Marvelous duh-versity

It’s been a long time since I collected any of the Marvel comics. When I see panels like this (now infamous) example, I conclude that I am not missing much.

When I was introduced to my first Marvel title — X-Factor, in 1989 — it was through a friend who knew the Marvel mutants series backwards and forwards. I enjoyed the universe, eventually picking up several Marvel mutant titles over the course of about four years. Not every issue was a knockout, but the storylines were consistently well-written and the mutant concept itself was intriguing. Especially since the entirety of the Marvel universe wove in and out of the space specifically given over to the mutant lines.

If I’d been greeted with a panel like the one above, when first someone handed me a copy of a Marvel title, I’m not sure I’d have gone on to invest all the money I eventually invested in Marvel products. Because I’d have felt like I — as the audience — was being so crudely condescended to, it was either a bad joke, or an insult.

So, what the hell is going on at Marvel these days?

David Burge (aka: Iowahawk) once posted the following:

1. Identify a respected institution.
2. kill it.
3. gut it.
4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.
#lefties

The first thing I can see going wrong, is that Marvel has allowed certain time-honored characters to be switcheroo’d purely for the lulz. Gender, ethnicity, sexuality, they’re all on Marvel’s chopping block. And while it may be novel to flip Thor’s sex, flipping Thor’s sex and then having Thor utter lines as if Thor is a regular at Candace and Toni’s book store . . . is a great way to let the audience know that you not only don’t take the character of Thor seriously anymore, you don’t take the audience seriously either.

If you want to “diversify” your comics, A-OK. Do it with new characters who grow to inhabit their roles over time, and — this is important — don’t always sound like they spilled directly out of a grievance studies degree program from a trendy East Coast private university.

Last I checked, almost half the country voted in a way that the other half of the country did not. It might be nice to see some of this intellectual diversity inhabit a few costumes on the Marvel stage.

I won’t hold my breath, though.

The second thing I can see going wrong, is that Marvel is trading in audience loyalty, for quick-sales stunts. More switcheroos purely for their own sake, because these may knock the numbers — for a given title in a given month — up to double or even triple what they usually are. Remember when I wrote in this space about the marketing disaster of New Coke? I sorta see Marvel going down the same path. Whether or not Marvel has the good sense to resurrect Classic Thor or Classic Iron Man, remains to be seen. The minds at the top can either respect the core audience, or they can live in fear of being Twitter-shamed by Social Justice Zealots. Most of whom sorta don’t give a damn about comics anyway. Comics are merely a very visible institution that Social Justice Zealots want to take over and own, for their own political purposes. Ergo, kill it, gut it, wear it as a skin suit, then demand respect.

Hopefully Marvel jettisons the switcheroos, but again, not holding my breath.

The third thing I think Marvel may be messing up — and this is hardly a problem unique to the comics world — is mistaking internal in-house excitement for a thing, for external marketplace demand for that very same thing. This comes from creators on the inside getting bored with the same-old same-old, and deciding to get cheeky, or daring, or inflammatory, with a given line or character. The marketplace will just happily follow along, right? And if the marketplace doesn’t follow along, we’ll call them all a bunch of names, right? After all, it worked so well for the Ghostbusters reboot. Which — by the way — nobody asked for. And which never did domestically earn out its estimated $144 million dollar budget.

I am pretty sure they still call that kind of movie, a flop.

If confessions from within Marvel proper are to be believed, Marvel is getting mighty nervous that it might have a few flops on its hands. As if nobody could have predicted that arbitrarily messing with several characters and lines simultaneously, purely for the sake of politics — changes which precious few people in the core audience desired or said they wanted — was going to go badly.

Back to Burge: kill it, gut it, wear it as a skin suit, demand respect.

A huge step in the right direction, would be to STOP taking the Magic Unicorn approach to diversity. Don’t hang a damned blinking sign on the fact that your character(s) is gay, or trans, or a woman, or non-white, or whatever combination thereof you choose. “Hey, look everybody! The character of Tomahawk is both biracial and bisexual! Like, he’s really REALLY biracial and bisexual! We will go out of our way to make sure you ABSOLUTELY KNOW that Tomahawk is biracial and bisexual! Ooooo! Ooooo! So edgy! So diverse!” That kind of crap is the kindergarten version of diversity. It’s not even Diversity 101. It’s Remedial Diversity 077, for sheltered progressives who apparently don’t spend much time around anyone who is not also a sheltered progressive.

Ordinary people — even gay, trans, female, non-white — don’t broadcast their demographics like that. If they are broadcasting their demographics like that, just as with aggressive church evangelists, they’re usually assholes.

