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Wednesday, June 24, 2015 

UK Telegraph joins the anti-white superhero bandwagon

The UK Telegraph wrote a hit piece against the core audiences of superherodom, declaring them dinosaurs as they talk about how in their view, the straight white male superhero's days should be numbered. They begin by saying:
Somewhere, a white, middle-aged man is writing an angry blog post about how his childhood has been ruined by the decision of Marvel Comics to reinvent Spider-Man as a mixed-race teenager.
No, we're just disappointed that they've decided to depose of Peter Parker as the main Spidey, all for the sake of diversity at all costs, without genuinely good writing to accompany the new direction.
Marvel is in the middle of one of its periodic spring cleans, and has decided all these different universes are too confusing. Through a cross-title summer event called Secret Wars they are folding these parallel worlds into each other to create one crisp, clean Marvel Universe, in which there will only be one Spidey - and the job goes to Miles Morales.

Now, comics readers can sometimes be a conservative lot, and they often don't like change... especially when they perceive it is in the pursuit of political correctness. And retiring Peter Parker after 53 (real-life years) of web-slinging service might just be the last straw after a slew of reboots aimed at bringing comics more up to date.
"Conservative"? Anybody who uses a microscope knows that even long before this time, comic book readers could be anything but conservative. There have been plenty of liberals throughout the ages, both in writing staffs and audience alike.

The part about Secret Wars reminds me of the defenses for discarding the parallel worlds of DC before Crisis on Infinite Earths. The writer misses the fact that originally in 2000, the Ultimate line was planned to be separate from the flagship Marvel world, and only after a decade did they decide to drop even that much and start doing a few projects where some of the doppelgangers from both universes would start to meet up. The real reason they're canning the Ultimate line isn't because its existence in itself is confusing. It's because nobody cares anymore, thanks to lack of talented scripting, yet Marvel's decided to take what's left and shove it down people's throats anyway. Predictably, the Telegraph ignores those deeper issues and only cares about the diversity side. They also parrot what Salon wrote about Thor when they say:
Last July, Marvel outraged the fanboys by announcing that the hairy old hammer-wielding Norse god Thor was to be rebooted as a woman (the female version now outsells the old male version by 30 per cent). The steam had barely stopped coming out of ears when a couple of days later they said that the mantle of Captain America was going to be taken by black Sam Wilson, who had previously put in service as the Falcon.
Man, they sure like to take easy paths, don't they, rather than do some in depth research of their own. That 30 percent doesn't mean anything if they don't give actual sales figures, which, last time I looked, only had about 86,000 copies sold, and since this is usually only sales going as far as the store, there's every chance some are gathering dust as we speak.
Marvel's main rival DC has also been doing its best to wind up the faithful fans, rebooting Batwoman as lesbian, introducing their first transgender character in the Batgirl series, and this summer launching a new comic starring Midnighter, who is gay and wears black leather.
Yes, because that too is all they seem to care about, just LGBT, and not different ethnicities or nationalities. Their whole idea of diversity is very selective at worst.
Each fresh announcement comes with predictable bleating from mainly white, heterosexual men who claim that the new directions the characters are being taken in ride roughshod over decades of comic history, and inevitably someone will metaphorically fall to their knees, shake their fists at an uncaring politically correct universe and rage: "They're ruining my childhood!"

To which there is only one real response: get with the programme, because the times they are most certainly a-changing.
And to the Telegraph's writer, the best response is, get a clue; it's all just publicity stunts with no enjoyable writing to accompany them. As for ruining childhoods, here's something they might want to ponder: back in 2004, DC and Marvel both published abominable miniseries and event books rife with sexism and just plain bad fanfiction writing (Identity Crisis, Avengers: Disassembled and even Spider-Man's Sins Past story) that summed up what mainstream superhero comicdom's become in the span of a decade. Those are even worse than changing a character's race, sexual orientation, gender, and goodness knows what else they've been going out of their way to do. But I guess that's all fine and dandy with the Telegraph writers, because ruining childhoods in those contexts is perfectly acceptable too. Including the elimination of the Spider-marriage, which predictably has long fallen off their list of topics for discussion, and which they never opposed to start with. Say, I wonder why they don't mention any white women, who might lament how their own childhoods could be ruined? Because if you look closely, you'll find examples, including some I mentioned, that soil even a fangirl's own childhood memories, no matter what race they belong to. If you know where to look, there's blacks and Latinos out there who think their own childhoods were destroyed too, but naturally, that means nothing to the knee-jerk buffoons at the Telegraph.
The problem is that people have got used to characters in comics remaining unchanged, not being tinkered with. Perhaps editors thought that they were too canonical; perhaps it just never occurred to the companies that they could actually do what they wanted with these properties they own. But in the past couple of years it does seem that someone had the bright idea of making these legions of superheroes a little more diverse.
Which completely - and predictably - ignores almost every superhero and co-star who was diverse, and created as their own agency. Note how so far, though they do mention Falcon, they don't seem to consider Sam Wilson's very own role legitimate. Nor do they have any gratitude for the past writers who came up with heroes/co-stars of difference races. "Tinkered" is just the problem, and tampered sums up the situation too; as mentioned, they're doing it all without guarantee of talented writing, let alone artwork, some of which has gotten pretty crummy lately to boot.
To understand why superheroes are generally white male, we have to go back to their origins - not the spider-bites and nuclear accidents, but their real-world beginnings. Superman debuted in 1938, Batman a year later. They spring-boarded off the thrilling adventure tales of pulp fiction, radio serials, film noir. Those heroes were always white, always men, because that's how it was.

