So Marvel recently announced the introduction of two fresh faces in the shoes of some of our most popular and recognizable Avengers. A woman shall be taking up the mantle of Thor, as Thor Odinson has been deemed unworthy of Mjolnir and thus, his name. Also, Sam Wilson will be getting a promotion from his role as Falcon, donning the stars and stripes as the new Captain America. He’ll be carrying Cap’s shield, but he’ll also be keeping his wings, so he’ll have a very unique costume, which is a sort of mishmash of the two looks. Meanwhile, Marvel’s fanbase has been collectively flipping their shit. So what do I think?
I think it’s fantastic. Yeah yeah, I’ve heard all the arguments against it. “Why not make new characters instead of changing the existing ones?” “This is just being politically correct for the sake of being correct!” But it hasn’t swayed my opinion. Marvel does make black and female characters. Heck, Sam isn’t a new character, he’s just suddenly getting a lot more press because he’s taken on the role of one of Marvel’s A-list heroes. Thor has had Sif for as long as anyone can remember, but we’re only having this conversation because this new woman is holding Mjolnir, taking on Thor’s name. And both of these names have been passed on to others in the past. Thor has been a variety of things, including a frog and a horse-faced alien dude. And earlier this summer we had an entire movie about a character that not only has taken up Cap’s shield in the comics, but will likely do so in future movies as well. So unless you specifically have a problem with these characters being female and black, this isn’t news. As for political correctness? That’s honestly just a fancy way of putting down Marvel for giving a shit about readers besides the while male audience who have been the focus of Marvel’s attention for decades. And it’s a pretty shitty thing to do to be complaining that kids that aren’t white and male are going to have a few more characters to look up to.
I mean, look at that Avengers lineup. Every last one of those characters is a white male, aside from Black Widow, whose assets are pointed at the camera in virtually all the promotional material for the film, just in case anyone was about to forget that Scarlett Johansson is an attractive lady that straight guys will enjoy oogling. What I’m saying is that adding a little diversity isn’t going to overrun Marvel’s lineup with political correctness, it’s just going to mean white male characters will be slightly less dominant in the Marvel universe. And maybe this doesn’t interest you. Maybe you have no desire to read a Captain America comic unless it’s Steve wearing those colors. That’s fine. But it doesn’t mean Marvel is doing a bad thing by doing this, because to some kids out there, this is going to make all the difference in the world.
Remember Miles Morales? I was furious when Marvel announced his introduction. I didn’t have any desire to see anyone in the Spider-Man suit except Peter Parker, and I felt that Marvel was wrecking the character for no reason other than to blatantly pander to politically correct audiences. But I’ve seen so many young black boys who suddenly have an interest in Spidey thanks to Miles, and I even found that after giving him a chance, Miles works much better as Spider-Man than modern-day Peter Parker, who’s now been in the tights for so long that Marvel has to keep fucking up the story just to find new ways to keep Peter fighting crime instead of retiring to a happy life at home. But most importantly, there’s tons of kids out there who don’t connect with the Marvel universe because all the best characters are white and male, and when Marvel allows someone who doesn’t fit that mold to take on the mantle of one of their top-tier heroes, it shows those kids that their gender or race isn’t an obstacle preventing them from achieving great things. It gives them a role model they otherwise would have ignored. And that’s more important than whether Marvel’s entrenched fanbase feels uncomfortable seeing someone new filling in the role of a beloved hero. At the end of the day, if you have a problem with this, you’re saying that your attachment to the status quo is more important than inspiring the children who are often ignored and marginalized by media. And that’s just selfish.