Tagged: Ms. Marvel

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

I don’t care what you say, 2020 could have been worse. Want proof? Marvel’s Civil War II didn’t come out in 2020, now did it?

Ah, Civil War II, the gift that kept on giving, even after we had taken it to the return window. It continued to haunt us in Ms. Marvel Vol 4 #20, after we thought we had put it out of our misery. Bear with me, to explain how, requires more back story than the Illustrated Man’s dorsal region.

Kamala Khan wasn’t always Ms. Marvel. Her latent Inhuman gene activated after she was exposed to the Terrigen Mist during Terrigenesis. That’s when she got powers and became protector of Jersey City. I realize that if you’re not up on Marvel continuity, the preceding sentences make no sense. I am up on Marvel continuity, after a fashion, and they don’t make complete sense to me. But explaining it further would make this column longer than Stephen King’s The Stand; abridged and unabridged versions. Combined. So, like a Lee fake fingernail, we press on.

Some months later, Kamala’s brother, Aamir Khan, was exposed to something. It wasn’t Terrigen, but it still gave Aamir powers. How it gave Aamir powers isn’t important, not unless we want to add Stephen King’s Under the Dome to this column’s word count. What is important is that Aamir got his powers when he was an adult.

During the events of Civil War II, Aamir openly displayed his super powers. Then, after Charles Worthy, a front man for Hydra, became Mayor of Jersey City, he started a policy of taking the city back from the “activist super heroes” who have disrupted Jersey City. To accomplish this, Worthy issued an executive order requiring all super heroes in Jersey City to register.

Aamir didn’t register. He was arrested pursuant to the executive order and held in a detention center, where a police officer reminded Aamir that he was an emigree who became a naturalized citizen when he was eight. The officer advised Aamir that “Under the new law, failing to disclose super-powers could potentially count as immigration fraud. If you obtained your citizenship under false pretenses, this could be grounds for revocation.” Meaning, Jersey City would revoke Aamir’s citizenship and deport him.

Jersey City may believe it’s like some little train engine going up a big hill, but it isn’t. Not only do I not think it can do this; I know it can’t.

Let’s deal with the ridiculous assumption, that if Aamir didn’t disclose powers he didn’t have at the time he became a naturalized citizen, he obtained his citizenship under false pretenses. Aamir didn’t have his powers when he was naturalized, he got them years later. To say he concealed something he didn’t have is like saying I – all 5 feet 7 inches of me – concealed my two-handed, behind-the-back slam dunk. Go ahead, try to conceal something you don’t have. That’s a trick that would fool Penn & Teller.

Aamir obtained nothing under false pretenses. The only false thing in the story is Mayor Worthy’s knowledge of the law. Especially if Worthy thought he could unconstitutionally apply an executive order which he issued after Aamir was naturalized to revoke Aamir’s citizenship. Don’t believe me? Look up the Ex Post Facto clause. Tell you what, I’ll save you a little research. You’ll find it in Article I §§ 9 and 10 of the United States Constitution. Next I’ll save you some time and tell you ex post facto is not a discontinued breakfast cereal but Latin for after the fact.

The Ex Post Facto clause says that neither the federal government (§ 9) nor a state (§ 10) can pass a law that punishes behavior that occurred before the law was passed. So Jersey City can’t revoke someone’s citizenship for not following an executive order that didn’t exist at the time that person became a citizen.

I know the Constitution doesn’t mention executive orders in the Ex Post Facto clause. But in ex post facto analysis there’s no real difference between an executive order and a law, so I don’t think that even the strictest textualist would deny relief on that pretext.

But let’s say that Jersey City could get past the arguments that Mayor Worthy’s executive order violated the Ex Post Facto clause– it can’t, but I have a few more words to go before I hit my word count quota, so I’ll use them up with another hypothetical – it still couldn’t use the executive order to argue that Aamir obtained his citizenship through fraud.

Remember how we proved Aamir didn’t conceal his super powers when he became a citizen, because he didn’t have any super powers when he became a citizen? (Yes, you do. Time may seem to pass more slowly during a pandemic lock down, but five paragraphs wasn’t that long ago.) That argument also negatives Jersey City’s fraud claim.

