MIKE GOLD: Perception
Yesterday, ComicMix’s Matt Raub wrote a story about the possibility of noted actor Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury in the upcoming Iron Man move. I hope that’s true; he would be the perfect choice.
Matt noted that this would probably be the Ultimates version of Fury. I thought about that for a while. Clearly, the perception is that since both this version and Mr. Jackson are black and the Marvel universe version is white, the movie version is based upon the Ultimates. That makes sense, but if you think about it, the only differences between the two are the character’s race, his age, and his rank. It is unlikely the movie would burden itself with Fury’s World War II backstory, and it really doesn’t matter if Fury is a colonel or a general. And unless there’s a plot point that is relevant to the story, his race doesn’t matter either, outside of a much-needed superhero role model.
The fact is, movies exist in their own universe – not in the Ultimates universe or the Marvel universe. But since Jackson is black, we (including me) are likely to perceive this relationship.
I’m reminded of this because a couple blocks from this past weekend’s New York City’s Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) wonderful independent comics convention was Manhattan’s annual Gay Pride march. Over a million strong. And the focal point of the parade is the same-sex marriage bill that’s before the New York State senate. The governor already said he’d sign it.
Of course, there’s plenty of opposition. Some people – for reasons that completely defy me – feel their marriage and the entire “institution” of marriage would be threatened if this bill passed. That makes no sense. There is a perception on the part of some that this is true, but the only proof they offer is that “marriage is between a man and a woman,” which is asinine, or that the only purpose of marriage is procreation, which spits in the face of heterosexual couples who cannot conceive, either for reasons of health or age.
This is what we call bigotry. The Nick Fury story is not.
There is also the perception that churches would be forced to violate their principles by having to perform same-sex marriages. This is also asinine. Churches get to make such exceptions all the time. Some will not perform interfaith marriages. Some will not perform burials unless the deceased had met, in life, certain criteria. Religion, enjoying the privileges of the First Amendment, is exempt from performing functions that violate its principles.
As Jon Stewart has said, “You mean, I don’t have to marry a guy? Then what’s the problem.” Live and let live. Let’s not get bent out of shape about how the folks down the road want to live their lives.
Just as we hope the only criterion for casting Nick Fury is the quality of the actor’s work.