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Saturday, March 03, 2018 

Macleans joins the anti-Comicsgate assault

The Canadian news magazine Macleans, if any mainstream source, has just written up their own hit piece against the opposition to all the forced partisan politics littering comicdom, and wouldn't you know it, they even parrot a lot of the nastiest smears against frustrated consumer and sellers alike. It begins with this:
Even as Marvel’s Black Panther shreds box offices and stereotypes on the strength of enormous visibility for people of colour and its progressive politics, the comic book industry that inspired it has come under attack by a reactionary movement waging war on diversity.

It’s been bubbling for years as Marvel has increased racial, sexual and gender representation, from Kamala Khan, a Muslim teen Ms. Marvel, to Miles Morales, a black-Hispanic Spider-Man. The company also passed the mantles of Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Wolverine on to female characters, gave Captain America’s shield to black superhero Sam Wilson, made a Korean-American teen the Hulk, and had Iceman come out as gay. High-profile writers of colour like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay joined Marvel’s roster of creators. In response, Marvel and those creators have faced online harassment. “They are legitimately frightened by harassers who threaten to come and find them at conventions, at stores, at their homes,” wrote comic legend Mark Waid in a Facebook post. “One was told she should be burned to death. Another was told that she should be put down like a dog. And those are examples of some of the less hateful attacks.” Earlier this month, a proposed blacklist of writers and artists made the rounds: “Do not buy comics from these people,” the call-to-arms read. “The only way to fix this industry is to get the cancer out.” Even alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has weighed in, with a 2015 rant in Breitbart claiming that “progressive hand-wringing and misandry” are ruining a “cherished art form.”
Well, I think it's clear the writer of this dumb, repetitive and cliched article isn't really a fan of Captain America Steve Rogers, Thor, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers, Hulk, Iceman, Iron Man or even Wolverine. I don't think they even like Jim Rhodes, Tony Stark's good pal who substituted as IM at least once before getting the War Machine role. As for Miles Morales, he may not have replaced Peter Parker, but if there has to be a black/Hispanic Spider-Man, it should be in the Ultimate line, which is now canceled. The same also applies to a black Wally West as Kid Flash in DC Comics, and putting them in just one universe diminishes their uniqueness. I've begun to wonder if some people who thought merging Billy Batson/Captain Marvel into the same universe proper as Superman decreased his own uniqueness, and for all we know, they could have a point, even though, in a manner of speaking, DC already came close when they revived the Big Red Cheese in the Bronze Age, albeit in a different dimension, at a time when they had the parallel dimensions in serious use.

And Waid was spouting unconfirmed, exaggerated lies when he pulled his idiocy. He certainly didn't provide any screencap proofs. I ask again, where were these people when DC and Marvel pulled their own acts of misogyny in the guises of Identity Crisis and Avengers Disassembled? That's all you need to know about where their loyalties really lie.

