The partisan politics of modern Marvel Comics creators is a mainstay of this blog, but for the most part it is usually discussed within the context of whatever “red state vs. blue state” argument makes headlines each week. Today, however, I’d like to dig a little deeper into the zero-sum politics of these writers and artists. In short, they act as if any positive development for “Character A” means that “Character B” is negatively affected.

For instance, Tony Stark’s existence as Iron Man was problematic for writer Brian Michael Bendis’ to introduce Ironheart — Riri Williams. Normal people have no problem with a young girl named Riri flying around the Marvel Universe while Mr. Stark does his thing. That is not the case for Marvel writers these days. In the mind of the modern Marvel creator, Mr. Stark needed to be hurt or sidelined or have his reputation sullied in some way so that a minority female character could succeed.

This line of thinking has poisoned Marvel’s decision-making from the top down in recent years, and as long as it continues the industry as a whole will needlessly suffer. For more details on this, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video on the subject. Then, if you like what you’ve seen, be sure subscribe for regular updates.

As always, make sure to let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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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.

22 comments

    1. “Can’t wait for you to get into the DC Universe!”

      Thanks, man. I’ll have to tread lightly on that because I’m a little bit out of my league in terms of knowing the history of all the characters, etc. 🙂

    2. “That could be your gimmick, we all learn together in this Post-Marvel World!”

      Exactly! But seriously, I’m going to have to really humble myself before the readers if I start reviewing this stuff. I simply don’t have the foundation in terms of reading the classic tales, etc. I’ve checked out a few must-reads (e.g., The Long Halloween), but I won’t be able to speak too authoritatively on random issues. I’ll stick to the technical aspects of the writing and then leave it to readers to fill me in if I’m off base regarding continuity.

    3. “Make it more of an open conversation then?”

      My guess is that it won’t be too different from the Marvel reviews, but the style and tone will evolve as new readers join the conversation. I’m assuming that I’ll get a few Batman fans over the course of 2017 as long as I keep at it.

    4. This should be interesting.

      While I’m not really a fan of the directions DC has gone in the last several years, I haven’t seen anything so hamfistedly beating fans in the face as what Marvel’s been doing in their titles.

    5. “While I’m not really a fan of the directions DC has gone in the last several years, I haven’t seen anything so hamfistedly beating fans in the face as what Marvel’s been doing in their titles.”

      It seems as though someone at the top at DC actually has a bit of business acumen, which can’t really be said for Marvel. If Marvel just scaled back the politics and name calling by about 33 percent, then I’d probably be singing its praises on a regular basis. Instead, they regularly double down on stupidity.

  1. I keep hearing people want Coates to write ASM after Slott and while I respect him as a FAN of Spider-Man he’d be little different from Nick Spencer and writing political articles and occasionally mentioning comic books isn’t the finest qualifications for writing comic books

    I’m also growing tired of G. Willow pretending to be a Muslim as Islam condemns any artistic representation of lifeforms as idolatry real Muslims would sooner kill her than read her books which raises the question why did Kamala even make sense as a concept outside of partisan politics given it would have zero value in drawing in untapped demographics.

    1. “I keep hearing people want Coates to write ASM after Slott and while I respect him as a FAN of Spider-Man he’d be little different from Nick Spencer and writing political articles and occasionally mentioning comic books isn’t the finest qualifications for writing comic books.”

      Really? Didn’t it take him about a year to get out six issues of Black Panther? Haha! I don’t see him writing ASM anytime soon.

      “I’m also growing tired of G. Willow pretending to be a Muslim as Islam condemns any artistic representation of lifeforms as idolatry real Muslims would sooner kill her than read her books which raises the question why did Kamala even make sense as a concept outside of partisan politics given it would have zero value in drawing in untapped demographics.”

      G. Willow Wilson really has put herself in an awkward position, because she wants to be uber political but yet she gets mighty silent when its time to legitimate criticisms of Islam. If you’re going to join the team, then you don’t get to avoid discussing its performance.

