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Saturday, April 04, 2015 

Salon complains about "angry white men" being an obstacle to nowhere

Salon recently exploited objections to the Muslim Ms. Marvel and the female Thor as an excuse to attack conservatives, even though right-wingers probably haven't been reading Marvel output in droves for many years now:
Right-wing parasites, misogynist Men’s Rights activists, and opportunistic grifters who so desperately latched onto Gamergate are on the prowl again. As the culture war within the video game community continues to lose steam from its peak at the end of 2014, the conservative heroes of the anti-feminist movement are desperately looking to continue their fight against the so-called social justice warriors. And they’ll gladly suck the life out of any geek culture they find viable, if it means battling progressives. Their new target? Comic books.
Based on the discoveries I'd made, why do they think only right-wingers are the Gamergate "parasites" they speak of? In fact, if they're really so concerned, where were they when Marvel and DC published some of their worst insults to women in the mid-2000s? But how interesting the writer is willing to reference SJWs as the so-called activists they really are. Maybe it was by accident, but most of those SJWs really are phonies.
Comic books are in the midst of a bit of a renaissance. Yes, the struggling industry is certainly helped by a never-ending parade of box office smash superhero franchises, but the comic book medium itself is working toward sustained survival through diversity. Black heroes, Latino heroes, Muslim heroes, women heroes — the new face of comics don’t only appeal to the aging, primarily-white male comic book base.
Some renaissance alright. So many comics selling well below 100,000 copies, some which may still be gathering dust on store shelves, and even movies aren't doing much to save it. And despite what he says, the "new" face of superhero comics aren't appealing to many beyond the aging base, which has never been as predominantly white as they claim. Suppose US superhero comics once had a big following in Japan? Today, they probably have even less there than before.
As we’re now seeing, these diverse heroes’ ability to attract new audiences are quite literally helping save the comic book industry for everyone. But conservative vultures don’t care about that — they smell blood in the water. As the culture wars seep further into geek subcultures, they circle a loud subset of geeks, those ignorant fanboys who feel that merely introducing diverse characters into their video games or comic books declares an all-out war on their whiteness and manhood. And these leeches care not about the art of comic books or video games, but what they need to say and do in order to transform angry nerds into brainwashed angry conservative nerds that deliver page views to their websites.
Man, this guy's such a laugh. Again, so many superhero comics sell very low, no matter the quality of writing (which has been very poor for a long time), and the Big Two's failure to market/promote them on title-by-title basis is partly to blame. Just look at how Salon's writer named Matt Binder follows the example set by computer game reporters who villified their core audiences, and demonstrates why even liberal comic book readers won't be enchanted with his crude attitude. There have been plenty of protagonists of black, Asian and Latino background over the past decades, and audiences had no problem with them. Black Panther, Falcon, Black Lightning, Mal Duncan, Bumblebee, Robbie Robertson, Glory Grant, Vixen, Sunspot, Dani Moonstar, Cyborg, Sunfire, the 2nd Capt. Marvel, Lady Shiva, Amanda Waller, Firebird, Linda Park, and note that a few of the names I gave here are also recurring co-stars, because they count too. The same goes for video games. If what he said were true, there'd never even be Tomb Raider games around. I take it he never heard of Metroid's Samus Aran from Nintendo either? Those kind of lady protagonists have sold very well with the white, manly players he speaks of, so I'm not sure what his point is.

And how odd he's neither willing to acknowledge there have been readers of different races for superhero comics, or that some of them might just happen to like Mary Jane Watson and wish the Spider-marriage would be restored, but won't so long as awful men like Joe Quesada are in charge.
Of all the bloodsucking culture war hustlers, perhaps none come close to approaching Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos when it comes to ludicrous attempts at manufacturing controversy within the geek world. Like many of the right-wing reactionaries, Milo is clueless about video games and cares even less about comics. How do I know? Milo has outright shown pure disdain for the gaming community he was trying to win over, of course, before he realized there was market potential waiting to be tapped. And he’s been caught doing it for the comic book audience too.
While there's a time where I think Yiannopoulos screwed up with at least one item he wrote, Binder seems to be deliberately obscuring that Yiannopoulos criticized Rockstar Games for turning their backs on some offensive hacks made to Grand Theft Auto's online platform (sexual assault sequences and they're not worried?!?). Does that mean Binder thinks sex offenses really are okay in a video game? I don't know, but he's only demonstrated why I have no interest in the GTA franchise. So on the one hand, Binder doesn't like the Gamergate campaign. On the other, he accuses Yiannopoulos of disrespecting the gaming community by pointing to an example of a wrong being committed. When did Yiannopoulos ever say gamers were saints? Of course there's those out there doing wrongs, and he should make sure to keep track of those who do.

