All Different AvengersIn Marvel’s quest to prove how supercrazydiverse (one word) it is, its ‘All-New, All-Different Avengers’ actually has a cringe-inducing vibe. The company is lumping all of its new minority heroes — already derivatives of the classics — onto one team and calling them ‘All-Different.’

After the announcement, Comic Book Resources asked Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso about its obsession with diversity for the sake of diversity:

Albert Ching: Axel, looking at the recently revealed lineup of the “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” you see the female Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America, Miles Morales, Kamala Khan — it feels like a reflection of the changes and greater diversity that Marvel has seen in the past few years. Was that a motivating factor — or the motivating factor — in putting this lineup together?

Axel Alonso: Waitaminute, is that Miles Morales? Or is that someone else? Someone new? Someone from Spider-Verse? Or maybe it’s Peter? Or maybe it’s someone he recently Googled? [Laughs]

Anyway — that roster! When [editor] Tom Brevoort laid out the cast for the new team, it just felt right — especially the inclusion of Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson, and the new Thor. It felt like Next Level $#!#.

Got that? Marvel is taking diversity to the next level, baby. Tom “take your medicine” Brevoort has decided that fans are so sick with anti-diversity fever that the only way to cure them is to go Voltron-level diversity and then have Mark don’t-buy-my-comics Waid write the adventures.

Mark Waid F off tweetThe line-up for the ‘All-Different Avengers’ is as follows:

  • She-Thor (derivative)
  • Spider-Man (Miles Morales, derivative)
  • Ms. Marvel (derivative)
  • Captain America (Sam Wilson is filling in for Steve Rogers)
  • Nova
  • Vision
  • Iron Man

Strangely enough, Mr. Alonso hints that it might not be Tony Stark beneath the mask. Perhaps I shouldn’t have joked that Marvel will one day totally lose it and go with Toni Stark, The Invincible Iron Woman.

Alonso: Yeah! You’ve got a healthy mix of characters — a core nucleus of veterans that have proven they can kick ass: Cap, Thor, Iron Man — but is it really Tony inside that armor…? Then you’ve got some newer, younger characters that are still proving themselves: Ms. Marvel and Nova. And then you’ve got some wild cards: the Vision and whoever it is in those black Spider-Man tights. The diversity of the cast is going to allow for very different perspectives on the Avengers-scale problems they’re going to face.

Although Marvel’s ham-handed and self-congratulatory diversity spiels are embarrassing, perhaps the most laughable aspect of this ‘All Different’ cast is how the rules have changed. Teenagers like Miles Morales and Kamala Khan apparently get the equivalent of a ‘Monopoly’ “Advance to Go — Collect $200” card.

MonopolySomeone can correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Peter Parker have to put in years of time proving himself before he even became a reserve member? Was the bar lowered for becoming an Avenger? If so, then that’s embarrassing.

Here is the bottom line: All of the heroes mentioned above are just that — heroes —but there is a difference between doing the hard work of building up a character’s reputation and prestige over time, and trying to convince fans that just because a character is a minority that he or she deserves a spot on the world’s most elite team.

Falcon? Sure. No problem. Kamala Khan? Give me a break. Miles Morales? Sure — when he matures like Peter Parker before him.

At some point in time, Marvel ceased to be the “House of Ideas” and morphed into the “House of Race and Gender Politics.” The company is still capable of churning out good stories on occasion, but more often than not it just embarrasses itself with transparent attempts to insert “Next Level $#!#” into its books when all that is called for his good storytelling.

Hat Tip: Colossus of Rhodey


    1. Hmmm. If you run across any ridiculous lines that might warrant a blog post, then let me know. That’s right up my alley! Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

    2. God, this looks terrible. It’s basically a way to appease the Tumblr crowd and say, “Look how diverse we are!” at the expense of good storytelling. Like you, I can understand the Falcon being on the Avengers, because he has a long history with the team. But the new Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales? They don’t really fit with the team.

      And She-Thor is going to be an environmentalist hero? Yeesh. Why is it that I thought of that awful ’90s cartoon Captain Planet when I read that?

