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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 12:14pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

If this is a subject JB and/or the Mods
rather not deal with please remove.

After the debacle that was the Captain
America/Fascist Stooge story ended, it
look as though Marvel looked to right the
ship, at least a little bit. A new
creative team came on for six issues, the
first three of which I loved. The next
three issues were a not so thinly veiled
attempted at taking shots against the
current administration.

A while back, they had sales issues after
Marvel decided to literally replace every
straight, white male character for someone
of a more diverse race, gender, sexual
orientation or ethnicity.

Now, I have no love for our current
President and I'm all for inclusion. But I
read comics to get away from the concerns
of the real world. Is this just a trend or
the way we now make comics?

The far right fans have gone on a personal
crusade to attack creators that push
agendas. Creators, for some reason, seem
to engage them. Financially, it seems that
promoting personal agendas has drastically
effected some publishers' profits.

I have my opinions but I'd like to get
some rational perspectives. What do you
guys think about this, behind the scenes
circus?

Edited by Stephen Churay on 26 April 2018 at 12:15pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 12:18pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"I've never known any topic that was so dangerous it couldn't be TALKED about!"
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 12:25pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

 Stephen Churay wrote:
Now, I have no love for our current President and I'm all for inclusion. But I read comics to get away from the concerns of the real world. Is this just a trend or the way we now make comics?

Stephen, for me, it's about balance (much like life).

I don't mind some political/social commentary - but at the same time, I do occasionally want to simply see Jimmy Olsen turned into a werewolf or Batman and Robin sent back to caveman times.

One problem I have noticed is when some fans expect EVERYTHING to be social commentary. Sometimes, I'll see a light-hearted, fun comic released, but some reviews are, "This isn't making a statement about anything, is it?" Must it? Every time?

For every movie that makes a political/social statement, I also want a WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S to enjoy!
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

As a reminder, this occurred before the US has entered the war, and it elicited enough protests and threats from anti-war activists, isolationists, and Nazi sympathizers that Mayor La Guardia ordered police protection for Kirby and Simon. 




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Michael Penn
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

As long as any superhero story stays faithful to the essentials of the characters, then no "behind the scenes" agenda do any harm. 
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 2:31pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

As long as any superhero story stays
faithful to the essentials of the
characters, then no "behind the scenes"
agenda do any harm.
=======÷
Well, as far as what I've seen, that's
debatable. A characters essence will be a
smidge different m, depending on the
readers sensibilities.

Now, one thing we have seen is sidelining
a character and replacing them with an
analog that fits a more socially diverse
idea. Long standing characters at a couple
of companies have been rebooted as a
different race or had their sexual
orientation changed after being around for
decades.

In the case of the six issues of Captain
America, I felt that, for the first three,
Mark Waid was writing Captain America
stories. For the last three, it felt like
he was writing Mark Waid stories with
Captain America in them.

When the half dozen or so YouTube channels
came out blasting companies for doing this
type of thing, being of a more
conservative mindset, I started to take
notice. But, I've come to realize, over
time, that for these folks, trying to
identify and shed light on a problem they
see with comics, has become secondary, to
picking a fight, with the creators. I
don't have any use for that.

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Ed Aycock
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 2:45pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I've always found comics to be a good place for both fantasy and reality, the personal and political to merge.  The mutants have been such an analogy for so many that it's been hard to not place politics on them and some stories feel as if they were deliberately political.  I am going way back to 1986 and the "New Mutants" story where a student kills himself because he is a mutant and thinks X-Factor is going to come get him.  I saw it so much as what I was feeling at that exact moment as being a young, closeted teen.  I think it also exposed the creative flaw in X-Factor. Stories like that were wonderful.

