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Tuesday, April 06, 2021 

Capt. Marvel writers insult Carol Danvers' famous older costumes, and Screen Rant backs it up

Leave it to the awful Screen Rant to lend their support to disparaging a very decent costume design from a better era by the late Dave Cockrum, in the 27th issue of the current Captain Marvel series, where Kelly Thompson and David Lopez continue to put down the past for the sake of their pathetic political correctness:
While popular superheroes go through many wardrobe changes throughout the years, Captain Marvel's latest comic took time to poke fun at one of her old costumes, one that got overlooked from her origins when she was introduced into the MCU. When a group of Carol's female superhero friends gather together to take her out for a night of drinks and speed dating, one of the heroes bring up the fact that her dress exposes her bare legs, bringing to mind her old Ms. Marvel outfit which is criticized for being merely just a superhero swimsuit.
So we know where SR stands on Wonder Woman's superheroine swimsuit, of course. They make it sound as though swimsuit design and baring legs is the worst thing that could possibly happen, and effectively disrespect every artist who ever came up with such a thing, ditto the writers.
When Carol Danvers was introduced as Ms. Marvel in 1976, her original costume was basically a female version of fellow Kree warrior Mar-Vell with other creators trying to balance functionality with the oversexualized portrayal of female superheroes at the time. When Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum came on, they gave Carol a new costume altogether complete with a new lightning bolt symbol, black thigh-high boots and arm length gloves, and her old scarf turned into a red sash. This would become Carol's classic costume, which would remain unchanged during her time with the Avengers until her experiences with the X-Men saw a cosmic upgrade that resulted in a new outfit, hairstyle, and even a new name, Binary. Although she later went by Warbird following a significant power reduction, she returned to her classic costume and title until 2012 when she became Captain Marvel. She embraced her new title with a costume that borrowed elements from all stages of her life as a fighter pilot, superhero, and woman which has become her most iconic costume to date.
So, everything about those past eras is "oversexualized"? The writer of this is a disgrace. If that's all they can see, and not a character depicted as a successful USAF officer and a magazine writer, they clearly are missing the boat. Even if the 2nd costume design was better, the first one still was far from the abomination they make it sound out to be. Obviously, the columnist is somebody who saw nothing wrong with the Comics Code Authority stamp, not to mention Fredric Wertham's hysterical viewpoints. And I notice they didn't get into how, over the past decade, Carol was made to look horrifically masculine, while sales figures declined, yet they insisted on keeping it going with consecutive volumes leading nowhere. It all gets worse:
In Captain Marvel #27 by Kelly Thompson and David Lopez, Jessica Drew is able to persuade a heartbroken Carol out of her apartment but her plans to distract her with superhero missions backfire as Captain Marvel devotes her entire life to these missions, filling any remaining down time with sleep. Jessica attempts to correct this by forcing Carol out of her uniform and into a dress for a night on the town, inviting Carol's friends Spectrum, Hazmat, and her Kree half-sister Lauri-ell aka the Accuser to provide support, love, and possible back up in case she resists. When Carol is pushed out to say hello, Monica and Jennifer compliment her cute dress, especially Jennifer, who has never seen Carol's bare legs in person. "Of course I've seen them a million times on the Internet because you used to fight crime in a swimusit," says Jennifer before she wisely cuts herself off.