    3. Carl, it’s funny you should mention Captain Planet. I had a line about that cartoon in my first draft but I took it out. I was going to say that Marvel is sort of using a similar “check the diversity box” approach used by Captain Planet or possibly the old Burger King Kids Club. Again, nothing wrong with being sensitive about certain issues, but they admittedly take it to the “next level.” Doing what is right for the story takes a back seat to the demands of race, class, and gender politics.

  1. This has gotta be the lamest stunt yet. It’s the epitome of liberal white guilt. It’s affirmative action gone amuck. It’s also pretty insulting that “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” now include stand-ins for the seasoned originals. Grant Morrison’s JLA had Wally West and Kyle Rayner in place of the then-dead Barry Allen and Hal Jordan, but they had been around for years and weren’t just there because “We need a Flash and Green Lantern.” The League sure wasn’t knocking on that Azrael anti-hero guy who replaced Batman during “Knightfall.” The only one in this new Avengers line-up (Vision aside and maybe Iron Man if it’s Tony Stark) that really deserves to be there is Sam Wilson, and he’s been an Avenger off-and-on for years.

    Good writing can make any stunt work. It was a stunt when Rhodey took over as Iron Man back in the ’80s, but that was part of a much larger story (putting Rhodey and Tony through the wringer) and culminated in a great climax. The all-new, all-different X-Men from the ’70s also had the hook of including characters from around the globe, but that was to help re-energize what had been a failed concept, bring in new characters, and branch out from the original five members (plus Havok and Polaris). This stunt is just “look how diverse we are, please like us” posturing from a bunch of white liberals. And I’ve been of the opinion that Mark Waid hasn’t done anything worth reading for years, so I don’t expect this to be anything but a cheap-o stunt. I am, however, looking forward to his inevitable meltdown when he starts receiving criticism for it.

    “Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Peter Parker have to put in years of time proving himself before he even became a reserve member? Was the bar lowered for becoming an Avenger? If so, then that’s embarrassing.”

    I suggest you and others read the article at this link:

    It has a nice rundown of Spidey’s brushes with various teams just before he joined New Avengers. But suffice to say, Spidey did have to prove himself to earn a spot. He was first offered membership way back in “Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3,” but Spidey ultimately passed due to the events of the story. It wouldn’t have worked anyway. He was a teenager with a temper problem, while some of the other Avengers were distrustful of him since this was shortly into his career and he maintained a secret identity. I mean, at this point in the comics, only Daredevil and Johnny Storm could’ve been considered his friends in the superhero community and even then it was strained. It was years before he was offered membership again and that came after numerous solo adventures and team-ups… and even that offer didn’t pan out for reasons at the link.

    And, incidentally, I can’t help but notice that this team ain’t launching until after “Age of Ultron” is safely out of theaters. No reason to let diversity interfere with corporate synergy, huh? And, gee, what are the odds that this team disbands before “Avengers 3” hits the theaters? About the same as She-Thor being shown the door when Chris Hemsworth stars in “Thor 3.”

    1. This stunt is just “look how diverse we are, please like us” posturing from a bunch of white liberals.

      Boom. That’s exactly how it comes across, and it’s just sad to watch. If I were a feminist or a race activist, then I would feel like Marvel is only reaching out to me because the industry is in its death throes. They’re trying to find some niche audience that will allow the company to survive for as long as possible. Instead of writing really good stories, they’re trying to earn the loyalty of hard-core progressive Tumblr kids.

  2. It looks like a poor man’s version of Teen Titans. I just don’t get it. Is this meant to replace the main Avengers title post Secret Wars?

    Marvel are toying with the stereotype of visible diversity. I’ve always thought of diversity as identifiable by more than just race or gender. It’s not enough to just have a count of diverse characters. This is not about how many minority characters you can squeeze into a super hero team. Diversity is more than demographics.

    Visible diversity is generally those things we cannot change and are external, such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, and physical attributes. However, invisible diversity includes those attributes that are not readily seen, such as work experience, marital status, educational background, parental status, politics, income, religious beliefs and affiliations, geographic location, or socioeconomic status.

    It’s the combination of diversity attributes, both visible and invisible, that define an individual’s “personal” diversity. No one individual’s personal diversity is exactly like another’s. So, when we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual.