Now, if you feel a writer is deliberately putting their own spin onto a character that you feel is inconsistent, nowadays, it's like the New England weather.  Just wait a moment, it'll change.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 3:39pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

The original X-Men were created in part as a commentary on social divisions in this country. Captain America began with a political cartoon on the cover of his first issue. Superman battled crooked mine owners, automobile manufacturers, and war profiteers. GL/GA garnered considerable attention if not sales commenting on the issues of the day, at a time when Harry Osborn's drug abuse was being dealt with in Spider-Man. Cap once again drove straight down the middle of controversial politics in the original "Secret Empire" storyline strongly implying that the President himself was the man behind it. Questioning his own allegiances, he set aside his identity as Captain America yet continued to battle for good as Nomad. 

If we stop using comics to comment on the world around us now, then we've surrendered our right to speak out as a medium and allowed ourselves to bow to fear mongers and disseminators of division and hate. Do you really think being good little boys and girls and keeping our heads down and mouths shut is the proper course of action for comics? 

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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 3:52pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I think it's best to do satirical commentary if you're going to do political commentary at all in mainstream superhero comics. Just make fun of everything. (Anyone ever read "They Shoot Hulks, Don't They?" by Roy Thomas?) 

Some things, however, should be non-controversial. Until recently white nationalists of various stripes were "coming out of the closet" because they thought it was now "their time" under Trump. So if a white supremacist gang invades Gotham and Batman gets really angry and beats the crap out of them, I say "break their legs, Bruce!"
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 5:01pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Um... we ARE still talking about comic books, aren't we?

I agree with Robbie P. pretty much entirely. One other discussion...

Political events (etc.) should be included if they serve the story. If they're distracting or a sore point, they should be left out. I can think of almost no comics that were specifically political - at least from DC or Marvel. Even super beings with strong political convictions aren't political comics.

There's likely been a comic about the president now and then... I think Lincoln got some good ink, and there were single issue stories where both Captain America and Superman were involved in becoming president. And Bruce Wayne became a senator once... but that was "Brave and the Bold" by Bob Haney, so it doesn't count.

I have no idea which way comic readers are swaying these days... but I'm pretty sure that "Real Democrat Comics! Adventures of the Left!" wouldn't sell very well (or its opposite number, if you wish.)

Maybe comics should be about comic book stories. Just one fogey's opinion.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 5:20pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Obviously it can be done, whether it should be done is up to whether you think a superhero comic, that's maybe been going for decades, is the place/audience to do it. I think it can be done well or done badly.

Re: Captain A pasting Hitler on that cover... I have a 1938 Life Magazine that is very explicit about the threat in Europe including examples of their anti-Jewish propaganda and political assassinations (including newly minted martyrdom of their own dead Horst Wessel) and translated quotes from 'mein kampf' circa when the razis invaded Austria. I think sometimes maybe people don't have that Jack Kirby creation in enough context, and Life was far from the only U.S. publication ringing the warning bells big time well before Pearl Harbor.

In an earlier era comics paid respect to whatever Pres was in office (JFK helping out Superman in Action Comics #309, Feb. 1964 cover date), but I think I remember Neal Adams drew at least a Nixon lookalike into some Green Lantern/Green Arrow montage of the crazy state of current affairs then which was well before the Reagan caricature in The Dark Knight books of 1986.
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David Miller
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 5:40pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Politics and social issues have been baked in since the beginning. Superman took on dictators, mine bosses and war profiteers in the first issues of ACTION COMICS.
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 5:46pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

After the election of Trump voices across the political spectrum decided restraint was no longer necessary. Marvel joined in the fray with overtly liberal stories, as is their creative right to do so. Conservative readers as well as those who just didn't like clumsy political commentary added to their already crappy Marvel comics stopped reading, as is their right as well. 

But comics is too small and vulnerable a market to withstand any more shrinkage of readership. The poor sales of this year and rumors of many store closings may have to do with this. 

Is this the final, final nail in the coffin for the comics industry. I hope not. 


Edited by Joe Zhang on 26 April 2018 at 5:52pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 7:25pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

'Bye, conservative readers. Don't let the door hit your flabby white asses on the way out.

