Emily S. Whitten: Marvel Civil War – Prose vs. Graphic Novel

Emily S. Whitten

Emily S. Whitten writes everything from news, reviews, and interviews to how-tos, con round-ups, and opinion pieces for ComicMix and others; as well as comics featured on ComicMix, MTV.com, and Reelz.com; and occasionally even award-winning poetry and fiction. When she's not writing for fun or profit, she’s sharing geeky thoughts on the Fantastic Forum radio show and podcast Made of Fail. Emily is a convention organizer and consultant, and co-chair of the fourth North American Discworld Convention, which she co-founded. She has been Program Coordinator for Awesome Con and staff for several genre cons. Emily is a program moderator for Awesome Con and Fan2Sea; and you might also recognize her from her days of answering questions online as her alter-ego, Ask Deadpool. In her copious spare time, Emily enjoys crafting and cosplay, and looking after the cutest three-legged dwarf hamster in the world, ElliePuff. Oh, and when she's not doing all that, Emily is an active member of The National Press Club and holds down a 9-to-5 as a senior attorney for the federal government - although that may just be her superheroine cover identity.

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4 Responses

  1. mike weber says:

    “Servo Lectio”?

    Tom Servo gives lectures?

  2. George Haberberger says:

    I haven’t read the prose version of Civil War but I read the comics and a few of the ancillary titles. I enjoyed the story early on because the conflict was between two groups of, as Ms.Whitten says, sympathetic characters.

    Important things happened. None more important than Spider-Man revealing his identity and all the ramifications that that entailed. Then of course, that all went away when Spider-Man sold his soul to the devil, so the biggest event became a cheat. I stopped reading Spider-Man after that.

    It would have been nice if the two groups had remained sympathetic characters but Iron Man and the pro-registration faction were quickly demonized. I guess that made it an easier story to write. There was a scene in which Stark held up a sheaf of papers and said something like, “I have here a list of names…” evoking the tactics of Joe McCarthy. Of course anyone who is using McCarthy’s tactics is automatically the bad guy. (This is an argument for another day but “Blacklisted by History” by M. Stanton Evans makes the case that McCarthy was right. There really were communists in the government and he did expose them.)

    People were killed by the reckless actions of the New Warriors attempting to subdue Nitro. (This seemed very familiar to Magog and the incident in Kingdom Come.) People would be calling for registration, if not an outright ban on super-heroes.

    The aspect of the series that soured me on the story was that the pro-registration faction was portrayed as the conservative (read “wrong”) side. The idea that people with super-powers should have to register with the government seems to be a liberal view. Correlate having super-powers with having a handgun. In the case of some characters, their powers would be akin to a person in our world having a rocket launcher or nuclear weapon. Conservatives are usually anti-registration. Liberals favor registration. Yet in Civil War the views are reversed. I think Captain America would be against registration but that is a conservative view. Captain America was the sympathetic character so obviously he could not be conservative.

    • Emily W says:

      Thanks for your comments, George. Interestingly, I did feel the comics version was actually slightly more balanced than the prose version, in which, yes, Iron Man et. al were somewhat demonized. Still a great story either way.