Fraud requires a specific intent to deceive to gain a benefit. That’s the culpable mental state of the crime. When Aamir was naturalized, he lacked an intent to deceive by concealing his super powers, because he lacked super powers.

Finally, does Mayor Worthy think he’s going to be able to use that fraud argument to expatriate Aamir and then deport him? If so, he’s dumber than a bag of door knobs. And not the good kind, we’re talking the kind that come out in your hand so you can’t open the door.

I refer you back to the Constitution. Specifically Article 1, § 8, clause 4 which gives the United States Congress the power to establish the rules of naturalization. Congress. You know, five hundred thirty-five men and women in Washington D.C. Not one mayor in central New Jersey. Give the mayor of Jersey City immigration authority? Hell, Congress wouldn’t even do that for Snooki.

So what does this mean? It means Jersey City wronged Mr. Khan bigly. We’re talking serious constitutional violations here, not Aamir inconvenience.

Mindy Newell: This Is My Country

“This is my country, Land of my birth, This is my country, Grandest on Earth

This is my country, Land of my choice, This is my country, Hear my proud voice.

“I pledge thee my allegiance, America the bold, For this is my country, To have and to hold”

This Is My Country (1940), Dan Raye – Lyrics, Al Jacobs – Music

Wow!

The sixth season of Homeland ended last night with an absolutely bang-up twisting cliffhanger and a final shot of Carrie staring at the Capitol building, mirroring the opening montage of earlier seasons that ended with Nicholas Brody staring at the White House.

Showtime did not give Homeland much publicity this year; the network instead focused on Billions – which stars Damien Lewis, who played the conflicted, and ultimately very lost, Sgt. Nicholas Brody. But after six years Homeland continues to stay relevant; this season it delivered hard punches to topical issues, with brilliant extrapolation of real world news stories and events by the producers and writers. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I won’t go into details except to say that this year’s story arc revolved around a President-Elect whose distrust of the nation’s intelligence services leads her to distrust the entire American political system – as Dar Adal tells Saul Berenson, “There’s something distinctly un-American about her” – and the manipulation of not just the public but the government itself through fake news, deep state conspiracy theorists, and paranoia.

There has been much ado about “diversity in comics” lately. Almost at the same time the Marvel Retailer Summit and Senior Vice-President David Gabriel made waves – tsunamis – over “female superheroes” (please read Mike Gold’s ComicMix column here), Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool posted this . I think the former is basically a tempest in a teapot and is really about Marvel sales – Saturday’s New York Times (April 7) had an article by George Gene Gustins in its business section – “Marvel Comics May Have Slumping Sales, But Don’t Blame Its Diverse Heroes” which takes a closer look at what’s going on in the Bullpen:

While ‘Marvel Blames Diversity’ makes for a juicy headline, the issue is more nuanced.

“As Brian Hibbs, the owner of the two Comix Experience stores in San Francisco, said in an interview, Marvel has recently been experiencing a “massive sales slump” because of more basic factors: the frequent restarting of series with new No. 1 issues; fan fatigue over storylines that promise changes but fail to deliver; and the introduction of a deluge of new series. There is also the expense of comic collecting.

“This month, for instance, Marvel began rolling out a revamped lineup of X-Men titles, which will result in seven new series – two of which will publish twice a month, the other five monthly. That’s a lot of comic books, and they run an average of $3.99 each.

“The first issues will undoubtedly sell well thanks to the multiple covers and the collector’s tendency to buy them all. But subsequent issues are expected to follow the industry pattern of lower sales over time.

“’Marvel doesn’t have “more than one or two comics selling 60,000 or 70,000 copies,’ Mr. Hibbs said, adding that this trend has virtually nothing to do with ‘this diversity canard.’”

However, the later article is about anti-Semitism and anti-Christian (and by inference, anti-any religion except Islam) sentiments hidden as “Easter eggs” in the first issue of X-Men Gold by its artist, Ardian Syaf, Author G. Willow Gordon, (Marvel’s Ms. Marvel, Vertigo’s Cairo and Air, and the novel Alif the Unseen, along with other works) addressed Mr. Syaf and the controversy on her blog site (Here is What Quran 5:51 Actually Says).