It’s hard (but not impossible) to sell a hero who is also an asshole.

(Lobo fans are excused, okay? Jeez, pipe down already.)

The next step would be to quietly jettison any and all switcheroos performed on time-honored characters, and let those characters go back to being who and what they were, before the Social Justice Zealots decided to ruin things.

Yes, you will endure howling mobs of Twitter users trying to hashtag your company into the ground. But if you’ve got even a little bit of spine, you can take the heat. After all, the hashtaggers are not the whole universe. Hell, a lot of people would respect and admire a creative entity standing up against a concerted Two Minute Hate. The American public especially seems to have reached its threshold for that kind of crap. They’re ready to support somebody — anybody — who looks like (s)he won’t roll over and say “Uncle!” at the first threat of digital arm-twisting.

The final step would be, naturally, to stay the course. Keep the time-honored lines secure. Make sure the venerable characters stay in character.

By all means, bring on your diverse cast of non-white, non-male, on-hetero, non-cis players. Give them their own lines. Spin mighty arcs of story wonderfulness around these individuals.

And leave the old-school characters OLD-SCHOOL.

Ya know, kinda like America itself? Old-schoolers and new-schoolers all walking down the same streets together, shopping at the same stores, watching the same movies, eating at the same restaurants, etc. Old-school and new-school, kicking it to their unique grooves. Because there’s room enough in the world for everybody.

Unless you’re a Social Justice Zealot. In which case the world before the year 2000 was a frightening wilderness of total and absolute oppression, and everything older than yourself must be sandblasted into an unrecognizable lump of nothingness.

I like to think the world of commercial creative arts has had its fill, where Social Justice Zealotry is concerned. That shit just doesn’t sell. No matter how much you harangue or lecture people. There are only so many consumers who will open their wallets as a matter of political duty. Everyone else . . . is going to go where the fun is.

I think Marvel may be learning this. But is the damage already irreparable?

108 Comments

Filed under BRAD R. TORGERSEN, WRITING: CRAFT, WRITING: PUBLISHING

108 responses to “Marvelous duh-versity

  1. Draven

    I stopped reading them, really, in the mid-90s. My roomate started picking them up about six months before Civil War started, and i read them for a little bit, but stopped after Tony Stark turned totalitarian.

    Oh, and i found out we have-or maybe had- termites, and they were apparently using the majority of my late 80s/early 90s comic books as a place to nest.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Agree (not about the termites [Wink])

      For me it was the “heavy handed” Mutants are Blacks (The Mutants are Gays came after I quit) stuff.

      Come on, there are good reasons to fear people who can create a hurricane, crush a navy ship without touching it, blast down buildings, crush a person with his bare hands, etc.

      Plus the idea that the US government considered the X-Men terrorists got very old. Both because of the misuse of the “terrorism” term and because the X-Men were generally fighting “evil mutants” and other super-villains.

      While the “fear of Mutants” existed from the early days of the X-Men, it was sometimes played for laughs. Come on, “when a little-old lady tries to beat Beast (pre-fur) over the head” who can really take that scene seriously?

      • That is a thought… most of the comics I’ve enjoyed (and I am just a dabbler in them so *passes the salt*) had elements of humor, and not usually the slapstick kind. The new ones doen’t seem to want to make real laughter part of the world. It’s all dark, dark, dark, be nasty and call it a ‘joke’, dark, dark, dark.

        • Eons ago I read a bunch of Xmen/Xbabies and Teen Titans stuff.
          When the Titans toon started I realized how crappy it was, but had not looked at the comics in years, then leafed through an issue and thought, “as crappy as the toon is to appeal to a younger set, it is thousand times better than the writing in this”

      • Bob

        Interesting comment I heard recently : I need to register to get a gun, but wanting the guy who can cut a building in half by taking off his glasses to register makes me a bigot?

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Blast it into two.

          Scott Summers’ eye-beams are “force beams” not “heat beams”. [Crazy Grin]

          But yes, that’s the problem with Marvel’s “Anti-Mutant” thing.

          What’s funny is that there are serious “legal problems” concerning super-powered vigilantes running around “fighting the bad guys” but neither DC nor Marvel have really tried to deal with the problems.

          Marvel did have that stupid “Civil War” thing but basically returned to the standard comic book thing concerning Super-Heroes.

          Oh, the “Wearing The Cape” series handles it well.

          You don’t have to register if you have super-powers, but there are laws that govern any super-hero activities you decide to take part in.

