Ok, this post is going to take a look at how, in my opinion, the social side of politics is ruining comics today. Again, I’m not trying to pick on liberal politics, but that’s the only kind we have in comics so those are the only examples I can cite.
Marvel’s diversity initiative has been well talked about so I won’t spend too much time on it, but I did want to address it briefly. I am 100% OK with diversity in comics. A character’s race or gender or religion has absolutely no influence over whether I enjoy a comic book. However, like many other fans, I think systematically replacing white male characters (or simply creating copycat alternatives) with a female or non-white copies of that character is a really bad way of doing it. Now here are two other points about Marvel’s diversity initiative that irritate me:
- They tried to claim all these new characters were all independently story-driven. That’s right, it was all just one big coincidence that these characters started appearing at the same time. We later confirmed that was not true, but I don’t think anyone fell for it to begin with. Just another example of disrespect for the fans who plunk down 4 bucks an issue for this stuff.
- If you dislike these changes, you are a racist, sexist, homophobe, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. This is absurd. Of all the complaints about it that I’ve heard, I haven’t heard one person complain that they don’t like diversity. What people object to is losing the characters that they’ve read and loved for decades. The reaction would be the same if the new characters were also white males, I guarantee it.
While this has all been most blatant at Marvel, it exists with other publishers to a lesser extent. I think the recent saga about Vampirella’s costume is part of this. In the comments of my interview with Dynamite’s Joeseph Rybant, he said the new costume was designed to be palatable to more fans. The implication being that many people won’t buy Vampirella because of a perceived sexism in her costume design. The more I’ve thought about this, the more I keep asking myself one question:
When did liberals become the prudes?
Seriously, a couple of decades ago it would have been considered a conservative position to want to eliminate scantily clad female characters from comics. And liberals would be making fun of them and saying “there’s nothing wrong with the human body!” Now left-leaning comics writers seem to be really put off by such a thing, thinking it’s misogynistic and that it objectifies women. This really does baffle me and I haven’t seen anyone else point out this apparent about-face.
Let’s again take a look at our pal Chris Sebela on Twitter the other day:
So noble, so progressive! (I think he may have gotten that from this blog, but not sure) He goes on to share his nickname for the costume – “pomegranate hammock.” Cute, huh? Further down in the thread, there is this exchange:
I’m not surprised that he’d never seen Trina Robbins’ Vampirella drawings as he obviously isn’t a fan of the character. What is surprising is that he seems to deem this drawing so much more acceptable than others of the same costume. To my eye the main difference between Robbins’ Vampirella and the one Frazetta painted for Vampirella #1 (and almost every Vampi artist after him), is that Robbins’ drawing shows less belly and less back. So very scandalous to show back and belly. Women should have their backs and bellies covered at all times, you know. We better hope Sebela doesn’t write another Vampirella series, or we might see her convert to Islam and be covered head to toe in a burka (a story-driven change of course).
Then we have James Cameron who, you may remember, recently said that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was an “objectified icon.” He’s now doubled down on that, citing her good looks and form-fitting costume as evidence. Seriously? Again, you have a female superhero who has been in comics for decades in essentially the same costume, and only now the left-leaning creatives think a form fitting costume objectifies women (I guess he just forgot to mention the short skirt). What did he expect Patty Jenkins to do, give her a completely different costume unrecognizable to the public as Wonder Woman? Well, I guess that’s probably what Chris Sebela would have done.
If these people are so concerned about people seeing the shape of the female anatomy, why do I only hear them wringing their hands about comic book characters? If they’re so concerned, maybe they should try taking on the pornography industry which does actual harm to women and society. Now that is objectification of women. That is something that destroys marriages and families. But, no, they aren’t offended by that, they’d rather focus on fictional characters wearing form-fitting armor and navel-bearing outfits.
So to sum up these last two posts, it seems like the road we’re going down in the comics world is one of more “serious,” less fun, one-sided propaganda pamphlets. People will grow tired of it, and I hope the publishers correct this folly before the readers dump them.