Diversity in Comics – Crazy Freak-outs by Crazy People – New Hulk

So, a few days ago, a new Hulk was announced for Marvel comics, following the completion of their Secret Wars event. If you aren’t following this event, or Marvel, or comics at all, let’s just say that the Marvel multi-verse collapsed back in May and various copies of basically every Marvel character are in several different regions, living and battling and stuff.

It's complicated.
It’s complicated.

This is Marvel’s fancy way of cleaning house. DC does this by having Crisis…es. Crises? (Note: I just realized that I never knew how to spell the plural of Crisis and had to look it up. It is technically embarrassing, but since the Internet is all about embarrassing oneself, I decided to share this shame with you.) On Battleworld, where Doom (of Fantastic Four – not the Fant4stic version! – fame) reigns as their Lord God, Marvel’s taking two worlds of Marvel 616 (the traditional Marvel characters and stories) and Marvel 1610-Ultimates (Where Miles Morales and a somehow worse Reed Richards live), and combining them.

The most cynical reason for this is that the best-selling character – only real best selling character, really – is Miles’ Spider Man, so they’re just pulling him into 616 and dumping all the extras. Along the way, they’re doing some housecleaning with their books, tossing out some of the old, bringing in some of the new.

One of my faves, for example, Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel is going to be landing on the Avengers! She’s super excited about it, too!

Her geekiness is just the best.
Her geekiness is just the best.

But, here’s the thing, the more characters like Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales – the Spider Man pictured above – shake up comics, the more folks like to complain.

Why, I hear, put black characters/females in such-and-such role? Why not create their own?

Interesting. Interesting.

Robin (4 of 6)
Robin (4 of 6)

These are four of the most popular Robins to date. From top to bottom we have the original Robin, Dick Grayson, who went on to be Nightwing; Jason Todd, who went on to be Red Hood; Tim Drake, who went on to be Red Robin; and Damian Wayne, who is the current Robin. One “character”, four white, male actors.

There were complaints, sure. Especially when the comics killed off Jason Todd in the 80s and people who didn’t know better, thought it was Dick, the kid they grew up with, and got super upset with it. People who only keep with one tiny story, like the 90s Batman movies, and only know one Robin, they don’t get that this is a fairly common thing. Robin’s one of the best examples of it, but he’s hardly the only.

OH! And Robin’s been female! Twice. Once in regular continuity, as Stephanie Brown, who became Spoiler.

She had some problems...
She had some problems…

And a big one outside of continuity, in Frank Miller’s personal Dark Knight continuity, Carrie Kelley, who became Catgirl (which I will not speak of here… I plan on doing a long-form Frank Miller post at some point, though).

She's my favorite Robin
She’s my favorite Robin

Even these two don’t get much talk. Maybe because Carrie was both outside of continuity and in the 80s, and Stephanie had the role very briefly … and it is a sidekick role.

Thor however!

Blasphemy!
Blasphemy!

I won’t spoil the identity of this worthy (if you care, and you must if you’re riled … and if you care enough to be riled, you honestly should be able to guess), but let’s talk about why the rile is bullshit.

First, it’s not the first time a female Thor has been explored. (And honestly, the research for this doesn’t have to go far, everyone has already talked all over this when the Thor news came out, but I’m doing it again, so there.) Here’s a blog called The Peerless Power of Comics to break the most popular What If version down.

OMG Are those BOOBS?! Surely not!
OMG Are those BOOBS?! Surely not!

Also: Beta Ray Thor

A Past and Present Thor, as of the Thors Secret Wars book
A Past and Present Thor, as of the Thors Secret Wars book

 This:

Throg
Throg, the Forensics Thor in Thors

Granted, she wasn’t a THOR, but she was WORTHY, and I want to post the picture:

Wonder Woman. From the Marvel/DC crossover event
Wonder Woman. From the Marvel/DC crossover event

Plus, in Secret Wars at the moment, the Thor Corps are the police force. Like EVERYONE is a Thor. Groot is a Thor.

He says,
He says, “I AM THOR!”

Moving on, you’ve had multiple Ant-Man’s and Hank Pym has been like 20 different characters, because he’s mentally unstable. (If I were fond of cliche, I’d post the picture of him slapping Janet, his wife/the Wasp, here, but I’m totally above that.) Steve’s Captain America gave the shield to Bucky, where he stepped down from being Winter Soldier, but it’s only now that Sam – Falcon – takes up the shield, that you see forums light up.

Can’t say why not create his own character. He has one. But there needs to be a Captain America, and Steve’s gotten old. Shake. Shit. Up.

(There’s also a Werewolf Captain America, and Superman carried the shield in that event mentioned above when Wonder Woman lifted the hammer. Pretty sure Superman had the hammer, too, now that I think about it. Superman is pretty annoying.)

Miles and Kamala got some crap when they first came out, race on Miles’ side – Black/Puerto Rican – and race/religion on Kamala’s – Pakistani/Muslim. Obviously the complaints were “blah blah blah political correctness blah blah blah own characters blah blah blah” and so on.

Now we have Amadeus Cho as the new Hulk.

Look at him smirk like he doesn't give the slightest shit about your problems.
Look at him smirk like he doesn’t give the slightest shit about your problems.

He’s an established character as of the early 00’s. One of Marvel’s many super smart dudes. He’s just not been a Hulk before. He’s generally been a sidekick-type character, I understand. For full disclosure, I’m not a Hulk fan. I only read Hulk stuff during big events.

