Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quotas or Common Sense? A New Face for Marvel Comics

The world of super hero comics has been largely dominated by white dudes with rad ass powers for a while now.  Superman, Captain America, Spider-Man; all pretty obvious examples, and for a reason: they were created by white dudes. So, it is especially interesting to see the new iterations of both the X-Men and Mighty Avengers teams (though it is nothing all too surprising-we do have both a mixed race president and Spider-Man, as well as more women in college than men) populated with more representative casts. Done for that very reason, as stated by Tom Brevoort, “The reality is that the people who are interested in these characters and want to see heroes that reflect them have a genuine point. We first started conceptualizing this book in February around Black History Month, so there was a lot of talk around that.”   However,some folk are kinda getting their nickers in a bunch over it.

X-Men has always had some
of the best heroines.
         You have my attention with
     this line up.

<--Look at these awesome covers.-->

They are just going to have to get over it, as far as I'm concerned. The comic industry has been changing for decades (I'll be a little frank, the Marvel Now! realignment seemed kinda annoying to me, but perhaps this is the best way to mix up the 616) because of the natural development of more diverse staff and readers, which is great for the medium. I'll say it right now that I might be biased, since I'd like to see a more realistic representation of our society in the art that we have offered to us (Not to mention frustration with the laughable fact that half of our politicians in this country aren't women despite them being half the population-but I digress.) So, I view this as a good thing and not terribly shocking either. A number of years ago DC Comics tried to mix shit up too, by having the mantle of Blue Beetle handed down to a Latino kid and the also Atom being a new Asian scientist. What makes all of this really different is having major hero teams consisting of all women and various ethnicity. 

Now, as far as people getting upset about this, it is pretty surprising when taking a closer look at both of these titles. The X-Men, out of all comic brands, has always had some of the largest number of powerful heroines. It might be strange to think of, but I might be able to name more female mutants off the top of my head than male ones. Which kinda begs the question, how did this not happen sooner? Storm was one of the power houses in X-Men from early on, especially in the cartoon series where she was a team leader. The show also featured Rouge, Jubilee, and Jean Gray. Emma Frost has been the face of the X-Men more recently (Fuck you Scott, you freaking ninny! Sorry, I had to.) despite being an adversary of theirs for so long-though I've been out of the X game for a while so maybe it was for good reason. This Avengers team is also not straying too far, since Luke Cage, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Falcon, and Spectrum (Better known as Captain Marvel, once the leader of the Avengers) have all been members of the Avengers in past iterations. This has not kept some from saying some form of underhanded
sexist or racist statements. My response: Guess what,
you don't have to read it you ass hat.

The late Dwayne McDuffie once said when reflecting on work for the Justice League that he had "broken the rule of three" since he had more than three black members on a super hero team, in turn making it a "black" product. I hope we are getting closer to a point where the segregating of entertainment is not such a thing. Comics should just be about unfathomable crazy stories where all kinds of  people save the day using ridiculous powers. Especially characters kids can see themselves in, be it gender, nationality, disability, or something more personal. The X-Men fight first and foremost for equality for all people. We should continue to do the same.

(A note on the Mighty cover was the fact that they use a graffiti tag. Now maybe it is intended to look rebellious or something, but it does do just a little bit of pandering to a "street" style. I don't know why they don't get to have the big bold metallic emblem.) 

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