Marvel’s ‘America’: 50 Shades of Ororo, more race politics in 3rd issue

It was only a few months ago that Marvel Comics released America, by writer Gabby Rivera. Fans who thought Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso had reached a saturation point with politicized comics were proven wrong, as America turned out to be the perfect storm of social justice activism meeting Alonso-vision. I analyzed the first two issues on my YouTube channel and thought I would be done with it, but the sheer interest in this train wreck all but guaranteed another review.

Behold, brave readers! America #3 is what happens when Marvel superheroes mix with racial politics, the “fly girls” from the 1990s show “In Living Color,” bizarre sexual fetishes best left to 50 Shades of Grey, and elderly luchadores.

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DC’s ‘The Button’ offers lesson for Marvel, Axel Alonso

I used to have an irrational disdain for DC superheroes as a child. I was a “Marvel kid.” Sure, I loved Batman, but outside of his adventures I turned up my nose at DC fare. The echoes of my own irrationality reverberated into the future as I stuck to reading The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, and then occasional X-Men book as an adult. But somewhere along the line, Marvel decided to adopt a business model that needlessly alienates long-term readers. That, my friends, is where our discussion on DC’s The Button comes in.

Marvel Editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and everyone who takes their marching orders from him would be wise to look at what DC is doing under the watchful eyes of Geoff Johns. DC Rebirth was a creative home run, and now it seems as if the same can be said of The Button.

Check out my latest YouTube review on parts 1-3 of The Button, which is a great blueprint for Marvel to follow if it wants to win back fans. And, as always, I’m interested in hearing your feedback in the comments section below.

Spider-Man #27: Ends justify the means in Dan Slott’s ‘Private War’

Question: What do you get when you take 3/4 of a cup of “ends justify the means” and 1/4 of a cup of “moral relativism” and mix it in a bowl with one serving of Peter Parker and a bag of goblins?

Answer: The Amazing Spider-Man #27.

My new YouTube review details how “A Private War” is a sterling example of what happens when every character in a comic adopts a “might makes right” mentality. It’s hard to root for any character — including the protagonist — when a properly functioning moral compass is nowhere to be found. The heroes in ASM are whomever Dan Slott says are heroes, even if their idea of justice is defined as, “Whatever I want to do at any given moment.”

Check out the video below and be sure to ask yourself the following question: Would Spider-Man really make a moral equivalency between his personal vendetta against Norman Osborn and  Captain America fighting with the Allied Powers during World War II?

I say “no.”

Secret Empire #1: Hydra-Verse and Marvel PR damage control in full swing

Marvel’s comics division has been taking it on the chin in terms of bad press for well over a year now, and the official kickoff to its latest event is no exception. This week saw the release of Secret Empire #1 and a tie-in issue for Free Comic Book Day, which theoretically should bring elicit smiles across the country. Wrong. In fact, the project is so controversial that Marvel had to put out a statement earlier this week asking fans to be patient (even though the story has been building for well over a year).

My latest Youtube review covers the good, the bad and the ugly of writer Nick Spencer’s reality-warping Hydra-Cap tale. And yes, on some level it is good — but the whole situation is a bit complicated.

Anyway, check out the review and let me know what you think in the comments section below. Also: If anyone knows YouTube’s exact rules for using music clips without getting copyright infringement strikes, then let me know — I don’t want to make a habit of joke-singing songs like “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses…

Scarlet Spider #1: Peter David gives Ben Reilly his own Tyler Durden

Imagine you were a Marvel editor not too long ago and someone said, “We should totally bring back Ben Reilly from the infamous Clone Saga days. That would be cool. People liked him and his fans will flock to a book if we give him his own series.”

Got it? Now ask yourself this question: If you wanted the base of your book to consist of long-time Ben Reilly fans, would you a.) Turn the character into a crazed man out of something from Fight Club, or would you b.) Try to woo loyal readers with something resembling the character in their mind’s eye for almost 20 years?

Marvel went with the first option for Scarlet Spider, which is rather odd. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Peter David seems to be doing his best with the marching orders he’s been given in the first issue.

There’s much more to say, but for that I invite you to check out my latest YouTube video. As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below.

Iron Man #6: Brian Michael Bendis’ Riri sadly no Jessica Cruz

Comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis recently gave an interview with Marvel on his approach to writing, and during the exchange he took time to discuss Invincible Iron Man’s Riri Williams. He said that at this stage in the game the character “doesn’t know who she is yet,” which is interesting since it appears as though he is equally lost.

It is perfectly okay for a character to lack self-awareness, but readers should generally be able to peg the character and empathize with him/her within the first or second issue.