    Marvel are not doing that, they are not aware of what readers actually want, i.e. good memorable stories. I think it’s just as important that comic creators are from diverse backgrounds. Sadly, most of Marvel’s apes in charge swing from the same tree, all cast from the same mold. They are pandering to a single minded group of social justice warriors.

    1. That’s basically it right there, Magnetic Eye. Marvel talks about diversity, but it’s a cursory diversity. Basically, all of its writers infuse their favorite characters with a spectrum of political thought that ranges from liberal to hard-core liberal. They all basically say the same things, but they look different. We’ll get self-righteous rants on the environment on so-called sexist men, and it’s all so predictable. I’m not paying $4.00 an issue so I can be lectured to on environmental issues by Mark Waid.

  3. When shit like this doesn’t sell I expect there will be another major go at how white men are racist and sexist, meanwhile more readers question why they are paying to be insulted.

  4. How is it that I can no longer have any faith in a companies products that I used to love. Once again this proves a point that Marvel is shamefully using diversity as a marketing tactic.

    1. Instead of responding to any of the points I made, your response is to say you don’t understand “the hatred.” Bravo! Slow clap for NotAScientist. Come back when you want to have a big boy conversation.

    2. I do. I don’t understand it. You call these characters derivative as if that somehow negates their quality. You don’t explain why being derivative automatically makes it bad, and you make no comment on the quality (or lack of quality) of the actual writing of the characters.

      It comes off as ‘how dare this team not be all white guys!’, which I don’t think is what you want to say…or so I hope.

    3. Do you have a reading comprehension problem? It appears as though you missed the part where I said I was on board with Falcon being an Avenger. I also said that Miles Morales would be a good choice — if he was given time to mature as a character, just like Peter Parker before he actually became a full-fledged Avenger. I also linked to multiple blog posts on Falcon, She-Thor, and Ms. Marvel.

      Regardless, I’m glad you decided to act like an adult. See how easy that was? When you talk about something I actually covered — superhero derivatives — I can respond. When you make vague references to “the hate,” there’s not much to say.

      Here is what Marvel and DC like to do: They want to have a popular female or minority hero. Instead of creating a new hero from scratch that people can know and love, they just make something like “She-Thor” and leech off the name recognition of the original. It’s like DC randomly deciding Catwoman is bisexual. It’s like Grant Morrison saying Batman is gay. It’s like Dan Slott saying that maybe Marvel should just randomly turn Peter Parker black, and if you don’t like it then you sorta-kinda sound like you support Jim Crow laws.

      You’re doing the same thing right now. Your instinct — even though I said I’m on board with Falcon and would be open to Miles as an Avenger down the line — is to say that I sound like I want the Avengers to be “all white guys.” The intellectually bankrupt mind is one that immediately turns to racism charges when it faces and argument it can’t easily win.

    4. ” Instead of creating a new hero from scratch that people can know and love”

      Instead of doing that, they fall back on the tried and true method of legacy characters. That’s what Thor and Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson and Miles Morales are. It’s as old a move as the multiple Flashes and the multiple Robins.

      They’ve been doing this sort of thing for years. If you’ve been objecting to it all this time, then you’re consistent. The only difference many of us can see is that the legacy characters are a different gender or race than the original.

      I look at that and say ‘so what? is it written well?’ Others say ‘why can’t they have their own characters’?

      I say, ‘why not both?’ What harm is caused by Thor being a woman or Ms. Marvel being a Muslim or even Peter Parker being black, assuming they’re well written? Because I don’t see the harm or any reason to be upset about it.

    5. Read my post on Falcon. Read my review on Ms. Marvel. In both cases you will see that I can intellectually walk and chew gum at the same time. I too can ask if something is well written, while also acknowledging when a company is taking a cheap short cut to short-term sales. But yet, guys like you come on my blog and leave comments that translate, “You sound a wee bit racist to me, Doug.”

