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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 

Axel Alonso claims the Muslim Ms. Marvel series is great for children

The UK Telegraph spoke with Marvel's EIC Alonso, who's proven himself as bad as his predecessor Joe Quesada, about the scrutiny they came under for the Spider-Woman cover by Milo Manara they're publishing, and the way their female take on Thor is drawn. Not surprisingly, he and the paper remain superficial about religion as seen in the Muslim Ms. Marvel series, which we'll get to in a moment. First:
The comic book world has long been dominated by male superheroes, from Superman and Spiderman to Captain Marvel and Iron Man. It’s only recently that mainstream companies like Marvel have started to create strong female characters, too. Think Ms Marvel, a young Muslim heroine, Black Widow, and the latest, a female Thor to replace the current male superhero.
Anyone who adheres to bad religions and belief systems can't be very strong as a thinker, that's for sure. Again, if they'd just emphasized her being Pakistani without focusing on religion, it could've worked better. But this is the new PC Marvel, and they'd rather focus on what they think is logical.
Marvel’s decision to allow a female superhero to wield Thor’s famous hammer has gone down well with fan girls all over the world. The fact that they're doing it without giving her an overtly feminine name (‘She-Thor’ or ‘Thorita’ were just two suggestions) is even more promising.
All of them from A to Z? I think that's a bit farfetched. How do they know several million women in the world solely demand a female replacement for Thor, and not a heroine who can stand on her own without being based so absurdly on the role of a guy whose name is quite masculine? It's silly to say keeping the masculine name hasn't gone by without criticism from any fangirl.
Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, explains the idea came from the writer. But he says the Marvel team was equally enthused: “It wasn’t lost on us, of course, the power of a female Thor. The American comic book market has for decades been very much dominated by male writers and characters".
And it still is. Otherwise, they'd ask somebody like Louise Simonson to take up the task her great husband Walter worked on back in the mid-80s. But she'd probably want to work it all out with a path more faithful to past writing efforts that aren't so PC, and that's why today, they wouldn't hire her.
Alonso also explains that, although Marvel has no official policy, the company has been making an unspoken move towards diversity.

“Slowly we have made progress on that front," he adds. "We believe there’s an audience of women out there who are hungry for this and we want to make sure they get it. This is affirmative action. This is capitalism.”
Seriously, he, a leftist, supports capitalism? And I thought it was becoming a dirty word among some leftists, who prefer the term "free enterprise"! But is this really affirmative action? Not if they go out of their way to replace the male Thor in such a silly way, instead of taking the challenge of spotlighting Sif, his childhood sweetheart among the goddesses of Asgard.

Alonso says they're going by what they believe. But I think it's silly to assume women are demanding the male Thor be replaced at all costs, just like it's silly to think Blacks and Latinos want white superheroes replaced at all costs. Similarly, it's ludicrous to think women, Blacks and Latinos wanted the Spider-marriage erased at all costs, and Mary Jane Watson marginalized so badly, ending up in situations that make it impossible for people to look forward to new appearances she makes, since, as Dan Slott's proven with his last rendition, the guest appearances can turn out to be absolutely terrible and not worth reading. Overlooked by the Telegraph is what women think of all that. As I once mentioned before, if a black writer who supports the Spider-marriage came along, there's no chance Alonso and company would approve his/her wish to restore it.
An audience there certainly is. It's estimated that 46.67 per cent of comic fans are women. That's why it's so important for comic book creators to wake up to the fact that they have more female readers than ever.
If they did, the Spider-marriage would still be intact, ditto the coherent characterization for various other civilian female cast members. So it's pretty obvious they're still asleep.
“I don’t want to run away from sexy characters but I think there’s a difference between characters being sexy and gratuitous," says Alonso. "It comes down to context. I won’t say we won’t do sexy female characters. That’s preposterous and ridiculous. For one thing it’s in the eye of the beholder.”

But when you have hordes of female fans complaining about a sexualised Spiderwoman and busty Thor, then surely that’s a sign that something has to change? Especially when Alonso himself admits that there is a double standard - with male superheroes escaping this treatment?

“I challenge you to find in Ms Marvel anything that resembles the Playboy model standard,” he says. “But I don’t want to be Mr Goody-Two-Shoes. We’re creating stories. I don’t want to say there’s no room for stuff that’s not just fun. Then you’re censoring yourself.

“I want to make sure I have books like Ms Marvel and Black Widow that I’m proud about and could give to my daughter. But at the same time I don’t want to be the PC police and say you can’t be naughty; you can’t be fun.”
Alas, he is being the PC police. His staff have seen to it criticism of bad religions like Islam is haram (forbidden), and only an otherwise positive portrayal is allowed. Forget sexiness, what's galling here is his refusal - and theirs - to comment on how the Ms. Marvel book won't be honest and transparent about Islam. And if they won't be honest about the Religion of Peace's cruelty and its view on women's status, how can the book be something worth giving to a daughter? It's not whether any of the female characters look like Playboy bunnies that's concerning here, it's whether the script is open about the Koran's content that is. If they cannot be honest and tell each and every Sura from the pages of the Koran in their tale, then they're doing nothing more than marketing a misleading product to girls no matter what age they are.

The article doesn't do a very good job in its focus on She-Hulk either:
It brings us to the other issue that many fan girls have with the way women are portrayed in comic books: body shape.

Jade Sarson, creator of comic series Café Suada, recently spoke to me about how many superheroes are ‘skinny, waif sort of characters’. She was relieved that the female Thor is quite bulky, but told me that She-Hulk – a character who was once described as ‘a giant, green porn star’ – is “super thin”.
They don't even mention who called Jennifer Walters that, screenwriter David Goyer, nor do they tell how quite a few people were disgusted by his dirty language. And Stan Lee's rebuttal of Goyer's assertion She-Hulk was only created as a sex partner for Bruce Banner goes unmentioned either. From what they say here, you'd think Goyer's creepy little crack was something told back in the 80s. With all that offensive language, Goyer only proved why nobody should be quick to embrace him as the perfect screenwriter for comics movies. And what's so wrong with She-Hulk being thin? It's the way you'd expect to see in an animated cartoon, and you can't possibly expect them to draw anatomies true-to-life.
Even though Marvel won’t stop fully sexualising female characters, it's good news that they are still working on diversity. Alonso tells me he’s "open” to having a transgender superhero, as well as more story lines around the issue of sexuality. He'd also love to see a Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson (as would most of her fans, no doubt).

He also says that it's likely there will be more female comic heroes. We could even see a female Iron Man (one of the big three Marvel heroes) - or ‘Iron Maiden' - as he suggests she could be called.

“I think it’s very feasible. But we don’t start with, hey why don’t we make Iron Man female? That’s not the way to go about it. Ultimately if the story’s bad, it will explode in your face.”
And they've had plenty of bad storylines dating back to the early/mid 90s. The only reason why they succeeded as well as they did is because of the mindless, ill-informed addicts who buy out of obsession/compulsion, not based on story merit. That, along with their refusal to change publication format, is exactly why they've gradually lost other audiences who think better in terms of talent. These ideas he's willing to try out are not based on story value, they're just based on PC ideas he thinks must be accepted no matter what. And that's why they're not gaining audience, but rather, losing it.

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I like the "46.67" percent number. The mantissa (.67) makes it sound like a real statistic instead of something he made up on the spot.

I'll believe Marvel is all about diversity when we see a comic starring a conservative, Southern, evangelical Christian hero.

Yeah. Not checking the temperature in you-know-where waiting for that to happen...

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