Amadeus ChoMarvel announced Friday that the world was going to get a new Hulk: Amadeus Cho. The move follows a whole host of odd decisions by the company — diversity for the sake of diversity’s sake — but this one actually makes sense. The only problem is that the guy who should be able to properly promote the story, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, can’t help but stick his politically correct foot in his mouth.

Consider the difference in language between writer Greg Pak and editor Mr. Alonso in their Entertainment Weekly interview. First we have Mr. Pak, who serves as a fine ambassador for his upcoming project:

PAK: I actually co-created Amadeus back in the day, 10 years ago — it’s coming out around the 10th anniversary of the character’s first appearance. And Takeshi Miyazawa was the artist and I was the writer, and we introduced this Korean-American kid into the Marvel Universe. It’s been a blast to write ever since. We did a lot of stuff with him over the years in the Hulk universe. This is also a character, by the way, who has a long history with Banner and the Hulk. He basically started out as Hulk’s number one fan because he’s a crazy teenager with as little impulse control as the Hulk, so he kind of identified with him. But the character always meant a huge amount to me. When I had the opportunity to create this new character, I realized there aren’t specifically that many Asian-American characters at this time in the Marvel Universe, and it was sort of a niche. I also wanted to write a character who talks a lot. I was writing a lot of Hulk stuff, I was writing very closed-lip surly characters. But it’s been tremendous. I go to cons and people come up to me dressed as Amadeus Cho, and that blows my mind. And then the character’s also been picked up in some of the cartoons that Marvel puts out, and in one of the DVD movies they did. It’s kind of tremendous when anything you work on kind of resonates with people and goes on to be used by other creators as well.

The other thing is that this felt like a natural next step for both the Amadeus and the Hulk stories. It wasn’t what we imagined 10 years ago when we created the character, that this is exactly where he would end up. But just given the character’s history, it makes total sense. And the story is totally true for both the Hulk story and the Amadeus story, so it’s a lot of fun when those kinds of things can naturally come together for something this big.

Indeed, it does make total sense. At least it did until Axel Alonso weirdly had to emphasize that the character isn’t simply a Hulk, but the Hulk.

Readers can’t simply enjoy a story that makes sense — they must be beaten over the head with a message that Tumblr kids with low self-esteem want to hear. Marvel does not inch closer to Diversity Utopia unless the language used to discuss the new Hulk arbitrarily elevates him to a status at or above the classic white character.

Alonso: I also want to say that he will be the only Hulk in the Marvel Universe. He will be the Hulk, the green Hulk, that will be him. Just like there’s one Thor in the Marvel Universe and she’s a she, there is one Hulk and it is Amadeus Cho. But I also want to say that there is a story to be told for Banner. Banner’s story is not over. And I don’t want people saying, “Oh, these guys hate Banner, and they don’t like him and they’re sick of him.” No — we love Banner.

Why was that necessary? It wasn’t, unless you are either a.) some obsessive-compulsive diversity activist, or b.) seeking to please obsessive-compulsive diversity activists.

Mr. Alonso takes a rhetorical dump on Bruce Banner and the character’s fans to score points with the social justice crowd, and then he says “No — we love Banner.” It doesn’t work that way. He “loves” Bruce Banner like people say they love Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on Monday morning, which means that he merely has appreciative love.

Greg Pak should be given a pat on the back for the work he’s done at Marvel. Mr. Alonso, however, might want to consider locking himself in the closet any time someone asks him to comment on upcoming projects. There are many readers who want to give writers like Greg Pak a chance, but refrain because guys like Axel Alonso are in monomaniacal pursuit of political activists’ approval.

Exit question: If there was a Tumblr campaign started to create “The Totally Tubular She-Hulk” — and make her a lesbian black little person who liked to surf, what are the chances that Axel Alonso would take it seriously?

Totally Awesome Hulk Marvel

Advertisements

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

13 comments

  1. Honestly, this sounded like another stupid diversity stunt when I first heard about it yesterday. It probably wouldn’t have if not for the recent trend of Waid, Bendis, and other hacks screeching like howler monkeys in defense of their various stunts. I will say that Pak has written some great stuff in the past; he also sounds like a complete professional, which is so rare for Marvel these days. (Why can’t there be more guys like him there?) On the other hand, due to Alonso’s idiotic comments, I will not waste a dime on this. My money is too valuable to be wasted on a company that’s predisposed to 1) callously dismiss the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and other greats in order to get points from the SJW crowd (who would turn on him as fast as they did Joss Whedon), and 2) think I’m a bigot if I merely scrutinize a development that seems less like a logical move and more like an attempt to boost sagging sales.