      Even though I’m totally cool with characters like Black Panther, Falcon, and Luke Cage being Avengers, my motives are somewhat suspect to you because I laugh at the new Ms. Marvel being on the world’s elite superhero team. Give me a break. That’s why most of the time guys like you will only do the drive-by version of “I don’t understand the hate.” You’d have much more credibility if you would acknowledge that there are legitimate reasons why fans would be annoyed if Peter Parker was randomly turned into a black guy. You don’t see “any reason” why a fan would be upset. Gotcha. Objective people will likely deem you a troll or a ideological hack.

    6. “You’d have much more credibility if you would acknowledge that there are legitimate reasons why fans would be annoyed if Peter Parker was randomly turned into a black guy.”

      I’m sorry, but I see no legitimate reasons why fans would be annoyed.

      I see plenty of reasons. None legitimate.

    7. Again, most objective people will just burst out laughing at you for finding zero legitimate reasons why such a move would annoy fans — even though the character was created white, has been that way for decades, and became a world-wide icon looking a very specific way. As I said before, it would be just as foolish to turn Blade into a white man. But again, there are zero reasons why that sort of editorial move should create a backlash. Classic.

    8. I never said it wouldn’t cause a backlash.

      Somehow you seem to think that the backlash is justified for a good reason. So far, it seems that reason is ‘tradition!’…which is lazy and not at all a legitimate reason to continue anything.

    9. I’m sorry: While talking about legitimate reasons for fans to be upset I said “backlash” instead of “legitimate backlash.” Are you really going to start parsing words and playing semantics? I suppose with the race-baiting out the window that’s all you really have left.

      Regardless, keep deluding yourself into believing there is one reason (i.e., tradition) why fans would get angry at changing a character’s race after it’s been established and recognized as ‘x’ for decades. The insinuation that tradition itself has no redeeming qualities is also bizarre, but I digress.

      Mary Jane: “Oh, hey Peter. Ummm, did something change?”
      Peter Parker: “Yeah, I’m black now. It happens. If you ask me again I’ll think you’re racist.”

      Morbius: “Blade, is that you? What happened to your skin?”
      Blade: “Imagine how much more deadly I’ll be as a vampire hunter with ‘white privilege’! Run, Morbius. You have three seconds.”

    10. Except no one is suggesting they change the race of a character in the canon of the comic. It’s suggesting doing so in new canon in a different medium.

      If the MCU decided to have a black Peter Parker (which I doubt will happen, but wouldn’t mind if they did), then he will have always been black in that particular universe.

      There’s nothing about Peter that necessitates his race be Caucasian.

    11. So now you’re left arguing about about a.) a reboot of the Marvel universe, in which Peter Parker suddenly is black and has “always” been black, or b.) a cinematic version of Peter Peter that is black. (The same would go with rebooting Blade as a white guy, since I don’t want Junior NotAScientists out there accusing me of only caring about the integrity of Peter Parker.)

      Again, keep telling yourself that there are zero legitimate reasons why that is a bone-headed editorial move. I’ve already discussed this in another thread. There’s really no need to say the exact same things over again.

    12. You keep saying there are all these reasons.

      They amount to “He’s always been white!” and “Why can’t you make new black characters!” and “Stop calling me racist!”

    13. I keep pointing you to the thread where this issue was talked about at length. You seem to want to turn my post on the “All Different” Avengers into a conversation about Peter Parker’s race.

      Yes, Peter Parker has always been white. Blade has always been black. It’s not my fault if you can’t see how arbitrarily changing a character from something he is into something he never was is strange.

      Yes, I do think it’s weird that Marvel doesn’t make more new characters to achieve its diversity goals. Again, it’s not my problem if you disagree.

      Yes, I do push back when someone insinuates that I’m a racist in the very same post where I say that I am perfectly fine with Falcon as an Avenger and fine with Miles Morales as an Avenger — provided he adds a few more years of experience. My guess is that if I came to your blog and started calling you a racist, then you would also take issue with the claim.

      If you want to troll, then I will ban you from commenting on this thread. You’re reverting back to child-like antics again. If you want to act like a child, then I will treat you like one.

    14. In the end it’s similar to the objection to retcons, isn’t it? That if the character’s history isn’t fixed, if basic elements of who he is as a person are in flux, then there can be no investment? You can’t get very invested in a cipher. People don’t play Legend of Zelda because they identify on a deep emotional level with Link.