  2. “I’m also growing tired of G. Willow pretending to be a Muslim…”

    I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when they say they ascribe to a specific religion, esp. since it’s on the books that Robinson converted before she was even hired by Marvel, much less when “Ms. Marvel” was created. (I mean, I would be offended if I was told that was pretending to be a Christian.)

    “…as Islam condemns any artistic representation of lifeforms as idolatry real Muslims would sooner kill her than read her books…”

    Like any religion, I’ve gathered that there are different factions and sets of theology in Islam, although I will concede I’m not on expert.

    “…which raises the question why did Kamala even make sense as a concept outside of partisan politics given it would have zero value in drawing in untapped demographics.”

    Can’t speak for other people, but if I was going to get into 616 comics, “Ms. Marvel” would be one of the few things I would be willing to try. From the bits and pieces I’ve seen, it comes off as a light-hearted series with a likable character. Just because something seems tailored to a specific demographic or created to generate more diversity, or whatever the case may be, that doesn’t mean that people outside the target audience can’t enjoy it or that the comic in question can’t be good in and of itself. It’s all in the execution.

    I will say this about Marvel. Regardless of the politics involved, the excessive use of events and massive changes to status quos do not want make me want to read their 616 comics. That said, them making an RYV ongoing is very welcome. I also respect for what they’re doing with “Star Wars.” Stuff like the new “Doctor Aphra” series strongly suggest that they have a pretty good idea of what that audience wants and are delivering. So, giving the devil his due? Maybe, but, to be frank, as far as my interests lie, Marvel is doing okay, at worst. Guess it’s worth factoring into the overall assessment of the company’s output, or something.

    1. “I will say this about Marvel. Regardless of the politics involved, the excessive use of events and massive changes to status quos do not want make me want to read their 616 comics.”

      Marvel would do itself a big favor if it would knock it off with all the events. It puts a halt to any momentum a book starts to build because the writers have to essentially drop everything to make it work.

  3. It’s like a catholic not attending mass in the inquisition. (No offense Doug three of my grandparents are from catholic backgrounds) not only could you hardly call the person practicing or devout but it would be foolish not to expect consequences.

    For the record I have no issue with Kamala herself she’s better than most of Marvel’s newer characters my problem is on the conceptual level.

    l’ve read a lot of Marvel’s 2012-2016 books the past few months and the titles that stayed out of politics were really good. It’s really a shame some of these writers haven’t been given a shot at the wall crawler.

    1. “It’s like a catholic not attending mass in the inquisition. (No offense Doug three of my grandparents are from catholic backgrounds) not only could you hardly call the person practicing or devout but it would be foolish not to expect consequences.”

      My guess is that if I were to sit down with Ms. Wilson then she would eventually bring up the Inquisition in some sort of debate. I would remind her that some 4,000 people died over the course of nearly 350 years. I would then move on to the millions of Iraqi and Syrian Christians who literally ran for their lives over the last 5 years because of the Islamic State group and its allies. But alas, she and the other Marvel creators aren’t too keen on having real debates. Sigh.

  4. I was grasping for the closest comparison I could give Weblurker that being said Christendom had a reformation Islam hasn’t.

    1. “I was grasping for the closest comparison I could give Weblurker that being said Christendom had a reformation Islam hasn’t.”

      I got that. I was just using your comment as an opportunity to give some details on the Inquisition and perhaps spark further inquiry with those who are interested.

  5. The lower tier books can’t even afford any momentum loss given anything over 12 issues is now considered some sort of victory.

  6. Marvel claims to be following more of a “television season” approach, like BBC. A recent TV series made a joke like this: “That shows was on BBC for sixteen years! They made it almost to thirty episodes!”

    Personally, I think that’s a face-saving excuse. If they could launch a truly successful new series, they would keep it going forever, forget about the “we’re just like British TV now!” nonsense. Instead, they keep launching DOA stuff like Prowler and Solo, then claiming they always intended it to only go six issues.

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