Tagged: racism

The Real Controversy: Why Did The MCU Decide to Whitewash Captain Marvel?!!

There’s been all sorts of controversy about Brie Larson lately on the internet in regards to the upcoming Captain Marvel movie. Some people are fully up in arms about her recent statements regarding white males as film critics, not wanting to be interviewed by ‘white dudes”, wanting fewer white males on her Captain Marvel press tour and just wanting more diversity in general. I understand her concerns, but It’s clear that her approach to the topic has clearly triggered some fans. She could have stated her issues in a much smoother way that’d likely have spoke to fans of the comic books, who have ironically been throughout the years mainly white males. Will all of her recent statements about calling hard for diversity in the film biz affect the box office numbers for the Marvel blockbuster? We’ll have to wait and see but one thing I’ve been perplexed about from the initial announcement of Captain Marvel the REAL controversy: the decision to base the character on a white female, “Carol Danvers” and cast Brie Larson at all. I’m ok with the decision but would’ve much rather my era Captain Marvel been given a chance. The one who came before the “Carol Danvers” character way back in the early 80’s. Growing up, my Captain Marvel was first and foremost, Monica Rambeau.

Yep, Monica was the first female Captain Marvel, appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man annual #16 and eventually went on to become the leader of The Avengers in the 80’s. She’s a total badass who harnesses a multitude of energy forms, irradiated with energy blasts from different dimensions that also gave her the ability to move at light speed. Besides being the leader of The Avengers she was also the first black superhero to join the ranks of the team. In my opinion she’s also a much more interesting character in general. Monica was a New Orleans native and worked for the harbor patrol there operating as an ACTUAL captain of ship. At one point she caught wind of a wicked plot to create of a dangerous supernatural energy weapon, Rambeau took it upon herself to try to stop the threat and in turn was exposed to a powerful extra-dimensional energy.

She gained the ability to convert her body to pure raw energy. Soon, the papers began to refer to her as “Captain Marvel”. It wasn’t long after that she’d run into issues controlling her vast new power and her growing energy abilities almost made her a danger to the public. With the help of Iron Man & Spider-man she was able to successfully release the excess of it safely. She made the decision to utilize her powers to fight for the good of the earth under the name she was given by the media. Using the same name of a pervious male super hero Mar-vell, she’d quickly drawn attention of Earth’s mightiest heroes, The Avengers. Joining the team she worked her way up as one of the greatest members in their ranks and eventually accepted the role of leader of the team. Her story is pretty awesome and as a kid growing up she was one of the main superheroes I’d known as the leader of The Avengers along with Captain America & The Wasp.

To me Monica’s Captain Marvel should have been given the chance to front her own MCU movie. As much as I do agree with what the overall points that Larson has been trying to make about “white dudes”, it appears a bit like she’s been trying to exploit the topic of diversity to gather attention for her movie. With the topic being a big part of her MCU campaign, I’ve been perplexed since I’d first heard many of her comments about diversity, just why Marvel chose her character to be the “Captain Marvel” we see in the first female led superhero MCU movie. As a white woman herself and the FIRST female Captain Marvel being ‘Monica Rambeau’, (a character of color who worked her way to the top roster of the Avengers) isn’t it a bit odd to choose ‘Carol Danvers’ who only first took the Captain Marvel mantle as recently as 2012?

I do think Larson should have addressed this, especially with her campaign for diversity in the film industry recently gathering so much attention. She maybe even could have even suggested the character for the movie be Rambeau, in respect to the iconic character and just diversity in film in general. Whatever the case, it’s good to get the history of the female Captain Marvel character out there for discussion, in my opinion Marvel made a HUGE mis-step in not presenting the true original female Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau for the upcoming movie. 

 

Is There An Evil Online Conspiracy Against ‘The Last Jedi’?!

Wow, I wasn’t even planning on writing about ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ because let’s face it, there’s enough material about this movie online for you to read for decades. However after seeing the movie and being thoroughly disappointed, (and more so everyday the more I think about it) I’ve become well aware that I’m NOT the only one who feels this way. Some SPOILERS ahead….

