Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ultimate Spider-Man: The real reason we’re upset

I am tried of leftists pulling the race baiting stunts so that when people react to the stunt, not the race mind you, the stupid stunt, they can call those offended racist. The recent news about the dramatic change to Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man is a prime example of a stupid stunt with a race bait attached to it so that when the stunt goes awry Marvel and the leftists who control it now can blame racism rather than acknowledge the terrible mistake they have made, not that Spider-Man is being replaced by a young Hispanic-African-America (wow two hyphens!) but that they killed Peter Parker in the first place, and worse, so they can pretend it's 1960 in the Deep South. Rather than acknowledge the legitimate problem the press is already hard at work trying to spin this so that this is a problem with “Right Wing Pundits who are outraged that the new Spider-Man isn’t white.” To quote exactly, “it's doubtful that it would have had political pundits talking about it at length had the character been white. “-1 So now you’re already aware that when this stunt fails, it’s white political pundit’s fault, not the creative team’s. It is so because the Press has spoken.

It is this reaction of the left that cheeses me off. Racial tension in America would have died twenty years ago if the Left would just drop it. We’re not living the 1960s, yet in their twisted little minds it must be so because why else would anyone question Barak Hussein Obama? Ummm… His policies suck? The fact that this is the first president in history to preside over the first ever drop in our nation’s credit rating has nothing to do with his race but the insanity of his spending and the blatant stupidity of his regulations, just like our opposition to the new Ultimate Spider-Man has nothing to do with race, but because they killed Peter Parker, and did so purely for a political purpose.

Peter Parker is a phenomenal character, smart, funny and in the tradition of the classic Greek Hero suffers for doing the right thing. He’s a symbol of American endurance and hope. Many generations have grown up with Spider-Man, his image is iconic and while his main line Marvel Universe (a different product line from the Ultimate Universe) lives on the Ultimate (and best) incarnation of the character is now dead and no matter how the press wants to spin it, dead without an artistic reason.

Peter Parker was one of the few worthwhile Ultimate variants to survive the disastrous “Ultimatum” story arch where they killed far too many good characters for reasons that escape me. When my favorite, Wolverine, was killed I stopped buying Ultimate books. From Ultimatum forward the imprint has floundered in sales and the new books haven’t reached the level of popularity as their predecessors. I am surprised the imprint exists at all anymore. So they did what they always do when sales get a bit sluggish, they killed a popular character and replaced him.

Virtually every comic book character in history has had this done at some point or another, a move popularized by the controversial and subsequent reversal of the death of Super Man in the 90s. Death has no meaning in comics other than to shock a reaction out of the markets. However this technique is so tried and true that, by itself it won’t be enough to shock the markets, so input a clearly political agenda with a hint of “if this doesn’t sell we’ll call you racist” to it and wah-lah, instant success… Or so they assume. This tactic reveals in even more disturbing ways how truly out of touch Marvel has become.

When the mainline Marvel comic saw the death of Captain America in a story which clearly illustrated a serious social change in our society (one where we were becoming more comfortable with exchanging liberty for security) it hit hard for us Libertarians. Captain America’s death had serious meaning and hit home because it symbolized the death, not just of the Cap, but also of Jeffersonianism, the idea that the government which governs best is that which governs least. This worked because this is a debate that is going on in America, and continues to this day. Even with the relevance and meaning of the death Captain America didn’t stay dead long, even though he too was replaced, though in his case by a logical successor (Bucky Barnes). Ultimate Peter Parker will likely rise from the grave as well, it won’t take long for poor sales to mandate that because the replacement characters are never received or beloved as well as the originals. Plenty of white replacements have failed too, it has nothing to do with race.

For Ultimate Spider-Man to be replaced with a character who has no known ties to Peter Parker (ties that will have to be imagined ex-post-facto) with a politically driven twist is going to cheese people off, not for the race, but for the politics of it. The only people who are having a debate about Race in America is the Left, for the rest of America what is happening now isn’t about race but the replacement of liberty with a welfare state (security). It is irony that the people who had the slaves in the 1800s are now the people playing the race card at every opportunity. Go read your history books, it wasn’t Republicans wanting to secede from the Union because the didn’t want to give up their slaves, that was Democrats. And now the once masters of the plantation are the masters of the race card. Want lower taxes? Racist! Want more freedom to run your life and your business the way you see fit? Racist! Want to practice your religion freely and openly? Racist! Want to keep the fruits of your labor? Racist! So because the left is pretty much in a state of denial of the real issues trying to point out the racial change in their marketing becomes obnoxious because, like it or not, race isn’t what Republicans and Tea Partiers are upset about. With the New Ultimate Spider-Man it seems they are once again writing to avoid the real issues, which is disappointing because they hit the nail on the head with Civil War.

The fact of the matter is when a next gen variant of Spider-Man was introduced (Spider-Man 2099) it turned our he was an Hispanic, nobody cared. We loved him. When the Ultimate variant of Nick Fury was introduced as a Black Man, we understood this was a different Universe than the Marvel mainline, we not only didn’t complain but we loved that version so much he became THE Nick Fury. Notice the movies use this version of the character? We love Ultimate Nick Fury. But when these changes occurred there were no press releases about it, no political agenda pushed, none of that. They just did it and the market responded with decent sales. The problem with Marvel’s marketing gimmick with the new Ultimate Spider-Man is the fact they felt the need to treat his race as something that isn’t normal in the first place. When race is handled as something normal in media people accept and embrace it. Marvel has a large line up of diverse character already, none of them got introduced in this way, all of them are well loved.

Right now race isn’t the central political issue of the day, and that Marvel doesn’t get that makes me sad, but keeping the focus on something as irrelevant as skin pigment is a great way to avoid the reality that the same argument we’re having now is the same argument touched on in Marvel’s Civil War. It just happens that we sided with Captain America, and Marvel is clearly siding with Iron Man and joining the Obama administration in calling anyone who disagrees racist.

The rejection of the new Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales, has nothing to do with his race and everything to do with the killing of an Icon for a political agenda which avoids the real issues and that is the real reason we’re upset. Of course the logic of Conservatives won’t fit on bumper stickers so leave it to the left to just scream “Racist” as readers reject this change, rather than try to understand the real issues at hand.

-1 Joey Esposito Race in Comics: Spider-Man's Impact, accessed 8-7-11

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