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The Politics of Comic Book Superheroes

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Tue 2 Feb 2016 3:11 PM EST
Category: Pop Culture | 5502 Views

(DM) – Tuesday February 2, 2016 It’s easy to say comic books are affected by the climate of today’s cultural demands. We’ve seen the impact on characters from super hero appropriation like switching up a character’s gender to changing sexuality and race. Characters have also changed levels of aggression and overall agenda – much of it due to outcry from the millennial generation. But this get’s bit ahead of the discussion. Comic Book PoliticsTo best understand the politics of comic book super heroes it’s helpful to get the right mental model of super heroes in comics.

Super heroes are created for a publisher under work for hire contracts. When it comes to the big two publishers DC and Marvel, the creator doesn’t own their character. Just search creators like Jack Kirby, (Fantastic Four, Hulk, Silver Surfer and more), Bill Finger (Batman), Joe Simon (Captain America), Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Superman), Bill Mantlo (Guardians of the Galaxy), Alan Moore, (Watchmen), you’ll learn how publishers swindle creators out of both ownership and revenue sharing.
Screwed Comic Book Creators

With the publishing rebellion in the 1990’s more friendly independent publishers like Image mandated a creator kept ownership of their creation, yet once a character enters a publishers universe, every writer leads a tough stewardship as multiple influences force change.

The points-of-view of the publisher, the public and the writer clash. Later, as new writers enter the picture and take over stories, the end result is that writers become caretakers of something that feels like it is publicly owned. So while you think it would be nice to see Hulk smash or Wonderwoman be more or less aggressive, all these hidden elements are at play.

While this may all seem new, it is not. Comic books have been a reflection of society since their inception. From Superman as a solution to Nazi hate towards Jews to Captain America’s creation for pro-war propaganda and the sale of war bonds.
Captain America Propaganda in Comics

Pacifism in Comics

Pacifism and super heroes make little sense. The pacifist may take offense to this revelation but consider that all super heroes were created to take on aggressive evil with equal and greater aggressive strength. Is it any wonder that we have super heroes at all when they have powers that can kill any average human being? Yet they do not kill, not most. Wolverine Impales DeadlpoolThe exclusive non-kill club seems to be locked up by the big two publishers, DC and Marvel. One example is Wolverine with his razor sharp claws. When is the last time you saw him impale an adversary that died? If he stabs anything it’s in a battle with a robot an inanimate object or at best a self healing adversary such as Deadpool. Hulk can smash, yet that seems to be all he does. Hulk’s constraint and inability to kill is a reflection of our culture.

When it comes to modern values, Superheros carry many torches, but all fall strangely under the control of pacifism. Superheroes are restrained because our society demands it. A writer may want his hero to make a vital life making decision but the character will be condemned if their vigilante cause crosses the line of taking a life. It’s for this reason The Punisher has so few fans and writers have a hard time painting him as a sympathetic character. Of course he’s under Marvel which also impacts any story he’s a part of. Contrast Punisher with any other character and he doesn’t fit.
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Brian Michael Bendis Says Miles Morales Is Spider-Man

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Mon 22 Jun 2015 12:00 PM EST
Category: Pop Culture | 6480 Views

(DM) – Monday June 22, 2015 Remember when Peter Parker was Spider-Man? Wait, you mean you didn't know? Miles Morales is now Spider-Man. According to Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis.

Through Bendis, Marvel has decided. Or is it the social justice warriors of Reddit? You spoke, and Marvel listened, but only if you are in your early twenties and on Tumblr. No longer are comics an escapist read. They apparently form society.

The creator of the Miles Morales Spider-Man, Brian Micheal Bendis announced on his own Tumblr page Sunday June 22, 2015. "Sunday Bomb Drop!!"  referring to a New York Daily News Article with his own quote, “It’s meant a great deal to a great many people. Our message has to be it’s not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it’s the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else.”

This is a misleading statement. Miles will jump over from the Ultimate Universe to be part of the Peter Parker universe (Marvel 616), but to call him The Spider-Man is what Bendis alone insists. Then again, Marvel may get behind him soon on this. Miles Morales is a great Spider-Man. Yet he is an off-shoot of the original. If Batman dies and Robin takes over, okay. But while Bruce Wayne is a live, Robin is still Robin. Until the King is dead, a prince is a prince etc... Why insist Miles is "THE" Spider-Man?

So here I come off racists because I am willing to argue against his specific statement "It’s meant a great deal to a great many people."  What are the demographics of people that want Miles and how many are in the market segment for Peter Parker? Without any definitive proof, the realistic answer is a very loud few are being serviced.

Would it makes sense if Bendis is claiming 80 percent of the paying public want Miles Morales as Spider-Man when in fact that 80 percent actually wants and buys the Peter Parker Spider-Man? The answer is no.

The first issue will drop in a couple months and first issues always sell big. As do the next few before the real audience sticks it out.