All I can say is this:

If that’s truly how you feel, Mr. Syaf, then why do you work in an industry whose roots are firmly established in Judeo-Christian beliefs and mythology? Do you know that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were born Stanley Leiber and Jacob Kurtzberg? That Superman was created by two kids named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster? That the very first “comic book” was the brainchild of two men named Max Gaines (nee Max Ginzberg) and Harry L. Wildenberg?

I believe that the upswing in overt and covert bigotry and intolerance in this country is directly related to the man who sits in the Oval Office at present. A man who cries about the women and babies killed in Syria, but won’t lift his ban on Syrian refugees. A man who decries the use of sarin gas – a weapon of mass destruction – but told Chris Matthews during the campaign, “Why do we have nukes if we’re not going to use them?”

Crocodile tears.

Mike Gold: Truth, Justice, and Hysteria

I guess Marvel senior vice president David Gabriel has had a bad week.

In case you haven’t heard – perhaps you were in solitary confinement – at the Marvel Retailer Summit Gabriel said that some retailers have told him that they “did not want female superheroes out there.” I have no doubt this is true: every industry has its share of morons, and sometimes – the Trump election is a case in point – those morons can influence policy. Capitalism being what it is, if enough morons have their way something really good and necessary gets chopped. For example, our President’s recent budget eliminated the miniscule funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Social media is instant, uncensored, and vox populi on steroids, so Gabriel’s comment was the latest shot heard around the world and everybody jumped on the bandwagon, taking his comments out of context, twisting them around, and making him appear to be the Adolf Eichmann of comics diversity.

Are there retailers who refuse to order, or who under-order, comics that star black, LGBT, and/or female characters? Of course there are. To quote from Blazing Saddles, “You know… morons.” Gabriel did say that Marvel’s commitment to diversity remains unchanged. He wasn’t backed into a corner and babbling bullshit to save his ass – he was standing behind a commitment made by a Fortune 500 company. Fortune 53 company, to put a fine point on it. And a publicly-traded company at that.

Did Gabriel say it in the most productive way? Hell, I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and I haven’t heard or read the statement in its entire context. At worst, it was phrased in a manner that was not adequately defensive.

In these days of instant communication and instant reaction – and I’m not suggesting this is bad in and of itself – it is virtually impossible to make an important observation that won’t be shorthanded and tossed to the wolves. And I like wolves. I have been one; I will be again. Getting the full story in these days of shortened attention spans and heightened touchiness is a bitch. But it is what it is.

My own takeaway from this affair: First, David Gabriel reported that some retailers don’t like diversity in comics, and I have absolutely no doubt that is true. Second, David Gabriel stood behind Marvel Comics’ commitment to diversity and reaffirmed it.

Corporate America being what it is, that’s not a guarantee. But it is as good as one can expect given the circumstances. Don’t condemn the guy for reporting an observation made by some retailers, delivered at a conference of retailers.

There’s a broader issue, one that I think is at the heart of the criticism. Previously, Marvel announced that this fall their best-known characters such as Iron Man and Thor will revert to their original constructs. We all knew that was coming. I said so in this space before, and I didn’t hear a peep of criticism. But that doesn’t mean that characters such as Captain Marvel, The Wasp or Ms. Marvel necessarily will be altered, and that doesn’t mean that Lady Thor et al will no longer exist.

What we need, and this has pretty much been ComicMix’s point of view all along, is that we must continue to create original characters who are reflective of our entire society. Yes, that is not easy. Absolutely. It’s tough to sell a new character out there. But Marvel has the muscle of Disney behind it, just as DC has the muscle of Warner Bros. behind it. Archie has been doing this for a long time, and some of the “smaller” publishers such as IDW and Dark Horse have plenty of resources.

Diversity is not a fad. No matter how violently some people might react from behind the safety of their internet service providers, this change is here to stay if we remain vigilant and we protect our gains.

Molly Jackson: It’s Toy Time!

Yesterday was the last day of Toy Fair. I spent the past four days running through the Javits Center here in New York City playing with toys, hanging out with companies, and trying to steal a giant Chewbacca. I failed at that last venture… this time.

As always, I attended Toy Fair with my [insertgeekhere] site partner, Andrea. The over-arching theme for this year was Collectibles. It was even named as a major trend for the rest of 2017 by the Toy Industry during their trends briefing. For full disclosure though, I missed that event because I was at an actual collectors event. Collecting has always been a big part of the geek world and it is totally reflected at Toy Fair.