What inspired me to write this post is the recent news of the giant backlash against the movie from fans simply being called a conspiracy by anti-social justice warriors who’re irate about the inclusion of strong female characters & racial diversity in the new movie. It’s claimed they’ve essentially hacked Rotten Tomatoes and have brought the fan score to a whopping low of 54% while the critics reviews rate it 92% fresh. I’ve decided to put my opinion here, to state as a long time fan, since I was a little boy, that the reason I disliked The Last Jedi has absolutely zero to do with strong female characters, white males, racial diversity, or anything that has to do with the current political landscape of the real world.

It actually upsets me that Disney simply can’t accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, their $200 million plus budget movie might not have pleased a huge number of long time fans. I can see many reasons why people absolutely love The Last Jedi AND I can also see just as many reasons why people may absolutely despise it. It may for some all revolve around shitty people being racist, sexist, bigots who’re furious about Rey being female and Finn being a black male fronting the franchise now. I however don’t think that’s the case for most, as The Force Awakens holds an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes by fans and I highly doubt everyone suddenly became upset about the sex and race of characters between the last movie and this one. No, the people I know who were disappointed had completely different issues with the movie entirely. Continue reading

Is Marvel Comics Exploiting Diversity?

I’ve been seeing an increase  of stories recently online & on social media about Marvel Comics and it’s continuing sales slump. Most of the articles bring up the hot topic of diversity, some say that Marvel’s record low sales of their comics books are simply because of rising cover prices & lack of fresh new ideas for their characters. Others say that it’s directly due to it’s attempt at diversifying it’s star characters by changing their race, gender & sexual orientation. Most of their popular character’s titles have had a bit of a revamp lately, for instance Wolverine is now female, so is Thor, so is Iron Man, Cap is black, the Hulk is now Korean-American etc. etc. You get the point. Could these changes really be the reason why sales are down? Do people just simply hate diversity in the Marvel Comics titles?

I really doubt that it’s really that simple, though rising cover prices and lack of fresh ideas definitely doesn’t help their low sales. What I see personally happening is a bit of a trend within Marvel Comics that feels a bit insincere. I honestly don’t really mind that the traditional characters have been replaced but I do feel Marvel’s move to make all these changes to their most popular titles feels as if they’ve been exploiting diversity to make a quick buck. What I’m saying is that it feels like Marvel is just trying way too hard to be current on these topics rather than crafting interesting stories. I don’t believe you can simply take all of your money maker superhero titles, simply change their identities and expect them all to suddenly bring you boatloads of cash because you finally decided to make them more diverse. It’s just not that simple folks. Continue reading

Did Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ Really Deserve All The Hate?!

Ok so I’m eight episodes in on Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ and I’m honestly not quite sure what all the crazy hatin’ on it is all about. I liked all the Marvel Netflix stuff so far, Daredevil being the best, then Luke Cage and so far I’m feeling like Iron Fist and Jessica Jones are pretty much on the same level. I remember being a bit bored during ALL of the ‘Marvel Netflix’ shows at some point or another, they are ALL about 3-5 episodes too long. I think keeping them around an 8 episode affair would easily be the best structure for these shows. 

Iron Fist does move a bit on the slow side from the start, but like the previous Marvel series they all take waaaaay too long to get to the real meat n’ potatoes of it all. The fight scenes range here from good to sloppy, nothing mind blowing but they feel in line with what we have seen thus far from Marvel for the most part. Check out the “nunchucks” scene below, it’s clear Finn jones is definitely no Bruce Lee!  It would have been really cool if they had really took the opportunity to amp of the kung fu to something truly mind blowing. Not sure why they didn’t go that route but if they had this show could have been spectacular. As far as crazy martial arts / action I think Daredevil has succeeded most and remains the best of the bunch. Overall though as much as I do enjoy watching the Marvel Netflix stuff I think all of it ends up a tad on the bland side of things still. The street level realism is personally getting a bit boring in my opinion. They’re better executed than the movies and have definitely had better villains than the theatrical stuff but still there’s something missing. In my opinion ‘Logan’ has set a new standard for the live action superhero stuff.