The problem with Mr. Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man after six issues is that he seems to think readers should just love his character because the entire Marvel universe loves her. Unlike DC’s Jessica Cruz, who became a hero after overcoming crippling anxiety and fear, Mr. Bendis’ creation stresses out because too many individuals and groups want to experience her awesomeness first-hand.

For those who have been wondering why Marvel’s sales have faltered over the past year while DC’s Rebirth continues to impress, look no further than IIM #6. It should serve as a case study in what not to do if you want to build momentum for a new character.

Anyway, check out my latest YouTube review for a full rundown of why IIM fails while books like Green Lanterns: Rage Planet have guys like me saying, “Who is this Jessica Cruz character? She seems kind of cool.”

Secret Empire #0: Nick Spencer pens love letter to postmodernism

Marvel’s next big event, Secret Empire, has arrived with issue #0. For those who wondered over the last year if writer Nick Spencer could craft an interesting Hydra-Cap tale, the answer appears to be “yes.”

The problem, however, is that once again a hero’s legacy is offered for sacrifice at the alter of postmodernism.

Just because a man could do something, it doesn’t mean that he should. While I must admit that Mr. Spencer is an intelligent and organized writer, at the same time he is rightly being criticized by fans who are disgusted with the idea of turning a cultural icon into a tool of Nazi Germany. No matter how much Marvel protests the Nazi-angle, there really is no denying it.

There’s much more to say on the topic, but for a full run-down I invite you to check out my latest YouTube video. As always, feel free to sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below.

Marvel’s ‘America’ by Gabby Rivera: Sales VP David Gabriel’s ‘diversity’ lie exposed

Marvel comics made quite a bit of news this week after its Vice President of Sales, David Gabriel, gave an interview with ICv2 on sluggish sales. He completely distorted the cold hard reality that fans are tired of politicized comics to say that we really just have a problem with “diversity.”

To see just what a disingenuous liar Mr. Gabriel is, I have provided a review of Marvel’s America by Gabby Rivera. I purchased the first two issues, which appear to be a perfect storm for social justice activism.

Check out my latest YouTube review to learn all about the “privileged” and evil white cyborgs who try to destroy Sotomayor University, or the being of “white energy” that imprisons an entire planet until it is defeated with America’s “brown fist.” I wish I were joking, but I’m not.

As always, I look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: Our good pal Dave Huber just wrote a piece for The College Fix that touches on Marvel’s partisan politics problem: Don’t be fooled: ‘Get Woke’ campaigns really mean ‘Agree With Me (or else)’He was also kind enough to reference my review of America.

J. Michael Straczynski: Partisan writer hits the block button because douglasernst.blog is effective

JMS1

Regular readers of this blog know that on any given day there will be an honest comic book review or a post that exposes the hypocrisy of partisan writers within the industry. If a book is good — like Renew Your Vows — I’ll say it. If a book is bad, like Brian Michael Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man, then readers will know exactly why. Certain Marvel scribes have tried to claim over the years that this blog is irrelevant, but a strange thing keeps happening to me: Writers and editors who I never even talk about block me on Twitter. That seems like an odd action to take for someone who is not effective…

Consider J. Michael Straczynski, for instance. I never talk about the man in my blog posts, never tweet the man, and in the rare events I have mentioned him in my comments section I have been extremely kind. He was the last writer on The Amazing Spider-Man who got me excited about the book after years of mediocre writing. He “gets” Peter Parker, and if it weren’t for weird “Gwen-rape” stories then I would have even more nice things to say about his work.

Why, then, did he block me on Twitter? Tonight I ran across his name in a follower’s feed and thought, “Hmmm. JMS. I wonder what his tweets are all about,” before getting Twitter’s classic “you are blocked from following…” message.

I tweeted, “I guess he’s not a fan of limited government?” before checking it out via another account, and what do you know? I was right!

JMS Melania

Just like most of the other industry writers, J. Michael Straczynski is such a petty man that he turns First Lady Melania Trump into a vehicle to attack her husband — because it must feel so good to get dozens of “likes” or “loves” on social media for rage-tweeting.

Whether it’s Hydra-Cap writer Nick Spencer talking about the “myth of the good Republican” or ASM writer Dan Slott telling Christian supporters of Hobby Lobby to go to “Christ-Land,” this blog has consistently called out their mean-spiritedness and hypocrisy. And because it has a growing number of readers here and on YouTube, guys like Mr. Straczynski have taken notice.

Given this latest development, I will once again reiterate to you, dear reader, that if you want to see someone expose the self-proclaimed “tolerant” comic writers for the intolerant ideologues they are, then you have come to the right place. And since Mr. Straczynski was so concerned about what yours truly might find in his Twitter feed, I will give it extra attention going forward.

Stay classy, Mr. Straczynski.

Exit Question: How long will it be before Mr. Straczynski starts using weird comments about Barron Trump to attack his father?

