Sunday, February 15, 2015

Marvel Movies v Marvel Comics

Marvel movies are all the rage. Captain America (Steve Rogers), Thor Odinson, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), and even Wolverine are more popular than they have ever been. But if you look at the comics, these popular characters are almost nowhere to be found. Steve Rogers has been replaced by his longtime sidekick, Sam Wilson. Thor Odinson has been replaced by a woman, Iron man is now evil, they are trying desperately to replace Peter Parker with Miles Morales, and Wolverine is dead. But of you disagree with any of these business decisions; you’re a racist, bigot, homophobe.

It is, perhaps, ironic that Marvel is eschewing the classic characters we all grew up with for more politically correct versions; at a time those classic characters have broader reach and appeal than at any other time in history. Those icons are all being replaced, of course, with people who aren’t “evil white Christian males.” You know, because all Christian white males are evil and need to be eliminated. But why? Honestly, I don’t know. Sam Wilson was great as the Falcon, a character I’m a huge fan of. Thor never was one of my favorites (though the women in my family universally adore him), but even with the fact that Thor has had secret identities in the past, Marvel had long ago abandoned that approach to Thor, and why they are going back to it now… not for creative reasons, but for political correctness, is beyond me. Wolverine is my all-time favorite Marvel character, so seeing him killed and encased in a statue just irks me, and Iron Man being evil is just… why?

To do all of these insane things at a time when these characters are more popular than ever seems counterproductive. Marvel studios releases a major movie, it sells millions in tickets, and does extremely well on home video to boot. People who are not normally considered geeks are eagerly awaiting the next film in the franchise, and now would be the perfect time to try to market companion comic books to these new fans as a means of introducing them to the Marvel Comics Universe. Sadly, anyone wanting to take a look at the source material will find the Marvel Comics Universe that is uninviting, unimaginative, and chained down with political correctness.

Well, according to a Time Magazine article I found earlier, Marvel Comics has been struggling for a long time-1, and these gimmicks can, and do increase sales. While the author, being a Times Magazine writer, and likely a radical leftist himself, saw these changes as positive, the reality is that these gimmicks have been tried several times in the past, and while they do temporarily increase sales, sales always, inevitably, fall to below average for the series, forcing the changes to be undone.

Proof? Remember the death of Super-Man? How long did that last? Wolverine has been dead several times before, he always comes back. Even Peter Parker was only dead for about a year, while Doc Oc possessed his body. Frankly, as a long time fan, I’m sick of these sales gimmicks, especially when they come loaded for bear with a political agenda.

The news media wants to make detractors like me into racist, bigot, homophobes, but I’ve been called this so many times over infantile things that it’s all just sticks and stones at this point. Heck, I’ve noticed that elementary school age kids call each other “racist” now in jest the way they used to call people “silly,” or some other age appropriate synonym for nonsensical, and it’s just as well… Real racism in America has been dead a very long time. Today, the things people complain about are nonsense. And that is why Marvel is in trouble… at least at the comic end of things.

Marvel Movies have all but avoided politics. When it has gotten political, it’s gone to issues that both sides of the isle agree on, such as the fears that our current security and monitoring state could lead to something much more sinister than looking at our emails, and recording our phone calls, like in Captain America 2. Disney’s management of the Marvel property has been excellent. The movies should be offensive to no one. The comics, on the other hand, were long ago hijacked by Social Justice Warriors, determined to rid Marvel Comics of its traditional fan base by narrowing its appeal to fellow Social Justice Warriors. Of course, if we object, we get the name calling. But we don’t object because Marvel’s fan base hates blacks/latinos/gays/women, but because we love the traditional characters. We love Steve Rogers, we love Peter Parker and we love James “Logan” Howlett.

Often overlooked by the SJWs is the fact that we also love Sam Wilson as Falcon, Jean Grey, Black Widow, Rogue, Storm, Black Panther, Bishop, luke Cage, She-Hulk, Ultimate Colossus, and so on. And the action figures of these aforementioned characters are always the hardest to find because they are the highest in demand. Did anyone ever find that promised Marvel Legends Moonstar (A native American woman)? No? Sad… I wanted her. There are plenty of female and minority characters we, Marvel’s base fan, adore. That is why we don’t understand why other characters we love have to be replaced with more Social Justice Warrior friendly versions. We don’t hate women and minorities. Again, we just love Steve Rogers, Logan, Peter Parker, etc. So why do we have to lose our favorite characters in order to introduce even more female and minority characters? That is the question the base fan is asking.