      There’s also the fact that if a character’s race isn’t important, why change it? What’s the point? What is served by making a white character non-white if race isn’t important? Contrariwise, if it has enough importance that you think it’s useful or worthwhile to change it, then doesn’t that validate concerns other people have that changing it would change the character’s identity? Would you want to read about a black character who’s written exactly the same way as a white guy? Or would that feel inauthentic, leading to complaints on that front, and moving the character further from where he started?

      If changing a character’s race does anything, then it must change that character’s identity. People who love a character don’t want to see his identity being arbitrarily changed, because a) they want to see new adventures of the existing character, not a new character with his name, and b) they may not be interested in the new person created by the changes. On the other hand, if it does nothing then it’s pointless and confusing.

      Let’s take an example. The white 616 continuity Nick Fury has basically been replaced by the black Ultimate Nick Fury. There hasn’t been backlash about this because UNF has established credibility in his own environment, and he’s not a mere palette swap of regular NF. On top of that, there are various stories about where the original NF went and how UNF came to be in 616. UNF is different than the original NF, but he’s a decent character in his own right (even if his character is “literally Samuel L. Jackson”) and NF didn’t just suddenly turn black one day. If he had people would’ve had every right to be angry about that, since his character as a grizzled old white dude is well established. Similarly, people would be confused and irritated if Samuel L. Fury suddenly became white, because being a Samuel L. Jackson clone is his character.

  5. I’m unsure of Miles place as his own pre-SW universe has seen him mingle well with his own street level unit, but Kamala being on this team is way too soon in itself. Seems a lot of these tumblr-freindly projects get enabled and rewarded with grand adventure and spectacle way before their station is best prepared to deal with them. In fact just yesterday I heard the Spider-Office were interested in continuing to subject Gwen and Silk to cosmic level stuff when their issues are nowhere near even their teens in terms of numbering.

  6. I find this reminiscent of the recent “All-New Ultimates” in the Ultimate universe (also including Miles Morales). The Ultimates were, in that universe, the equivalent of the Avengers. However, the “All-New Ultimates” consisted of Miles Morales, Kitty Pryde, ultimate Spider-Woman, Bombshell, Cloak and Dagger.

    These characters are all fine, but they’re all B-listers. They got whooped by a super-powered street gang or something like that. They were pathetic, as an Avengers equivalent. As a new group, say the “Ultimate Warriors” they would’ve been fine. But using the name associated with a group that previously consisted of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc. made them seem like total losers.

    I find the obsession with “diversity” for its own sake to be irritating, largely because of the way it self-consciously takes the focus off of telling a good story. When it’s a minor issue and not the point of a book, it can be good — see the pre-New 52 Jamie Reyes Blue Beetle. That was a great book about a non-white character, but since it wasn’t focused on being about a non-white character it was just part of the character’s life and not something shoved on the reader.

    The idea of changing race, sex, or sexual orientation just for the sake of having a character who isn’t a heterosexual white male is annoying in the extreme. Gay people are somewhere south of 3% of the population, but they’ve been jammed in our faces constantly in media for the last 20 years, to the point where polls who people think that up to 30% of people are gay because that’s how the media presents it. Probably every second or third new comic character in the last 5 years is gay or bisexual or something, not to mention all the established characters who have been converted to one of those.

    I never had a problem with Miles Morales as a character (though I find him thoroughly bland and much less interesting the Peter Parker, even the ultimate version) but it was obnoxious the way they killed off the original just to make way for him. It was obviously an editorial mandate, as they had recently started a story thread about the Ultimates training him to be in their league so he wouldn’t get himself killed, which made no sense if they were just going to kill him off when they did.

