Today sees the publication of Spider-Man #2 and Invincible Iron Man #7. The following article has spoilers for both, some prominent ones for Spider-Man and an last page reveal for Iron Man. There are also a couple of random panels from Old Man Logan and Nova the like. You have been warned.
As Marvel Comics has diversified their central line-up of characters, we have seen a black Captain America, a mixed race Spider-Man, a female Thor and Wolverine, an East Asian Hulk and a gay Iceman. Actually, two gay Icemen.
There seem to have been two opposite and extreme reactions to this. One is that of excitement, of buy in for the representation, with no concern for how they got there, simply that certain types of people are now being prominently represented in this fashion. The battle then switches to how these characters are treated, the publisher has to do right by them and avoid negative tropes, despite the genre being one n which all manner of characters face all manner of negative outcomes.
The other extreme reaction is that of blind rejection, that while these characters may have undergone many changes in the past, these changes are somehow different, because they are seen as serving some progressive agenda, over and above the expectations of loyal fans, the true fans, the real fans, not these newcomers to comics who don't even buy the comics, at least not in print. Suddenly it's #comicsgate, #notyourAgentsOfSHIELD and plenty of unsolicited opinions on Israel.
Most people are somewhere in the middle, enjoy the stories that these new identities bring, wonder what might have happened to the old and if there's a way to marry the two, and if they really don't like the new, well, there's always the back issues to enjoy. But they probably like the new as well.
The problem is, the third group don't tweet as much. And there are also many other complexities, arguments that classic heroes shouldn't be changed to reflect a more diverse audience, instead that new heroes should be created, which ignores the inertia lag of old IP over new, the problems with labelling characters as representing a whole demographic and more.
Well, the new Spider-Man comic book actually manages to reflect a number of those nuances. It has the young black-hispanic Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man active in the Marvel Universe. And after a small wardrobe malfunction, someone notices. And posts it online. And the reaction just feels like a message board thread…
At least she cares!
I'm dancing! I'm dancing!
But of course not everyone quite feels this way.
Meanwhile, over at Invincible Iron Man, on a final page reveal, we may be looking at a new… Iron Woman? Iron Maiden? There must be better names…
Iron black female teenage student?
Meanwhile over in Old Man Logan, he is dealing with the past not quite being as he remembered…
And Nova is also dealing with his not-quite-a-father's ethnic background.
There we are! Clones! Something the old-school superhero comic book fan can finally get their head around….
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics in London, hosting a Transformers signing and a Life Drawing Class in weeks to come…