millarworld.tv Comics Creators

With Great Power Comes, Great Irresponsibility


#1

Hello. So seeing this title you probably are wondering, "Hey, is this about Spider-Man?"
Well, no, it isn’t. What it is about is my total disappointment and dissatisfaction with the company that created this Amazing character. And, so you know, this is going to be rather controversial and lengthy. But, I feel I need to voice what so many are either too afraid or desensitized to.

First, I have been a True Believer for roughly 30 years, which is more that half of my life. It began back in the mid-'80’s when I started watching Spider-man and his Amazing friends, and later I started reading Marvel’s comics. Although, my first exposure wasn’t really with Spider-Man, but, rather the X-Men.

From that time onward I was by all accounts a member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society. But, in the past few years, I have found my faith as a “True Believer” wavering. The Marvel I see today has abandoned its responsibility to the majority of its long-time readership in favor of appealing to a new generation. Or rather, those who adhere to a new age thinking.

It isn’t to say that I am against trying to reach out to new readers, but, I am deeply offended when the writers and editors and creative directors decide to make decisions with their characters that are out of character.

Example of statement: Marvel’s recent decision to make long-time original X-man, Ice-Man gay. What bothers me about this decision is that this character had been established as a heterosexual. For over fifty years Bobby Drake fought alongside his fellow X-Men, Angel and Jean Grey with both the original team and others like the Champions and X-Factor. And in none of these did Marvel Girl ever confront him about having a sexual attraction towards Angel or anyone else.

Rather Ice-Man was shown to have had several girlfriends one of which I remember from the X-Factor comics named Opal Tanaka. More recently he had a short relationship with fellow X-woman Kitty Pryde. In the X-Men films, Bobby is shown to have conflicting affections for both Kitty Pryde and Rogue. So, it’s pretty safe to say that he was, and is, a heterosexual male.

But all of this changed a year or so back when Brian Michael Bendis decided he was going to change the sexual orientation of young Bobby from original X-Men that were brought by modern day beast into the present. This of course conflicted with this characters previously established history, and so what does he do…he says that the Bobby we grew up with was faking it.

The whole way that Bendis handled Bobby’s “coming out” reeked of desperation, heavy handedness, and lack of imagination. Bobby himself seemed rather conflicted and ashamed to admit he had this previously unknown “attraction” to Angel. Jean Grey, in the way she is written, seems like she is trying to force this character to give in to this alternate lifestyle.

What makes me really scratch my head is that these characters have been together for some time because it was introduced 40 or so issues into the new series. The team itself had been fighting together before Jean confronted him on these feelings. And, so out of left field, we are told that this character is all of sudden gay, without any prior proof or anything to back it up. What’s worse is that to justify this, Marvel’s editors and writers, go to the lengths of dismissing Bobby’s other relationships as him trying to deny t his “real” nature. Bull. Shit.

It bothers me that Marvel is willing to forsake not only its own characters but its broader audience just so they can be relevant and appeal to a people,who up to the turn of this century were frowned upon. Now, not only are they to be accepted but everyone is to tolerate their lifestyle choices no matter what their own creed or religious beliefs tell them. It’s showing favoritism at the cost of great sacrifice.

But, this isn’t the only example of Marvel’s editors/writers abusing their power and being highly inconsiderate/irresponsible. Look at what they did to Cyclops. He was the X-Men’s golden child, set to carry on Xavier’s legacy but instead, he becomes the X-Man equivalent of Anakin Skywalker. An heir to Magneto.

What happened to the days when comics were written for everyone and we didn’t have alternate lifestyles or other political BS shoved in our faces? Where it was as simple as good vs. evil and heroes didn’t compromise who they were and cross lines they shouldn’t cross? I thought that editors on these comics were supposed to step in and correct inconsistencies, not find ways to rewrite a characters entire history to justify some ill-conceived, hack idea.

This new age attitude where they have no compunction against changing characters sexual orientations and you either accept it, or you can stop reading our comics is also an insult. Is Marvel for everyone, or just those who are gay/pro-gay? How much longer is it until Marvel feels compelled to start taking some of Stan Lee’s other creations and making them into transgenders?

When Marvel abandoned its Comics Code, who would have imagined they would have abandoned accountability and ethics? I am as you have guessed anti-gay and pro-heterosexual. And, I’m not ashamed of being that way. There isn’t anything wrong with me for being like that. I am that way both for how I was raised/taught and furthermore from my own personal/spiritual experiences.

