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Thursday, July 24, 2014 

Salon gushes over so-called diversity while calling dissenters "pinheads"

Salon did their own gushing over Marvel and DC's meaningless diversity stunts, and begins with quite a disgusting attack on all dissenters as nothing but white jerks:
Marvel Comics turned heads this week with the announcements of a black Captain America (Cap’s old pal Sam Wilson, the Falcon, will be taking up the shield) and a female Thor (an unknown woman will be wielding Thor’s hammer Mjolnir after something happens to make the son of Odin unworthy of his mystical weapon). Though women have picked up Thor’s hammer before, and Wilson is not the first black Captain America, the geek-fueled media storm went nuclear thanks to the prominence of the Avengers, the ever-outraged Internet and announcements on “The View” and “The Colbert Report.”

Fans of increased diversity in the incredibly influential world of comics have praised the changes. Pinheaded geeks who can’t handle change, even for a couple years (which, let’s be real, is how long these switches typically last) have pitched online hissy-fits. White dudes who feel like they are a persecuted minority have been predictably outraged. Such reactions are common when the pasty white, overly testicular casts of old properties are updated. Remember the hubbub when the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” turned Starbuck into a woman? While changing the gender or race of a character, much like killing a character, is definitely part publicity stunt, it’s nice to see publicity stunts that also feel like progress while pissing off jerks.
Interesting they don't mention Isiah Bradley - whose page on Marvel's encyclopedia site they linked to - was the subject of Marvel's worst leftist stunt of the past decade, The Truth: Red, White and Black, which managed to be both insulting to blacks and anti-American simultaneously. But I guess that doesn't matter a bit to them. And isn't that being creative to call "geeks" brainless people who can't handle change. It's not the changes per se that are troubling. It's that for many years now, they're only being done for the sake of it, not because the ensuing stories are well written, and all we get in the end is years of wasted time. I take it the writer is also denying there's anti-white racism out there? He doesn't even think it's possible minorities end up bored by these changes too, and he must think every minority group member cares only about diversity, and not talented writing at all. The Salon writer certainly isn't talented, and I guess he probably doesn't like Steve Rogers either.

As for Battlestar Galactica, I'm not sure a comparison can be made to a remake of a late 70s TV series that was short-lived, and at the time it was originally done, Hollywood was nowhere near as hell-bent on diversity as they are now.
In comics, there’s a major tradition of new heroes taking up an existing character’s mantle, especially at DC: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West have all been the Flash. A metric boatload of guys (and aliens) have been Green Lantern. For most of the past couple of years, villain Dr. Octopus took over the mind of Peter Parker and was Spider-Man. When Batman and Captain America were apparently dead, their former sidekicks Dick Grayson and Bucky Barnes took over.
Wow, he fails to recognize the differences - all 3 above Flashes enjoyed good writing in their times, and that's why there's few complaints about what we had up to the turn of the century. But Hal Jordan didn't always get good writing, and Kyle Rayner didn't get squat. And the Dr. Octopus switcheroo? How doesn't it dawn on him that it was nothing more than a prolonged farce going for at least a year, serving as nothing more than a ludicrous depiction of a villain allegedly trying to turn good sans logic? And how didn't he notice it lasted less than the "couple of years" he says? But long or short, what matters is that it was one of the stupidest, pointless exercises in futility Marvel's foisted since 2000, and is not worth anyone's time.
[...] There’s a small but clearly growing tradition in comics of embracing diversity.
But it's not based on good writing or intentions, so what's this guy's point? He goes on to list some roles that underwent changes in race/gender/orientation, all without using a critical eye to tell if it was done great or not. For example, there's Nick Fury:
Before Samuel L. Jackson played Nick Fury, he was the model for a new Nick Fury in the Ultimate Universe. Those comics — particularly the first few volumes of the Avengers-like “Ultimates” by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch in 2002 — provided a blueprint for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Due to the success of the MCU, the black Nick Fury is far more well-known among the general public, and the regular Marvel Universe has added a version of him in the form of Nick Fury Jr. who also looks a lot like Jackson.
Is the new Nick really that better known than the old? More importantly, does he receive scriptwriting as good as Stan Lee's original got? I'm sure there's some folks who've done research and know what the original is like, so he shouldn't go around insulting the moviegoers' intellects. His takes on Green Lantern are worse:
The first two Green Lanterns — Alan Scott and Hal Jordan — are boring white guys, but DC has since given the ring to John Stewart (who is black, and has been around since the seventies) and Simon Baz (who is Lebanese American, and debuted in 2012). The Atom — a character with the ability to shrink — has also been a vehicle for diversity at DC, with Ryan Choi from Hong Kong filling Ray Palmer’s subatomic shoes.
Well now, what have we here but an anti-Hal Jordan and anti-Alan Scott advocate of the worst kind. Does he also think Guy Gardner is "boring" because he's white? It's pretty obvious now he's not in this gig to ask for talented writing that isn't based on the character's race or sexual orientation. Oddly enough, he hasn't taken notice of that retcon I'm sure he'd love, where the overrated James Robinson turned Alan gay. But he has taken notice of that early diversity tactic with the Atom, all without noting what happened before, when Ray Palmer and Firestorm Ronnie Raymond were shamed in alarming ways, and the latter killed in Identity Crisis. Hmm, what are the odds he doesn't care about the misogynist structure of the IC miniseries so long as "diversity" is pushed through at all costs?

