X-Men Gold #1: The house that Axel Alonso built gives Marvel Ardian Syaf controversy

It seems like not a week goes by without Marvel Comics having some sort of PR nightmare, whether it’s smaller things like Gabby Rivera’s America making a gang of “privileged” white cyborgs the enemy, or what we saw this weekend with X-Men Gold #1 — artist Ardian Syaf’s decision to put anti-Christian and anti-Semitic messaging into his work.

Yes, that’s right, of all the books to go down bigotry path, it had to be the book that is supposed to be the “gold” standard of tolerance and acceptance.

There is much more to say about this issue, so for all the details on The House the Axel Alonso Built and its slow-motion implosion, I invite you to check out my latest YouTube video. As always, make sure to subscribe if the format is up your alley, and please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Marvel’s zero-sum politics needlessly damage the comics industry

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.

‘Totally Awesome Hulk’ totally makes sense; Axel Alonso should shut up so he doesn’t ruin it

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

Marvel’s New Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Is Your Spider-Sense Tingling?

Some people will be angered by the new Spider-Man's race. They have problems. Others will be angered by Marvel's obsession with alliteration. They are healthy.

In Marvel Comics’ Ultimates line, the new Peter Parker is Miles Morales. Miles is a half-black, half-hispanic boy. Of all the angles to this story, his race is one of the least noteworthy aspects—even more so than Marvel’s continued use of alliteration. (Will the next Spider-Man be named Guillermo Guillen?) Since I’m sure there are conservatives who will be annoyingly offering “unhelpful” comments about this new character, someone needs to set the record straight:

  1. The original Peter Parker is right where he’s always been. Unfortunately, liberal writers and editors had their way with him and he now makes deals with (for all intents and purposes) the Devil.  If Spidey fans are upset, their anger should be directed at what is quite possibly the worst editorial mistake in the history of the character. That’s saying a lot, since Marvel has botched him for years.
  2. The Ultimates line is completely separate from the universe casual fans know about.
  3. Everyone’s seen and experienced the black Nick Fury. It worked. Big time. Sometimes switching it up is a good thing.

With that said, here’s where the story gets interesting:

Italian artist Sara Pichelli, who was integral in designing the new Spider-Man’s look, says, “Maybe sooner or later a black or gay — or both — hero will be considered something absolutely normal.”

Note to Sara Pichelli: It is normal! It’s only not normal when it’s shoved in our faces. It’s only not normal when political points are shoe-horned into a story for no other reason than to make readers wear a Progressive worldview. There’s a difference between crafting a story that has—or requires—a black, gay hero, and crafting a story with a black, gay hero just so you can have one. Or so you can play sociological experiments with your readers.

As a business, it makes sense that Marvel would want to reach out to a growing demographic of young, multi-ethnic readers. As the pigment of our population changes, so will the color of our fictional heroes. And there isn’t anything wrong with that—as long as they’re fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Would you rather have a black Superman who fights for the American Way, or Brian Singer’s white Superman who fights for “all that stuff”? The answer is simple.

Fact: future generations of Americans will be increasingly brown. And no one in their right mind should care. What they should care about are the principles that will guide those future Americans. Will they be the kind of people who consider balanced budgets an “extremist” position, or will they be fiscally sane? Will they believe in limited government and the increased personal liberties that come with it, or will they allow an ever-expansive entitlement mentality to eat away at their entrepreneurial spirit? Will they believe in American Exceptionalism, or will they believe that America’s rightful place in the world is as an also-ran (or worse) with Belarus?

Welcome to the Marvel Universe, Miles Morales. Best of luck to you. I just wish the same could be said for those penning your exploits.