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Thursday, August 07, 2014 

More on the she-Thor stunt

The Kansas City Star wrote some time ago about the female replacement for the Norse God of Thunder, and it features more puff-piece tactics and Jason Aaron being sensationalistic:
[...] Jason Aaron has been writing “Thor: God of Thunder” from his Johnson County home for the past two years and says he’s been building to the moment when the current Thor is no longer worthy of the hammer.

“We have seen aliens and frogs become Thor,” he told me Friday. “It seems like maybe it was time for a woman.”
I thought the frog situation was the other way around, with Walter Simonson writing up a story where Thor was turned amphibious, and Beta Ray Bill gained similar powers, but remained his own person, and was never made into a genuine replacement for Thor, to the point of taking his whole name. Leave it to Aaron to distort everything.
And, Marvel says, in November we’ll see Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, become Captain America. Per usual, the fanboys are angry. A black Captain America, a female Thor. It’s a lot of change.
Missing the bigger picture, as usual. Sure, there are some mindless "fans" out there supposedly angry at these changes, but really just looking for excuses to act foul for fun. But what's missed here is Rick Remender's horrific insults to Steve Rogers before replacing him with Sam Wilson. That's the real reason to take issue, not the change in race.
“I understand,” Jason says of the backlash. “As comic book fans you read these characters for years and years and you become invested in the characters, the continuity and the history, so you resist something that seems different. As a writer, I am attracted to that thing that is different. This is what we do, we tell the stories of characters that have been around for 60 years. We don’t often get to tell one that hasn’t been done before.”
Not everyone's invested in these famous creations, I'm afraid, and that's because of pretentious writers like Aaron, along with his editors, working on publicity stunts that take away the impact of the product.
Anna Perry of Independence, a longtime Thor fan, says she wouldn’t want to lose out on Chris Hemsworth in “Thor” movies — and it’s unclear how the comic book change will affect the future movie universe — but she loves the thought of a woman taking on the power.

“It totally rocks and is a step toward equality,” she says. “Hopefully they’ll portray her as an ass-kicker and they won’t depict her as a sexy character like Wonder Woman.”

Jason says she will not be hypersexualized, but he won’t tell us much else. We’ll have to read it ourselves.
But they've already given telling clues the lady will be sexualized, so what's the point of denying it? I'm disappointed the fan they spoke with sees nothing wrong with putting a woman in the role of man without making it her own, nor with the notion of taking up a man's name (!) when I'm sure there's plenty of women's names in the Scandanavian languages that sound similar, and better to adopt.

And is she saying there's something wrong with WW being a beauty?!? Why do I get the feeling they sought out a left-wing feminist with a backwards view of good looks? She's worrying too much about the movie's male star though: no way are they going to do that, no matter how absurdly PC they are. The KCS must've been delighted to get that quote.
Adonus Ray of Kansas City, a Captain America fan, says it’s not a big deal having a black man become the hero. Fanboy backlash is dumb, he says. After all, it’s been done before when soldier Isaiah Bradley assumed the role back in 2003.
It may not be a big deal changing the race of the protagonist, but it most certainly is a big deal to tarnish Kirby and Simon's famous premise with the Super Soldier serum, claiming the scientists behind it were exploiting blacks as guinea pigs for testing the formulas. That miniseries, The Truth: Red, White and Black, was one of the most disgusting "products" Marvel published a decade ago, and judging from what Remender stuffed into the Cap series he's writing, it's clear they have no intention of moving away from it. But back in 2003, there were people who found the execution offensive, and the miniseries otherwise didn't do well in sales.
“Sam was the logical choice for the next Cap,” he says. “I’m a little worried he won’t have the supersoldier serum like Steve Rogers, but he’s a patriot through and through.
Yes, but if he's got wings, that makes the choice kind of awkward, doesn't it? What makes Steve Rogers unique is that he doesn't fly, but does use a lot of intelligence and strategy to fight crime, along with combat skills. Putting a guy who flies in a role that wasn't developed that way kind of defeats the whole idea. Surprisingly, the same fan said:
“As for a woman Thor, that is a little weird. I wouldn’t mind there being a new wielder of Mjölnir, but to change Thor’s gender is silly. Especially since there are so many great female heroes in the Marvel universe that need more shine — Psylocke, Storm, Blink, Deathstrike, Rogue. But I will still read it.”
Yes, it's silly to change gender, but it's worse to inject tarnishing renditions of Steve before replacing him with Sam, isn't it? If it weren't for that, this probably would be easier to accept, but in a custom that's been around since Emerald Twilight in 1994, they just have to add insults to injury making it harder to embrace. And this fan they spoke with sounds like it's not writing talent that motivates him to read the book, just tunnelvisioned fandom.
Jason says Marvel didn’t set out to make a political statement with female Thor or black Captain America; these are stories that happened organically. But he believes diversity is important.
To which I say, stuff it. They set out to make political statements with The Truth miniseries, not to mention the Marvel Knights take on Cap, plus Civil War, stories that were definitely not organic, so why should we believe they didn't plan on a political statement with this? And if he thinks diversity is important, why do only the costumed heroes matter, but not supporting casts or people of different ethnicities? This is just another example of asking readers to care about a costume but not the characters inside.
“For the longest time we were catering to the same group of fans, and I count myself among the midst of those fans,” he says. “I go to the comic book store every Wednesday” when the new issues come out.

“It’s no wonder that the fans are predominantly white males when the heroes are predominantly white males. How do you diversify your fan base? One of the ways is to diversify the creators and the characters you present them with. I think it makes sense to have the Marvel universe reflect the universe we live in.”
If that were so, they'd put a lot more emphasis on co-stars and recurring casts of characters. And heroes of different races or gender would be marketed as their own persons, not shoved into already established roles. Aaron probably doesn't realize, but small as the readership is, there are minority members part of the "same group" he speaks of, and whose reasons for jumping ship have nothing to do with lack of superheroes from minority backgrounds, and more to do with poor storytelling, like what was seen in the 1990s till today. Does it occur to Aaron that a lot of the contributors in today's medium are also predominantly white? One who happens to be DiDio, and who fired the late Dwayne McDuffie for daring to peep that he wasn't happy working on JLA under his mandates. In fact, I've got a hunch that, if a black writer who likes the Spider-marriage came along and wanted to restore continuity to a coherent state, Quesada and Alonso would reject his pitches on the spot.
We love superheroes not just because of how they look, but because they are selfless, brave, humane and, despite their strength, vulnerable. Sure, they are hot. But what we really aspire to when we are watching Thor or Captain America has little to do with sex and race, and everything to do with humanity. That’s what makes us worthy.
Except when awful editors and publishers like Quesada and publishers like Dan Buckley are in charge. These new storylines are not being promoted on quality writing, but on publicity stunts. That's why the changes in race and sex. Otherwise, they would have what to do with humanity. Something today's mainstream contributors lack.

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I wouldn't even mind the she-Thor stunt so much if it weren't so pretentious and hypocritical. Marvel is pretending that they are trying to promote "diversity" and the mainstream media are lapping it up. But anyone who knows anything at all about the medium can see that it's just another publicity stunt that will be reversed in time for the next movie.

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