Don't use that rational with social justice zealots though. It doesn't matter what makes sense when you are dealing with ideologues. Bendis believes what he wants to believe on an emotional level. And it's hard to argue when someone stands on a tearful story such as this as told by Bendis in the same NY Daily News article: He was shopping with his adopted daughter of color when she found a Spider-Man mask. She said, “Look daddy, I’m Spider-Man!”

Bendis had a natural heartfelt response. “I started crying in the middle of the aisle,” He says. “I realized my kids are going to grow up in a world that has a multi-racial Spider-Man, and an African American Captain America and a female Thor.”

Allow me to use sarcasm to drive home a point. By the social justice warrior logic, there are a lot of black churches singing praise to a white diety, and we need to do something about that too. Are white people demanding a Caucasian remake of Friday (1995)?

I guess Bendis forgot to mention to his daughter there are in fact a couple other super heroes his daughter could read at Marvel: She Hulk, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Electra, Spider-Woman, Rogue, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Storm, Dominoe, Invisible Woman: Sue Richards, Wasp, Lady Deadpool, Marvel Girl: Rachel Summers, Ms. Marvel: Carol Danvers and Silver Sable.

Perhaps she can even read something from the competition at DC?  Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Supergirl, Raven, Hawkwoman, Zatanna and Black Canary.

When she grows up she even has Indy comics to turn to: Orphan Black, Shi, Ghost, Vampirella, Lady Death, Tank Girl, Barb Wire, Witchblade, Razor and Angela.

In fairness to Bendis less than half of these characters have their own titles. Yet the list is still extensive. And still there is a demand to take iconic characters and make them female or black or anything but a white male.  

What is challenging here is I have no bone to pick with Brian Bendis. I enjoy many of his stories and don't dispute his excellent writing skills. That includes creativity. The issue is over his argument and the big two publishers argument in re-appropriating established super heroes. Take Wonder Woman and make her man, and that is just is ridiculous as making Thor a woman and calling her Thor. I'll get to that later.

If you are a long time comic book fan – you know... over thirty. You're an old head. You're out of touch and you don't matter.

Why?

Marvel needs new blood! If you didn't have kids for a host of reasons, you didn't do your duty and indoctrinate your kids into comics and for that sin you've been condemned to reading old comics. ...Read more...





Marvel Netflix A.K.A. Jessica Jones Explained

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Mon 18 May 2015 12:45 PM EST
Category: Pop Culture | 3560 Views
(DL) – May 18, 2015 The Marvel Netflix aka Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) will be a huge superhero for Women. For some time female comic book enthusiasts have been demanding a female super hero in cinematic form. What is Jessica Jones’ super hero power? It should be super human strength, but her story of recovery is what will make her a major hit. Adapted from the Marvel MAX 28 part series Alias, Jessica's story unfolds during her post super hero career. Now retired, she works as a private investigator.

Marvel Netflix aka Jessica Jones

To understand why Marvel Netflix A.K.A. Jessica Jones will be a hit for women, it is best to explain the changed climate in super hero needs spawned by the recent past super hero films and current shows that have set the table for A.K.A. Jessica Jones. ...Read more...

CW's Legends of Tomorrow Will Not Include Flash or Green Arrow

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Sat 16 May 2015 11:32 AM EST
Category: Articles | 1588 Views
(DL) – May 16, 2105 Good artist copy, great artist steal. Picasso said that. Examining Legends of Tomorrow and it seems like Suicide Squad meets the Justice League but without a name. 

CW's Legends of Tomorrow

Super hero team-ups abound. The Fantastic Four, Avengers, The Justice League, the list can go on and on. Yet with the success of DC’s CW shows Arrow and The Flash, an unlikely superhero team up is on the horizon. One that is oddly named at best, Legends of Tomorrow.

CW will soon launch a 13 episode season of Legends of Tomorrow. Early word the series itself will begin in January or February of 2016. Trailers beg loads of excitement but what most people have not noticed is who is absent from the team. Arrow and Flash. Look at the promotional artwork, Legends of Tomorrow won’t include Flash or Arrow. They will of course guest star but CW producers believe they won’t need The Flash or Arrow. What smells here is the usual greed of networks. They are milking a cash cow and striking while the iron is hot. The Arrow and The Flash fans may be in for a poor surprise....Read more...

How To Train For a Trail Race Event Like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Warrior Dash

Lars Hindsley
By Lars Hindsley Tue 31 Dec 2013 2:35 AM EST
Category: Lifestyle | 4066 Views
(DL) – No question is left unanswered. Here's how to really train, what to wear and the real safety concerns of mud runs and mud races. It's your most comprehensive guide in how to effectively prepare for a long distance obstacle course from someone that's actually participated.

Endurance obstacle course events have become popular. Most add in the element of mud if for no other reason than to create a light hearted fun atmosphere. However Mud Runs such as Warrior Dash are only mud runs and contain no obstacles. If you are asking yourself, "What's the difference between the Tough Mudder (untimed event), Warrior Dash (timed event) or Spartan Race (timed event)?" The answer is very little. They are all obstacle course events with Tough Mudder being the longest on average and largest. But of the many races and runs out there you should be sure you know what type trail race you are entering. Is it a mud run or an obstacle course?...Read more...

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