I spent a long time checking out statues and figures that are mainly for display. Quantum Mechanix has been rolling out figures that reach fandoms other companies won’t focus on, like Supernatural. They are also working on a Millennium Falcon that could rival the real deal in detail. I was also blown away yet again by Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective line. With the addition of female characters like Wonder Woman, these figures are some of the best on the market, and one of the few to have real clothing rather than sculpted.

As you might expect, blind boxes are still climbing in popularity for another year. They were everywhere. New companies and the old favorites were all about the blind surprise items. My favorite definitely was the DC Shoebox Collection line at Cryptozoic, sculpted by Shephan Ehl. Super creative and well representative of the women in DC Comics. I am also a big fan of Cryptozoic because they always credit the designer and/or sculptor with all their pieces. I was also a big fan of the upcoming Classic Nickelodeon line from KidRobot. They probably had the best-looking Ren and Stimpy that I have seen in years!

My absolutely favorite items were at the LEGO booth. LEGO Marvel is hitting it out of the park this year. My two greatest loves are things that I haven’t seen before: Agent Coulson in a flying Lola should be a fan-favorite because of how beloved that character is. Plus, I would love to see Clark Gregg playing with it. No one loves Lola like him! And the possibly best thing period is the LEGO Ms. Marvel with the giant arms. I love love love Kamala Khan and to see her added to the LEGO universe is just awesome. March 1st is when I finally get to add them both to my own personal collection.

This is just a small taste of the things that made me squeal with joy throughout the week. Every year, I am just amazed by the ingenuity of the designers and how excited these companies are to make the fans happy. It is going to be a great (and pricey) year for toys!

Molly Jackson: Change in Process

Molly Jackson: Change in Process

ms marvel

Last week, I wrote about how I can turn brunch into me championing female comics creators to new comic readers.  Ok, there was a bit more to it than that but just go ahead and read it if you really want the details. After that went out, our Ye Olde Editor Mike decided to play Devils’ Advocate and ask me why we need women creators in comics.

I admit, I was stumped about how to approach it this time.  I feel like so many writers, including myself, have tackled this subject.  And frankly, I don’t understand who would argue against women in comics at this point.  (I doubt Bill Willingham from Fables will read this.)  But then I remembered that no matter what I need to explain, I can always use Star Trek.  More on that soon.

Right now, according to Pew Research Center, 56% of men think sexism doesn’t exist anymore.  You might be one of them.  After all, it is 2016. But where (for the most part) we’ve lost the ass grabbing and the “just keep looking pretty” side of sexism, the more subtle signs of sexism still exist.  Women are still paid less than men, and are often seen as less capable or knowledgeable.   Right now, we are seeing the subtle signs of sexism played out on the national stage but many people fail to see it.

When women enter the planning process, so does a completely new point of view.  We are more likely to be better multi-taskers, empathetic, and respond much differently to the world’s pressures because of gender.  That change in perception and reactions adds a new story element.

In entertainment, we have seen women’s stories change and develop as time has passed.  In a lot of cases, entertainment has led the way for social changes. (Now is where I bring Star Trek back in).  Star Trek showed Nichelle Nichols as an officer on a starship.  Not a maid, not a cook but someone who can take control.  Uhura inspired a generation that they too could be more than what society at the time decided was okay.  Plus, without her we would have no Whoopi Goldberg, and that would be a real shame.

Now we have the current Ms. Marvel, created because Marvel editor Sana Amanat randomly was sharing childhood stories one day.  Another editor thought she could use her past to create a new hero and Kamala Kahn was born.  In today’s world of scary hate, Kamala shows that Muslim culture includes everyday people who deserve their voice.

Women bring new stories to comics, and with those stories, new truths and changes that will echo into society.  The truth is that human crave knowledge, intrigue, entertainment, and change. As anything in our lives become stale, we look for something new.  When civilizations fail to grow, change, or spark new ideas, then they collapse.  New ideas can come from anywhere or anyone.

We’ve only had the voices of a select group for so long that we’ve forgotten how many other stories that are out there.  Ignoring this entire gender means the stagnation of comics.  Actually, scratch that.  Ignoring any minority group means the stagnation of comics. Only through continuing evolution and change can the comics industry continue to thrive.