That being said Iron Fist I think is actually an OK series. I was really prepared for something truly horrendous but I’ve actually had a fairly fun time with the series so far. the amount of shit this show has gotten has reached laughable levels online, like the other Marvel Netflix stuff was The Shawshank Redemption or some shit. The writing is indeed not award worthy but I’ve kinda enjoyed it for that. It’s a bit ridiculous at times with characters their odd “motivations”, Danny Rand is certainly quite a bit different in the way he acts and deals with things. But kinda I dig that aspect of the show. Rand is pretty naive and seems quite often a bit clueless. I’m guessing that it’s because he spent the last 15 years training in the mystical city of K’un-Lun with monks in another dimension. He’s basically new to the real world, as he went missing when he was tween. He’s a bit bratty, he’s got a crazy kinda weird unpredictable temper and though he’s supposed to be “enlightened” he’s a bit of a spoiled privileged poser. Hey those people really do exist, I’ve met a few in my time.

He throws tantrums and really hasn’t much of a clue what to do with his business and his insane inherited wealth. I like his ‘flaws’, he kinda acts a bit like a clueless rich white teenager who’s got a good heart but is a bit of a dipshit. Rand’s got some realism to him, that maybe wasn’t the show’s intention but I’m kinda glad he’s not a carbon copy of Matt Murdock. This could all be due some bad writing but in this case it kinda actually works in the series favor. I also thought Colleen Wing was pretty cool too, she steals the show from Danny Rand quite often and is just as much of main character here. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up getting her own series with Misty Knight, ‘Daughters of the Dragon’ anyone?

There’s a lot I would have done differently here with this show. It should have a TON more crazy kung fu action, it shouldn’t have been 13 episodes and it most definitely should have had the costume dammit!!! That alone would have set this apart from the last two series, we need way more of a superhero presence in these shows, this one was one I was certain was going to deliver on that front. I could easily see this character come up with a bit of a cheezy flashy classic inspired Iron Fist costume and it making perfect sense. Danny Rand should be the one kinda clueless dude who sports a questionable “superhero” costume.

Marvel should play off of that aspect of the character and let Iron Fist go over the top. They hopefully up the ante’ ten fold with his kung fu escapades when we see him next. That being said we definitely DON’T need anymore rich white superheroes. Or anymore weatlhy superheroes for that matter. Let Rand be the last of em’. I’m glad they chose to go with a character based more on his comic book counterpart, I think it was a good choice and it raised some good controversial conversations that perhaps needed to happen in the ever changing spectrum of modern pop culture. Again we also see some pretty piss poor villains, why can’t Marvel get this shit right? This “street level realism” is getting a bit old, bring out some crazy costumed villains already. Even the movies suffer from this, The shows are the perfect place to build excellent villains, they have the time to develop them and I’m not quite sure what Marvel is afraid of. They did a good job with the Kingpin, tried their best with the Purple Man but still they were too afraid to make the guy actually purple!

 I also don’t see the show as ‘racist’ after viewing it thus far and I think that whole aspect of things was way blown out of proportion by critics. Iron Fist is proof if anything that Marvel needs a new formula, if they go for a season two with Iron Fist I’ve got a feeling it’ll be quite different with all the flaws everyone has been pointing out. Let’s hope the Defenders brings something truly unique to the table…

Is Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ Really Rooted in Racism?

It’s a hot topic here the past couple days surrounding the upcoming Netflix series ‘Iron Fist’ online. The series starring Finn Jones as the legendary kung fu playboy vigilante has come under fire for it’s supposed racist roots and just plain shitty all around reviews. It’s been slammed pretty hard by the critics calling it “boring” and “racially uncomfortable” with it’s white male lead. Apparently Finn Jones shut down his Twitter because of the online backlash from people who’re calling him out personally as part of the problem.