          • Mary

            Well, the thing with the MUTANT registration was that it was irrational discrimination. You would have to have superpower registration, because there is no rational relation for a legitimate government purpose for a law distinguishing between mutant and non-mutant superpowers.

            Which is why the mutants who laughed at the other supers who objected to registering had a point.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              True.

              On the other hand, I’m not sure that there is a “rational” reason to register “super-beings” either.

              • There is, on the other hand, a very good rational reason not to register them – which is that it spoils the story. ‘Wolverine Endures Endless Red Tape in Washington to Get His ID Reinstated’ is not the stuff of compelling fiction.

      • Ardashir

        I remember finally quitting on the X-men when they were shown taking in murderous scum like Emma Frost, Mystique, and Sabertooth (a cannibal serial killer!) as members of the team to “protect” them from Eeeee-vil normal humanity. You can’t keep saying how you and your kind need to e treated like everyone else and then make it clear you regard the lives of all non-mutants as worthless.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          IIRC Emma Frost came to the X-Men first because her students (mutants) had been murdered by anti-mutant fanatics and she had decided that Xavier’s way was better than her way.

          Mind you, IIRC later they showed her corrupting Scott Summers.

          IE Making him closer to Magneto (in Magneto’s Protector Of Mutants retrocon).

          • Ardashir

            Wait, her students (who I recall her mind-controlling and viciously manipulating) get killed by fanatics, so she decides to work with the guy who keeps playing the ‘Can’t we all just get along’ card?

            That logic doesn’t make a lot of sense.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Comic Book Logic Isn’t. 😦

              My point was that the X-Men didn’t recruit her.

              She came to the X-Men.

              • Ardashir

                They still could have said, “Wait, you want OUR help? How many times, exactly, did you mind control some of our people? Try turning them into cannon fodder for your Hellfire Club pals? How many murders and suicides can be laid at your door? Oh, we’ll take you in, alright; right into a cell.”

                Then again the X-Men took in that racist mass-murderer Magneto and the aforementioned murdering cannibal Sabertooth, so really what’s one more sociopath?

                • Jake

                  Well, they took in Rogue too, even after what she did to Carol Danvers.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Nod, but IMO they handled that better than some other things.

                    And yes, it caused problems between the X-Men and Carol Danvers.

                    Strangely, the worse problem that I had with Rogue joining the X-Men (and she did earn her place) was the swimming pool scenes of her.

                    Here’s a person who has major problems with touching other people’s bare skin and obviously there’s a danger for others if they bare-handed touch her bare skin.

                    Such a person would wear a “full-body suit” at all times, let alone going swimming.

                    But they had her in a two-piece swim-suit. 😦

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Well, at least for Magneto, the writers tried to “rehabilitate” him. It only partly took and before Scott Summer’s death, Scott was moving closer to Magneto’s “partially reformed mind-set”.

                  As for Sabertooth, I’m not sure how much he was part of the X-Men (as I hadn’t kept track) but at first he was a “not really trusted ally of Banshee” when Banshee was trying to rescue (along with Emma White) some young mutants who were threatened by a New Alien Enemy.

                  Mind you, there was a recent major event in the Marvel universe where something caused the most of the Marvel Heroes to become Villains and most of the Marvel Villains (including Sabertooth) became Heroes.

                  Somehow, after the “something” was reversed Sabertooth “remained” a Hero but had to “live with” the memories of his original self.

                  Still, I understand your disgust with what the writers have done with the X Titles and the rest of the Marvel universe.

                  I absolutely hated what they did to Scott Summers. 😦

            • snelson134

              Sure it does: she’s playing on his well earned reputation for being a soft touch and taking in anyone who can ply this card. He’s a bolthole.

    • Bob

      I love the dollar bins. Stuff from the 80s and 90s and early 2000s is great. Haven’t bothered with anything later.

  2. *apologies if this double posts. WordPress has been auto-deleting my responses as I enter them at times.

    Human beings have been using pictures to tell stories ever since the first fleabitten caveman doodled in the dirt and ashes and went “Ook! That looks just like cousin Maggog!” It’s buried down in the ur-genes with the sex drive and a taste for sweet foods, I think. Telling stories is what humans *do.*

    Anybody can do it (witness webcomics), and anyone can get into it. Superhero fiction, like sic-fi, can get quite philosophical and complex with questions like “what is the nature of evil?” and “does (near) absolute power *really* corrupt? Every time?” But the strong lines beneath that were the same old stories that resonate strongly with the trousered ape: Boy meets girl. Brotherly love. The evil uncle/adviser/whathaveyou. And so on.