Martha Thomases: Comicons, Guns and Flutter

Toy Guns

There is a chance this year that I might again attend the Baltimore Comic-Con next month. This pleases me. It’s a fun show, almost entirely about comic books.

Yeah, there are some movie and television celebrities, and that’s fine. Their presence makes many people happy. They don’t take up a lot of the show floor. For the most part, it’s easy to get around. Similarly, although the cosplay can be brilliant, it doesn’t consume all the available aisle space. Or oxygen.

There is a delightful feeling of cooperation between the folks who run the con and fans and other attendees. Announcements made through the sound system are clear and easy to understand. The pros are accessible, and, in return, the fans don’t maul them. I’m sure there are examples of rudeness and discourtesy, but, unlike at other shows (I’m looking at you, NYCC) they don’t overwhelm the good vibes.

And, also, they have a weapons policy.

I never thought about a show having a weapons policy before. I mean, every municipality has its own laws about guns, and of course a comics convention within city limits must abide by the laws of that particular city. As cosplay continues to grow, cosplayers will want to look as authentic as they possibly can so they can garner the most admiration possible. This means they’ll want realistic-looking imitation swords, knives, lances, maces, lasers and, yes, guns.

Alas, reality intrudes. Just as we must open our bags before we go into a theater these days and walk through an X-Ray machine at the airport, it’s not unreasonable to expect comics conventions to devise tighter security measures. I would rather be patted down before entering, and possibly even surrender my beloved knitting needles, than fear an attack like the one in Orlando.

Fake plastic weapons don’t phase me. Fundamentalist terrorism does.

A lot of my comrades in the anti-war movement think toy weapons are bad. While I respect their opinion, I disagree. I think all of us, including children (maybe especially children) get frustrated with reality and want to act out our rage and fury, even if only in our imaginations. Children need to be taught to accept themselves and their feelings, even the so-called “bad” feelings, if they are ever to have a chance to learn how to control themselves.

It’s a wonderful thing to dress up in a way that expresses are hopes and fears, and then be admired for our creativity. Although cosplay is not my thing (and you should thank your lucky stars for that), I understand how cool it must feel to walk around in public, costumed as a fierce warrior or an intrepid heroine. It must be fun to flirt with evil, dressed as a villain.

While I love these flights of fantasy, I also admire the way graphic storytelling has, over the last couple of decades, expanded into genres that offer more kinds of heroes to admire. Yes, we have Batman and Supergirl and Thor and the Hulk, and villains like Harley Quinn and Loki and Brainiac. We have dorkier, more human-looking characters like Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel. We have real life heroes such as Congressman John Lewis, who has organized kids at his convention panels into cosplayers who replicate the March on Selma.

Along with pretending to have superpowers and smashing bad guys (or good guys, as the case may be), the good stuff about Congressman Lewis encouraging this kind cosplay in children is that these kids are learning how to accomplish the same results through active non-violence.

I love him so much for doing this. And I’m not the only one.

Mindy Newell: Being Different

wonderwoman

Part I: Wow!

“Two years ago writer G. Willow Wilson, artist Adrian Alphona and I created a story about a young woman with dreams of being ‘normal.’” Her name is Kamala Khan and she’s a Muslim American girl from Jersey City. We comic folks call her Ms. Marvel.” Kamala’s story shows how “being ‘normal’ isn’t one race, one gender, one point of view. Being ‘normal’ is being different. And being different is being American.”

Sana Amanat, Director of Content & Character Development, Marvel Entertainment, Co-Creator of Marvel Comics’ Ms. Marvel • From her introduction of President Obama at the White House Reception for Women’s History Month, March 16, 2016

I just finished reading Martha’s latest column – Wow, girlfriend! You knocked it out of the park! – and, pursuant to that, I clicked on the link in Martha’s column, which for some reason didn’t work for me, so I did some searching and found this.

Watching and listening to President Obama as he spoke to the women gathered at the Women’s History Month reception about women, and their daughters, and their sons, of how we have been, and always will be, part and parcel and participants in this country’s history, its future, and the world’s future, I was struck, yet again, by how absolutely everything about the current occupant of the Oval Office is so absolutely different from the Repugnantican men who want to take over the Presidency.