Despite being one of Carol's most memorable costumes, its hard to argue with Hazmat's comment because it's true, the old costume is basically a swimsuit with a mask, gloves, heels, and sash. In the past, female characters or superheroes have constantly had to be defined within the context that the stories are written with male readers in mind, resulting in costumes and appearances geared for sex appeal instead of practicality. Carol's original costume had an exposed midriff and bikini briefs and although Cockrum's redesigns were an improvement, they would be considered too revealing by today's standards. Although Carol has proven herself as a soldier, Avenger and intergalactic warrior, such costumes say more about comics and the society they were published in than they do about the character herself.
Obviously written by somebody with no comprehension of women and their love of fashion, no respect for Cockrum, and no respect for George Perez, if we were to cite another artist who'd drawn designs like that. This is truly disgusting, and ignores Invisible Girl's blue outfit, which was far from revealing in its original design, Spider-Woman's red outfit, Black Widow's, and even Monica Rambeau's Capt. Marvel outfit in the 80s. But no matter how revealing or not the outfits are, the insults spewed by such hack writers at SR extend even to the women who wrote for these publishers at the time, like Louise Simonson and Ann Nocenti, who clearly didn't have an issue with such costumes. I guess the SR writer doesn't think they should've appealed to lesbians with revealing outfits either, right? He seems to think appealing to men is a bad thing, and must really despise Stan Lee for marketing his productions to men as well. I won't be shocked if the SR columnist will next say it's wrong for Japanese mangakas to have a shonen (boys) market, no matter how many shojo (girls) stories they have on the market as well.

It's also disgraceful how they claim the designs with bare midriffs are "too revealing" by the "standards" of this era, even though tank tops are a fashion many women like. By that logic, even WW's outfit, again, would be too much, and no doubt, that's what the SR writer thinks of Starfire's costume from New Teen Titans as well. At the end, SR laughably says:
Considering their brand and namesake, one can understand why Disney chose to skip this costume when it was time for Carol Danvers to make her MCU debut in Captain Marvel. That type of decision is actually quite common in this age where comics are frequently adapted into film or television, with studios realizing that what works for one medium may not be as realistic or in some cases, suitable for another. Fortunately, Hazmat realized to stop talking while she was ahead and Carol didn't let that little comment derail her evening that culminated in her ending up with Doctor Strange.
I'm sorry, but all Disney and Marvel's film division did was succumb to political correctness, and if Warner Brothers didn't have a problem with Wonder Woman's bustier, which is skimpier than the Ms. Marvel outfit, then it's laughable other studios should have a problem with the same. Why, if I'm correct, the CM film wasn't even produced under the Disney label proper, so what's their point? Besides, if they don't think outfits like Carol's original ones - and Wonder Woman's are suitable for films, then obviously, they don't think they're suited for comics either. They don't even have what it takes to support a rating system that could describe the content to determine if something is suitable for children, family, or adult audience, even though for years before, there was a rating system in video games, where a product could be rated T for teen, or M for mature, and comics were using this for a time as well. Now, with these kind of censorious standards we're now faced with, the whole rating system has become a joke.

In the comments section from original article, 2 people took issue with this reprehensible approach, with one saying:
To be fair, even in the picture you use for the article, the Ms. Marvel outfit has 90% of the legs covered. There's just a band of thigh showing. The dress probably shows off much more.
Indeed, and even that's not a bad thing in itself. Another said:
That's inaccurate. She just showed a bit of thighs, her legs were mostly covered by boots.

Also it was a great design. Women wear a lot less on Tiktok and Instagram just because they like the way it looks.
I think the whole puff piece goes to show the writers for SR don't understand anything about women and their love of fashion. That's why it comes off as lecturing at worst, while making corporate owned products the biggest victims of the PC anti-sex mentality.

And while we're on the topic, here's a Newsarama interview with Thompson, discussing her run on Black Widow, where the art looks even duller, and it also references 2 other not very admirable writers:
Before Black Widow #6 hits comic book stands April 28, Newsarama had the chance to chat with writer about the book’s next arc. We discuss how Natasha’s new costume relates to her forthcoming mission, the origins of Spider-Girl’s upcoming appearance in the series (hint: it’s a reference from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis’s Avengers Assemble), and what other faces (new and familiar) fans can expect to pop up.
I'm not sure who's worse: Ellis or deConnick, the latter under whom Carol Danvers really suffered. For now, here's something really laughable:
Nrama: Nat has a fancy new suit now... why do you think it was time to introduce a fresh look?

