Marvel’s Occupy Avengers Provides a Superhero Team for the Ninety-Nine Percent

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Whatever you think of Civil War II or the character of Hawkeye, there’s a really intriguing book coming out of all of this that seems to further Marvel’s mission of inclusion and addressing issues of social justice through comics via Marvel NOW!

David Walker, writer of the sadly-canceled Nighthawk series, will be penning a new book for Marvel NOW! called Occupy Avengers. The series, which will be drawn by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, will focus on Hawkeye post-Civil War; a Hawkeye who’s totally fed up with superheroes and the way they handle things. Whereas superheroes deal with saving “The World,” Clint Barton wants to create a working-class, blue-collar team of Avengers to deal with more everyday injustices.

In an interview with Blastr, Walker talks about this upcoming title and what he hopes it will accomplish, as well as his experience with Nighthawk. Check it out:

Hawkeye has never grabbed my attention as a hero, despite the fact that friends of mine were raving about the Hawkeye book being written by one of my favorite writers, Matt Fraction. To me, he was always The Boring Avenger. The way he’s been written in the Avengers films hasn’t helped. However, my feelings about him have probably been caused by seeing him in the wrong environment. If he’s as blue-collar as Walker says, it makes sense that we’d be seeing him at his worst around billionaire playboys with iron suits and gods and superhumans with powers. It’ll be great to see Hawkeye in his element, leading a group of people like him.

I’m also thrilled that a writer of color will be taking on this book and getting into issues of economic disparity and police brutality. To me all the arts, whether they be “low-brow” pop culture or “high-brow” high art, exist not only to allow us to escape our world, but to help us examine it. In the YouTube comments section under the above interview, one person made the comment, “I think marvel is a little too drunk on the social commentary & “Big Moments” right now. They need to take some time and reflect honestly …”

The thing is, comics have always been about social commentary. Historically, that’s basically what they were for. In the 1940s and 50s, the comics industry was the one place in which artists and writers who couldn’t be employed in mainstream publishing—Jewish creators, gay creators, female creators, black creators, etc.—could tell their stories and do their part to change the way people thought about inclusion. This is why adults started to panic about the morality of comics in the 1950s, and books like Frederic Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent became popular. Suddenly, this art form that was often overlooked and demeaned because it was “for kids” had become a safe haven for marginalized creators that were now free to spout their ideas at impressionable young minds.

And those with power always have the most to lose when that happens.

Comics is at a similar point right now, and as companies like Marvel aim to diversify both their characters and their creators, we’re going to be getting all the social commentary from the point of view of communities mainstream comics readers have never had to listen to before. We’re also going to be getting all the backlash that goes along with that kind of progress.

I, for one, am excited for this shift and will be putting Occupy Avengers on my pull list immediately.

(via Blastr, image via Marvel)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.