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Sunday, September 13, 2015 

The next Marvel character to undergo diversity alteration is the Hulk

No sooner has Marvel pushed superficial PC diversity upon the Avengers and Spider-Man, now they're doing it with the Hulk, replacing Bruce Banner in the official spotlight with an Asian character, in a title called "Totally Awesome Hulk" that sounds like it draws from a stereotypical take on accents:
So who is the new man in green? He’s different, he’s totally awesome…and he’s none other than kid genius Amadeus Cho.

A fixture of both the Marvel Universe and the Hulk stories for ten years, Cho seems like a natural choice, given that he mirrors his predecessor in a variety of ways — from his smarts to his impulsive nature. But the character serves a more significant purpose: crowning Cho with the Hulk title will mark the first time in Marvel history that the company will have a Korean-American lead character written and drawn by a Korean-American creative team (Greg Pak and Frank Cho, respectively.)
And that automatically makes it worthwhile? Of course not. Nor can you just say the Cho character is "awesome" if the writing doesn't live up to the title. Especially when the recent writers have all been so knee-jerk, and willingly followed along with company wide crossovers.

The article continues with an interview of Axel Alonso and Greg Pak, the former who gives a not too surprising view of Bruce Banner as "outdated":
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: All-New All-Different Marvel is full of game changers, and Amadeus Cho as the new Hulk is no exception. So why Cho, and what was it about him that made you believe that he was a perfect fit for this role?
AXEL ALONSO: What happened is, we were at an editorial retreat, and we were talking about revitalizing individual titles and the types of things we could do to do that. As a former Hulk editor, I just felt like…we’ve seen Banner’s story for so long, and the burden that he carries, with the weight of the Hulk on his shoulders. Perhaps the most interesting thing is to see how someone else shoulders that burden, and immediately, Amadeus came to mind for a lot of different reasons. One of them is that physically, he’s like Banner: he’s the 98-pound weakling who’s had everything but the physical aspect to make him seem super cool. And secondarily is that he’s so different from Banner. He shares the monstrous intellect but he’s so different — he’s a teenage kid, who’s hasn’t lived much yet. When Banner inherited the burden of being the Hulk, he was an adult. And I think that it showed in the way that he responded to it. Amadeus is a plucky kid. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, he’s the fifth or sixth smartest guy in the world according to the official rankings, and I think he’s just going to carry himself very differently with that power.
Well there might've once been a time when the idea could've worked, and it did when Scott Lang took over Hank Pym's role as Ant-Man. And Rick Jones almost became another Hulk, until Peter David dropped the idea when he came aboard. And even Thaddeus Ross once became a red Hulk too a couple years ago. But doing it so obviously for the sake of emphasizing a character based on racial background only diminishes any value this supposedly has (and they haven't really claimed there's any so far), and the time has come much too late to matter. Nor do men as pretentious as Alonso help matters. And he doesn't help by making it sound like Bruce is all played out, when it's actually their own writing that's at fault.
GREG PAK: When [editor] Mark Pannica gave me a call, he said three words: “Amadeus Cho Hulk” and my head popped off. I said “I’m in! Let’s do it!” And Axel and Mark and I sat down and talked it all through, and it was immediately clear that we were all on the exact same page about this. I love Banner, I wrote Hulk stories for five and half years, and I loved writing Banner. Those stories mean a huge amount to me. At the same time, there’s a long tradition in Hulk stories of different people taking on that mantle, and with Amadeus in particular, it just set up a really great dynamic. Like Axel said, he’s going to be a very different kind of Hulk. He’s 19 years old, he’s on top of the world, he thinks he’s right about everything…and he might be. Or he might not be. But this is a kid who’s got a ridiculous amount of confidence. A lot of it has been justly earned, but he may be in over his head, and he’s going to come in here and he’s determined to be the best Hulk there’s ever been. He loves being the Hulk. And that may cause massive trouble for everyone else in the Marvel Universe. It’s just a great recipe.
Umm, not quite, despite the examples I gave, which include Betty Banner, who became another such being in the past decade. In fact, I think a lot of the examples of other cast members becoming variations on the Hulk may have actually taken place over the past decade or so, and aren't quite the record Pak seems to think. His own stories may mean a lot to him, but what about other people? Judging from sales, not many.
ALONSO: For Banner, the weight was like a boulder. For Cho, it’s like a feather. And I think that’s the distinction here. He loves being the Hulk: that’s why he’s called the “Totally Awesome Hulk.” But I also want to say that he will be the only Hulk in the Marvel Universe. He will be the Hulk, the green Hulk, that will be him. Just like there’s one Thor in the Marvel Universe and she’s a she, there is one Hulk and it is Amadeus Cho. But I also want to say that there is a story to be told for Banner. Banner’s story is not over. And I don’t want people saying, “Oh, these guys hate Banner, and they don’t like him and they’re sick of him.” No — we love Banner. And in fact, that was one of the things that Greg and Mark and I discussed, how fascinating Banner’s life will become now that he no longer has this weight on his shoulders. What is his story? It’s far from finished. People shouldn’t think that we’re jettisoning Banner — he has a place in the Marvel Universe, and I think it’s going to become more fascinating what that place is in the coming months.
Oh, I don't think they dislike Lee and Kirby's creation. But they sure seem to think he's inferior to their brand new ones just because he's white. And while they may not have gotten rid of Banner, that doesn't mean the stories they have planned for him will be any good.
Greg, can you talk about returning to the Hulk in this way and what it means to be able to work on a character that’s so close to your own heritage?
PAK: I actually co-created Amadeus back in the day, 10 years ago — it’s coming out around the 10th anniversary of the character’s first appearance. [Ed. Note: Cho’s first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy Vol 2 #15, January, 2006.] And Takeshi Miyazawa was the artist and I was the writer, and we introduced this Korean-American kid into the Marvel Universe. It’s been a blast to write ever since. We did a lot of stuff with him over the years in the Hulk universe. This is also a character, by the way, who has a long history with Banner and the Hulk. He basically started out as Hulk’s number one fan because he’s a crazy teenager with as little impulse control as the Hulk, so he kind of identified with him. But the character always meant a huge amount to me. When I had the opportunity to create this new character, I realized there aren’t specifically that many Asian-American characters at this time in the Marvel Universe, and it was sort of a niche. I also wanted to write a character who talks a lot. I was writing a lot of Hulk stuff, I was writing very closed-lip surly characters. But it’s been tremendous. I go to cons and people come up to me dressed as Amadeus Cho, and that blows my mind. And then the character’s also been picked up in some of the cartoons that Marvel puts out, and in one of the DVD movies they did. It’s kind of tremendous when anything you work on kind of resonates with people and goes on to be used by other creators as well.