Now I’m not sure whether the show really sucks or not, I haven’t seen it. I’m curious to see if it’s indeed as bad as critics are saying or if perhaps this racial controversy is really the root of all the negative reviews. I thought the previews looked ok but the whole set up looks a bit too familiar. The problem seems that people are upset that the character, who is a white male in the original comic books, should have been recast and played by an Asian actor in the new series. Then it was stated that many were against the idea of a recast because having an Asian actor in the role of the “martial arts guy” played too strongly into racial stereotypes. A bit of a double edged sword it seems. Continue reading

Extra! Extra! A Collection of Superheroes Punching Nazis!

Punching Nazis is all the rage these days! It’s never been a more popular thing than right now and while I really don’t want to condone punching anyone, I’ll admit that I’m not particularly saddened when I find out that it happens! This whole punching Nazis thing is nothing new, especially in comic books. So here’s some great images to satisfy that urge to kick some Racist Nazi booty! Take a scroll down and get it out of your system for the moment! Again I don’t condone violence, but hey what’s not to love about seeing a good nazi knock out in the comics?! Yeeehaw lets go!

 

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Comic Book Review: Black #3 Continues The Conversation…

I just checked out issue #3 of Black Mask’s controversial new series “Black” which tells a unique superhero story where only black people have superhuman powers. I’ve been pretty intrigued with the series so far & it’s interesting spin on the superhero genre. The series is produced by an all black team focusing on the continual racial tensions rising in our country. It tackles some tough scenarios where blacks are brutally abused and killed by white people and with all the media focus these days covering the racial divides this book fits in nicely with the current conversation that has been finally addressed and put into the mainstream.

That being said so far each issue has had a very similar theme and the tone of the book is dark and clearly angry. It reminds me a bit of the vibe that the X-men once had as mutants dealt with discrimination from the public who feared their superhuman powers and differences from “normal” humans. Issue #3 continues the story of an evil corporation looking to exploit the the superhuman powers of the teams main character by way of tissue sample. It makes you face some things you might not want to address normally in a comic and it’s likely going to start conversation in the comic book world amongst readers of all skin colors. So far I find it a solid read with some pretty sweet artwork to boot.
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Comic Book Review: Black #2

Issue #2 of Black Mask’s new series ‘Black’ was one I’d been looking forward to checking out. The premise of the book thus far is that black people are discovered to possess superhuman powers and which are unique only to them. We’ve got a story from issue number one that seems ripped from today’s headlines as three innocent black teenagers are attacked by corrupt cops. When one one of the wounded teens figure out he’s got superhuman powers he escapes the police and meets a mysterious man who promises to train him hone his unique abilities.

Issue #2 follows the main character Kareem as he’s being trained how to fight by his new allies and soon he sets off on his first mission in New Orleans. A bit of a nod to the X-men. The story continues to show some truly vile white red necks as they attempt to kill a black man by burning him alive in the woods. But remember, some people possess super powers and soon the white trash have got some serious problems on their hands when Kareem and his crew arrive. The man who’s to be burned becomes the burner. That’s not all though they’re also being followed by powerful secret Gov’t agents who’re intent on capturing them. Yeah they show up too. I’m enjoying this series so far, it goes the distance perhaps a bit far with the consistent theme of racism throughout the first two issues. It tries really hard to pull heartstrings.  I liked how the first issue kicked off as it felt pretty damn relevant but by issue number two the racism showcased again seemed a bit forced. I hope that this series is not only and just a continuous series of horrendous racist events occurring to the black characters. I expected of course this team to be tackling this serious problem but so far it’s come on pretty strong.

 

I think it’s important for this series to have something to say about the real life issues people are facing but I hope every issue isn’t always focusing on this. It could be coincidence that this issue features extreme life threatening racism once again & we’ll see what the next issue holds. I’d like to see the story tackle these issues of racism but I’d also like to see our characters experience different threats in their adversaries for different reasons. I don’t feel every issue needs to cover the topic of race, unless that is indeed the sole purpose of this book. Now that’s not to say that the book doesn’t feature some positive non-black characters, it definitely does and I dig the offbeat idea of once race developing powers. It’s a cool twist and certainly empowering -I hope they bring about some truly memorable black super heroes from this book.

