As we all know, Marvel has announced the new lineup post Secret Wars. It is the All New All Different universe. Now, for me, I love it. However, there are some sceptics who are not taking to it. Some are complaining that Marvel are forcing the "Politically correct" statement. Others are blatantly disliking the diversity and hate the race change. Now the question is this....what is actually wrong with this lineup?
Now I look at this change as a positive one. I look at this as a step forward. But as I said before, others are opposing. Now I have a few theories about this. One of the reasons is that people are use to the norm. For decades superheroes were portrayed as white men only. Look at the history....Spiderman has been around since 1962. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk have been around for the same length of time. We are talking 55+ years of history. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with those characters. Like many people, i grew up with them. But....and this is a big but. As a child I would subconsciously believe that mainstream superheros were white only. Why? Because I never seen a ethnic minority superhero in the comics or tv. And that was the pattern. All the publishing companies would endorse a white only hero. Sure there was a black, hispanic sidekick but they were never mainstream (the one that children never wanted to be). It was hard to publish non white superheros in the 50's onwards.
The two most prominent comic creators in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had issues with promoting black superheroes. Marvel (at the time) has hesitations about publishing a non white superhero.
Jack Kirby who created Black Panther. Had a temperous time trying to publish Black Panther.
Black Panther was finally published by Marvel in 1966. He cameoed in the Fantastic Four comic.
The Black Panther was a few minimal successful non white superhero in the era of white dominated hero arc. But that is why Panther was created. Because Kirby and Lee wanted more black presence in comics. However, Panther only got a limited time. But in a number of peoples mind that was ok. It's alright for a ethnic character to be a sidekick or a lesser superhero to an extent. However, if it's mainstream then that is when people react.
Which brings me to the All New All Different lineup. Marvel have embraced a diverse roster. There was positive feedback from it...with the cries of "It's about time!". However there are those who think Marvel are desecrating their idols by racebending them.
But if you look at the bigger picture. All of the mainstream superheros are still in the new roster. Peter Parker is still there...Steve Rogers is still there....Tony Stark is still there...Logan is still there and so on.
So what's the problem? Well this is where racism has reared it's ugly head (with a Sidenote of sexism). Let's take the character who really caused eruptions in the comic book world...Miles Morales.
Miles Morales was introduced by Micheal Bendis. Now Bendis said that he created a black Spiderman to break down the racial barriers. As echoed by Marvel chief Axel Alonso..
People who say this is a PC stunt miss the point. Miles Morales is a reflection of the culture in which we live. I love the fact that my son Tito will see a Spider-Man swinging through the sky whose last name is "Morales". And judging from the response, I can see I'm not alone.
I could not agree more. We live in a society where most places are multicultural. Let's take the death of Ultimate Peter Parker. He grew up in New York. A place that has a very large black and hispanic populations. So the chances of a black or hispanic Spiderman would be high. But some people can not look at the rationale picture.
They have been so conditioned into believing that mainstream superheros are white. They forget that you need to correctly represent the surroundings of the characters.
Miles Morales is a true representation of New York and America.
Now we look at Sam Wilson as Captain America. Again when Wilson was announced as Captain America. People were saying the exact same things about Wilson. But again, people have jumped the "PC" route. But we need to take a step back. Steve Rogers was getting old so someone had to take over. That person was Sam Wilson. A man who is Rogers best friend, his confidant and knows all the Intel that Rogers knows. So again, what is wrong with Wilson?
In truth there is nothing wrong with Wilson. He makes a perfect Captain America. He is a passionate and a fantastic character. Did anyone say the same about Bucky becoming Captain America? No they did not. Which again unfortunately racism is still there. But I credit Marvel for this roster.
Sam Wilson as Captain America.
Marvel have a Muslim character in Ms Marvel Kamala Khan. Anether positive character who represents a true hero. A hero who fights crime and helps people in need. Something that Fox news want you to think the opposite. Through Khan, the narrow minded view that "All Muslims are terroists" should be voided. Muslim, like Christians, Catholics, etc have fanatics. The IRA killed continously for decades in Northern Ireland to which they followed catholicism. But you can not target a whole religion just because of a minority few. So credit to Marvel.
Kamala Khan as Ms Marvel.
Now potentially we will have an Asian Hulk in Amadeus Cho (widely tipped).
Not only is a solo character been criticised. But the teams have had the same treatment.
The All New All Different Avengers. A diverse team. Miles Morales (African American). Sam Wilson (African American). Ms Marvel (Arab). Nova (Caucasian) and Thor Caucasian female (first female Thor).
The Ultimates. Consists of Blue Marvel (African American). Black Panther (black African). Spectrum (African American). Marvel (Caucasian) and Ms America (Hispanic).
These teams are a great example of proper diversity. Gone are the days when teams just had the "token black guy" or a token pretty girl. These roles they have are important roles. Morales is Spider-Man. A protector of New York. Sam Wilson represents the American heritage. He is a leader and a symbol. Blue Marvel is a genius and also a great leader. These are POSITIVE roles models for children. When children play, the children of colour can actually be that superhero without feeling awkward.
The same goes for the female superheros. Female representation has been limited to the damsel in distress or a sex object. Just like the racism issue. There are sexism issues also. The perfect example is Jane Foster as Thor. This did not go down well with some people. But if anyone is a Thor fan, they would tell you that the Hammer chooses who is worthy. That person was Foster. Besides she is a great character. Also a very popular one. There is nothing wrong with Foster as Thor. Or even a female Star Lord.
Foster as Thor.
When Marvel did this new roster. I guarantee that they wanted change but they thought about it logically. Morales is Spiderman because he is a great character. Foster is a great character. Sam Wilson is a great character. Blue Marvel is a great character and so on.
People need to look at the character not the colour of skin or sex. This roster represents change. A positive change. A change that needed to be done. It's the people who are afraid of change are the ones who complain. Marvel have identified the social demographics of today and are embracing that change.
Well done Marvel.