    What Marvel is doing is actually marketing to an even tinier niche than geek comic book readers (and yes, on the grand scheme it *is* pretty small)- no news to readers of this blog, and Dave Freer’s posts on it. Compare this to David Drake, who had: strong female characters, characters who were gay, and so on, things that people who love them some feminist Thor would also dig. But no big deal was made of it in Dave’s books. Heck, I couldn’t tell you what color of politics he favors, and nor do I care.

    Marvel flies their alt-lifestyle flag high. Which is fine if all you want to market to is a small and shrinking demographic that wants nothing but that. The truth is, and even Hollyweird knows this, that tastes really haven’t changed all that much in escapist entertainment. The big studios haven’t been all constitution/second amendment/freedom and justice for all in a long time, now have they? And yet the big films that make them the money they need to put on the Lady Ghostbusters schtick, those are in the classic mold of action, beat-em-up, a little boy meets girl, and good guy wins plot. It works. Marvel would do well to perhaps remember that. And while I’m wishing for million dollar winning lottery tickets, I might as well add wishing for more comic stories in the classic mold: simple stories, well told.

    • TRX

      > “does (near) absolute power *really* corrupt? Every time?”

      To a certain mindset, it must. Because they can’t imagine having such powers and not using them to flog everyone else into line.

      I think the same thinking drives some people’s opposition towards RKBA.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        They believe that they are the exception to “absolute power corrupts”.

        It’s “other people” who would be corrupted by “absolute power” not them. 😦

        Of course, they write about “super-powered” beings who actually believe that they are “being oppressed”.

        In the Real World, it would be the non-super-powered people who would worry about being oppressed by the super-powered people.

        It’s interesting that in the “Wearing The Cape” universe there are anti-supers bigots (some who actually are bigots).

        But the supers had adopted the “super-hero model” so that they’d been seen as people not to be fear and most of the supers are concerned about actions on their part to remain “Not-To-Be-Feared” folks.

        One hero was extremely concerned about the actions that she needed to take would put herself into the “Major Breaker Of The Law” category.

        • Mary

          A wise soul once observed that the X-men of his time was not about persecution but about persecution complexes

          When my mother was in the room when I watched the first X-men movie that I had gotten for Christmas, I had to explain that Rogue’s parents had had problems changing her diapers because her powers had just kicked on, as they do at adolescence. She went Aha, because as a high school chemistry teacher, she was VERY familiar with that frame of mind.

  3. irreparable likely, because those making them are now full believers of the meme, and are unable to NOT be the uncreative yobos that they are. It’ll take a complete housecleaning to get good writing again, and likely it is not going to occur. Funny thing is, they are not alienating 50% or their audience, it is much higher, not because only half of potential readers are conservative (actually what passes for conservative is higher than they’d admit) but way more than half are put off by the horrid stories.
    The people they are catering to, are not the people who buy the most. We see it time and time again. Something gets boycotted by the SJWs and either sees no difference, or an uptic in biz, but a place goes full SJW and folks just stop going, and it loses big bucks, then once they realize what is happening they either, as Sarah says, roll further left and die, or make a mealy mouth apology of some sort but never go back to what they once were, and never as prosperous.

  4. “It’s Remedial Diversity 077…”

    I see what you did there. ~:D I peeked the other day. They’re back to burning witches again. Thanks to Big G banning me, I’m no longer tempted to wade into the swamp and bash their frigging heads together. More time to write. Win!

    The problem Marvel has is they spend too much time listening to the Lefty echo chamber. This is not surprising, given the state of art schools these days, and the fact head office is in NYC. They’re in the middle of the Clinton Archipelago, the very source of the infestation.

    This will either change, or it won’t. The movies are proof that it -can- change if there’s enough money on the line. The damn-fool pronouncements of their VP of Sales are evidence that it will be a long, hard road.

    http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2017/04/marvel-comics-explained.html

  5. Thor: I think I’ll genderswap today. We need more grrrrl power.

    Freya: What am I, chopped liver??

    • snelson134

      Actually, that would have been Sif. Who was a kick-ass warrior in her own right.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I seem to remember that in the Marvel Thor “mythology”, there were other female warriors nearly as powerful as Thor.

        Of course “nearly as powerful as Thor” isn’t chicken-feed.

        There are super-powered males in the Marvel world who aren’t close to Thor’s level of power.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Lady Sif was featured in the movies. They could have given Lady Sif her own series. But no.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Nod.

            She doesn’t appear to be close to Thor’s level of power, but that’s true for most male Marvel heroes (and most warriors from her world).