The other thing is that this felt like a natural next step for both the Amadeus and the Hulk stories. It wasn’t what we imagined 10 years ago when we created the character, that this is exactly where he would end up. But just given the character’s history, it makes total sense. And the story is totally true for both the Hulk story and the Amadeus story, so it’s a lot of fun when those kinds of things can naturally come together for something this big.
Really? People dress as his hitherto civilian creation? Why do I get the feeling he's just boasting vapidly? I've sometimes looked at pictures from conventions, and while I could be wrong, to date, I've never seen anybody dressed up as co-stars like Lois Lane, Perry White, Robbie Robertson or Betty Brant; nearly all the folks who dress up did so as costumed characters from the superhero comics. To read a would-be career writer making these claims is nothing new, and is certainly questionable. They may not have thought of using the Cho character as a pawn in a diversity stunt, but it's clear they did see him the perfect pick.
PAK: We like to pretend we’re all geniuses, but it’s a bunch of people working together who make these things really pop. So having collaborators who really bring you that extra something is really something special.
Yes, the current staff sure do, don't they? But truly, they're not. They're just a whole bunch of phonies who want everyone to think they're these grand messiahs when in reality, they're just false idols.
Just how hard has it been keeping this reveal a secret from everyone?
PAK: [laughs] It’s been excruciating, because I just wanted to scream it because I was so excited about it. But it’s also been a blast. That’s one of the fun things about comics, right? The teases, and people have fun thinking it through and guessing and imagining different possibilities…that’s part of the fun of comics, the suspense and the big question of what happens next. It feels like it’s all in that tradition.
It's excruciating how they insist on keeping these superficial stunts secret, and don't have the courage to let everyone know immediately what their next steps are, because they know there could be stronger opposition if they did. If surprises were once fun, they no longer are, because of the stunts they're increasingly built on. How come Pak says "comics" but doesn't say superhero comics, because that's where they're really taking place. In smaller companies and their independent creations, very little, because they know it won't get them anywhere artistically. So why do the Big Two think it'll avail them?
Aside from the fact that we know Amadeus is going to be TOTALLY AWESOME as the new Hulk, what else can you tease about the series?
Aside from the fact that we know Amadeus is going to be TOTALLY AWESOME as the new Hulk, what else can you tease about the series?
PAK: The story is working on three levels: we’ve got the big crazy action level — the big monster hunt — that’s what our big story arc is. Which is also up Frank Cho’s alley, because if you know Frank Cho, you know he draws monsters like nobody’s business, and he’s going nuts with this. So, we’ve got the monster hunt, we’ve got the mystery of what happened to Banner and what’s going on with Banner, and then there’s an emotional story, of course. My favorite kinds of stories are the ones that have these big crazy genre hijinks and then a real honest, meaty, emotional story where we’re watching a character grapple with some real things. And we’re going to see if Amadeus’ dream of being the greatest Hulk ever and his total confidence of that is really warranted. And we’ve got some great supporting characters that are going to be challenging him in some interesting ways.
Oh boy, here's where I'll have to express my disappointment in Frank for participation with people whose intentions aren't altruistic or genuine. Sure, he's a good artist, and I think it was wrong how SJWs were attacking him for his talents in drawing beautiful women. But as I've said before, I don't think a good artist's talents should be wasted on what's bound to be an overrated story. Nor should he be working with people who had such disrespect for Mary Jane Watson and Scarlet Witch, among others.

And just how does Entertainment Weekly or anyone else "know" Amadeus will be awesome if Pak's own work doesn't turn out that way? That's practically why the boast of "great supporting characters" doesn't work either.
ALONSO: The link to what happened to Banner, of course, is how did Amadeus get the power? The first arc is going to tell two stories: one is going to take place in present time, which is going to be Amadeus being totally awesome as the Hulk, and kicking ass and getting a threat that is scaled to his power. And I’ll also tease that there are seeds in this story of something larger, that will be relevant to the entire Marvel Universe sometime toward the end of the year. So there are seeds there for something much more interesting. The other story told in flashbacks will tell you how he inherited to power and what happened to Banner.
I don't think many people are bound to care at this point how Amadeus got the powers. But some might frown upon the emphasis they've put on "totally awesome Hulk", which sounds like it builds off of a stereotypical view of Asians working on western slangs.

There might've once been a time when passing a mantle for a character like this could work, and even a guy of different racial background could work too. But at this time, it's too late, and building it so obviously as a followup to a company wide crossover like Secret Wars is just why it's not organic. That's one more reason why this fails to interest.

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