And how odd he's accusing Yiannopoulos of being an opportunist, because that's what Jon McIntosh and Anita Sarkeesian seem to have become. From what I found, Yiannopoulos never claimed to be a big game player. The difference is that he certainly reached out to most gamers for help in learning ropes if he needs to, whereas McIntosh/Sarkeesian didn't, and they were dishonest about many elements. So why is Binder parroting the lines Milo may have first written? I guess he's jealous.
While the new, diverse comic book heroes all seem to have pissed off their fair share of crybaby reactionaries, none has drawn the ire of the Internet assholes quite like the new Thor. Their favorite musclebound alpha male has been substituted — by a woman. And with that, the vultures swoop in. In an article for Breitbart titled “Female Thor Is What Happens When Progressive Hand-Wringing and Misandry Ruin a Cherished Art-Form,” Milo opines about the new “gender swapped” Thor. He complains about how comic writers are being forced to push forth this progressive narrative, forced to transform male characters into females. This, of course, will ruin comic books forever!
Where did he say that? I didn't see it in the article. Although some past writers later quit their jobs with the Big Two because they were getting all their ideas sidelined for the sake of company wide crossovers, something Binder doesn't seem particularly bothered about (Peter David quit writing X-Factor in the mid-90s for those reasons). Milo never said Jason Aaron was forced into this, although some past writers like David probably would've been told to, or end up being fired for refusing (and I think Gerard Jones was after he didn't want to go along with Kevin Dooley on his Green Lantern Emerald Twilight plans). As for "crybabies", isn't that a bit juvenile for a mainstream writer to say? Besides, if he looked in the mirror...
The only problem with Yiannopoulos’ article is the entire thing. There’s no “gender swapping” in the new Thor. The man known as Thor, the son of Odin, is in the new comic book series. He hasn’t been “replaced.” He exists. In the story line, Thor becomes unworthy of wielding Mjölnir, his hammer. An unknown woman — a completely original character separate from the man formerly known as Thor — lifts the hammer and becomes the new Thor. The woman is now Thor. The fact that a woman playing Thor would cause such outrage, when even a frog is able to take up the title of Thor sans controversy, is absurd.
Oh, that's clever. Binder's argument doesn't give an opinion whether he thinks the mantle-pass was well-written or not. He doesn't even grasp how the name Thor belongs to this one deified guy and the message on the hammer states that whoever's worthy will wield the power of the hefty Norse god, but that doesn't mean they will be one and the same with him. Not even Beta Ray Bill, the alien who picked up the hammer during Walt Simonson's run in the mid-80s. Come to think of it, not even architect Eric Masterson, who was merged briefly with Thor in 1988-92, and later got his own role as Thunderstrike. The question here isn't so much why this mystery woman is lifting the hammer as it is why she would take the same name as the male protagonist. It's also why Nick Fury would render male Thor unworthy. On the other hand, it's strange how Binder ambiguously says a frog took up the Thor role, when Thor himself was once turned amphibian. The page Mr. Binder linked to is superficial and I couldn't find any text paragraphs on it (in fact, it may feature a character called Throg seen in a 2009 miniseries called "Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers").
Once the fact that the son of Odin is actually in the comic series alongside the new Thor and that this is an integral part of the story — which Yiannopoulos clearly did not read — haters usually resort to attacking how a woman as Thor goes against Norse mythology. But, while Marvel’s Thor is based on Norse myth Thor, they are not one in the same. Norse myth Thor also, unlike Marvel’s Thor, does not speak English, did not originate inside the body of a med student named Donald Blake or join up with a genetically modified American patriot, an eccentric billionaire with an iron suit, and a giant green monster to form a superhero super group. Making its way around the Internet is this panel from Thor No. 5 — which totally irks the anti-feminist set — in which Thor punches a creep for “saying feminist like it’s a four-letter word.”
Never mind the liberties Stan Lee and Jack Kirby took with Thor. What I want to know is why Mr. Binder's not bothered with the obvious politicization and attack on fans who disapprove? Besides, he clearly never read Simonson's well regarded run on Thor in the mid-80s.
Their complaint is that the new Thor’s dialogue is bad — in these panels that were actually written as a response to their underlying complaint about a strong lead feminist woman showing up in “their” comics. The dialogue is bad compared to what? Male Thor’s long history of cringeworthy lines?
I view that as an insult to Lee, Roy Thomas, Simonson and goodness knows what other decent past scriptwriters Binder's putting down here. IMO, what Mr. Binder's doing is a classic case of dismissing the older material in favor of the new, acting like everything that comes "later" is infinitely better than the original stuff. A mentality I don't approve of at all. I take it he doesn't like Shakespearean dialogue either? It was well regarded for many decades, so I don't see why he's decided to put himself in the position of somebody who's largely dismissive of an idea that was meant to give Marvel's Norse deities something significant. How does the one mere panel he linked to prove his point when there could a much bigger story connected, and other material we don't see?