            She could have been shown “kicking ass” against most Marvel villains.

            But as you said, Marvel couldn’t do that. 😦

            • The real Loki was rather fond of genderswapping, not to mention raceswapping (if you consider the giants etc a different race instead a different species) and speciesswapping… (definite version, like to a mare, getting two for the price of one)
              😀

  6. sabrinachase

    Ah, but they can’t create new characters and develop them over time. The whole point to the skin suit move is to take over the cultural mindshare and point it in the direction they want, without the wait or the work. Remember, these are the same people who think that culture can be stolen, wholesale, from one group of people by another. It makes perfect sense, *to them*, to steal it back. Of course it doesn’t work, but to acknowledge that they’d have to admit they were wrong about the base premise and that would create too much cognitive dissonance for them to handle.

    I think they also have a great deal of contempt for fans. Because of this, they think “they are idiots for liking Batman, so when we recast Batman as a genderfluid PETA activist for bats that huge market will just transfer over without complaint, we’ll rake in the bucks, and they will mindlessly start mooing pro PETA statements we write for Batperson to say.”

    • Indeed. The contempt for fans has become ever yet more obvious – and to more than just fans of comic books.

    • mindless mooing?

      Nope.

      What really happens is…
      1. Light version: “I think I’ll watch that 60’s TV show. It’s fun.”
      2. Darker version: “I think I’ll watch that 90’s cartoon. It’s entertaining.”

      Or…

      3. Time to write my own fanfic, ignore this idiotic recasting crap.

      Of course there is also…

      4. “I think I’ll go do something better than waste my time with this battiness. Like maybe floss the trees out front.”

  7. Albert

    The comics aren’t where the profit is, the movies are what make money.

    The comics just maintain IP rights.

  8. Yes! Create new characters and develop them! Let go of this stupid idea that they must have an INSTANT MEGABESTSELLER (which is one of the (many) things killing tradpub).

    Last night, I watched the premier of Doctor Who and was glad to see a fantastic example of a “diverse” character done right. The new companion happens to be black and a lesbian. But this is not the sole and center of her character–they just happen to be things about her. The really important stuff–that she’s kind, that she’s an orphan, that she works as a canteen lady but attends physics lectures (the Doctor’s specifically) because she has a fertile mind and wants to KNOW–are what take center stage. There was no trumpeting about how progressive she is as a character or any of that. There were a couple of news articles that started to lean that way–not unlike the silliness with Disney’s “gay moment” ::snorts::–that had me a bit worried, until I saw a quote from the actress herself saying (paraphrased) “I’m not here to create a character who represents all black women, or all lesbians, or anything like that. Bill is who she is, and I hope she’s fun and you like her.” And that’s what she was: fun, endearing, smart, and a bit odd. And happens to prefer girls to boys, but isn’t out to fulfill An Agenda ™ while about her business. (Although this watcher is actually faintly relieved that we aren’t going another round of “the companion falls in love with the Doctor” for once…)

    Marvel should take notes.

    • They already have done lesbianism across species, so of course they can make this new character more laid back.

      What I notice is that the BBC has no trouble introducing a character that would be morally offensive to most Christians, on one of the holiest nights of the Christian year. As family viewing suitable for kids. (Also points for Jewish stuff.)

      So yeah, looking forward to the Doctor burning the Qur’an on that Ramadan special….

      • Well, the followed “Doctor Who” with a spinoff called “Class,” set at Coal Hill Acadamy, where Clara Oswald used to teach – Only it’s gone upscale. An alien teacher, who is the bodyguard of an alien prince, each the last of their species, and a bunch of smart teens with occasional Cameos from The Doctor. The idea had promise. But the forced diversity was clear, and apparently, things don’t get any better- Everything I’ve read recently said that viewership dropped precipitously in the UK both on TV and their streaming service, and there won’t be a season 2.

        • Draven

          An alien teacher who is the bodyguard of an alien prince?

          Wait, I’ve seen this one…

        • Even getting in your face can be done with a lighter touch, but doing it fast, briefly, and running away. In the Doctor Who marathon there was one episode set in the Old West. At one point The Doctor needs a horse and is offered one by the preacher who says “His name is [male name] and it means ‘far traveler.'” “No it isn’t,” says The Doctor, “I speak Horse. Her name is Susan, and she wants you to respect her life choices.”
          Then he rides off, and lots of action ensues, and the life choices of the horse are forgotten, and never mentioned again.