    “Just like there’s one Thor”

    Yeah, Axel, we know there’s one Thor. He’s played by Chris Hemsworth in that part of the franchise that’s actually worth something to Disney. Honestly, I’m looking forward to when Thor 3 comes out solely so I can hear Axel and the other Marvel staffers try to backpedal from their “She-Thor is the only Thor” comments. Heck, unless sales are really bad, this Hulk change might stick for a while, what with Hulk not getting his own solo movie for at least a few years. And I wouldn’t mind them bringing Cho!Hulk into the movies, but mainly because I think Mark Ruffalo is about as wooden as a tree.

    1. “My money is too valuable to be wasted on a company that’s predisposed to 1) callously dismiss the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and other greats in order to get points from the SJW crowd (who would turn on him as fast as they did Joss Whedon), and 2) think I’m a bigot if I merely scrutinize a development that seems less like a logical move and more like an attempt to boost sagging sales.” — Spiderterry84

      I think that captures the feelings of a lot of us, Spiderterry84. I guess it would be easier to make my decisions if guys like Alonso just flat-out said, “You know what, our products are really only geared to so-called social justice activists. We know that at least half of our potential readers are sick and tired of politically correct pap, but we don’t care. If you’re not on board with our political activism, we don’t want your money.”

      Most of the time they’ll only take veiled shots at guys like us. I want them to be more like Mark “f**k off” Waid, since it’s obvious that’s how they feel. Let’s get it all out on the table and then go from there.

  2. Half-Asian myself, I can’t help but appreciate Greg’s point of view. He has a little less spew than Alonso has, but I’m sure Amadeus Cho was meant to break a lot of silly stereotypes we get tired of. Amadeus isn’t a samurai, a martial arts master, vigilante super-ninja, or Korean cultural icon to bring hope (Koreans need hope? oh wait, I’m sure Korean-Americans do! HELP!!)to people of his ethnicity, whether they actually identify with him or not (Storm’s current nonsensical role…guess it’s better than being a flying token…who wrote the recent Storm solo? GREG PAK! I’ll admit I enjoyed some of it). Also Amadeus doesn’t suffer from stifling social awkwardness, and being a nerd isn’t some kind of major source of depression for him. He’s somewhat charming and courageous…unlike most Asians portrayed on TV/Movies. The reason I still love The Walking Dead, even when the plot is a mess, is because the local asian is treated like an actual male. Many of us Asian folks noticed a while ago that many white women don’t seem to have that much of a problem jumping in the rack with us, contrary to the way liberal filmmakers think we should be treated.

    Still I object to this. Amadeus Cho doesn’t need to be The Hulk. I know Pak always wanted to do this, but what a crutch…is this the only way to bring diversity to comics? replace white people? Kumala Khan doesn’t need to be Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson doesn’t need to be Captain America, Thor’s girlfriend doesn’t need to be Thor. People like Axel Alonso need them to be, he needs to replace all these people because in the mind of people like Axel Alonso their value has characters can only be gained at the expense of others. Amadeus already has some stature and that isn’t enough.

    Lets be honest about guys like Axel Alonso, diversity isn’t a goal, it’s a political weapon to stick it to their opponents and accuse them of racism. These guys have done nothing but bury minority characters for ages. I watched them do it to my favorite characters (Storm, Black Panther) for years. There’s a couple of reasons for this in my opinion, the first being that there’s a deep feeling among the comic book developers that the only person qualified to write about a minority character is a minority writer ( I think this is an excuse to be a poor writer). The other is that every minority character is expected to be treated with extreme care and be a credit to liberal ideology…rather than have opinions and quirks that distinguish them. Comic book writers always end up insulting some group anyway despite their allegiances. Remember what happened to Joss Whedon when certain feminists took offense to…well anything on avengers, his response is that of one who is really tired of having to watch his back from the people he champions.

    There’s an element of contempt for the audience here as well. Being Half-Filipino didn’t make it more difficult for me to identify with Nightcrawler or even Cyclops because they are ‘white’ (‘but Nightcrawler isn’t white!!! but he’s pretty German, and pretty European…). The idea that I can’t understand a character unless they have my background is insulting and silly, but the diversity people have it as in article of faith. Forgive me for not holding my breath in the hope of a Half-Filipino superhero in marvel comics to bring completion and hope to me and my people! (lolz) Maybe that will be the next move: “Nightcrawler is now Filipino! feel better now?! We still love the old Kurt!!”