Marvel also seems to think that the only people who read their X-Men comics are gays, minorities, and females. I even heard as much from Bryan Singer and the cast of the X-Men movies. Interesting since I am not gay, and that I am a white Christian male. And, I’ve been reading their comics for around 30 years. Oh, and my cousin who introduced me to the X-Men, he’s the same as me. And, so is large number of other people as well.

Yet, Marvel and these other people don’t want to seem to acknowledge this. Besides Christians like myself, there are probably atheists, agnostics, heck probably even some Cthullu-worshiping cultists that read their books, But, you don’t see Marvel’s writers/editors showing the same enthusiasm to show more Christian, Conservative, or traditional thinking folks in their books. Heck, if anything, I’ve noticed that some of Marvel’s characters come off as atheists, Democrats and Liberals more that I do the former.

As a matter of fact, when you get down to it, you find that much the writers personal believes spill into the books they write. This new change in sexual orientation for Bobby Drake has nothing to with this fictional characters previously established history and everything to do with Brian Michael Bendis’ personal sympathies for people of this alternate lifestyle.

If it was with his own characters in the Powers comics then that would be fine. I still wouldn’t like the lifestyle any better but, you know, his own personal creations so do what he wants. But, when you take a character that has been around longer than probably either one of us has been alive, then, yeah it is a problem to take upon yourself to change a fundamental part of their characteristics.

We as a people need to hold these companies like Marvel to some kind of accountability and standard of conduct. Because if we don’t, then whose to stop some future editor/writer from making other drastic changers that counter what we know? How much longer will it be before someone decides to make Batman break his code of not killing, Superman from becoming a world conquering megalomaniac, Captain America from becoming a Socialist?

How much longer will it be before Spider-Man is like “I have the Power, Screw the Responsibility?”


#2

wow,

I come home from work and think, “Ah. I’ll leave the Kanye thread 'til tomorrow as it’s a thoroughly enjoyable debate and I just want my head showered,” and, while waiting for Black Sails to download, I find this, clicking on it, hoping for something interesting and fun about Spidey.

Ahhhhhhhh.

I know a few people in real life who’ve been established as heterosexual for over fifty years, too. Do you know what comes of that? Heartache and sorrow for everyone involved because society got it into it’s head that being born with an attraction to the same sex is somehow so abhorrent that it’s evil, despite it being prevalent throughout nature.

I agree that Marvel are messing up their diversity push but not with Ice Man. It’s something that genuinely makes sense, if you allow it to.

And, more to the point, X-Men is practically thee most gay allegory in fiction!!

While there’s other things to be annoyed at with Marvel, this is one that may actually help some kid somewhere not feel so alone, or not make the mistake of living a lie or, God forbid, committing suicide, another horrible ‘sin’.

Life is really, really tough, for all of us! Straight or gay doesn’t matter when you’re trying to put food on the table, recover from the loss of a loved one or deal with illness, amongst many other things. Adding to people’s pain and misery for something they can’t even control by excluding them from the things we all get to enjoy is not only mean, it’s certainly not what Jesus taught me when I was growing up!


#3

Oh, also, probably best not to watch Black Sails either. At least not the second season. Straight up ambi-sexual, yet hard as nails pirate who’s one of the best characters on TV, and taken from a much-loved childhood story. It really surprised people, but I don’t think they realized being gay is not that new.


#4

I think you might have missed the entire point of the X-Men if these are your feelings. Mutants have always been a stand in for other parts of society that have been hated and oppressed whether it be for gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. I am a white, Christian, heterosexual male. I firmly believe the Christian part of that statement means I’m not “anti” anyone. The great responsibly that comes with that power is to treat all people equally.


#5

Captain America isn’t a socialist?


#6

To be honest, Bobby being gay was the last straw for me.

I’d been following the X-men since i was about 13 … so more than half my life…

Bobby and Scott were always the characters I most identified with - Scott because he wanted to do the right thing but didn’t always go about it the right way, and Bobby because he was a joker with a fervent fascination for the opposite sex.

With recent developments I feel like the characters I identified with no longer existed; or did exist, but their histories no longer made sense to me in the way they once did.

I’m all for change with characters, but, I guess like pre-New 52 Wally West fans, the new iterations just aren’t the characters I fell in love with. And i’m too old to reinvest in them again.