(Let me throw in here, that there have been times when sidekicks have taken on their main dude’s logo:)

For example, Dick as Batman, with Damian-Robin
For example, Dick as Batman, with Damian-Robin

Anyway, so we’re not just making up this little Asian kid out of nowhere and throwing him into Marvel’s main page. What we’re doing, like we did with Thor, is take someone from within the existing world and elevating him to a higher place in that world. Makes sense to me. We know he works around dangerous stuff, one assumes. It isn’t outside of the realm of possibility that something could happen.

Another thing would be, Hulk does not exist in solitude. I mean, I’m not sure how a lot of things will turn out POST Secret Wars (though I’ve heard things about that creepy old Hulk from Future Imperfect maybe staying around)

Noooooo!
Noooooo! :shudders:

but at the very least, there have been Hulk and She-Hulk for so long as makes no difference. There have been dumb Hulks and smart Hulks and World War Hulks and Mr. Fix It Hulks, gray Hulks, green Hulks, red Hulks, and who-knows-what-else Hulks.

Why not Cho?

Maybe, like Dick, Jason, Tim, Stephanie, Carrie, etc, he’ll morph into some other character completely unique from Hulk after he’s established himself a bit and taken on some sort of fanbase. But HULK is the popular name, the popular title and Bruce Banner has a billion different stories from decades of different efforts. WHY NOT TRY SOMETHING NEW?!

And what IF it’s “just” for diversity? What the hell is so wrong with that? According to Geek Tyrant, the creators of this comic are Greg Pak and Frank Cho, Korean Americans. I’ve not interviewed them to get their full take on their motivations, but it wouldn’t be completely off base, I don’t think, to imagine they’re doing this because they might want to see something a little more familiar on the page. Much like I like to read stories about female characters, STRONG female superheroes were important to me growing up. They empowered me. I didn’t need Superman. He didn’t give me strength. It helps to have someone to look to and say:

S/he looks like me. I can be like that.

I have a young family member whose favorite Disney Princess is Tiana. Mine, when I was a little girl, was Belle. I wonder why. (Books. Books is why. I didn’t really give a crap about all that love stuff.)

I don’t know if you remember how crazy little girls were for Tiana, little girls who could say, “She looks like me!” Toys sold like crazy before the movie even opened. That was the sort of need that existed. The same thing exists in comics, it does, or it can, if you open a door to it instead of ignoring it. Fill that need for kids, teens, and even adults, give them a character they can look to and be proud of.

WHY NOT DO DIVERSITY FOR DIVERSITY’S SAKE?! The “It’s just PC crap” argument is the weirdest one to me. Okay, so… we just leave it back in the 30s/40s with white dudes and the occasional girlfriend?

And there are other reasons, of course. MONETARY reasons. OMG MARVEL IS A – wait for it – BUSINESS :gasp: and they’re hoping to reach another market demographic! Holy hell, y’all, watch out for some evil shit!

No, but really. That same attitude is what got us Wonder Woman, Luke Cage, Black Panther, Northstar and tons of other non-Caucasian, non-penis-packing, non-heterosexual characters. Comics are a business, a business that is struggling to sell books, and the wider the audience they reach, the greater chance they have of selling those books. If Bruce Banner Hulk was selling a million books a month, they would not be replacing him, but he’s not. To quote an A.V. Club article from April 2015 on the Thor change:

Making Thor a woman was a bold move by Marvel Comics, and it’s paid off considerably for the publisher. The current female-led Thor title is consistently outselling the previous volume of writer Jason Aaron’s run by around 20,000 copies a month, a significant boost in sales that proves change can be a very good thing.

So they’re trying something new and different! Shake shit up.

And, honestly, the shit people keep giving about his hair is just petty as heck. It just reeks of “KIDS THESE DAYS”.

(Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel got some backlash when she cut her hair short… speaking of legacy characters, did you know Carol is actually the second female Captain Marvel, and that the first female CM, Monica Rambeau, dates back all the way to the 80s and was in the original 1984 Secret Wars? Oh and hey, Rhodey was Iron Man at that point, too!)

1st appearance? 1982. Over 30 years ago.
1st appearance? 1982. Over 30 years ago.

(Or that Deadpool just had a 2015 Secret Wars tie-in called Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars that had the 1984 Secret Wars told from his POV, even though he wasn’t around then?)

Perfection in its truest form.
Perfection in its truest form.

…::cough:: sorry.

It’s All-New, All-Different Marvel. Like, actually, that. That’s what this post-Secret Wars stuff is going to be called, apparently. Which is waaaay lamer than a new Hulk.

All-in-All

Get a massive grip on yourselves, folks. There’s a lot of stuff behind this. Stuff like the world is changing, there needs to be more variety in characters! Are you kidding me?! Stuff like money. Yes, money. Be practical with this. Amazingly, folks with ovaries and folks with genetic roots outside of Great Britain are fond of comics. They posses money and like to occasionally see people on the page who resemble them in some form or another or have stories they can relate to in someway. Why do you think the X-Men/Mutant stories did so well? “I FEEL PERSECUTED” is a general feeling most people can latch onto.

If you just hate everything Cho-Hulk and cannot find ANYTHING AT ALL in ALL OF THE REST OF MODERN COMICS TO LIKE, let me point you to Comixology or your local comic shop. Back issues are a thing. Indi-comics are a thing. There are so many things out there. This pisses you off? Find something else.

So… this was crazy levels of long. But, seriously… all these “why don’t they do anything but make a girl/non-white guy this character I probably don’t even read” comments have just worn my bullshit shield too thin not to speak out. THUS ENDS MY RANT!

(P.S. Did you know Loki was a lady in the current A-Force run? Cuz she is.)

Along with a legacy Captain Marvel, a female Hulk character, and a teenage female team leader, facing an alien Thor. Huh.
Along with a legacy Captain Marvel, a female Hulk character, and a teenage female team leader, facing a Non-Asgardian Thor. Huh.
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