Even when Marvel brought its relatively progressive take on superheroes to a 1960s public in the throes of social upheaval, the comics were still produced by white men for a readership of largely young white males. Is it surprising that the characters mirrored the creative teams and the target market? Even America's most famous illegal immigrant, Superman, is a muscle-bound, corn-fed, lily-white paean to Nietzschean physical superiority.
It's just like them to insult Siegel and Shuster by implying that Superman was created as some kind of a nod to an Aryan ideology. And naturally, they can't be bothered to stress how Will Eisner's Sheena, was a precursor to the superheroines who came along during the 1940s, how Wonder Woman was the first famous lady heroine in DC's output, nor how Hawkgirl was the first female variant on a role originated by a male protagonist.
But the demographic has shifted considerably since then. The male-dominated locker-room "bullpens" where comics were created have died out - some of the best mainstream comics today are written by women, Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, G Willow Wilson. Characters are more representative - there's an all-female Avengers, Ms Marvel is a young American Muslim woman.
This too, besides sensationalizing and whitewashing Islam, is superficial and ignores any and all women who came before. What about Dale Messick, the creator of Brenda Starr? What about Ramona Fradon, Ann Nocenti and Louise Simonson? And more representative? I still don't see any Armenian and Croatian superheroes in the MCU and DCU, nor any co-stars, and if not, then their idea of representation is selective only.

And male-dominated editorials have not withered - we still have men like Quesada, Alonso, DiDio and Harras to contend with. One could argue that mainstream comics have become more male dominated than they were in the past because of the insular mentality that's taken over since the 90s.
Comics have discovered diversity, and that's the way it should be, and the keyboard warriors dripping venom on to the internet are as out of touch as the milk-smelling, bearded Comic Book Guy stereotype from The Simpsons.
And the Telegraph's writer is ignorant of past developments I thought he favored. They already discovered diversity long ago, which he largely omits, because only the brand new stuff matters, not the older stuff that was better written no matter what their casts' racial/gender structure was like. Then, when he brings up the movie business as a possible solace for fans of the real deals, he lurches into offensiveness by saying:
But they'll have to enjoy it while it lasts, with movies about Black Panther and (female) Captain Marvel on the slate. Comics are changing, and it's about time. As Peter Parker's Uncle Ben so famously said, with great power comes great responsibility.
Well, what have we here? Is he saying none of the whites he speaks of want to see a Black Panther or Ms. Marvel movie if they're well written, and that they're all sexist/racist? This is the same talking point used by the anti-Gamergate crowd. Ahem: I like T'Challa, and I like Carol Danvers, and the only argument I'd have about a movie starring Roy Thomas' creation is that I don't think it helps to make her Captain like Mar-Vell of the Kree who first had the role she's been shoehorned into now, instead of the Miss role title that's decidedly got more appeal. Something tells me the Telegraph writer wouldn't like it if he knew Mar-Vell was originally created as a metaphor for Soviet dissidents.

And for somebody so intent on reminding everybody of Ben Parker's famous belief, he sure doesn't seem so keen on practicing it himself. Otherwise, he'd never imply all superhero fans - liberals included - are sexist/racist. That's not helpful and does nothing to stand an ailing medium back on its feet again.

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Judging by letters-to-the-editor pages over the years (which, admittedly, may or may not accurately reflect the readership, or even the mail received), my impression is that most comic book fans since the late 1970's have been liberal (or, if you prefer, "progressive.") Most seemed to be teenagers and young adults from upper middle class backgrounds.

And fans who don't like the changes have no obligation to "get with the program." They are customers who can stop buying a product that they don't like.

It's why I don't bother with engaging with comic fans beyond here, as most are SJWs and "how dare you question the glorious ness of race-lifting every White character and Affirmative Action Legacy"! I tend to like the indies anymore, as it's a tad more downplayed here and there (outside a few core DC titles, because of general interest and nostalgia -- I'm hardly interested in Marvel at all, anymore).