EDITTED TO ADD: Bobby being Gay is fine. It makes sense given the character’s history, I suppose, and I know there was a lot of theorising to this effect, but I never took it seriously. More to the point, it’s such a dramatic change for the character that he feels like a different character - one that I don’t actually know in the way I thought I did - so from that angle, I no longer want to invest in him. The same, sadly, goes for Cyclops.

With that said, I welcome the new direction. If it gains him plenty of fans, furthers the cause of diversity etc, it’s a great move, but I may have to accept that the X-men I grew up with are long gone.


#7

Sigh, you had to go and make this post on a Saturday night didn’t you Jason…

You should be ashamed and there is something wrong with it. It’s deeply shameful in this day and age, and worse it means over 30 years of reading Marvel you never understood what the company was all about.

The core of Marvel was about outsiders and misfits proving that the weakest and most removed could be great heroes. Be it puny Peter Parker, nerdy scientist Bruce banner, 90 lbs weakling Steve Rogers, ugly Ben Grimm, any of the X Men…there’s literally hundreds of examples. They were all different from the norm, special in their own way yet not normally accepted in that current society. And what made Marvel great, how they replaced DC and became the company with beloved characters that have thrived through generations, was by giving generations of kids who didn’t fit in a voice and an idol and a hero they could be inspired by.

Marvel are absolutely in the right to create characters for gay fans. It is their responsibility and their mission and I’m proud they do it. It doesn’t matter if they change some elements of old characters, characters change all the time. It’s an ongoing story - that’s the format. A True Believer of the Marvel comics would feel the same. You’re not a believer, you’re a believer in your own prejudices and notions, and they belong in the past. You’re not part of the broader audience, you’re a holdover from an older age that will be well left in the past.

I’m not posting to get in an argument. I don’t have that kind of interest. I’m responding to your post in the way it should be responded to rather than deleting it and moving on so others can see what kind of response this kind of attitude should garner.


#8

I identified with Bobby too (though Scott was very much like my brother).

I don’t think I feel affected by it. I was a bit annoyed because of that same thing at first, if I’m honest, because he was no longer exactly like me. It didn’t last long. It wasn’t his fascination with girls that I identified with, it was his attitude and how he made light of adversity to overcome it, something I really identified with as a kid. I don’t really care if he sleeps with men. Fair play actually, 'cause women are reeeeeeeaaaally hard work in a relationship sometimes. They are awesome, mind you.


#9

As I said, it was a contributing, not determinative, factor.

I’m not really affected or annoyed by it. But, I used to get excited and be interested when I saw books with Cyclops or Iceman in the roster, and these days I’m non-plussed.

Spider-man, for example, saw a lot of fans bail when the marriage was re-written, but I stuck with it. I enjoyed a lot of Slott’s stuff, but, after a while I just grew tired of the character.

I feel that way about most Marvel characters to be honest. The only Marvel character whos development I’m genuinely invested in is Dr Strange.

Cyclops and Bobby (and Gambit) probably had a bit of a hetero-power fantasy thing going on for 14 year old me: weird dudes with serious flaws that seemed to attract the babes anyway. I never really cared for Tony Stark who just got the babes because he was rich, not interesting.


#10

I’ve talked a few times about Marvel diversity changes and I agree with you in many ways, I just honestly think it at least this change makes sense for Bobby, overcompensating so much.

I don’t see the point of changing a characters gender or colour when it will simply revert at some point. Just make more great characters who are diverse, put the weight of Marvel behind them and let them grow in stature over time, naturally. Too much time has been wasted already and making an established character diverse is like chopping off the head of a weed. It doesn’t solve the problem at all, it just means it hidden for now and going to grow back.

Large IP wielding companies need to understand that this isn’t just some market fad, diversity is here to stay. Long past due.


#11

It’s not an unrealistic change, but, it’s not like we ever had hints of it in the narrative did we?

It was more just that people wanted Bobby to be gay. I mean, he never reluctantly entered relationships with women - he was more “OMG! I love boobs! BOOBS!”

If he was like: “OMG! I love boobs!” and then someone was like - “Hey man, Kitty Pryde dude… you know, she’s into you.” and he was all like “Oh… yeah, I mean, yeah… she’s okay… I guess…” then it would probably make more sense, you know?

