So the news is out and by “out” I meant the revelation of Iceman (of X-Men fame) coming out of the Fridge..er, I meant Closet. I’m certain that the reaction from Fanboys, Pop Culture enthusiasts and others will be both positive and negative backlash. (Of course.) While this is encouraging news for the LGBT Community, one may skeptically feel that this is just another pandering ploy from Marvel to sell more Comics especially since sales have dragged for quite some time.
Personally, I doubt that this was just another publicity stunt unlike Spider-Man revealing his identity in Public or Superman’s “Death”. Marvel is once again breaking barriers as they did by a previous outing 30 Years ago with Alpha Flight’s Northstar.
And before that, were other unrepresented groups in Comicdom such as Marvel’s Black Panther and The Falcon had set major milestones when it came to diversity.
But let’s be honest here for a minute. Homosexuals, just like African-Americans, Women and Jews are part of a reflection within society and needless to say, the aforementioned groups back then (and in some ways, still) faced unjustly persecution throughout the ages.
Now it is long overdue that they get the same recognition and representation among others, be it within Film, TV, Sports, Comics or even Videogames like Mortal Kombat X’s Kung Jin. If not for diversity, then everything would be too homogeneous and dull to say in the least.
I gotta give credit where credit is due. Marvel has often strived when embracing diversity.
Ergo, the accusations of pandering are baseless to agree because after all, Marvel is a business and as such, they want to reach out to many demographics as possible.
And having a superhero representing a certain Race, Religious affiliation or Sexual orientation is a good marketing strategy since there are many who can feel emphatic towards said hero for obvious reasons.
There of course, is the constant uproar from Fanboys when hearing about how their favorite characters have been replaced by Minorities and Women.
Let’s just take a look at the websites when news broke of Sam Wilson replacing Steve Rogers as Captain America or a Female Thor. The reaction was huge and some if not most, were livid!!
Then there’s that infamous TMZ article in which that dumb bitch Michelle Rodriquez said that Minority Actors should stop “stealing” White Superhero Roles. Michelle Baby, the minute you stop acting altogether, I’ll respect your asinine comments. Fair enough?
Yet everyone seemed Ok with Johnny Walker and Beta Ray Bill.
What’s important is that there has to be a credible storyline behind anyone replacing an iconic Comicbook Character. It has to be tantamount to the plot, that’s basically it!
This bold decision started when Denny o’ Neil and Neal Adams while working on DC’s Green Lantern run. In which the character John Stewart, a Black Man, assumed ownership of Hal Jordan’s Ring and then inducted within the Lantern Corps.
Marvel followed that same trend with James Rhodes taking over as Ironman (Also written by O’ Neil.) as Anthony Stark once again, falls victim to his Alcohol addiction.
This was perhaps one of the best comic arcs. The result was so positive, that Jim Rhodes became more than some secondhand sidekick.
Although the transition was temporary, the character was eventually revised as a whole new Superhero; War Machine. Frankly, I could really care less if Bobby Drake is Gay and nor should anyone else.
He’s not even a 3rd tier character for Fuck’s sake, so why the backlash from a few “set-in-their ways” individuals? Now, if it were revealed that Tony Stark was Gay all along with Rhodey being his Soulmate, then I would consider it pandering because it is way out of character. (Stark is a “Playa from da Himalayas”!)
So to all the diehards out there, just accept change it’s not always about pander, but progress.
The times are a changing, deal with it!