The primary reason for complaints of bad dialogue are based on the obvious attacks on Marvel purists in the pages of the new material. Another can be that it's just simply boring storytelling that makes very few points beyond the notion that there simply must be a female Thor and not a starring role for Sif and Valkyrie. Neither of whom matters to Binder, I guess.
If this all sounds preposterous, wait until you hear what Milo actually cops to getting wrong in his comic book article. In a correction tucked away at the bottom of the page, Yiannopoulos explains that no, the new Spider-Man Miles Morales is, in fact, not bisexual, as he claimed in his post — he is biracial. Oops! But one thing you won’t find in Yiannopoulos’ corrections is the entire paragraph he omitted when it was pointed out to him that the data he was presenting actually proves his entire point wrong — an entire section of the article, still wrongly being parroted by the brainwashed reactionaries, removed with no note or correction. (Milo’s ethics-senses not tingling?)

The data this Breitbart buffoon so ethically removed were the over-the-counter sales numbers of the new Thor comic as reported by comic book distributer Diamond Comics. Milo pointed out that “sales of the Thor comics plunged from 150,682 to 69,497.” But of course they did and, no, it’s not because new Thor is a woman — he’s comparing issue No. 1 of the new Thor to issue No. 4 of the same series. In the comic industry, No. 1’s of any series always sell more and then dip after. This is due to a multitude of reasons, ranging from collectors who buy first issues to readers who simply want to try out a new series. The real data to analyze would be how the new Thor is selling in comparison to the previous series featuring the male Thor.
Oh, look who's got a problem, the same guy who doesn't want anybody to know Thor was turned into a frog! Regardless of that, why use dumb words like "buffoon" in an article for a mainstream site that one would expect to be more intelligent in their disagreements? Besides, Yiannopoulos first said Morales was both bisexual and biracial, but only the latter counts. It's clear Binder, a buffoon who doesn't care about Silver/Bronze Age products, was just being deliberate in distorting some of the details, all because he thinks Marvel's current positions are fully just, and no criticism is valid at all. But what's this, he actually admits a big problem comicdom's had for a long time - collectors buying for monetary value only! Hasn't it occurred to him that's troubling, and doesn't he find it sad these comics don't sell on as high a level as movie tickets? Guess not.
When looking at the sales figures for the previous Thor Series, Thor: God of Thunder, you’ll find it debuted with 110,443 sold and dropped to 50,478 sold by issue No. 4. When comparing the numbers, you’ll find that the new Thor series, the one starring a feminist woman, is outselling the previous Thor series. The new Thor’s numbers hold strong too, as the new Thor series finds itself consistently in the top 10 comic sales each month. The most recent issue, the one with the feminist dialogue that caused mass hysteria online among the right wingers, saw no drop in sales from the issue before it. By Odin’s beard, the new Thor has found her audience and it’s greater than the old, male Thors.
Gee, so left-wingers don't count? In his mind, no liberal could possibly have their intellect insulted by such pointless lines. He also fails to note that, even if sales for the current volume are higher than the previous one, it's still by little more than 20,000 copies, and no telling how many are gathering dust on the shelves. So, how does that count as "greater"? But hey, if that's how he wants it, then he can keep up the tabloid nuttiness to demonstrate how far buffoons like him will go to justify their contempt. Which gets worse with the following:
This doesn’t end with Thor.