For me, it’s like if they made Gambit gay. Or Angel. I get that they’re pretty men - but pretty men don’t automatically mean gay men, do they? Like, Nightwing has a whole slew of gay supporters and people want to see him gay. And apparently there’s a lot of fanservice in his new book in terms of poses and innuendos and things. But it seems, if that was to happen, then it would be for fan service and not because it made sense for the character. He has a history of dating women - multiple women, and has been shown to passionately pursue women – that’s not really in character for someone in the closet is it? I mean - if a narrative shows a character privately and fervently pursuing women, it’s a little strange to suggest that he was doing it to mask his homosexuality.

With this said - I don’t know. I’m not very well versed in the gay bildungsroman. What I can say, is that it felt like an abrupt character change.


#12

Which in itself is something most of us who do love those amazing things keep in our own heads.

I see what you’re saying, and it’s clearly retconned to the max, but for a guy who makes such a big deal about liking women as opposed to, say, Gambit, who’s just straight up rapey at times, he’s an easy target for the retrofit. And the one that will probably deal with it in the most entertaining way in terms of story.

I was a bit perturbed by the ‘Deadpool is gay; he’s ours’ kerfuffle. Like Deadpool, I too reserve the right to be attracted to Thor and not be labelled, goddammit.


#13

I didn’t know about that, but Thor is obviously a very pretty man.


#14

He does have a big hammer, that’s for suresies.


#15

I hear he knows how to use it too.


#16

For all my bolster, I don’t think I could actually lift it if I had the chance. But he’s some frickin’ shape.

*looks at weights
**decides to make a microwavable burger


#17

Oh man!

Burgers! There’s a great burger place nearby to that just opened.

Goes and gets burger


#18

Transgender was also named in the main post.

I call one of the Fantastic Four.

Ben or Richards. Richards would be perfect though. He could tuck it in and make a set of boobs in a jiffy.


#19

It’s a pity you can’t see the bigger picture: despite being gay, your favourite character, Ice-Man, is still at heart a good guy, a badass fighting evil… The lesson here: our sexual preferences, our race, our gender have no bearing on who we are as people.

If you don’t read anything else in this post, I hope that first paragraph hits home.

And bravo for you, dude.
I’m rather proud of you that you came out and admitted that.
It takes guts - especially in this day and age.
After all, freedom of speech means having to deal with all points of view…even those we don’t like.
So yes, you don’t like what Marvel is doing (and you’ll find your beliefs aren’t as globally accepted as you’d like).
You have every right to despise it.
And I support your right to despise it. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
But you don’t have the right to demand that everything and everyone change just for you.
If you don’t like it, then protest with your wallet.
Don’t buy anything Marvel.
Do go see the movies.
Don’t buy t-shirts.
Don’t watch the really awesome shows on TV (WARNING: Agent Carter may be in an interracial romantic relationship so you might want to avert your eyes).
It might work.
I strongly suspect it will not.

As for your assertion that:

There is but not for the reasons you think. If you want to enjoy your prejudice, that’s your privilege. Sadly, you’re giving up on something you like (even though it seems the message never reached you anyway) and even worse, if you carry on like this, you will find yourself on the brink of extinction, buddy. The world is moving on from where you’re standing and like everything that resists change, your thinking will die out. It’s sad because there’s room for you too, if you’re willing to broaden your horizons, and understand the new status quo is shifting towards everyone having a space in the sun. Don’t judge or exclude people who are different to you because 99% of the time those differences have no material effect on your life - and you may miss out making a new friend. And we all need friends…even Wolverine.

Just a note:
X-Men was created for misfits. It was written for kids who didn’t feel like they belonged anywhere. The X-Men were different and were discriminated against simply for not fitting in with a conservative world view of what it is to be human. As a bisexual male, I dealt with a lot of that growing up. Gambit pretty much made me feel like I wasn’t weird or strange (even though the character was straight) because he had a touch of my natural (if somewhat muted) flair for the flamboyant. It felt good to not feel totally alone.


#20

Well said.

It is interesting that some X-fans seem to have had trouble with the series’ subtext being addressed more overtly in situations like this. It makes you realise that some readers don’t actually connect with the X-Men’s core messages of equality, diversity and ‘tolerance’ (I don’t really like that word in these kinds of contexts as it implies that there’s something to tolerate, but you know what I mean), which is a great shame.