The Guardian's OP timing is perfect, given all that "see how crazy and evil White men and their characters are" rhetoric we're seeing this week. And, okay, fine, suppose the comic people do succeed in purging their White male base, to the excitement of Salon, who can replace it with the money flow? As Steyn says, "as money drains, power drains." Can the non-white and/or gay fanbase (which is the coveted demographic) replace that lost revenue?

But, y'know, anytime you're actively wanting to alienate a large portion, because of weird self-imagined racial embarrassments, it won't end well. Or, go the extra mile, get rid of all the White characters, if their existence embarrasses everyone so. Oh, wait, no, you'll need them as racist villains, so can't purge everyone. Silly me.

I'm trying to have some fun with this, but it's not easy.

It seems like everybody feels the need to join a cause, no matter how stupid or insane it might be.

Speaking of Ms. Marvel, I prefer to find faults other than "getting stuff wrong about Muslim culture."

Face facts: even without this hyper-sensitive pro-/anti-Muslim atmosphere lurking in the background of mass-media, your usual comments against Muslims can be used by your opponents as more examples of racism/sexism occurring on the Internet, no matter how accurate or correct they might be. You have to do something different to really shock and awe your viewers into seeing your point of view like picking up a book or comic you really hate, reading it, and then listing all the faults/errors that appear within it, no matter how much it goes against your personal preferences or sensibilities.

Here's how you really shred something into oblivion:
"As for Ms. Marvel IV, I find both her and Squirrel Girl irritating and sickening as Marvel's attempts to sell books that are on the lighter side of things. It's not because Kamala is Muslim that I don't like her (and speaking of Muslims, you do know M is one, right?), my reasons are more base than simple religious or ethnic clashes. I find both characters to be unfunny, surrounded by forgettable supporting roles, have lackluster powers, their antics get old real quick, have whatever guest stars they meet up with become idiotic syncopates, are not indicative of what my idea of a teenage superhero should be or does (it should be more along the lines of the likes of Mighty Max), and the only comic I would read about those two is them getting chopped and sliced up at the hands of Mojo's latest film production (the one from the Longshot miniseries, not the drooling idiotic funny man from Claremont's X-Men series). And that goes double for all those who worked on those two characters: writers, editors, pencillers, and all!"

I've responded to this kind of malarkey (keeping it clean) when someone called comic fans racist because Johnny Storm was getting a raceover in the new Fantastic Four movie. (The biggest sin is still what they're doing to Doctor Doom.) You're talking about a community that gets upset if a superhero's costume isn't done right or a character doesn't have the right hair color. Do you really think changing the gender or skin color isn't going to cause issues?

That said, I don't have a problem with Sam taking over as Captain America except that it means there is no more Falcon, which I treat no different than there being no more Nightwing. (Happy birthday, Dick Grayson.) Sam forged his own identity and now must give it up to become the latest Captain America. But at least that's a title. Thor is the man's name and identity. I could see if this made for better stories but these are publicity stunts to cater to the current race/gender "wars" going on and nothing more. They're being played for suckers and don't even realize it. That's the sad part.

I don't disagree about Drag about certain re-wordings on certain arguments, but then, the SJWs will still place the onus of "you're a racist without even opening your mouth, so shut up beforehand." Since they'll call you racist anyway, just go for the intellectual jugular and complete the thought you were making. (This is why Republicans or Conservatism Inc. now really annoy me and their intellectual fear and cowardice of the Left, as "you'll be racist anyway, so you might as well finish the thought." But I understand the fear of being called racist and other things, as I've been there myself, but something has to give.) Might as well go full speed ahead, especially as no one wants to comment on Muslim or Middle East bigotry and other things. Has to be said, as this is what the NYT's biggest priority is, ATM:


And like ShadowWing, all this is for the current race/gender "wars," and looking back in 5-10 years, is everyone going to be proud of all this? No, there will be another "war," and "not enough." You can't appease the SJWs, because it shows your true weakness. Or undermines you, as Archie found out the hard way. The SJW comic fans talk big, but do they have the money to back up what they say, beyond systematic whining and hoping their dreams come true? Stupid question, I realize.

(Yes, like Shadowwing, I'm okay with Sam as the new Cap for the reasons he cited, but I wish Marvel gave Steve a better send-off, but at least, Steve isn't dead?)

(This is why Republicans or Conservatism Inc. now really annoy me and their intellectual fear and cowardice of the Left, as "you'll be called racist anyway, so you might as well finish the thought." But I understand the fear of being called racist and other things, as I've been there myself, but something has to give.)