Marvel’s All-New Captain America is one of the more recent comic book series that has caused angry baby fanboys to wet their diapers. Why’s that? This Captain America is black. (I don’t recall anyone complaining when Captain America’s white sidekick Bucky became the Cap.) The cause for this outcry, according to these most-definitely-comic-book-reading complainers, is that Captain American is only black for the sake of diversity. “Marvel should just give this black guy his own superhero identity!” Except, if you actually read the comic, you’d know this black superhero is his “own” superhero. At the request of an elderly Steve Rodgers, the original Captain America, Sam Wilson, better known as Falcon, takes up the red, white and blue shield. Heck, this isn’t even the first time a black man has taken up the Captain America moniker.
Very interesting! So because Steve Rogers is seen giving his blessing to Falcon to take up his moniker in the story itself, that literally makes him his "own" superhero. In other words, neither Rick Remender nor other writers/editors who etched this out are responsible for stunting. I'm sorry, but Mr. Binder's approach does not prove this isn't a stunt, and he's only proven he cares more about the costume than the characters wearing it. Plus, there were people who didn't like the way Bucky took over Steve's role (I sure wasn't impressed), which first saw Steve getting outrageously maimed, even if he managed to come back despite everything.

And then, Binder uses the setup from a 9-11 Truther-style screed to further justify his selfish attitude (The Truth: Red, White & Black), acting as though it was already canon, when it only came around as something like a retcon in 2003. Not sure how that backs up Mr. Binder's boring defenses either. He's just some buffoon who obviously doesn't like Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. And look at his "angry baby" terminology. Again, not sure why he thinks vulgarities will get him anywhere. All he's doing is calling the audience "filthy" and telling them "I hate you".
One of the most popular new Marvel series stars Kamala Khan, a Muslim teen who becomes the new Ms. Marvel. The series has received critical acclaim from longtime comic book fans and new readers alike, yet some hope this “social justice warrior” comic will fail. In January 2015, the anti-diversity crusaders thought they found reason to celebrate: Ms. Marvel did not break the top 100 comic sales for the month. The surprise hit series wasn’t expected to make it past issue 7. Was the anti-diversity crowd right in saying these comics would turn away their “real audience,” a mostly white male customer base, and fail? No. The reason Ms. Marvel wasn’t on January’s top over-the-counter comic store sales list was because there wasn’t a new Ms. Marvel issue released in that month. We’re talking about a new comic book hero who is so popular, her first issue received a seventh printing — that’s an accomplishment usually reserved for major titles like X-Men, Spider-man, and Batman. And while Marvel doesn’t release hard digital sales data, they have gone on the record stating that Ms. Marvel is their No. 1 digital seller, even outselling those classic comic mainstays like the X-Men.
But there haven't been any clear figures offered, so what's the point of that either? And how does he know every single veteran is upholding the book? It's gone down to less than 30,000 copies sold, which only refutes his ambiguous balderdash even more. Say, what if the speculators he spoke of were the main reason for the extra printings? And even those are probably gathering some dust in bargain bins now.
A common tactic used by right-wingers is the call to “stop politicizing everything” — while at the same time trying to push forth their own political agenda in the culture wars, of course. Keeping politics out of any art form is laughable, but there is a certain extra level of hilarity in attempting to do so with one that already has a long history of social justice. (One of the most successful comic book series is literally called the Justice League, after all.) And no, social justice warriors have not developed a form of time travel just to break into DC Comics HQ and edit an issue of Green Lantern — these are actual panels from an actual Green Lantern co-starring Green Arrow comic from April 1970 addressing racial justice head-on.
It doesn't occur to him that, if right-wingers weren't being so increasingly demonized in mainstream entertainment and a balance were struck recognizing that left-wingers can do very bad things themselves, there might not be as many requests to stop politicizing comics so much. But, once again, the man who doesn't want anybody to know Thor was turned into a frog has spoken. It's worth noting that, when GL/GA featured commentary on race relations in the early 70s, they didn't actually use words like left and right per se.
Most recently this vile new culture war movement found controversy in the cancellation of a variant, or alternate, cover for DC Comics’ Batgirl. The cover, featuring the Joker holding a fearful Batgirl captive, caused a debate within the comic community. Many whom the right wing would call “social justice warriors” found the cover to be disturbing and not fitting of the tone of the current series. The cover artist and DC ultimately decided to cancel the cover. The right-wing reactionaries and anti-feminists pounced on the news. Working against them, however, was the fact that some of these SJWs taking up arms against the cover were actually the writers for the Batgirl series themselves.