And how come he doesn't mention the only problem with the Baz character is the religious background ascribed to him? Interesting how the writer's decided to avoid the harder issues by sidestepping Islam altogether. He even makes it sound like Hal Jordan is still out of the picture, Alan Scott too, and that John Stewart has "since" taken up the spotlight full time. But that's not so at all. He takes the same approach when he comments on Marvel's own variation:
Since Carol Danvers originally went by Ms. Marvel, the current Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan is another example of a hero switching race, since she is a Pakistani-American. Ms. Marvel is part of a wave of recently launched female-centric series and guess what: the first issue is headed for a sixth printing.
Curious how he doesn't mention the true problem with the book: the lead's religion, which, like with Simon Baz, goes unmentioned here. Another case where he's clearly embarrassed to raise the hard hitting issues. And the sales for the Muslim Ms. Marvel aren't something to write home about.
When good comics, good sales and greater diversity all line up, even sad, hammer-less, old-school Thor has to tip his winged helmet and smile.
How come he doesn't bring up good writing? There's not much point speaking of good comics if the writing doesn't score a mention. And is "diversity" more important than the comics and the sales? Hmm, we must be missing something, as usual. In the comments section, somebody called the juvenile writer out on his crude allusion to geeks:
Marvel can change their comic characters as they like. But accusing people that have followed characters for years, if not decades, and don't like the change of being "pinheaded geeks" and other lovely terms is childish and petty.

Such a term might more correctly be kept by this author for their very own.
Indeed. What's he trying to prove by insulting presumed geeks from the outset and not just trying to disagree gracefully and intelligently? Never mind this article isn't very accurate, his contempt for anyone who cares about coherency is not what makes for intelligent takes on pop culture. Another person said:
Using a popular hero name brand as a springboard to making a new legacy character?

Whatever, okay I guess.

Outright changing the original character into something radically different?

Not fcuking okay at all.

I mean seriously, Wally West gets turned into a black thief?! That crap is too much of a radical change. Why not have a NEW legacy Flash character instead of using Wally West himself?

I bet the only reason they have minority legacy characters of popular superheroes is because introducing new minority superheroes by themselves is very risky because of low popularity readership wise, and they need a more popular superhero (hence the legacy schtick) to use as a crutch to survive and make a profit.
And another replies as follows:
I don't have a huge problem with black Wally West. He needs to dye his hair red -- the red hair is Wally's trademark -- but okay, nobody really believes Barry is a natural blonde either, so I'm fine with that.

And I don't have a problem with a white guy mentoring a black kid. What I do have a problem with is that the black kid is already engaged in petty crime, and a white man needs to step in to save the black kid from his inherent criminal tendencies. That is the message being sent, there's no mistaking it. If Wally were a black kid who was just lonely or withdrawn, or who even had an interest in chemistry, I'd have no complaints.
Whether or not it's a liberal view of things it's still an interesting observation. It could be a cliche, but more annoying is the idea that you can't sell a black protagonist without making him that flawed. If anything, it suggests even liberals have a problem with this kind of plotting, which is forced. Incidentally, there's already been a black protagonist with Flash legacy ties: XS from the Legion of Super-Heroes, so even that isn't new.

And throughout all this article, there's no mention of how DC once did make some plausible additions of minorities back in the 80s in books like Infinity Inc, with two proteges of Golden Agers introduced: the Latina Yolanda Montez as a female Wildcat and African-American Beth Chapel as a female Dr. Mid-Nite, who were both wiped out during Eclipso: The Darkness Within, for no good reason. That lack of serious research, coupled with the writer's sleazy attitude, prove this screed-like piece wasn't written to give anybody an intelligent view of comicdom.

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