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Shawn Kane
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 5:03am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Not sure what the difference is between a conservative reader and a liberal reader but smartly written social commentary that makes you think is a good thing. I remember letter columns over the years where there was debate that carried over into multiple issues that were, at times, more thought provoking than what was happening in the comics. Today's version of "You don't think my way so it's not for you" (from both sides) eliminates half of your audience. 
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 6:48am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Hasn't Marvel going too political hurt their sales?
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Bye, conservative readers. Don't let the
door hit your flabby white asses on the
way out.
----------
Brian, come on. Comments like that are
what fuel the far right to do exactly what
they're doing. Being conservative does not
automatically mean you identify with the
Pat Robertson Christian Far Right or the
militant white supremacist. Do all
liberals identify with the Social Justice
Warrior movement?
===========





Hasn't Marvel going too political hurt
their sales?
============
Yes and no. What the Alt-Right sites are
claiming is that the SJW movement hijacked
Marvel, eliminated all of their major,
straight, white, male characters and
replaced them with something that was more
acceptable to their agenda. The digs at
Trump are just a bonus.

Well, the foundation of that argument has
a little weight to it. Who did they
replace:
Steve Rogers for Sam Wilson
Clint Barton for Kate Bishop
Bruce Banner for Amadeus Cho
Thor Odinson for Jane Foster
Tony Stark for Riri Williams.


Most people, me included, would love to
see these characters take on their own
mantle and become their own heroes, adding
to what already exists. Marvel didn't do
that. They replaced existing characters
instead. So, sales declined and a few
editiors and writers ceased to be employed
by the company, including the Editor -In-
Chief.
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 10:13am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Steve Rogers for Sam Wilson
Clint Barton for Kate Bishop 
Bruce Banner for Amadeus Cho 
Thor Odinson for Jane Foster
Tony Stark for Riri Williams. 


*  *  *  *  *  *  *

In addition we have -

Steve Strange replaced as Sorcerer Supreme by Brother Voodoo
Miles Morales sharing the Spider-Man name with Peter Parker
Iceman revealed as gay 50+ years after his introduction
The shelving of the Fantastic Four
Nadia Van Dyne sharing the Wasp name with Janet Van Dyne
Sam Alexander replacing Rich Rider as Nova
Laura Kinney replaced Logan as Wolverine
A group of time-displaced young X-Men brought into the present time
Moon Girl replaced Moon Boy as partner to Devil Dinosaur
Raz Malhotra replaced Henry Pym as Giant-Man

While a few of these might have been very interesting (such as Brother Voodoo/Doctor Strange), much of it seems to smack of pandering in an attempt to draw a younger audience, and come across as derivative and uninspired (although some like Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl have enjoyed some success selling as trades).  Picking up an unused identity (like Scott Lang, Carol Danvers or Bill Foster) is one thing, replacing a popular character with a different version in order to benefit from their popularity is another.

All-in-all it comes across as a clumsy attempt by Marvel to become more diverse, although it only ended up polarizing many long-time fans in exchange for a few minor successes.

Marvel has plenty of minority characters (the Black Panther, the Falcon, Luke Cage, Blade, the Daughters of the Dragon, Shang-Chi, Storm, Monica Rambeau, etc.) of varying popularity that need to be used more frequently.  And their LGBT characters need to be emphasized in ways other than just for their sexual identity.



Edited by Robert Bradley on 28 April 2018 at 9:01am
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 2:33pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Stephen Churay wrote: "Brian, come on. Comments like that are 
what fuel the far right to do exactly what they're doing."

Really, does no one have to take responsibility for their actions anymore? Is it always someone else's fault that people do what they do?

Besides, the readers being lost had their day back when there were six Punisher appearances every month, Lobo, Guy Gardner, Deathstroke, and Vigilante books by the truckload, and guns were the solution to everything. They really weren't happy here anymore anyway.

It was never the diversity characters themselves that laid sales low. It was the idea that Marvel threw aside the tried and true, proven sales chart climbers to showcase the newbies at the expense of everything else. This bred resentment towards a fun new group of characters and allowed for easy "talking points" commentaries on how "diversity fails." 