As the new culture wars wage on, get used to the right-wing grifters and their failed attempts to co-opt. Until next time, true believers.
Did the rightists really all make a fuss? I only found a handful who did. But hey, if the rightists were as disturbed by the cover as the SJWs were, shouldn't they be congratulated? Or, if any leftists wanted the cover published after all, isn't that bothersome? In any event, Mr. Binder himself fails to co-opt, because, as I've said before, he doesn't want to acknowledge Thor's time as a frog under Simonson. As for vile, has he ever condemned Marvel and DC's sexist storylines of the mid-2000s? There's a vile culture war for him, one he doesn't seem particularly interested in, so he can't possibly be a true believer.

Also, one of the commentors took issue with his ambiguous take on sales:
WOW!

Sales went up for Feminist Thor you say? Well let's have a closer look shall we.

These are sales of Comics for December 2014

Thor you'll notice is solid in 5th at this time 72,653

Now let's go to the introduction phase starting in January 2015

8th place at 69,497

Now last month

11th place but sales slightly up at 69,513

Now on a scale of Yes or No does this qualify as a success?

No

This is a trick right out of the book 1984 where Oceana reduced the chocolate quota and then said that it had been raised. It took me all of

Matt if this is what can be done to your claim about sales, how well will the rest of this article hold up? Not well I imagine which I guess is why you published it inside a feminist echo chamber instead of out in the public. Too bad for

BUT WAIT here's the icing on the cake NOVEMBER 2014

6th place 89,131

So taken at face value Female Thor has caused a 22% drop in sales not a gain. So please stop being stupid and posting up information that takes just a couple of minutes to check up and discredit. Because all those "Evil" MRA's and Gamergaters can and will do exactly that the moment you try to pull it.
That's saying something. If the commenter's a leftist, he's just proven even leftists won't stand for Mr. Binder's trivial distortions, and rightists are no justification for that either. Here's another:
Grifters...on the prowl again....wow, that's more sensationalist and sinister sounding than the actual start of a comic book yarn! But seriously, can't we just "talk" without the insinuating insults and inaccurate blanket statements? For the time being, I will not even use "social justice warriors" in this post as a display of good will.

1# It's not an angry white guy issue,it's a poor writing issue

No doubt there are some people who like the newest Thor. That's fine! However, those of us who don't are at odds with the bad writing. Seriously the whole fight with Absorbing Man was just agenda pushing propaganda. There was no nuance or subtlety there. Absorbing man blatantly represented "the dude bros" and female Thor was the caricature of feminism putting those "nasty sexist men" in their places. In that instant they ceased to become people and just became symbols pushing an ideological slant. Sorry,but that's NOT good or clever narrative. It might as well be those terrible Christian themed Chic comics.(Remember kids, Dungeons & Dragons leads to witch-craft!)