    On another note, does it seem odd to anyone that Falcon would be made into Captain America? We already established that when Cap couldn’t be Cap, Bucky took over. That makes sense because Winter Soldier was a recent thing and not a long-running identity, and in a lot of ways it’s an identity Bucky would want to get rid of. Falcon, on the other hand, has been a well-established character for decades. Does it not bother any Falcon fans that he would take the Captain America role if offered, as though he was only Falcon all this time until the Cap slot opened up? Doesn’t that make Captain America a superior role to Falcon, if it’s considered a step up for him? I always thought of them as having a sort of Power Man/Iron Fist sort of relationship, where they’re partners and not really hero and sidekick. If Danny Rand got taken out, you wouldn’t expect Luke Cage to take over the Iron Fist identity. But having Falcon take over as Cap sort of implies that he was the sidekick all this time, doesn’t it?

  7. This screams of “jumping the shark” to me more than anything else (then again most of the secret wars titles are).

    This is not to say that a team of Avengers, composed entirely of legacy characters couldn’t work, Marvel are approaching it in the wrong fashion. In order to do Avengers team made up of legacy characters you need to do a very long handover. This entails building up the character development and popularity of the legacy character over a number of years. Before DC rebooting everything with Flashpoint, they were building up to a new Justice League with Dick Grayson (Batman), Connor Kent (Superman) and Diana Troy (Wonder Woman). Given how those 3 characters have matured over the decades the concept would have worked perfectly.

    In the case of the All Different Avengers I agree with Doug that there are only 2 characters that have earned there spot (Falcon and Miles when he’s older). In the case of Lady Thor, she hasn’t earned her spot as IMO she’s spin-off character (ala Superior Spiderman) and not a legacy character as there’s been no handover. Additionally she’s relatively new with not even the readers knowing her identity, making her an avenger even more unlikely. In the case of Miss Marvel, she’s more or less a spin off character as well with her being even more experienced than Miles. Additionally I can see Carol Danvers changing her name back to Miss Marvel in the near future (just in time for the movie) making Kamala Khan’s future more uncertain.

    In seems to me that Marvel is trying to shortcut the process of building a legacy Avengers team which normally takes years of character development. The funny thing is Marvel probably could have built a better legacy avengers team had they not killed/written off so many legacy characters in the past. Heck if it wasn’t for the movie, they probably would have killed off Falcon and replaced him with a spin off character.

    1. Typo correction:
      “In the case of Miss Marvel, she’s more or less a spin off character as well with her being even less experienced than Miles”.

  8. That is about the worst title they could have chosen. There’s something very smug about it, as if Marvel wanted to poke and prod the masses for a quick sales injection (they very obviously did, but I digress). I think part of the problem is what you touched on, and also that calling this team “all-different” insinuates the fact that they are diverse, ignoring everything else about the characters. How well will they work together? Is there going to be friction between the seasoned and the rookies, or (*gulp*!) the PoCs and the white? Who cares??? It’s progressive, people are bound to enjoy it!

    Then you’ve got some newer, younger characters that are still proving themselves: Ms. Marvel and Nova.
    Wasn’t that the point of Young Avengers? Speaking of, what happened to Young Avengers?

    Also, Magnetic Eye mentioned how this is the poor man’s Teen Titans, and I couldn’t help but notice…

    Even the cover is derivative!

  9. Think of the opportunity lost with Sam “the Falcon”. The movie gave him more recognition than ever and provided an opportunity to explore the character and generate a new audience, but what did Marvel do? That is right they gave him a temp job as Captain America. This was a great opportunity to build on an already great character and instead they treated him like a sidekick that was promoted “which is more likely temporary”.

    The book mentioned is clearly another case of Marvel using diversity as a marketing tool rather than really putting in the work and effort to build a diverse character base. How is this socially responsible?

  10. Oh, Doug, did you happen to read Mr. Knight’s letter in yesterday’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man which ran down his personal dissatisfaction with the title? Nick Lowe’s exact response was “you have my permission to stop reading” and that he was not going to replace Slott anytime soon, though he then followed that up with “depending on whether or not we’re still publishing Spidey after Secret Wars”

    1. Wow. That’s a pretty telling response. I didn’t get a chance to go to the comic shop yesterday, but I’ll try and get there in the near future. The “we don’t need you” business model is rather odd, but I’m happy to chronicle its results. 🙂

    2. It’s a shame too, because prior to that response I thought Lowe was more on the level in terms of civility than Wacker ever was. Shows what kind of a frat-buddy environment it is.