But not only are our favorite characters being killed or replaced to appeal to a radical left, but the comics book writers and producers, and the news media surrounding them have been downright hostile toward the fans who have been complaining. It’s a similar knee jerk that the media has had to the video game fans who have been complaining that some indie game developers have been trading special favors for positive coverage by game journalists. Instead of addressing the real problem, the media has deflected and defaulted to the “racist, bigot, homophobe” posture.

It’s likely I would have fallen in love with Miles Morales had he been introduced as his own
character, and not a substitute for Peter Parker. Likewise, Thor already had several noteworthy female counterparts whom the comics could have brought into the spotlight. Lady Sif and Valkyrie among the many. Even if they wanted to do something more with this new Lady Thor, that would have been fine. But replacing Thor Odinson? It’s not a welcome change. Not because I’m a misogynist (I’d never have gotten married if I were), but because I like Thor Odinson, and I liked the direction Marvel had taken which eschewed the secret identity nonsense for having Thor harken to the classic mythology. I think most fans enjoyed the classic Norse mythology as well. Almost no one talks about Erick Masterson, or the other secret identities Thor used to have. It’s been a long time since they went that route, and the movies have all but ignored it. And I love Sam Wilson, but as Falcon, because Steve Rogers is what makes Captain America Captain America. Steve Rogers is the ideal American. Not a symbol for what America is, but a symbol for what America should be; decent, honorable, caring, and when necessary, self-sacrificing. Steve Rogers is a man less concerned with politics, and more concerned with doing the right thing. That is what makes him the ideal American we should all aspire to be like. It’s an ideal that any other character, even white Bucky Barnes, is wholly inadequate to convey.

Moreover, I find the notion of putting women and minorities in the cowl of white men insulting. It sends the message that female and minorities cannot succeed on their own terms, but only in the shadow of White Men. Whereas having a black super hero succeed on his own terms would be a much better message to send. Moreover, there have been many successful black and female characters. My wife buys She-Hulk comics to this day, and is looking forward to the upcoming A-Force, an all-female Avengers, which assembles the many women of the Marvel Comics Universe onto a single team. Frankly, I can’t wait to see how that will work. No one is dying or being replaced to make that book. So great! Let’s have more like that. Let’s promote diversity with more works like the TV show Agent Carter, where instead of, say, killing off a beloved iconic character, we focus on a female or minority character. That’s the right way to do this.

Let’s let Maria Hill take the spotlight here and there in Agents of Shield, or give her her own show. Let’s let Hallie Berry lead a team of X-Men, like her comic book character does, in addition to Cyclop’s team. X-Men seems to always have different teams. In the 1990s it was spelled out. Storm led the Gold Strike Force, while Cyclops led the Blue strike force, and it worked!

Let’s have Luke Cage and Bishop have their own books. Let’s do more to promote the Black Panther. Let’s create new, and bolder female and minority characters for the readers to fall in love with. But let’s not replace the characters that readers have come to love over many years of reading in the name of promoting diversity, because it’s promoting division. Instead of promoting racial harmony, its promoting tension. Instead of promoting togetherness, it’s promoting conquest and replacement, and in the process, is creating an estranged relationship with the traditional fan base. Moreover, it’s giving new fans that were brought in by the movies, a confusing and hostile comic world with nothing to keep them coming back. And this is why Marvel Comics are sinking, while the movie division is not just swimming, but sailing.

Marvel Comics and game journalists seem to have one thing in common. Both are refusing to address the real issues at hand, and are trying to scare off their base, while they pursue a new audience entirely made up of fellow Social Justice Warriors. But the problem is that Social Justice Warriors are not interested in comic books or video games. That’s not to say that gamers and comic book fans aren’t Liberal, many are, but there is a difference between a Liberal and a Progressive, and the differences between the two are becoming more and more pronounced. Progressives have become so extreme that even traditional Liberals aren’t good enough to be their audience. The first sign of disagreement and these Liberals are getting the names we Conservatives and Libertarians have had to deal with for years, and I can’t imagine that they are taking kindly to it. And in the end, that business decision will cost the comic book and game journalism industries, because hostility toward your base consumer is never smart. It’s always best to make your base consumer happy, and build out from there.