  9. Christopher M. Chupik

    Marvel’s strategy is especially baffling from a marketing standpoint. Say you are someone who became interested in a character from watching them in the MCU. You liked Thor? Well, you pick up his comic . . . and find that Jane Foster is calling herself Thor and the Odinson is moping about losing his hammer. Oh well. Maybe Falcon is better. Oh no. Sam Wilson isn’t the Falcon anymore. He’s Captain America, fighting evil racist conservatives (pardon the redundancy). And the real Captain America? He’s been changed into a HYDRA agent by the Cosmic Cube and he’s murdering people. Fun times. And if you’re a conservative or libertarian of any kind, be prepared to be mocked and demonized by creators and characters alike.

    And they wonder why their sales are slumping.

    • Jake

      Thor becoming unworthy of the hammer and working towards redemption might have made for an interesting story. In theory. But they made it so Thor loses not only the hammer, but his very name and identity. He’s no longer “Thor” now. He’s just “Odin’s kid”

  10. Glad I’m WELL past the comic book stage. And I think this will be the end of Marvel, probably within 3-5 years, due to loss of revenue by catering (as other posters have said) to the niche market SJW/POS class. The bottom line WILL drive them back to the original characters, but I believe it will be too little, too late.

  11. Christopher M. Chupik

    “What the holy menstruation are you doing here?”

    I mean, just read that. Now try and say it. Try and say it with a straight face. NOBODY talks like that.

    • It is why they are now getting beyond parody. How do you make fun of something so stupid, most folks think what the SWJs are pushing is the parody.About anything you could do would either be an actual improvement, or indistinguishable from the target.

      They are not wearing the skin any longer, it snagged on a nail and got pulled off, and they went around wearing a photocopy of a photocopy of an out of focus picture of a cartoon version of the respected institution.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      And before some butthurt SJW comes here to fansplain to me that America Chavez comes from a matriarchal alternate universe, yes, I know. It’s still hideous dialogue.

      • I can’t think of a single one of the rabid feminists (either the “shed blood on the ground and be one with Gaia” granola-type or the ferociously politically active kind) that I went to college and grad school with who would say something like that, unless it was an in-joke, or they were doing a parody. No one would write that kind of tripe, alternative matriarchy or not. Erk.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Not arguing about the “standard” types here in the US.

          But Christopher’s point is that the character comes from a “crazy” alternate world which may explain that idiot greeting. 😉

          • But it is so lame, even for lamers! Nobody talks like that, because it violates how language works. Either your expletives are long and flowery, or short and kicky. No other way to go.

            “Holy bloodrag!” would be better. Or “Holy womb-dump!” Or “Moonblood on toast!” Seriously, anything.

      • “And before some butthurt SJW comes here to fansplain…”

        They never come here. They know the troll hammer will come out.

    • Carrington Dixon

      “What the holy menstruation are you doing here?”
      I mean, just read that. Now try and say it. Try and say it with a straight face. NOBODY talks like that.

      If you are of a certain age, you may remember when the Chemical Rubber Handbook, AKA “The CRC”, hand a section of mathematical formulas called “Menstruation Formulas”, If you Google that phrase in Google Images, you can still see examples. (These are formual for periodic functions,)

      • Carrington Dixon

        And of course, that should be Mensuration Formulas as I realized while lying in bed around midnight last night.

    • The artwork is really lousy, too. Th woman (?) on the left’s pose would be considered unacceptable work by an apprentice at a D-list wax museum. The man (?) on the right looks like his neck has been snapped. Plus, both of them appear to be looking past each other, at someone out of frame.

      Horrible writing and horrible art. It sure is a mystery why sales are down, innit?

  12. The problem that I see is that when you combine the Superpowered archetype with the Noble Victim archetype you end up with Revenge Fantasy.

    Now, the Revenge Fantasy story is a workable formula–“The Girl Most Likely To”, “The Abominable Dr. Phibes”, “The Count Of Monte Cristo”, “The Crow”, and “Carrie”, for example, all deal with a victim somehow gaining the resources to turn the tables.

    But it is very different than a Superhero story, and it is a self-limiting formula, which requires the continual rebooting of the storylines. The X-Men, in particular, have gone “back to the beginning” in nearly every film–they have to, so that they can tell the same fighting against persecution story again and again.

    You can’t keep the Victorious Underdog trope going indefinitely. Sooner or later they have to either stop being Underdogs or they stop being Victorious. (Which is why successful Sports Underdog films generally end with the Big Championship Game–the arc is complete at that point.)