With apologies to Jeremiah Wright, Marvel’s ‘chickens come home to roost’

Fans have been scorned, taunted, and belittled by comicbook creators on social media for — politely now, mind you — daring to ask questions about altering long-time characters and stories all for “diversity’s” sake.

You know the routine by now. Doug, myself and many others have written about it ad nauseam.

Still, the creators have continued in their snobbish, egomaniacal ways.

However, now there is this from Newsarama (emphases mine):

According to David Gabriel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Print & Marketing, a sales downturn at the publisher that accompanied a “big shift in the entire industry” beginning in October 2016 came as a result of many factors, including, according to the executive, the market “turning up their noses” at any title not featuring a “core Marvel character.”

Suggesting the answer to the question of why people’s tastes suddenly changed was better answered by Direct Market retailers, Gabriel told ICv2 that “What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.  I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales.”

“We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against,” he explained. “That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.”

Dan Slott Renew Your Vows

And Jon Del Arroz’s (love that name) article from a couple of weeks ago is spot-on:

Marvel has a diversity problem.

In that they have none in terms of diversity of thought. They are a pure social justice propaganda arm. This is dangerous when it comes to creating art, as if you have everyone thinking in lockstep, unable to get outside the box, you’ll have creative stagnation. More than that, when you turn children’s adventure fiction into adult message browbeating, you lose any semblance of fun that a product formerly had. It’s no wonder that sales have dropped by about half, when they have an entire writing core of every single one of their monthly writers hell-bent on a crusade of alienating half of the country in some social engineering through comics.  I don’t exaggerate my numbers either, and I did some leg work for you all so you might better make educated purchases, or lack thereof, of Marvel Comics. …

According to marvel.com, there are 18 writers on the current releases. I went through each and every one of their twitter accounts to give you a summary of where they spend their time on social media in terms of politics. I don’t mind people getting political occasionally, or even necessarily holding left wing views, but when it’s constant beating the drum of anger and hate, that’s what makes an SJW, and that’s where one needs to stay away (and is a primary reason for Marvel’s steep sales decline in recent years).  Here’s a brief summary of the writers’ twitter feeds, as I’ve gone through all of them for you:

Mike Costa – Constant Anti-Trump posts.

Jason Aaron – Anti-Trump, has #resist greenpeace retweet from inauguration. However, he doesn’t post politically very often, not pushing some anger crusade all the time.

Brian Michael Bendis – Anti-Trump posts, but posts so much it’s not a large percentage of his tweets.

Cullen Bunn – Rabid anti-Trump.

Becky Cloonan – a couple of snarky anti-Trump posts pre-election, but no political posts since. From the feeds, appears to be the sanest of the Marvel staff.

Gerry Duggan – Constant Anti-Trump posts, retweets Bernie (he can still win!).

Al Ewing – British, and doesn’t seem to post a lot of American politics, but very heavily steeped in globalism in immigration “rights” in his posts. Anti-Western civilization. 

Roxanne Gay –  Constant rants about feminism, anti-Trump posts. 

Zac Gorman – Complains about Republicans as “joke”, but only one recent post as such. Low percentage of political tweets.

Derek Landy – Anti-Trump, not overwhelming in political posts. Mostly sticks to posts about writing.

Kate Leth – Regular anti-Trump posts. Constant complaints about some boogeyman “privilege”, rambles at racist, sexist, etc., “white dudes”.  Rants about queer issues.

Stuart Moore – Regular posts anti-republican, anti-Trump.

Greg Pak – Complains about “representation” of different races. Lots of anti-Trump posts.

Dan Slott – Anti-trump rants all the time. 

Charles Soule – Constant anti-trump rants.

Nick Spencer – Rants about trump/republicans and calls anyone who disagrees with him flat out evil.

G.Willow Wilson – “Muslim” Ms. Marvel writer, rants anti-Trump posts all the time.

Chip Zdarksy – Constant anti-Trump posts.

That is  … “100% […] extreme left-wing ideologues who hate half of the country [and] have nothing nice to say about the USA or its president ever,” Del Arroz continues.

Comic fans of goodwill, those with nary a racist/sexist/homophobic etc. bone in their bodies, have been blasted as just that by creeps such as Dan Slott, et. al. all because they’ve asked simple questions regarding characterization and stories.

Many, like Doug and myself, have pointed out that Marvel’s permissive attitude towards horrendous creator behavior on social media is hardly an appropriate business model.

I feel like going on a Randy Quaid-in-Independence Day-style rant: “I’ve been sayin’ it. I’ve been sayin’ it for ten damn years. Ain’t I been sayin’ it? Yeah, I’ve been sayin’ it.”

I — we — knew all this nonsense was unsustainable. We knew the chickens would be seeking out that proverbial roost.