      Read yesterday’s Spidey daily strip and there was a rather nice jab thrown at the way MJ is treated in the comics currently. In the context of the story, she’s annoyed Black Widow is’nt paying attention to her and talking shop with her husband, her line is “I’m Mary Jane Parker, but at this moment, I feel like wallpaper” , found that amusing, cute, and very telling of what Stan thinks they’re doing with her character outside of the strip.

  11. Wait, where are the Asian, Jewish, and Original American superheroes?

    This bugs me in comics. Let’s be frank, it’s hard to do much subtlety with the american comic art style. Be honest, reader: could you tell whether a character is supposed to be Arab or South American or Mediterranean or just a tanned European just from looking at them? No! The only features that are conveyed obviously are white and black skin because they’re sharply contrasted. (see also: Kyle Rayner is supposed to be half latin or something, but can you tell?)

    Which leads to irony because in order to make a character obviously a certain race, an artist and writer in this field would have the draw them with features and writing idiosyncrasies of that race in such a way as to make it obvious. But one only has to look at critiques of old comics (where this was done) to realize that doing so is now considered racist.

    So what we have now is that characters are supposed to be different races, but in no way visibly different except by the shading of their skin, and certainly not in how they act. So how do you know who is supposed to be what race in a comic? However it is labeled in there.

    So therefore why can’t these companies diversify without changing the characters? Why not make Steven Rogers Jewish? Why not reveal that Bruce Wayne has an Original American ancestor? What if Peter Parker was Asian?

    P.S. Nothing against Miles, but I am disappointed the Spidey isn’t Mayday Parker, because I loved Spider-Girl.

    1. Hm, Psylocke’s body is Asian though the character herself is originally white and British, right? Is Silk supposed to be Asian? I got that impression but it’s hard to tell. Do we know anything about her background? Her name implies maybe Korean ancestry but I don’t remember them saying anything about her family. There’s a group of Chinese heroes with somewhat stereotypical Chinese names and looks in Marvel, as I recall. There are some Asians but they’re pretty rare.

      To be fair, Asians tend to draw Asians as looking more or less white too, so it’s not just a simple thing that American comics artists struggle with. I think hypersensitivity makes it difficult for anyone to do anything without complaints raining down; I can see why people did the exaggerated traits in the past, and why they don’t now. You’re right though, it leads to a double bind where it’s difficult to have any visible diversity without getting complaints of stereotyping, but then if you don’t have it you get complaints of whitewashing or lack of diversity. Maybe that’s why there are so many new black or Muslim characters, plus a bunch of characters who are vocally gay to the point of hardly talking about anything else.

    2. Ah, I thought you were speaking generally, as there aren’t a whole lot of characters from the groups you mentioned period. Of course those groups also have fewer/smaller groups vocally complaining on their behalf, so it’s not that surprising that they don’t get represented as frequently when the major comics companies seem to be spending most of their time pandering to whoever is complaining the loudest.

    1. Haha. Welcome to the club, zariusii! When Dan Slott gets weirdly obsessive about you, that’s how you know your critiques have struck a nerve. 🙂

    2. I’ve only ever snuck back on CBR five times. Heh, NOW who’s exaggerating? And all the time I keep thinking “if you could somehow twist the fights you have online into workable dramas, you’d have stories you can stretch years with”, write what you know and act like I say…that there was probably more the key to Slott’s success because he got to play the arse he is in real life via his Octi-avatar.

  12. Whomever wrote this is creating problems in their own head.

    They are all different because they are (except for Vision) DIFFERENT THAN THE ORIGINALS.

    It has nothing to do with gender/race. Look at Nova. It’s a white guy replacing another white guy.

    The point of the different is that these are different versions of old heroes.


    1. Considering that the blog is called “douglasernstblog,” my guess is that I wrote it, Scott. Thanks for the comment.

      Since the real “point” of stressing the “different” adopted by Marvel escapes you, I’ll tell you why I went that route. The same sort of politically correct drones over at Tumblr who complain that minorities are seen as “others” should be going ballistic that a team loaded up with minorities is being singled out as “different.” The irony that a company as politically correct as Marvel went there is quite hilarious.

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