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      The thing with the mutant/minority comparison is that in the real world, minorities have actually progressed. Whereas the X-Men have spent decades perpetually on the verge of extinction, with nothing ever improving. Are there X-Men stories that could be told about mutants gaining acceptance? Could be, but Marvel isn’t likely to ever tell them.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Of course, it’s hard to view Super-Beings as the “Underdogs” when their “enemies” are assholes lacking Super-Powers.

  13. Uncle Lar

    After reading the post I went back and clicked on the embedded links.
    Watched about as much of Candace and Toni’s book store as I could stand, maybe two minutes. Sadly, I can never get those two minutes back or scrub what I saw out of my brain. Luckily, I was able to escape back to sanity barely before descending into projectile vomiting in response.

  14. Bob

    That panel’s a parody right?

    Right?

    So happy I don’t read comics from later than the early 2000s.

    • Luke

      DC has kept pushing a number of good storylines, and has largely avoided SJW domination. They’ve popped up in some of the comics, but DC hasn’t been bashful about cutting an entire line or replacing everyone involved if the comic fails to consistently produce a profit. The screams of the SJWs when the Batwoman comic was cancelled were beautiful.

      Unfortunately, the disease has infected their television shows to an extent, with Supergirl being the worst.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      In the sense that Marvel has degenerated into self-parody, yes.

  15. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    The Sad Thing about all this diversity thing is that in the past, Marvel didn’t seem to know how to handle “potentially” powerful super-women.

    Jean Grey (Marvel Girl, yes stupid name) was potentially the most powerful of the original X-Men especially if you look at “how weak” Angel was as a superhero. IE Angel was just a guy with wings. Place him where he couldn’t fly, any non-powered thug would have had a good chance against him.

    Jean Grey could move things just by thinking of them moving, as Larry Niven showed even a weak telekinetic could stop a person’s heart.

    In some ways, Jean could do things that the early Magneto couldn’t. IE He couldn’t move non-iron objects while Jean could move any object (depending on how strong her “lift” was).

    I was disgusted about how the writers handled Jean vs Magneto in one of the early X-Men.

    An unknown villain (later shown as Magneto) quietly entered the X-Mansion and easily took down most of the X-Men (Bobby/Iceman was elsewhere) but then confronted Jean.

    Jean basically cringed and didn’t fight him because “she was so out-matched”.

    Later, Iceman returned to the mansion and while equally out-matched still was shown fighting against Magneto.

    Shitty writing. 😦

    • Randy Wilde

      The Sad Thing about all this diversity thing is that in the past, Marvel didn’t seem to know how to handle “potentially” powerful super-women.

      Been years (decades) since I read comics, and even then I was more into DC (Thor was an exception) but didn’t they eventually move Sue Storm past hiding and pure defense and into more aggressive uses of her force fields?

      Also, regarding Sif mentioned upthread… I always wondered if Sif could have taken Thor if you took Mjolnir away from him for the fight.

      • I’d love to see Thor vs. the Morrigan of Welsh legend. Or Cuchulain’s teacher. Those were some seriously ferocious ladies.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          I think Thor has met Celtic gods in the past. But lately, all the “mythology” in his comics has been retcons to Asgard’s history that make it less and less like Norse legend. Oh, and to make the male Asgardians all sexists.

      • “…didn’t they eventually move Sue Storm past hiding and pure defense and into more aggressive uses of her force fields?”

        I have that issue of FF. I always thought it was an excellent development. Here’s this woman that can make force fields, and all she ever makes are spheres and disks? Boring!

        As to Thor and Sif, historically in the comic, her job was the Asgardian Lois Lane: getting in over her head and being rescued by Thor. Sif got a much better deal in Agents of Shield and the Thor movies. Jaimie Alexander is -perfect- in the role.

  16. Luke

    I don’t see Marvel recovering.
    All of their writers are vocal SJWs. You don’t get that without the hiring executives also being SJWs.
    It would take an almost total purge of the company, while bringing in experienced replacements to write, illustrate, color, etc. Pulling that off would be almost impossible, even without the likelihood of sabotage.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      It’s stunning to behold the intellectual homogeny on display. There are like two comic writers who are openly conservative (Chuck Dixon and Bill Willingham) and a handful of artists and that’s *it*. You can check the Twitter feeds of any of them at random and all you’ll find are lockstep leftist drones. Kurt Busiek is “Kurt Busiek Resists”, for instance. And the writers being recruited from outside the industry? All leftists.

      But they actually have the nerve to tell us this isn’t deliberate.

      They’re so used to believing in delusions, they think we do too.

      • Ardashir

        Kurt Busiek is some political shill now? Blast. I used to love Astro City; he never used politics as an excuse for bad writing, and he had some very decent characters from all across the social spectrum.

