Dear Fanboys, a Diverse, Female-Led Marvel Animated Series Is Not About ‘SJWs’ and ‘PC’ Culture
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) December 7, 2017
Marvel answered many fans’ prayers when they announced Marvel Rising, an animated franchise that will feature some of our most beloved female and diverse superheroes. Shockingly (not shocked), the blowback was swift, harsh and mean from the subset of comics fans that reacts to anything like change with attacks and the sound of a distant fit being thrown.
“The next generation of Marvel heroes is here,” Marvel titled their Marvel Rising post on Facebook, showing off a teaser for the first animated film, Secret Warriors, which is comprised of some of the comics’ most popular and breakout characters: Captain Marvel, America Chavez, Squirrel Girl, Patriot, Spider-Gwen (as Ghost Spider), Quake, Inferno, and Exile.
There will be digital shorts featuring Spider-Gwen rocking this “Ghost Spider” moniker prior to Secret Warriors‘ release, and as a whole Marvel Rising comprises, according to Buzzfeed, “a new multi-platform animated franchise set to launch in 2018.”
For many of us, the Marvel Rising roster reads like a mad fever dream of our favorite heroes that we never imagined would get so much attention and a high-profile opportunity, let alone together. And incredibly, it seems like Marvel listened to the rallying cries for better representation, extending this care into the voice actors’ casting. As Slashfilm notes, “in an even greater bid for diversity, the vast majority of the actors voicing them are also people of color — including some familiar Marvel TV faces.”
But as our commenter Timothy Renzi pointed out, almost immediately, the backlash began on Marvel’s social media announcements. While there was a huge outpouring of enthusiasm about the project, with many excited to see their favorite characters and thrilled about the casting choices (especially Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Ming-Na Wen as the villain Hala, Chloe Bennet voicing Daisy Johnson/Quake, and Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Posey as Inferno), some of the top-voted and debated comments proceed as follows. Because we can never have nice things.
This is an impressive start out the gate, as this comment manages to hit “SJW,” “diversity,” and “virtue-signaling,” with the player clearly trying to score a BINGO on their angry white male privilege card:
Sometimes these comments are so exceptionally composed I could almost believe them to be satire:
I, too, am shaking my damn head:
They’re onto us!!! What will become now of our dastardly plans for feminist domination? I printed all these propaganda flyers …
Moving right along:
Have you … have you ever actually read a Marvel comic, bro?
Girl superheroes are only for girls and they mostly concern rainbows and lollypops. You know, girl things.
It intrigues me how often “anti-PC” Internet comments include the phrase “shoving it down our throats” on a whole variety of subjects. It’s become a shorthand: see something you don’t immediately agree with and suddenly it’s being forcibly rammed down your gullet. Weird.
Stop FAILING, Marvel! At this rate, you’re never going to be a contender.
Over on Marvel’s twitter, the deeply nuanced and thoughtful dialogue on the nature of inclusion and representation continued:
What worked, exactly? My all-time favorite heroes are Black Panther & Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) & Squirrel Girl & Young Avengers. Why is the fact that there *happen* to be more female heroes than male heroes and some of the heroes aren’t white make them “bad diversity heroes”?
— Anthony Jackson (@AToTheJacks) December 7, 2017
Cool plan for definitely giving something an unbiased chance:
I’ll definitely watch an episode of marvel rising and then hate it after that episode and go back to good ol comics some reliable that won’t or at least hasn’t yet destroyed itself.
— Darick Fair (@UltimateSpiderX) December 8, 2017
I also hate politically correct characters, preferring characters that have never been politically correct, like CAPTAIN AMERICA:
“Politically correct marvel characters the animation” should be the title
— Catelli (@gabrielncatelli) December 7, 2017
I don’t like this thing that doesn’t appear to be about me, so it’s bad!
This looks like total unadulterated crap!!! bye bye Marvel hope you end the avengers universe well because after that this just looks bad!
— ShadyKillas69 (@shadykillas69) December 7, 2017
And now for something completely different:
I’m very excited for this! Can’t relate to those who only wanna see the same titles again and again. Must be boring lol. Only brain dead people can’t deal with change. The world is always changing, and this is a change for the better.
— July (@ZhangJuly) December 8, 2017
My guy … you do not get to drag Spider Jerusalem into this.
— Weaponized Nerd Rage (@WeaponizedRage) December 7, 2017
Be more like chillmarvelite:
Absolutely love it. Socially relevant and creative moves like this is exactly why I still read/watch superhero stories and want to join in () on the fun. Keep at it!
— Christopher (@chillmarvelite) December 7, 2017
I mean, part of me totally understands some of these fans’ knee-jerk, fearful reaction: it’s quite scary not to see yourself reflected in popular media. But I wish they would imagine what it’s like for that to be your default state, as it is for so many of us.
What’s refreshing to witness is how many people, of many different backgrounds, were quick to rush in and fight the naysayers on the Marvel Rising threads. But it’s dispiriting how we have to go through this every single time that Marvel or DC does something that’s not specifically aimed at a certain demographic that thinks they are single-handedly keeping the comics industry afloat and feel threatened to see changes in their titles and other media. I have to admit that of all mediums, it always confuses me to see comics fans go into an SJW-attacking, yelling about diversity virtue-signaling rage.
Comics have, from their inception, been about mercurial, often ostracized characters who die, come back, change their identities, change their minds, pass on their mantles. And superhero comics have, from their inception, been about fighting authoritarianism, challenging the status quo, shining a blinding light on racism, antisemitism, sexism—and allowing our heroes to literally punch avatars of these evils in the face.
Superheroes exist to make the world a better place for everyone. Maybe before you start a rant about feminist agendas or companies capitulating to demands for social justice and greater diversity, you should stop and ask yourself what your favorite hero whose legacy you think you’re defending would have to say to you on the subject.
Ultimately, however, Marvel Rising is much bigger than the current culture wars adults are mired in. It’s intended for the next generation. These are the superheroes they’re going to see and love on-screen as they grow up, and that’s so important that it cancels out all of the rest of our noise.
My 11-yr-old daughter just read Squirrel Girl, and I’m so excited that we’ll be able to share this! Thank you, @Marvel!
— Joshua C Carroll (@JoshTellsAStory) December 8, 2017
(image: Marvel Comics)
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