling compelling stories of heroism to identity politics. The sometimes hero in these panels by the way is Mockingbird. scientist, vigilante, master criminal, super spy and ex-wife of Hawkeye. She has led a few different teams, been a major player in a few events. She was a plant for the real Avengers inside of the team run by Norman Osborn during the first Civil War story for example. Here she is whining about how women can't be super heroes though. In a picture that shows Cyclops in his X-Force costume, placing her image of him at around the time Storm was leading the X-Men and Wasp was leading the Avengers. Good job there.

Like a lot of comic fans I don't want a messahe shoved down my throat, and it feels like that is what Marvel comics has become all about lately, courting "social justice warrior" approval despite that being a demographic that doesn't buy comics even when you write to appeal to them.

I don't mind minority and female characters either, so long as they are well written. All New Wolverine, which has Laura Kinney take on the mantle of her genetic progenitor Logan, is a well written comic for the most part and Laura Kinney herself is a fun character who feels like a natural fit for continuing the legacy of an old character while changing things up. Miles Morales, the Spider-Man from the Ultimate universe is a mixed race teen who dons the costume to pay homage to the original Spider-Man of his reality when Peter Parker dies facing the Sinister Six and the Green Goblin and Miles was such a fan favorite that after the death of Marvel's Ultimate imprint he was moved in to their 616 core universe.

If Marvel wanted to genuinely make a more diverse comic book universe there are ways to do it, the pandering they have resorted to? Not one of those ways.

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