Marvel’s attempts at being politically correct have also been hampered by some increasingly stupid
decisions which turn off the very consumers they are trying to reach. Women in my family are complaining that Lady Thor doesn’t think or act like a woman. This, ironically, is a complaint they had about Fem-Shepard in Mass Effect, I might add. And so they won’t read the current Thor. My own mother lamented the loss of Thor Odinson, because she liked Thor for his eye candy. True story! But adding insult to injury, they hire pornographic artists like Milo Manara, who literally draws pornography for a living, to do art for their female characters like Spider-Woman. This isn’t how you appeal to women. Its White Progressive Men trying to appeal to an audience they know nothing about, and there is the real problem.

Marvel Comics lost touch with America a long time ago. Instead of being about realistic personalities with extraordinary gifts and extraordinary problems, Marvel has become an over the top reactionary criticism of what it sees as the American Right. I stopped reading X-Men when Wolverine was slashing up White Christians running around in Crusader armor killing Mutants in the name of Jesus Christ. As a history buff, I know two things about the Crusades that made this unbearably insulting: 1) Christians fought the Crusades as a defensive war against Islamic expansion and aggression, and 2) No one was killing anyone in the name of Jesus Christ. A Holy War is not a Christian concept. As a proud and unashamed card carrying member of the American Right, I can tell you that we are nothing like the way we have been portrayed in comics in recent years.

Even as I abandoned X-Men, I kept up with Avengers until the price of the comics hit $5.00 an issue. $5.00 can get me entire video games on Playstation Network. There is a value/cost benefit analysis we all do, and at $5.00 an issue, comics just don’t provide enough value to warrant spending that much money on them. Add to that the hostile political correctness, and it creates a situation where comic books just aren’t worth it at all. Ironically, I do have a Marvel Comics account, and am regularly purchasing digital copies of older books.

You can counter that Marvel has always been political and has always leaned left. I counter, however, that Marvel used to be balanced. For instance, while you had God Loves/Man Kills which openly criticized perceived intolerances from Evangelical Christianity, it kept that balanced with Nightcrawler, and other Christian characters who always reminded the reader that not all Christians are like this. Kind of like what 24 had to do with Islam. They don’t have that balance anymore. These days, Marvel Comics just beats its reader with its intolerance of perceived and imaginary intolerances creating an environment too politically hostile for anyone who is not a radical bomb throwing, internet trolling leftist.

The America that X-Men sought to critique was alive and well in the 1960s. Though it’s an historical inaccuracy to attribute that era’s intolerances to the political Right, X-Men’s stories were much more apropos for that era. Today, America is very different. No one on the Right hates people because of their skin color. And even arguments over gay marriage cannot truly be simplified as “hate.” There’s a much more complex battle there that literally requires religious liberties to be curtailed, as gay rights expand. That, of course, is another blog. But in today’s world, jumping to “racist, bigot, homophobe” in every argument is indicative of a narrow mind, one that isn’t willing to consider all angles of a political discussion. And it’s this sort of narrow mind which leads to a narrowing of an audience, not expansion of it.

Marvel Movie Studios seems to understand this. It’s why you will never see Miles Morales as Spider-Man, or Sam Wilson as Captain America on film, but you will See Ms. Marvel, and Black Panther get their own films, and I’d wager, eventually Black Widow, Storm, and so forth. Marvel Film Studios understands that you broaden the base by introducing more, and new characters to love, not by killing off and replacing characters we already love. By refusing to even entertain that premise, Marvel Comics, on the other hand, and the journalists surrounding them, will only narrow their audience down to a trickle, killing the comic side of the Marvel Universe in the process.

1-      Why Marvel Needs a Gimmick Like Thor’s Sex Change, Danny Fingeroth, Time Magazine 7/14/14 Accessed 2/15/15


  1. I love the old She Hulk comics. I would love to see them continued. Why not bring back Jubilee? She was popular to both boys and girls in the 80s. It would be fun to see what can be done with her now.

  2. Jubille is back, but is now a vampire. I'm not happy with that change either.