Just now, as I wrote “take over the Presidency,” I was also struck by what I can only call my Freudian slip; I could have used “inherit the office” or “win the election” or “succeed him as President,” but what automatically came out of me was those two words – take over. Because every time I see Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and, yes, even the so-called “moderate” John Kasich, every time I hear or read their latest statements, that’s exactly how I interpret their words – as a take over of this country. I have more than once lately pulled out my copy of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to read about its financial backing by German corporations; I have pulled out my copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to reread how the United States of America becomes the Republic of Gilead, a country organized into a fanatical, patriarchal, martial, and rigidly “Christian” society in women are either Madonna or whores.

Of course I am sounding extremely paranoid, but I’m not really. The Repugnantican party and its candidates are so obtuse, so parochial, so busy attacking each other about the size of their penises that they don’t realize they’re on the Titanic. Really, I’m not worried. The Repugnanticans are done as a functioning political party in this country.

So I’m sleeping very soundly.

Except…

Before turning to a different subject, here’s a little something from Sana’s visit to Late Night with Seth Meyer.

Part II: Sucker Punched

On a somewhat lighter note – I haven’t seen The Caped Crusader Beats Up on the Last Son of Krypton (and Vice-Versa), and I really don’t want to; well, except for seeing Gal Godot as my favorite Amazon Princess/Warrior and Jeremy Irons as the butler. But I can wait for the movie to hit the streaming sites and cable and for a rainy day when I’m sitting at home bored out of my mind. Editor Mike Gold and I were talking the other night; he was being the “good cop,” waiting to see it before he formed an opinion, and I played “bad cop,” convicting the movie without benefit of trial.

“Having experienced other Zak Snyder films,” I said, “whatever Zak Snyder touches turns to destructive garbage that has nothing to do with storytelling or character development or emotional satisfaction.” And though I didn’t say this to Mike, I’ll tell you: I think Snyder’s fans are a different kind of audience, one with which I definitely don’t want to be identified. Maybe it’s my crazy writer’s mind making crazy connections again, but I think there’s a direct correlation between the audience that loves Snyder’s movies and video games and the rampaging thugs audience that go to Donald Trump stump speeches, i.e., Zak Snyder :: Sucker Punch as Grizzled Ignorant Cracker :: Protestor.

Now that I think of it, what I said to Mike about The Last Son of Krypton Beats The Crap Out Of The Caped Crusader (Or Vice-Versa) was: “It’s gonna suck.”

I told you so, didn’t I?

Have an Oxycontin. You’ll feel better.

Maybe.

Martha Thomases: Comics’ Ambassador

Sana Amanat

Comics in the White House!

My esteemed colleague, Mindy Newell, recently noted that our current president is a big ol’ comic book nerd. We knew that. Way back when this site started up, we ran the photo of Obama in Metropolis, Illinois, striking an iconic pose next to the Superman statue.

superman obamaLast week, as part of its celebration of Women’s History Month, our Geek-in-Chief invited Marvel Comics’ Sana Amanat to the White House to celebrate. Amanat presented the President with a copy of Ms. Marvel.

While this is not the first time super-heroes have had an official White House Moment (indeed, I was there for the launch of the anti-landmine comic DC created for UNICEF, and if I could find it, I’d post the picture of me with Hillary Clinton), it is perhaps the most heart-warming. To have a person who is not only female but also Muslim and Pakistani-American with the President to represent comics is an enormous change.

It helps that Sana does brilliant work on great comic books. I mean, really, look at how cool she is. Still, I think that she could have been every bit as talented twenty years ago and never received the attention she has, or been able to take advantage of the opportunities she deserves.

So, just when I was feeling like my beloved comics community was growing up, I read this announcement that the Comics and Cola blog was shutting down. I confess that I didn’t tune in there that often. The woman who ran the site, Zainab Akhtar, is an English Muslim, and her perspective (check this out for a taste) is quite different from mine, which I love. I should have tuned in more.

Apparently, the last straw for her was best expressed in this post by Kim O’Connor. O’Connor saw her work dismissed by a white male comics critic based on nothing more than his entitled perception that her opinions didn’t matter. He’s a white man in his 20s, so obviously no one is qualified to reasonably disagree with him.

(That is much too simplistic an analysis, I know. Read the link. It’s great.)