Predictably, the reporter even exploited Stan Lee's arguments to justify his own:
Lee and Kirby created Black Panther because they wanted more of their readers represented. “I felt we really needed a black superhero,” Lee told me in an interview two years ago. “A good many of our people here in America are not white. You’ve got to recognize that and you’ve got to include them in whatever you do.”
Did Lee say the white protagonists should be replaced wholesale by black, Latino and Asian characters in the very same costumes in every way? No, he just stated there's room for more superheroes of different races in the cast, and that that's how creativity works for the better. But then, nobody with a brain expects these cynics to come to terms with any of that. He also says:
But while initially avoiding overt politics, T’Challa stopped pulling punches by the 1970s. Don McGregor wrote a serialized storyline called “Panther’s Rage” in the unfortunately titled Jungle Action comic that culminated in a 1976 arc where he became a literal social-justice warrior to take on the Ku Klux Klan.
Yes, because tackling issues of the times is something only a SJW worries about. The jerk completely refuses to recognize that the KKK was considered a concern several decades ago, but today, it's largely in the past. All because he doesn't want to admit Islamic terrorism is the valid concern of today's world. And it's just like him to parrot the claim Jungle Action was a crummy title for the magazine, proving nobody gets to decide what makes for excitement.
That storyline, and what happened to it, resonates today. In one panel, a hooded Klansman calls black people “supposedly oppressed” while making the MAGA-esque boast: “We will establish a legal movement that will resound with our voices. And once again we will have true representation in our government.” In another, a character describes the KKK’s painfully familiar recruitment techniques: “Hit the middle and lower class whites where they live. They use everything. The recession. Liberalism. I tell ya, [the KKK] even have a great sense of drama. What with their burning crosses. But they try to keep any violence quiet and not traceable back to them. They aren’t overjoyed by bad press.”
Wow, just look how this kook seeks to claim these stories as entirely the product of his own side, his own ideology, so he can attack the right of modern times. And liberalism is never at fault, not even when it advocates socialism. It gets no better with this:
Now, Marvel is prepping a company-wide relaunch in May dubbed “A Fresh Start,” which looks like a further regression from those steps toward diversity. Tony Stark is returning to his Iron Man armour after spending much of the past year or so in a coma, during which his comic was helmed by protege Riri Williams, a black teenage girl named Ironheart. Bruce Banner, who was killed off in 2016, will be resurrected as the Hulk. And the original Thor Odinson will be retaking his hammer while his cinematic love interest Jane Foster, who’s been wielding it for the past four years while battling cancer, is in the midst of a story arc called “The Death of the Mighty Thor.” As the Guardian put it, Marvel’s back-to-basics reboot is showing “worrying signs of pandering to its most conservative readers.”
They may be bringing back the real protagonists, but there's every chance it won't be "pandering" as they see it. If anything, this merely hints further at the writer's obvious disdain for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's white creations. It also confirms he's not interested in the stories based on scripting merit. That's why he should just buzz off.
Indeed, last year, a Marvel VP said in an interview that “what we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity,” a statement he later backtracked. Then, at a New York Comic Con event, angry store-owners ranted against “black,” “homo,” and “freaking female” comics. Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada responded to subsequent criticism by tweeting: “If a comic finds an audience it will stick around regardless of the lead character or creator’s gender, ethnicity, sexual preference or identification. You can claim we’re tone deaf but we published those books but you guys ultimately decide what survives.”
Alas, it's Quesada who does. He certainly determines whether something like the Spider-marriage can, or more precisely, doesn't. It's shameful how the reporter parrots what the comics press was about store managers, framing both them and the customers as sexist and racist, all for the sake of justifying their selfish positions on products they never liked to begin with.
Both quotes hint at the real problem, which is the unique structure of comics sales—and their outsize impact on culture, now that they’re also blockbuster hits—which may make Comicsgate arguably more dangerous than even Gamergate when it comes to reversing much of Marvel’s work to bring change to its offerings. That’s because the industry long ago abandoned newsstands for the “direct market” of comic shops that can’t return unsold product, unlike other book stores. As a result, owners understandably pre-order based on what they think will sell and, because of their traditional white, male demographic, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We don’t actually know what comic book “unit sales” are—the reported numbers are actually the orders that were shipped to comic shops, not sold by them, and publishers don’t release their digital sales numbers. This makes success determined by store-owner predictions and what their customers ask for, and if potential new and diverse fans aren’t even aware these comics are available, they’ll die on the vine. And so Black Panther and the Crew, a spinoff comic by Coates featuring many of Marvel’s most prominent black characters dealing with the issue of police brutality, was axed after only two issues in shops. Less than a year later, in the wake of the movie’s outsized success, old Black Panther collections make up seven of the top 25 shop re-orders.
Ah, so what they're saying is blacks, Asians and Latinos don't and never did buy comics, is that it? Keep going, and keep boring us, please. The villification of store owners and customers aside, they obscure that the "police brutality" issues Coates wrote about were metaphors for one of the phoniest cases of all, the causes of the Ferguson riots, which were built around a criminal gunned down after he attacked a policeman, who had to shoot in self-defense. No arguments whether rioting and burning down other people's businesses was justified either, I see.
Marvel should by all means serve their core, but they shouldn’t let them dictate business decisions that prevent them from expanding beyond it. [...]
They are not serving their core. They alienated many of them long ago. There's plenty of people like myself who'd buy Black Panther, along with Power Man and Iron Fist, also also Black Lightning from DC, for that matter. But at this point, because of the terrible writing quality modern writers on corporate-owned properties turn out, only buy the older stuff, which is usually better because the writers then rarely beat readers over the head with such blatant messaging as today.
Diversity is where growth lies, and it will be how Marvel Comics saves itself long-term—as long as it can be as brave as the heroes in its pages.
But that's not the case. If it were, we would've seen Mary Jane Watson back as Spider-Man's wife long before. Joe Quesada is the problem, and he's made sure for a long time we won't. But that obviously means nothing to these dopes, probably because they think she's just some expendable white woman and because their respect for marriage is zero. If Marvel wanted to, they could've created new superhero roles and made new characters their own agencies without replacing the white ones so deliberately for the sake of cheap messaging. Unfortunately, it means nothing to the Macleans writer, who as far as I'm concerned, is nothing more than a pathetic phony with no respect for the creators of the past, and no interest in talented writing that's woefully missing from many of today's offerings. He has no business attacking the Comicsgate movement any more than the Gamergate movement if all he can do is write such obvious demonizations of the customers, and even the store managers.

That said, it's pretty amazing they haven't gone after DC for reversing any of their own similar mistakes, though if the recent handling of the Justice League is any indication, they didn't; they just let go of the status quo used after Identity Crisis in hopes this would appease the audience. But if these media freaks want to, I'm certain they'll give DC's own social justice panderers their full backing, and be just as disrespectful to the veterans who went to such pains to create the DC heroes they did back in the Silver Age who were victimized by Dan DiDio's own nasty machinations.

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Back in the late 1950s, Julie Schwrtz could have tried creating new superheros with their own agency. Instead, he created new characters with old names. Barry Allen replaced Jay Garrick as the Flash, Hal Jordan took over as Green Lantern from Alan Scott, Ray Palmer shoved aside Al Pratt. Even Carter was replaced with Katar as Hawkman. It was the same at other companies. Ted Kord was not the first Blue Beetle, Johnny Storm was the second Human Torch. There were heroes named Daredevel, Black Widow and Wonder Man long before Matt, Natasha and Simon adopted those names. Mar-Vell was the third Captain Marvel, rushed into last-minute production to secure the copyright to the name. Dr Strange had been preceded by a 1940s Doc Strange. The Vision hadn’t been an android when Jack Kirby first created him. And the Carol Danvers Ms Marvel was not the first female Marvel with the initials MM! Mary M was there long before her.

Avi, I think that if you had been active in fan circles in the 60s, he would have been busy sending out mimeographed fanzines to people whose addresses he had found in the letters columns, explaining how Julie Schwartz had no respect or gratitude for the work that Sheldon Mayer and Mart Nodell had done before him, or how Stan Lee was spitting on the memory of the creations of Carl Burgos and Bill Everett with his alterations of their signature creations.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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