Sorry, forgot to modify, as I wish Blogspot gave an edit option on comments. But I'm also amused that Drag mentioned Mighty Max, as I've been watching that on YouTube, earlier today. Good, creepy stuff.

You think there is something like a Diversity Gestapo badgering and heckling innocents until they change their tune?

Killer Moth is right. If you disagree with the SJW crowd about anything, you will be called a racist, sexist, homophobe and Islamophobe, anyway. If you already have the name, you might as well play the game.

Thank you, 2nd Anonymous. Well said.

One final thought about this "childhood ruined forever" nonsense the Telegraph OP keeps peddling: thanks to the internet and DVD, I can watch and re-watch or read or re-read any favorite childhood comic or TV series anytime I want and the SJW will never take away those memories, no matter how hard they try. (And, boy, are they trying.) I'd argue, "middle age ruined forever,' as reading all these sometimes-necessary-but-usually-not revisions and mediocre revivals that never properly captured why the original was so good, why waste time and simply go back to the classic or your preferred version, as you would anyway?

Conversely, I realize you can't always retreat into past works, as progress, storytelling, character development move on. And as the SJW imply occasionally, "you can't live your life in a vacuum with your white privilege." Look, I'm a full retro junkie. And I also realize that what I like simply wouldn't be done, today, given the hyper-political and hyper-racialized standards we now live in. And with the current cries to ban everything that ever had the Confederate flag -- I'm not taking a position on the ban at the moment, just pointing it out -- it won't be long before people will just attempt to ban everything pre-60's, since everything pre-civil right movement is or was regarded as racist, anyway, according to the SJWs and our elites. I do fear on certain interests of mine that might be forced down the memory hole, because of this cultural rot and then the attempts to make me feel guilty in the first place for even liking whatever it is I'm liking, due to attempted white guilt, feeling guilt over casting that wouldn't fly 50+ years ago and/or other means. ("How dare you like something we SJWs didn't care about five minutes/years/decades ago!")

I'm recalling Megan McArdle's "Why is the Golden Age of Television so dark" commentary from a few years back. She cited Breaking Bad, the Wire and other series at the time, and maybe I'm insensitive, but I'm sorry, but can't bring myself to care about meth dealers, vampires that are really commentary about whatever the SJWs care about and Baltimore's underclass issues like I should. I've no problem that people liking those respective series, but not for me. Sorry, it's not white privilege, or maybe it is (as any SJW reading this probably thinks, thinking that horse left the barn long ago when it comes to me).

More, as what I want to say is longer than Blogspot has in mind.

Part 2 of 2:

McArdle admits that she misses the older storytelling methods and more functional characters, but admits we can't go back, because those methods were done during less enlightened times and she dabbles into some white guilt. She's simply acting her age, but I'd counter "why can't we?" Yes, those past times weren't always as enlightened, but they still contain truth, timeless truth vs. the mediocrity that's being pumped on a daily basis. The truth only seems ugly if we deem it so, and, these days, uttering the real truth about crime stats or "the war on noticing" as Steve Sailer puts about PC gains an ugly reaction from people who don't want to deal with it and we go back to calling each other racist and ignoring actual racism or become so confused by it. This is the ultimate problem when viewing an older series with modern sensibilities or presentism. I can understand that readers or viewers have their own viewpoints or biases and they can't always jettison that. On the other hand, if you can't engage a series on its own terms or deal with the cultural issues of when it was produced -- even if, yes, God forbid, you may have to set said issues aside to enjoy what is overall a good story -- then it's almost pointless. Conversely, if you like sometimes that makes you feel guilty, but still like it anyway, then you're either brave enough or could have massive self-loathing. The latter is easier, as we're living in a self-loathing time, especially if you're white. But a guilty reader reading a series that actively employs guilt -- or anything Reg Hudlin has ever done -- isn't going to bode well with a similar populace, depending on which segment of the populace you ask. Now, yes, guilt isn't always a bad thing over certain stories that had a particular social commentary that needed to be addressed, but still, do it in moderation. Life is short enough, worry about your own lives and set the best example you can. You're not going to change the world -- sorry, SJWs -- just try to improve your corner of it.

Don't like, don't watch, which is something we need to bring back anymore. After all, a series present a vision, you don't like the vision, you can always move on, thanks to our new fragmented culture (another problem for another time). I understand that fan input is important, but a series has to go its own way, sometimes. And sometimes, that devolves into one big mess, as any promoted comic fanboy-cum-writer can tell you, running the asylum (Kevin Smith, Geoff Johns). And if Marvel wants to go that with all the recent diversity pushes or bleak storytelling, I have the right to move on and wish those who follow those comic titles, "good luck, you'll need it."

Sorry for the length, but I was a roll. And like the 2nd anonymous said, "if you already have the name, you might as well play the game."

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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