Thompson: It wasn't really about a fresh look… because Natasha's classic looks are pretty much perfect. In fact, we knew we'd have a huge challenge ahead of us to try to change her costume.
Not sure why they think that black outfit is "new", when it looks more or less like the black outfits she wore in decades past. What matters is that the artwork looks lethargic. It's only in that sense the costume changed, for the worse.
Nrama: What made you want to bring the book to San Francisco?

Thompson: I wanted a whole different world and life for Natasha and so that certainly meant taking her out of New York City… but I liked that today's San Francisco was new to her, but also that she had lived here before, so it wouldn't feel completely foreign to her. A place where she could dig in and make a home for herself…and that she might still feel attached to even after that life came apart at the seems.

It's also just a fantastic city that makes for an incredible backdrop in which to set cool iconic stories.
It's also a city that, for the past decade, has become full of cases where trash and excrement have been left around, a considerable rise in drug addicts, sending the city into serious decay. What's so "fantastic" when you have that kind of sad situation prevailing? But if she thinks SF is great, why not Dallas, Sacramento, Cleveland or Miami? What's wrong with those burgs? SF sounds like an awfully easy choice to me. Better yet, why not a fictionalized city? They really have taken all this "realism" so far, they don't have what it takes to try the challenge of a fictional town or neighborhood anymore.
Nrama: The solicits have revealed that Anya (Spider-Girl) will be showing up in Black Widow #8. What made you want to add her to the series?

Thompson: The original inspiration is from a Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis penned Avengers Assemble story from 2013 where Anya Corazon as Spider-Girl teams up with some Avengers – at one point it's Anya, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), and Black Widow – and Anya makes the joke that they should be "Team Lady Spiders." And that always felt to me like something that should definitely happen.
So again, Thompson really thinks writers that awful make the best inspiration, huh? Even when one of them has such an awful track record with women? I guess that says all you need to know about whom she thinks are worth the nod. It's clear Chuck Dixon wouldn't be cited by these SJWs as inspiration today by contrast.

Once again, Thompson's demonstrated why she's one of the worst modern writers in the medium today, obviously not chosen for talent, and if memory serves, she penned the story where Carol turned evil. She certainly hasn't done anything to restore Carol's earthly origins, rather than the forced retcon where she's half-alien instead, seeing how there's still a half-sister of Kree background involved here. And if there's more company wide crossovers in store at Marvel and the editors want Carol to be part of the "festivity", it's highly likely they'll do just that, since such desperate sales gimmicks take precedence even over the weakest of storytelling.

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Just a question for you Avi (not related to this article):

I agree that SJW stuff is likely driving down sales, but sales were declining a lot before this also. I think super hero stuff has two big problems:

1. the characters have been around forever and so much has been done with them already that the storylines have been beaten to death- there is nothing new under the sun. Its hard to believe that anything that happens to them now is any more significant than the million things already that have happened.

2. the characters really can't die or change in a major way so there is no real drama- anything done will later be reversed

I think Manga is doing somewhat better because it is not hampered by these two limits. Stories eventually come to an end and characters can really die or change in a major way.

US superheroes seem more like copywrites than characters one would care about- after 60-90 years people get tired of following a creation that can never change and has no drama

BTW- I say this as a person who followed comics quite a bit years ago

I would be interested in your response

I agree that manga does better because the US mainstream comics, by contrast, were hurt by the approach to serial publishing, which was held hostage to insular dictations like company wide crossovers, which hurt them in the long run, and unlike manga, they weren't self-contained. As a result, US comics fell victim to corruption. Also, I do think that, if superhero comics are ever to have a future, they will have to be written with an ending in store, and even before that, much of the continuity damage they accumulated over the past 20-30 years will have to be jettisoned in order to start competently from a beginning to an eventual end. But most importantly, DC/Marvel will have to be bought out by smaller sources who actually care in order for them to be written and illustrated well.

Well, all I can say is that between Avengers 197 and Uncanny X-Men 171 she's lived a sad life.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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