I’m hoping issue #3 branches out a bit more and sprinkles the racism about in a more believable manner. A good example would be the Luke Cage Netflix series which handles the issues pretty gracefully without feeling forced. I’m not sure every central character needs to have his origin buried in a racist act. The second issue brings some pretty decent solid artwork back along with a simplistic easy to follow story. That being said I do feel that this issue is bit to quick of a read. We get a lot of big panels with pretty minimal dialogue which with new comics means it takes about five minutes to read.  Also we get a pretty shocking cover sure to raise some eyebrows. Anyway I’ll be around to check out issue #3 to see exactly where this story is all headed. Overall a unique series thus far worth picking up if you’re looking for something a bit different from the average super hero tale… 

 

Comic Book Review: The Skeptics & Black #1

The Skeptics #1 (Black Mask)

I just read the debut issue for the new Black Mask series “The Skeptics” and was quite pleased with this sweet little intro to a thus far promising retro adventure. Brought to you by Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi we’ve got a solid story of two teenagers during the Cold War era that are brought in by the US government to test for paranormal abilities. There’s a claim made by the Soviets that they’ve got a new breed of soldier in the works, ones with intense psychic abilities. But is it just a hoax to scare us Americans during those tense times? Either way it doesn’t matter because of course the US is determined to find people with similar unique abilities here in our own country to face off with the Soviets.

Well all just is not what it seems when Mary and Maxwell are brought in for testing, for unknown reasons these two have figured out a way to to trick the scientists and even the President into believing they’ve got telekinetic abilities. The President claims they’re the key to stopping World War 3 but it seems there’s more going on than meets the eye. The two young “psychics” quickly decide to take matters into their own hands when they realize that perhaps it’s not a hoax. The Soviets may indeed be harboring people with superhuman abilities. 

I had a pretty fun time with the first issue, it’s really simplistic, pure story telling with some decent artwork as well. It’s a refreshing break from all of the ultra edgy stuff being cranked out these days, I’ll check out issue number two and see just where this all goes but either way the debut is worth a look if you’re looking for something a little different.

 

Black #1 (Black Mask)

Here’s another decent debut issue that finds it’s plot ripped from the media headlines. It’s a story about police corruption and racism in America with a superhero twist. We’ve got corrupt white cops who shoot down three black teens who’ve done nothing wrong in broad daylight on the streets of the inner city. Sound familiar?

Well things get more interesting when one of the teens who’s presumed dead awakens alive and well in the ambulance on the way to the hospital with seemingly superhuman energy and endurance. On the run from the cops he meets a Morpheus like character (from the movie The Matrix) who helps him to safety and soon it’s revealed that people do indeed exist on this planet with superhuman powers….except only those who are black can have them. This like The Skeptics is also a pretty quick and simple read with an  interesting spin on the superhero genre. This idea spun out of a Kickstarter campaign and was soon picked up by Black Mask. The art adds to the experience as it’s really well drawn and in black and white.

The writing for this by Kwanza Osajyefo is solid yet at the same time a bit on the predictable side. Starting out with a fairly popular view point being, corrupt cops are running rampant and they kill black people for no apparent reason. I think it’s fair to say from most of the news stories we’ve heard reported on point to this similar scenario. So we’ve definitely got a story here thats basis is controversial and hotly debated. I can already see people being upset about the race issue presented here, it is indeed written to get a response from white readers and continue the much needed dialogue about racial tension today. I think however it’s not much really of a different concept than say “Y The Last Man” yet this comic’s timing probably is the most controversial aspect of it.