      • The thing is that I really don’t think it is deliberate, as much as it is part of the great sorting.
        I mean, think about it. More and more people are cutting off friendships because of politics, and if there was ever an industry that ran on “who d’you know?” it’s the creative industry.
        So, you’re a comic writer, and your boss says “Hey, we should bring somebody from outside the industry, any recommendations?” You’re probably going to recommend one of your buddies–and, since you’re a leftist, and have deliberately sought to avoid conservatives, you’re almost certainly going to recommend a leftist, without even having to consciously choose to do so. Almost all of your buddies will do the same, and your boss is going to shrug and say “okay.”

        • Luke

          If it were merely that, there wouldn’t have been the industry-wide freakout over Orson Scott Card being invited to write a guest episode. (Granted, it was for DC. Marvel would never have been so politically incorrect.)

          That wasn’t an unhappy coincidence. It was a direct assault.

    • As long as Marvel is owned by Disney, it will be all SJWs, all the way to the bottom.

  17. Silvertip

    Not all of the all new all different lineup is bad. I think we are seeing way too much new, and in reality not enough creativity to really pull off so much change with the required aplomb. I think that Jane Thor and Odinson along with X-23 Wolverine are the best of the bunch. While Tomahawk is really the worst.

    I think that what we’re seeing is pretty much tokenism. Marvel would be much better served by bringing in a more diverse writing staff and giving them creative freedom as opposed to having the old white men writing stories of people they don’t understand.

  18. Honestly? They aren’t worth the outrage. Really. Other than as a source of satire, they are worth nothing. I’m really surprised we haven’t seen something called Y Men.

  19. Joe in PNG

    I believe it all started with a misconception based on a stereotype- that all comics fans (likewise SF fans) are males, and that all creators are likewise males.
    Being off course to begin with, the desire is to fix the problems, and isn’t it obvious that the loudest squeaking is where the problem lies? So, you ask the loudest complainers to help fix things.
    And then things really get thrown off course because the loud whiners think that preachy feminist messages are what women are really looking for in stories

    • Frankly, I doubt even the preachy feminists actually like preachy feminist message stories. They may pretend to, but I’d be willing to bet good money most go to something like the most soapy fan fiction or similar – something they can read online or watch with not much of a risk of anybody finding out and without paying for it, or else diminish as a mere “guilty pleasure” if it is found out – when they just want to relax and have some fun.

      And when they read the message fiction, is mostly out of duty. Kinda like work. So that they can then discuss it and appear enlightened and cultured and whatnot.

  20. richardmcenroe

    BTW, the GRIM DARK SECRET that led Thor to throw down his hammer in shame for Chick Thor’s well-manicured fingers to grasp has been revealed…and it is SO F****ING stupid that everyone involved in writing and editing to book shouldbe slapped upside the head.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nod, Fury told Thor that a villain was “correct”.

      The villain apparently was an anti-gods guy that believed no being was IIRC “worthy of extreme admiration”.

      Now a Christian, like myself, would say that Thor, Odin, Zeus, etc weren’t “worthy of worship”.

      But that was going to matter to Thor and/or the spell placed on Thor’s Hammer by Odin? And Thor would “feel unworthy” because Fury told him that?

      What The F*cking Hell???

      • Sounds like poor guy has rather severe self-esteem issues. If he needs that validation instead of just being content that he himself thinks he is awesome (which he mostly seems to be like in the movies. I like the movies, so far. Stopped reading the comics in the late 80’s, mostly. I don’t like never ending same or very similar stories. Couldn’t they at least occasionally kill a villain for real? I know, I know, classic villains at least as important to success as the classic heroes… but anyway. Took a few looks at a time when the quality had started to fall well past my original pet peeves, so…)

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          I wonder if the Writers were having problems with a Character who accepted worship or demanded worship in the Past.

          Remember that the comic book Thor started out as a human who was given the powers of Thor.

          The idea that he actually was the god Thor came later.

          Oh, one comic had him hearing the prayers of a Viking who had somehow lived to the modern day.

          Of course, that means that groups like the Asatru don’t exist in the Marvel comic universe. 👿

          • snelson134

            Actually, no. Thor was always Thor, just bound into the mortal form of Donald Blake by Odin to learn sympathy for mortals and humility for himself.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              No, that was the retro-con of Thor in the comics.

              Originally he was plain old Doctor Donald Blake who found this hammer that gave him the power of Thor.

              I Read The Marvel Comic Origin Of Thor! 😉