Marvel's been pulling the switcheroo sales ploy for decades now, with characters like War Machine, Thunderstrike, USAgent, the criminal Ant-Man, the Superior Spider-Man, et al. Books like "Civil War" taught them that readers no longer cared about consistent characterization or right and wrong. They felt emboldened to launch a Shooter-style "New Universe" inside the MU itself and sideline the characters upon which their company and its good will with the readers was built. 

It's not that the replacements were diverse necessarily. It was that Marvel left the readers no choice but to accept them as the new status quo or leave. This isn't a failure of multi-racial casting so much as it is a condemnation of sweeping, incautious sea changes editorial had no real reason to expect readers to accept, especially at a time when the originals were enjoyed unprecedented success in theaters. 

I would hope that if Marvel made the same decisions but cast the replacements out of a Republican Congressional Interns photo, the results would not be substantially different. 

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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 2:41pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Robert's right. 

DC didn't really do what Marvel did. There are a couple more Earth-born Green Lanterns now -- one Latina, one Arab-American -- but they didn't replace Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner or Guy Gardner or John Stewart, all of whom are still in the GL Corps.

Cyborg has been in the Justice League for a while now, though it hasn't made him more popular, and I'd prefer him back in the Titans.

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China are, well, Chinese, and in China, so again, not replacements for anyone. 

Ryan Choi has replaced Ray Palmer as the Atom, though only on the JLA. Last I knew Palmer was busy in the Microverse. My hope is that eventually they'll both co-star in a comic called THE ATOMS. (Why not?)

The new Aqualad is gay, the new Kid Flash is biracial (he "reads" as Black), Kate Kane/Batwoman is lesbian (which was explicit from the beginning), the newest Blue Beetle is Latino. But, to quote Robert, these involved picking up an unused identity. 

(I know Bart Allen is coming back soon, but it'll be as Impulse, not Kid Flash.)



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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 3:29pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Cyborg has been in the Justice League for a while now, though it hasn't
made him more popular, and I'd prefer him back in the Titans.

—-

Agreed! That move still doesn’t feel right to me! If TPTB felt they had to
add a male character of that hue, Amazing Man or Black Lightning
would have been better choices.
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 6:03pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Iceman revealed as gay 50+ years after his
introduction

---
The thing that irks me about this is that, if they
want to do something like this, have the balls to do
it to a major character instead of a side liner.

Even though Ice Man is not as popular as Spider Man,
he still has his fans and they did not consider those
fans when making that change.

Even though it was an alternate universe, I was
annoyed that they did that to Colossus in the Ultimate
X-Men, I thought, why not go all out and make
Wolverine gay? And that is the other half that irks
me, they are too scared to do it to a major character
cause they know it would hurt sales.

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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 27 April 2018 at 6:08pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I don't think there's anything wrong having political allegories in a story as long as it's not detrimental to the story and you still tell a good story. But when the whole story becomes a vehicle for your political viewpoint to the point that it comes off as a preachy monologue, even if it's one I agree with, I'd rather not read it.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 April 2018 at 5:41am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

It was never the diversity characters themselves that laid sales low. It was the idea that Marvel threw aside the tried and true, proven sales chart climbers to showcase the newbies at the expense of everything else. This bred resentment towards a fun new group of characters and allowed for easy "talking points" commentaries on how "diversity fails."  

——-

Yup!
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 29 April 2018 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Cyborg has been in the Justice League for a while now, though it hasn't 
made him more popular, and I'd prefer him back in the Titans.

—-

Agreed! That move still doesn’t feel right to me! If TPTB felt they had to 
add a male character of that hue, Amazing Man or Black Lightning 
would have been better choices.

***

John Stewart/Green Lantern will be re-joining the League pretty soon. Cyborg is staying on the team. I still prefer Vic with the Titans. But I think this marks the first time that two Black men have been in the League at the same time. Took long enough.

(I'd prefer Black Lightning too. Or Steel. Steel was in the Grant Morrison JLA.) 
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