Dear Marvel, You Can’t Win

Several months ago I wrote about an article featured on ComicsAlliance. Juliet Khan, the author, wrote a rant about Marvel and DC Comics’s recent attempts to appeal to progressive feminist female readers. Her complaint was that the new femalecharacters were bland and boring. Of course, this is precisely what feminists like Khan asked for. They want female characters who never do bad things, never make mistakes, never have bad things happen to them, and never have any character flaws. All this leaves creators with are characters who can only be snarky and sassy.

As I noted at the end of my post, people like Khan knew what the end result would be because comic book fans warned them. We told these progressives that their ideas were boring, yet they ignored us and demanded these characters anyway. And for inexplicable reason, both of the Big Two companies caved.

Now another ComicsAllaince writer shows us why capitulating to the so-called “social justice warrior” crowd is pointless. Why I’m Boycotting Marvel Comics

Writer J.A. Micheline opened the article with this:

Marvel, you and I are taking a break.

It’s not me; it’s you — and you made the decision really easy.

In the past two to three weeks, I have watched you disrespect and disregard marginalized voices and I’ve had enough.

First, came your quiet decision to hand the new Blade book over to two white creators. To be clear, I have no reason to think either creator will do a bad job on this book, but I was disappointed that one of Marvel’s most prominent black heroes would be handed to white people yet again.

I feel like I have to say this five or six times. Whenever this comes up, I get a tsunami of white people wondering what my problem is and suggesting I’m racist for saying white people can’t write about people of color. It’s not that white people can’t; it’s not even that they shouldn’t (except in some circumstances that I have written about almost ad nauseam recently) — it’s that white people are the ones who, historically and systemically, are consistently offered the opportunity. And in 2015, perhaps the right thing to do is to let people of color have a turn.

Readers can follow the link to read the rest of the article. For those uninterested in doing so, I will summarize:

Dear Marvel, you can’t win.

Nothing you do will please me.

If you give me the characters I demand, I’ll complain about the creative team. If you give me the creative team I demand, I’ll complain about them only working on one book.

If you appeal to the cultural interests I demand, I’ll complain that you’re appropriating them. If you criticize my use of progressive buzzwords, I’ll complain that you’re a bigot.

If you give you an ultimatum on what it will take for me to buy your books and you refuse to capitulate to them, I’ll just complain for complaining’s sake.

I will give Micheline credit. Progressives rarely demonstrate such a naked attempt at controlling an industry. That is what Micheline’s article comes to. It is simply about a person from a “marginalized” group complaining that the industry does not cater to their every whim and fancy. The notion that Marvel’s Hercules would be straight is seen as “offensive” not because it is offensive (or inaccurate to the character’s comic book and mythological depictions), but because the progressives thought he was at least bisexual and they could “claim” him for their side.

I wonder how long it will take Marvel (and DC Comics) to realize that this group of people are not interested in good storytelling. They are not interested in good characterization. They are not even interested in comics. They are only interested in being able to point to something and say, “I made that happen.”

6 thoughts on “Dear Marvel, You Can’t Win

  1. The big problem is, Marvel and DC think they can make these people happy by giving them what they want. It doesn’t work that way.
    All that happens is that they go away and think up something else they want next.

    I also have to wonder how much of all this is about making comics “better” and how much is about purging comics of the dreaded white-maleness.

  2. Speaking only for myself (straight white devil), I’d been growing bored of comics for a while but continued to purchase and read them out of habit/for nostalgia’s sake. The writing, with a few notable exceptions, and even the art have been steadily edging towards mediocre (I’m being charitable here) for years.

    Now that the big companies have done their best to alienate those who were their bread and butter, I think they have no choice but to capitulate to unreasonable, inane demands. I know I won’t be spending my hard-earned dollars for poorly plotted, poorly drawn crap.

  3. Wow! That is a whole lot of hypocrisy. It’s okay, though, to demand white characters to become black, male characters to become female, and straight characters to become gay or bi. How absurd! This is why F4 bombed harder than Hiroshima, and deservedly so.

  4. Pingback: #DeleteMarvel: Revenge of the Hypocrites | Toy Soldiers

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