This is the week of referencing posts I’ve already made. And this time we’re not going back 2 years, we’re going back 3 weeks.
Travel back to me to the far away days of September 8th, 2015, and the post “Diversity in Comics – Crazy Freak-Outs by Crazy People – New Hulk”.
This week, I made a post on the internet (yes, I realize what the internet is and what I’m opening myself up to when I post on it, but it also allows me to respond in this fashion, so [insert long raspberry sfx here]) concerning the new Avengers comic lineup for post-Secret Wars.
First, my point wasn’t even about their ethnicity. It was about their youth. And yet the first thing someone felt the need to comment on was about the fact that a number of the characters are not white.
Now, internet doesn’t give tone. I don’t know what Reply #1 was going for, but it feels pretty damn sarcastic, especially considering it was youth I was talking about. Or even Reply #2, which feels even more critical. But this is just me assuming shit. Still, again, my blog, my ability to do such things.
And it brings up an argument with an old friend last week, where he talked trash on Female Thor (I try not to say her name, since it was supposed to be a surprise, and some folks don’t know, yet), and Miles and Kamala. On forums, on comment sections. “Why not give them their own characters,” which I went more into on the September 8th post. But this, today is about the Avengers.
To break it down:
Tony’s Iron Man still (I think? Honestly, I’m not 100% sure on this, I keep hearing weird things about surprises, but I think that’s to do with his parents and being in some sort of relationship with Peter Parker’s usual Love Interest MJ). The Vision is still The Vision, so… no change there. Sam/Falcon is the new Captain America (Steve’s old now, y’all); he is both black and a legacy character. Thor is a lady and a legacy character. Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan is Pak-American, Muslim, a high-school student, and a superhero super fan, and a legacy character. Spider-Man is Miles Morales, Puerto Rican-Black, and a legacy character (and pretty much the whole reason for Secret Wars, if you ask certain people who I don’t necessarily disagree with as I never read anything from the Ultimate universe). And Nova, who I know nothing about other than there are at least two of them, this one is younger, so I’m going to guess he’s the legacy character.
Soooo many reasons to hate! Sooo many reasons I’ve read complaining on this line up! And yet … that’s the one you pull. That a few of them aren’t white. So here it goes again:
Do I think this is diversity for diversity’s sake? I think it’s partially that. I think comics are taking a long look at themselves, looking at the movies, looking at the viewers and readers, and going, “holy crap, did you know the vast majority of the world is not white men?! WHO KNEW!?!” If white men were buying comics on the level they were buying them in the 1990s, maybe nothing would change – hopefully they would, since this is 2015 and it is way past time to represent the world – but they aren’t, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re looking around going, “Where can we get new readership?”
Ultimate Spider-Man books sold and was well reviewed. Kamala’s Ms. Marvel sells and is well reviewed. The female Thor run sold something like 20,000 more books than the general Thor comic was selling. Sure, some of that was curiosity, but it wasn’t a bad book. The art was good, and the story was interesting. If these characters didn’t sell, Marvel wouldn’t put them in books. But they are selling, so of course they’re publishing them! They would be idiots not to! I have to pay butt-tons of fees transferring money from Thailand to America into my US bank account to work Comixology, and I’ll do it for Kamala, because her books are awesome.
She’s adorable. She’s got a team up book with Coulson in the S.H.I.E.L.D. book where they try to out-nerd each other over super-hero knowledge.
She’s got a team-up book with Wolverine where she calls him a short angry man who punches things, and is sad because they’re no longer superhero twinsies since he lost his healing factor, and told him about the fanfiction she wrote about him and Storm.
She fights like the world’s on the line, crushes like the world’s on the line,
and is hilarious with Hipster-Viking (aka Loki). She’s 16. And outside of racism and sexism (and those ARE reasons, don’t let people tell you they’re not), that’s one reason people hate her. She’s a kid who acts like a kid. She’s a book good for all ages and all levels of readers.
Good with continuity? She works for you. (She loves continuity, too! She knows her superheroes!) Not good with continuity? That’s fine. Most of the time it’s just her in Jersey City, fighting her own stuff. When other folks step in, the story explains it. It’s not sexy, it’s not very violent (she’s sad when she knocks out a crocodile).
Ms. Marvel is a good comic with a good character, and for some reason, because she’s a legacy character (which is REALLY well explained with her character being a fangirl, scared and sick at the time she gets her powers, which allow her to full bodyshift into Carol Danvers’ Ms Marvel) or because she’s Pak-American, or because she’s Musilm, she gets hate. People decide that ANY of those things is automatically pandering. But for some reason a new white male character isn’t. Bucky Cap was plot, Sam Cap was pandering.
Just “PC” bullshit.
And you know what? People talk about “PC” being a thing? It’s the “OMG PC IS BULLSHIT” that’s the real problem. Because for some reason people won’t turn that around “OMG BEING FAIR TO WOMEN AND NON-WHITE AND NON-STRAIGHT PEOPLE IS BULLSHIT! I HATE IT WHEN YOU PURPOSEFULLY GIVE WOMEN AND NON-WHITE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS FICTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES!”
Or, hey. In the real world, “I hate it when you give actual women and actual non-white and non-straight people an actual chance at the good life. Fuck that. I want white heterosexual men to have it all, all the time. I never want to have to say anything nice to anyone else, or be obligated to behave in public. What was that I was told as a child? If I can’t say something nice, don’t say something at all? Pretty sure my mom told me that, and to hell with her. Moms are women and those creatures have vaginas, which are disgusting and stupid. Not meant for workplaces, or Thors.”
ADD: Just for the hell of it, here’s Cho and Skaar from Secret Wars: Runaways