Phantom of the Closet Rant: Mad about Marvel

Captain Falcon

Captain Falcon

Art by P. R. Neil. 

Captain America © MARVEL

I love it when Comic Books make headlines, like they did last week when Marvel Comics announced both the upcoming gender switch of Thor and the race switch of Captain America, but I hate it when people who have obviously never read a comic book in their lives feel the need to comment and criticize comics. 

For example, the Seriously Skewed political satire piece that was posted last Friday on The Huffington Post entitled “Why DC Comics Should Replace Wonder Woman With a Man”. The author suggests facetiously that DC Comics should now replace Wonder Woman with a man, in a feeble attempt at satire, but all it did was show how the author knows little to nothing about comic books at all. Is it really satire when you break from the satire halfway through and just start complaining? As I stated in  my previous piece, the majority of people getting pissed off about the news, in my opinion, are people who have never read a comic book, but like to get on the band wagon anyway. 

The author wrote, “To be clear, it is great that the powers that be at Marvel Comics are finally paying attention to underrepresented minorities in their stories but by simply plugging them into the costumes and legends of established characters, they are not so much elevating minorities as using them to sell more comics in a progressive age.” This only shows how completely ignorant the author is about the subject they are satirizing. Saying Marvel is “finally paying attention to underrepresented minorities in their stories” is not just inaccurate, it’s kind of sad. Marvel has been making news for representing minorities for decades now. 

The character replacing Steve Rogers as Captain America is his long-time partner, The Falcon (Sam Wilson), who is not only African American but he debuted back in 1969. Marvel had already introduced The Black Panther, but The Falcon was first main-stream African American superhero in comics (Black Panther lived in the fictitious African nation of Wakanda, not America). The Falcon shared a title with Captain America when they the Captain America comic changed it’s name to Captain America and The Falcon back in February 1971 with issue #134 and it lasted for 7 years. It makes perfect sense to have Sam Wilson pick up the shield. In fact, he was already Captain America, albeit just one issue.  In the Sentinel of Liberty mini-series back in 1999 he took over for Cap in issue #9

And to say that Marvel is just now inserting underrepresented members of the population into their comics is just inaccurate. I’m not saying they aren't in it to make a lot of money, they are, it is not a humanitarian organization, but they have been tackling social issues constantly throughout their history. 

Northstar was the first mainstream comic character to be official out of the closet and proud, and that was last millennium. The character made headlines again back in 2012 when he married his partner and people accused Marvel of cashing in on President Obama’s comment on The View about his support of gay marriage, but as I stated then, Marvel was planning this well before the President spoke. 

“The Marvel Universe has always reflected the world outside your window, so we strive to make sure our characters, relationships and stories are grounded in that reality,” said Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso said 2 years ago. “We’ve been working on this story for over a year to ensure Northstar and Kyle’s wedding reflects Marvel’s ‘world outside your window’ tradition.”

For a brief period in 2007, Storm and her then husband Black Panther took over for Reed (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue (The Invisible Woman) of the Fantastic Four. Last year, Marvel launched X-Men, a new adjective-free title to compliment the current All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men titles, and it has an all woman cast lead by Storm. And earlier this year, Marvel introduced us to Kamila Khan who is Muslim and the new Ms. Marvel. These are just some examples I can think of off the top of my head.

I don’t really mind Marvel make money by showing a more diverse group of characters. There are many ways of getting headlines, but representing the underrepresented in comics doesn’t seem that bad. I mean, you don’t have to buy it. But I bet you that writer will be first in line to get a copy.

© 2014