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Thursday, January 16, 2020 

What Donny Cates thinks of "fanservice"

The Texas Monthly did a podcast interview with Cates, who's been assigned to succeed Jason Aaron as the Thor writer. At the beginning of the accompanying article, he boasts:
“As of right now, I’m the best writer of Thor this decade,” says Cates, a full-time Marvel writer who’s worked on titles like Cosmic Ghost Rider, Thanos, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Silver Surfer Black. “I’m also the only writer of Thor this decade.”
Oh, isn't that clever. But what if he makes use of the kind of elements seen previously in Thor-related materials, like the PC alteration to the Uru hammer inscription, and Bullseye reducing Heimdall to a pagan ghost? And what are the chances he'll be willing to do whatever he can on his part to repair the shambles Joe Quesada rendered to their continuity? I sadly doubt he'll make any positive effort regarding the latter issue, and if he doesn't do anything to correct the other 2 mistakes, that's not somebody I'd consider the "best" writer of anything mainstream superhero-based. On which note, here's what they state about his standing on "fanservice":
2. Cates doesn’t believe in indulging in “fan service”—a term that originated with Japanese anime and manga and means intentionally plotting story lines to please the most rabid sections of your fan base.

“It’s not my job to give you what you want. It is my job to tell you what you want. The phrase that I hate the most in life is when people say, ‘Who asked for this?’ Whether it’s a prequel to Star Wars or some kind of Marvel film, people will ask, ‘Who asked for this?’ But no one ever asked for the first Star Wars. We’re not in the business of giving you what you asked for. That’s where innovation and amazing cool stuff comes from. I’m a very big fan of zigging when people think you’re going to zag.”
Does he even know the exact meaning of "fanservice"? I remember that recently, a few of the sites formerly owned by the awful Gawker network described scenes in the Star Wars-based TV show The Mandalorian as fanservice, such as the inclusion of infant Yoda. But how does that count as fanservice? What if refers to romance and sex, as seen in various manga and anime creations? And on that note, is Cates hinting he doesn't intend to please Marvel purists with romantic moments between Thor and Sif? Or he doesn't intend to reverse the laughable transformation of Jane Foster into a neo-Valkyrie?

His assertion they're not in the business of giving the audience what they ask for is additionally troubling. How do we know he really wants to give everybody the most important aspect of all - entertainment, and even material that can make you think, for all the right reasons? Stuff to make you happy, not sad? And why does he say nobody asked for the 1st Star Wars, by which I assume he means the original back in 1977? If the finished product is enjoyable, that would make it something we are asking for.

Worst, to say he's telling you what you want is tantamount to a lecture, never a good way to run an argument. What the magazine laid out from their interview does nothing to assure Cates is hoping the audience will thrill to his upcoming stories, otherwise, I figure he'd say he hopes what he has in store will leave the readers smiling, cheering, and maybe even thinking. So based on this, alas, he hasn't succeeded in convincing he wants to restore trust of anybody who loves Marvel as it used to be. Which has been pretty much what you could expect for years already from the writers Marvel's hired.

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" is Cates hinting he doesn't intend to please Marvel purists with romantic moments between Thor and Sif? Or he doesn't intend to reverse the laughable transformation of Jane Foster into a neo-Valkyrie?"

Thor is dating She-Hulk these days. And Cates is not writing the Jane Foster Valkyrie comic book, so it is not up to him to reverse anything.

Fan service has taken on the connotation of sleazy pandering with heavy-handed sex images that have nothing to do with the story; not what you want in Thor.

"It is my job to tell you what you want."

The arrogance! It burns!!!

Since superhero comics have been effectively been raped by Disney and Time Warner, do the comics actually mean or stand for anything anymore? Burn it to the ground every 8 years and start over, except with farther left politics doesn't seem like a successful model for anything.

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