    1. “Many of us Asian folks noticed a while ago that many white women don’t seem to have that much of a problem jumping in the rack with us, contrary to the way liberal filmmakers think we should be treated.” (Shinden)

      I’d prefer not too think too much about the romantic details…but I will say that my Filipino brother-in-law is a really nice guy. I couldn’t be happier with my sister’s choice to marry him. 🙂

      “Still I object to this. Amadeus Cho doesn’t need to be The Hulk. I know Pak always wanted to do this, but what a crutch…is this the only way to bring diversity to comics? replace white people? Kumala Khan doesn’t need to be Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson doesn’t need to be Captain America, Thor’s girlfriend doesn’t need to be Thor. People like Axel Alonso need them to be, he needs to replace all these people because in the mind of people like Axel Alonso their value has characters can only be gained at the expense of others. Amadeus already has some stature and that isn’t enough.” (Shinden)

      Treason! Now you’ve done it, Shinden… The Diversity Police will be coming for you in the middle of the night, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them. You mean it’s possible to create new characters that people enjoy…build them up over the course of time, and have them be something totally unique? You’re talking crazy-talk. You better watch your back. Mr. Alonso has probably already called in an alarm on you.

      “Lets be honest about guys like Axel Alonso, diversity isn’t a goal, it’s a political weapon to stick it to their opponents and accuse them of racism. These guys have done nothing but bury minority characters for ages. I watched them do it to my favorite characters (Storm, Black Panther) for years. There’s a couple of reasons for this in my opinion, the first being that there’s a deep feeling among the comic book developers that the only person qualified to write about a minority character is a minority writer ( I think this is an excuse to be a poor writer). The other is that every minority character is expected to be treated with extreme care and be a credit to liberal ideology…rather than have opinions and quirks that distinguish them.” (Shinden)

      Truth bomb. That one left a mark. As you point out, there is a very limited spectrum of consciousness that can be given to these characters. Because they are essentially locked into a very particular worldview, they essentially become clones of one another. Someone pointed out in another post how you can often just take the word balloons of these characters and switch them around and it wouldn’t matter — they all sound alike! How sad is that?

      “Comic book writers always end up insulting some group anyway despite their allegiances. Remember what happened to Joss Whedon when certain feminists took offense to…well anything on avengers, his response is that of one who is really tired of having to watch his back from the people he champions.” (Shinden)

      It would be interesting to know Whedon’s really thoughts on all of that. He must publicly pretend like it all wasn’t that big of a deal and that it’s all water under the bridge. Deep down he must know that guys like you are right.

      “There’s an element of contempt for the audience here as well. Being Half-Filipino didn’t make it more difficult for me to identify with Nightcrawler or even Cyclops because they are ‘white’ (‘but Nightcrawler isn’t white!!! but he’s pretty German, and pretty European…). The idea that I can’t understand a character unless they have my background is insulting and silly, but the diversity people have it as in article of faith. Forgive me for not holding my breath in the hope of a Half-Filipino superhero in marvel comics to bring completion and hope to me and my people! (lolz) Maybe that will be the next move: ‘Nightcrawler is now Filipino! feel better now?! We still love the old Kurt!!'” (Shinden)

      I have always had similar thoughts. Intellectually, what Marvel is doing seems incredibly condescending. It’s like the writers (often white) are patting their women and minority readers on the head while saying, “There, there. There, there. Let us give you a She-Thor cookie. Let us give you a Ms. Marvel treat. Does that make you feel better? I know your self-esteem is fragile.” Why not have something brand new instead of a derivative of an old white character?

      I listened to the “Race and Spider-Man” podcast for Crawlspace when it came out, and I just felt bad for Donovan. He literally calls for a minority character quota. He talks in circles. And he says some pretty mean stuff to his Crawlspace friends, even if he doesn’t realize it. He keeps saying [insert opinion x] is “not necessarily racist,” but the tone in which he says it translates “…buuuuuuut, there’s a good chance that most people who hold it are kinda-sorta-racist.”

    2. but I’m sure Amadeus Cho was meant to break a lot of silly stereotypes we get tired of

      You sure? He’s a genius and he’s into science! 😉

  3. Thor isn’t a royal title, it’s his *name.* It’s always been his name, from day 1. But Marvel reversed the whole thing, to rationalize the PC diversity thing they’re doing.

  4. I’ll be the first to admit that when I first brought this up in your Iceman posting, my reaction to the Hulk change was partially due to my own ignorance. I hadn’t been around comics enough in recent years to know who Amadeus Cho was, or his history with the Hulk. So in that sense, it seems like something that could work for a bit, but everyone knows people associate the big green guy with Bruce Banner. Alonso strikes me as a guy who’s desperate to gain the approval of the diversity crowd so that they won’t accuse him of being a racist. The other issue is the timing. No doubt, Marvel used the diversity push as their excuse to introduce Mr. Cho as the new Hulk. Had this been done, say, during the Peter David era as an arc that lasted a year or so, I don’t think as many people would have minded.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s