As a straight cis white woman, I’m very much aware that I miss a lot of subtle bigotry. I can watch an entire night of television with stories about white people (who might have sassy black friends) without noticing how skewed that is. When a protagonist’s race and gender are not specified, I often assume that person is male and white.

It’s a habit from my 60+ years in the culture. It’s a bad habit, and one I struggle to change. Not only is it wrong ethically and morally but, more important, it limits my enjoyment of the world.

The President gets this, even if 20-something white boys don’t. But then, we no longer assume that the President can only be a straight cis white man.

Joe Corallo: Allegiance

ms marvel

This past weekend, fellow ComicMix columnist Molly Jackson and I went to see Allegiance on Broadway starring Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and George Takei. Outside of both of us being Star Trek fans (Molly a much bigger Trekkie than I), history and political science is what I studied in college some years ago and the mistreatment of our own citizens during World War II was something I was interested in knowing more about. And something I hoped never to see discussed seriously in our political process during my lifetime.

George TakeiHaving spent his early years in an American internment camp himself, George Takei has been very vocal and passionate about this performance. He has a will and drive to get this story out there, particularly during this political season where echoes of our past sins are arguably louder than ever. The loudest of which is four time bankrupt real estate mogul turned reality star turned politician Donald Trump.

Mr. Takei is so insistent on getting the story about Japanese internment camps out there to people who would once again call for this solution to our troubles overseas that he offers up a seat to Donald Trump every show. Yes, this is a political point. Yes, Donald Trump wouldn’t take George Takei up on this for a multitude of reasons. Yes, it’s free advertising for the show. If you can parse through all the partisan muck here, you do find a point. The point being that we need to evaluate the decisions of the past, the cost of the decisions we made as a country, and see if it’s worth it to do the same thing all over again

Empty ChairOne would hope that if someone did fully understand the gross injustices, human rights violations, and disgusting subhuman treatment that we exposed tens of thousand of our own citizens to for no fault of their own that any reasonable person would not want to push for that decision to be made again.

However, we are seeing people on the right running for president echoing these ideas and people responding to them. We’re also hearing people on the left call for a return to a Democratic party like FDR envisioned while conveniently leaving out not only the internment camps but his efforts to pack to the Supreme Court, the creation of the atomic bomb… just to name a few examples. It’s a bit distressing.

Not to Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who gave a million dollars to Donald Trump’s Veterans’ fundraiser. Yes, it wasn’t exactly money to Trump’s campaign, but the billionaire presidential candidate isn’t exactly strapped for cash, and if Perlmutter wanted to donate money to Veterans he could have done so much more easily and in a nonpartisan type fashion. He deliberately chose not to do so, and to give money to Trump in a way that made Marvel’s CEO a very public supporter of Trump’s candidacy.

Ike Perlmutter is not a stranger to controversy. He’s infamously made racist and sexist comments in the past that have been well-reported. And backing Trump adds xenophobia to the list. Publicly supporting a man who wants to bar all Muslims from entering the country while Marvel is trying to push and support the first high profile Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, is certainly at odds with each other.

Last week I talked about how I try to avoid boycotting. Right now, I’m somewhat conflicted. Writer G. Willow Wilson, who was instrumental in the creation of the Kamala Khan, is a bit conflicted herself on this. It’s a tough thing to think about. On the one hand, your money (though indirectly) is going to a person like Ike Perlmutter who may help elect someone like Donald Trump. On the other hand, we might see books getting cancelled and the comics division get consolidated before it even gets to a point of affecting someone like Perlmutter. Marvel has gone through serious consolidation in the past though, at the hands of Perlmutter, without even the threat of a boycott.

I said “might see books getting cancelled” before because a boycott isn’t necessarily a long term campaign. Look at what happened with Chik-fil-a over funding anti-LGBT campaigns. That was bad PR from them. The whole situation ended up with Chik-fil-a seeing its sales actually go up from the controversy, but did eventually end with them deciding to move away from anti-LGBT causes. It didn’t take too long and the business still thrives.

The same could be true of Marvel. If we don’t stay quiet on this and we yell as loud as the likes of Donald Trump, maybe Marvel will want to make a change or feel compelled to do so. A change like pushing Ike Perlmutter out of the company. Or maybe it’ll even push Marvel to focus more on diversity and new ideas to compensate for people like Ike Perlmutter and the bad press surrounding him.