Overall I dig it, the idea of just one race being graced with superpowers is an odd angle but given the recent headlines this one’s certain to make some waves. It’s also written & drawn by an all black team as the above The Skeptics is an all female team. So we’re getting a lot more projects out there now that are created with race appropriate and gender appropriate teams attached. It I guess raises questions about whether or not it’s ok in modern times to have people writing books that aren’t of the same gender or race of the characters in the book? This topic alone has become somewhat of an issue lately for movies, books and tv shows. I’m still under the belief that at the end of the day in works of fiction, in a free society none of that needs to really be micro-analyzed. So therefore I welcome anyone to bring a unique story to the table no matter what their race, gender, sexuality or association may be. With that being said I’m curious to see where the story of “Black” ultimately goes. I’ll be back for a second issue…   

Identity Crisis: Is Marvel Ashamed of Their Classic Characters?

I have been pretty open about the fact that I really don’t read any Marvel Comics anymore these days and part of the problem for me is that they just don’t intrigue me the way they used to even a decade ago. I guess I was inspired to write my thoughts here as a bit of a response to the recent news that now Tony Stark will be retired as Iron Man soon. That’s fine by me but It seems that Marvel just can’t stop changing their classic characters races and genders. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s always been an interesting concept to take a character like Iron Man even back in the 1980’s & have James Rhodes take over the suit or Bucky & The Falcon taking over the mantle of Captain America. However more recently it appears that Marvel is on a mission to change up nearly every classic character’s identity in some way shape or form. I mean the Fucking Hulk has even changed into The Totally Awesome Hulk with Amadeus Cho as the alter ego.  

I totally understand that Marvel is trying go a long with current social issues by trying to incorporate more diversity into their comic books. I really do commend them for the effort but after numerous changes to the gender, race and identities of Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Wolverine and now Iron Man (there are likely more) it’s beginning to seem like Marvel has just run out of good stories for their classics. Or perhaps people indeed are really fucking bored with the traditional Marvel universe? Marvel these days seems more worried about what race and gender their classic character’s are than giving people truly intriguing stories.

 I don’t mind a little change up here and there, in fact I totally dig it (heck I loved when Heather Hudson took on the role of Vindicator and lead Alpha Flight-it was a smooth, intelligent totally righteous transition) but it seems that Marvel has largely forgotten that they could simply bring more existing characters into the limelight rather than giving all of their classics a brand new identity? I think it’d be equally exciting to get some some brand new superheroes on the shelf rather than constantly changing the classics. I know times have changed and more people than ever read comics, it’s not just the stereotypical geeky men of yesteryear buying them up, so naturally they may want to rethink their strategy. I get it. 

 

It’s actually become somewhat of a  predictable move for Marvel in 2016, deciding to ditch Tony Stark and reboot a new series with a female Iron Man but (a bit odd to still call the book “The Invincible Iron Man” with a female lead, it must be because they don’t want to risk losing any money ditching the name?). I don’t think it’s really that odd of an idea for a woman to design her own Iron Man armor and start kicking ass. Though it seems like Marvel might trying a tad too hard to be relevant in 2016. We all know controversy does sell quite well…

 

For me there has always been a lot of pleasure in picking up a comic book and reading stories that take me away from our daily routines, media trends, political ideals, online debates and reality in general. I want as much diversity in comics as possible but it’s not feeling real genuine to me these days from the big Marvel cash machine doing anything it can to make a quick buck. I’ve heard as well the debates now heating up about the race and gender of the writers and that they’ve got to match the characters of the comic book they are writing…At some point I think all of this becomes a bit of a drag.

We’re talking about characters that were intended for kids that now have become somewhat of hot button for everyone and their mother & father to get all up in arms about. The landscape of comic books has changed quite a bit over the years and at least Marvel’s approach feels like they’re desperately trying to fit in. Perhaps it’s true people are tired of the old gang of Tony Starks and Bruce Banners. Perhaps their story has already been told and feels tired but I’m hoping Marvel will at some point settle on “who’s who” and let us all just get on with some incredible superhero stories. What do you think? Are you bored with the classic characters? Is Marvel setting bold new trends? Let me know what you think!