But even without all that,Thor is Thor. Yes,people have wielded his hammer but they always stayed themselves. Wonder-woman getting the hammer? She was still Diana. Beta Ray Bill? He was still Beta Ray Bill. In rare instances Thor's spirit also went into the people deemed worthy but again,Thor was Thor.

This new female can inherit Thor's powers but "Thor" is not a title to be passed down like Captain America. (And for the record I have no problem with one of Steve's very best friends taking over for him! Falcon makes for a good replacement.)

2# There's nothing "evil" about caring for men's rights too

You use MRA like it's a bad word yet I do not see a problem with people being just as concerned for men's rights as they are for women's rights
. And before you say "Feminism strives for that already!" look at the word itself. Feminism... "fem" "female"...the word excludes anyone who is not a woman and modern feminism really does tend to be a bunch of privileged women complaining about 1st world problems. (Such as comics for example!) If a bias movement exists to benefit women more than men then true balance is also having a movement that looks out more for men.

Personally I rather just call myself a humanitarian and egalitarian so I can focus on the issues of both genders but hey,that's just me!

3# This is written like you WANT to stir some trouble

Why do you have to use the word "White" with such disdain
? Furthermore, why do you deny the very existence of #notyourshield, a sub-sect of #gamergate composed entirely of lgbts,minorities,and the disabled? You are not being intellectually honest and I'll have you know that while GG does have "conservatives" in its' ranks it is mostly liberals and libertarians. I suggest researching before you engage in libelous slander.
The thought crossed my mind Mr. Binder did want to engage in sleaze deliberately, like he thought it's fun. But it's not. His tone is that of a crude, badly educated 4th grader with no sense of manners or etiquette. And he's the kind of man who, if he's white himself, must hate his skin color. I don't think that makes a very good commentator. Another person said:
Learn the difference between a character and a mantle before you talk about things you don't understand.

Captain America, Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, etc can all be black, asian, white or any other race since it's a title.

Steve Rogers, Bruce Wayne, Hal Jordan and Clark Kent should be kept white like their characters.

Likewise, T'Challa (Black Panther) should remain black, Dr. Doom should remain Romani, Aang should be east Asian. Changing those (like they did with that awful Avatar movie) is offensive on multiple levels.

So yes, Thor should be a white man. If they want to have a book about a female Asgardian, why not Sif? She already has a fleshed out backstory and can easily hold her own with Thor himself and others.

Changing a character's race or sex to suit an agenda and capitalize on the name recognition/publicity just reeks of laziness.
Exactly the point I made! Sif was perfect for the leading lady role they supposedly wanted to tout, and here they just go along and come up with an entirely new character using a politicized setup, when they had an established girl who could've fit the role easily. So why is this man making such a jerk of himself? I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't an avid reader, any more than Yiannopoulous himself, and doesn't read any of the older material from the Silver/Bronze Ages. Just a bozo looking for excuses to attack the right, whom he doesn't even have the courage to come out and say he hates with a burning passion.

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Binder says "One of the most successful comic book series is literally called the Justice League, after all," but he conveniently leaves out the "of America" part that was present in the title until the horrible reboot in 2001. Also, he says it like social justice has anything to do with justice, when the former distorts it in such a way that it is effectively the opposite of individual justice. Social justice divides people up into group rather than focus on the individual which is quite racist in itself. (See the title of Binder's article calling the victims of his tirade "Angry white men.")

Yet another attempt at grabbing the attention of the lowest common denominator of the Internet. I can't help but wonder what the reaction of the left will be when the rubber-band snaps and the focus of the crowd goes from "clobber the conservative" to "clobber the liberal"?

The thing most bugging me in these "conversations" (yelling as loudly as possible and shutting down responses don't constitute conversation in any form) is that people are obsessed with dividing fans into "lefties" or "righties". If anything's insulting, it's that we categorise human beings like they were products; made to a specific set of instructions and for specific purposes.

We're not. Comic fans are not. Gamers are not. You lean to conservative, that's fine. If you're more liberal, that's fine too. But dichotomy isn't. And Binder doesn't understand that.

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