We need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our world. Is supporting anti-Muslim rhetoric something we are okay with being a part of, no matter how direct? Even if only a penny of my money or our money went towards that, is it okay? Does creating a positive Muslim superhero role model, Kamala Khan, make it better? Will that positive Muslim superhero role model make it better if government officials come and take tens of thousands of Muslims from our communities? What if they only take hundreds? What if they only take dozens? What if only one innocent life was ruined by the support of xenophobic politicians bolstered by the money and public support of one of the biggest and most successful franchises in the history of the world? Will we wave our Ms. Marvel comics at those being lined up and taken away and tell them we tried? What about the fate of the millions of undocumented immigrants that have been threatened to be rounded up and shipped out? Will we wave our Captain America comics and tell them that our nostalgia and fuzzy feelings were more important to us than basic human rights and dignity for all?

And beyond Marvel, what about the other items we purchase, food we eat, energy sources we consume, where does all of that come from? How does it come about? Where does it go? Do we care? Should we care? Could we handle it even if we wanted to?

Either way and no matter what, if enough people speak out Marvel will have to take more responsibility and speak up. If we don’t give them a pass they’ll have to evaluate the decisions of the past, the cost of the decisions they’ve made, and see if it’s worth it to do the same thing all over again. I hope we’ll see that the people involved will have learned from these missteps, but if seeing Allegiance with Donald Trump’s consistently empty seat prevalent this past weekend has taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t count on that.

Molly Jackson: Create or Die

create or die

In the past, many writers on this site, myself included, have written columns shining a light on the abused state of minority characters at the Big Two. While I agree with everything said, I think that we have left out the very important point of creating new characters. For the past decade or so, it’s felt like more of a rehashing of characters than creating. C’mon, when was the last time you thought of Marvel as the “House of Ideas” without being sarcastic?

In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen aggravating comic announcement from the Big Two. DC Comics is doing what seems like another reboot called Rebirth. This is rumored to bring the comics in sync with the movies and TV shows. Marvel revealed that they are doing another repeat event with Civil War II. All I can do is sigh.

If we want to see more diverse characters in comics, they will need to be created. New heroes and new villains to fill the diversity void. Yes, I want diverse villains. I need someone like me to be evil.

In fairness, Marvel has done some of that with the creation of Kamila Khan, a.k.a. the new Ms. Marvel. She is a great addition to their universe and her creation proves the whole argument about diverse comic company staffs. That series was heralded as a great change for Marvel but it seems to start and end there. Even in Battleworld, their latest event, Ms. Marvel does not fare well.

I understand the desire to use a large stable of artists rather than create. It means that they can avoid the trap of paying royalties to the creators while still swapping in and out lesser used characters. However, the comics are suffering in a major way. Stories are being retold over and over, rather than creating new ones. Creators are saving their very best for their creator-owned titles, but those are not getting the notice like books from DC and Marvel. Rather than innovate, they have chosen to focus on their entertainment properties because they represent a bigger financial growth. However, this will just hurt them in the long-term.

At this point, I feel obligated to point out that today Faith #1 is coming out from Valiant. Faith is an overweight female superhero, which is a unique change in a few ways. While Valiant has driven us all mad with the almost 12 months of promoting the limited series event, it is about an overweight female superhero. While most of you might be shaking your heads that this isn’t needed, there are plenty of overweight women (myself included) that are excited about it. But even more, I’m hoping that this book is encouraging to that comic reading high school girl who has body image issues. Seeing anyone overweight taken seriously, especially at that age, can make a real and positive impact. I haven’t read it yet (because I am speaking to you from the past! Ooooh, Time Travel!), but I am excited and hopeful that Valiant made a great stride here.

There are some great characters at the Big Two. Characters that I love and respect with all my heart. But the world is a changing and growing place, and the heroes we have are not necessarily the heroes we need. We need new heroes to represent the new world we live in: where racial and religious divides still threaten our communities; where gender and sexual orientation are still judged too harshly; and where we, as a global community, have started standing up against the hate to make these changes happen.

When anything fails to create, innovate and change, it begins to die. Hopefully Marvel and DC realize this before it is too late.