The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is ‘doomed,’ because the people you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit
and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun. And all of man’s little devices to stir up the air are now no longer luxuries – they happen to be pitiful and panicky keys to survival. The time is five minutes to twelve, midnight. There is no more darkness. The place is New York City
and this is the eve of the end, because even at midnight it’s high noon, the hottest day in history, and you’re about to spend it in the Twilight Zone.
That’s the opening narration to the ‘The Midnight Sun
‘, the 75th episode of the Twilight Zone, by host Rod Serling. The Twilight Zone was a popular USAmerican science fiction television show that ran from 1959 to 1964 (and saw several attempts at revivals over the decades, as well as a movie). This particular episode is one of my favorites as it involves an apocalyptic scenario in which humanity is helpless. All our intellect, our wits, our technology, our weapons-all of it is useless in the face of a catastrophe of global proportions. The episode served as a reminder that for all our power and accomplishments, for all our money and wealth, we are fragile creatures.
This episode came to mind today as I was giving thought to the ongoing culture wars in society. Progressives have been fighting for decades (longer than that, really) for marginalized people to be treated with fairness and equity. They have fought to extend the rights enjoyed by the majority-white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied men-to everyone else. From the battle for women’s reproductive rights to the fight for LGBT equality to the ongoing crusade by the Black Lives Matter movement to dismantle systemic and structural racism, the culture wars have been fought on multiple fronts. And while some successes have been achieved (yay, LGB people can marry and oh look, some police departments are getting body cameras), there still continue to be setbacks (the reduction in abortion providers across the country and the lack of accountability of police officers around the nation). But not all such cultural battles occur on a national scale, nor do they all occur in meatspace. Some occur on a smaller, more private scale-the Internet. One such conflict-the push for greater diversity and inclusivity in the comic book industry (specifically at Marvel and DC)-has been brewing for a while now. Funny thing though, for all the pushback, it’s clear that just as Hollywood is making progressive strides, so too is the comic book industry. Of course, along with that progression comes the howling and screaming of those opposed to progress.
Yesterday, Newsarama released Marvel’s November 2015 solicitations. Among the solicits were many books-Ms. Marvel, All-New, All-Different Avengers, Nova, Spider-woman, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, the Ultimates, and more-that showed Marvel is striving for greater ethnic and gender diversity. So of course that means the outrage machine gets dialed up to 11:
Thank you Disney & Bendis for destroying Marvel. Forcing Diversity on us instead of correctly writing up charactes like the old days. Funny thing is they will call fans racist & sexist for criticizing then for shoving this crap down are throats but its ok for them to say racist comments like ” how great to have teams with one white guy in it.” so is Marvel/Disney saying its bad to have a team with more then one white guy? how is that not offensive. Even funnier is that they clarify men by race but women charactes are just lumped in one group. Female charactes. How is that not sexist? Sad when they can’t even smell there own BS they are shoveling. Marvel wants to make money. Here is an idea….. LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS & GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT & THAT WAY YOU WILL MSAKE ALL THE MONEY YOU WANT PERIOD!
Too bad Buck and Ben are White guys – an endangered species in the new Marvel universe.
Another example of the pushback against diversity and inclusivity can be found in the comments of this article at Comics Alliance
from J.A. Micheline. Xe has chosen to boycott Marvel because xe feels the company has disrespected and disregarded marginalized voices:
Howsaboutz insteada making cheap message fic into our comics, you just write an interesting engaging story that makes people want to spend their money on it, instead of going. .Ermagherd, we haz to have a bigendered demisexual unicorn lead SHIELD…Look you clowns, just write an interesting fucking storyline instead.
Marvel has a right to hire who they want; DC has a right to hire who they want and BOTH have the right to tell stories and depict characters as they choose. It is also your right to boycott whomever and whatever you want. Instead of crying racism and such when things aren’t done according to your preferences, go find like-minded people that think as you do and CREATE YOUR OWN THING! Instead of incessant moaning about this and that, put that creative team together and invent something that is near and dear to you and SELF PUBLISH. If your work is good and the numbers are there, you may have something special. Until then, stop complaing about what others do or haven’t done and do something yourself……
Who would be the target audience. Why does comics all of a sudden become a race/life style/gender thing. Comics are made for the individual reader, race does not play a huge part in saving the world (unless you count aliens). So if it is a ethnic thing, where is the Australian, swedish, Brazilian, Martian(from mars) heroes. I’m sorry but I’m not interested in a gay character simply because it has almost no relevance to most story arcs that involve saving the world/universe.
Want to know my absolute favorite thing about all the whiny comics fans (who are almost always men) complaining about Marvel Comics diversifying their output in an attempt to be more inclusive?
These clueless nitwits don’t have a problem when Marvel caters solely to them. They don’t have a problem with bias that favors them, as most of Marvel’s history proves. White, heterosexual, cisgender, male characters, whether hero, villain, or supporting cast member have been the norm for the history of Marvel. This group has dominated Marvel (and the industry as a whole), but there was no problem with that. No whining from them about the industry pandering. Of course there wouldn’t be, bc they didn’t have a problem when the world revolved around them and their needs, wants, and desires. But now that our culture is shifting, Marvel (and other forms of entertainment) has finally begun to realize that there is a market for stories outside of the very narrow demographic they’ve traditionally catered to. They haven’t stopped making stories for that demographic-and they aren’t likely to. After all, that demo is part of the foundation of Marvel. The X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Thor, Dr. Strange–these characters are going to be largely the same (barring temporary changes). They’re still the ones that Marvel’s foundation rests upon.
But no, that’s not enough for some comic book readers. Not content to have most Marvel Comics catering to them, they want to keep their clubhouse exclusive. They don’t want any comics that cater to women. They don’t want to see comics appeal to ethnic minorities. And the gays? OMG! The icky gays with their gay stuff! The world is ending! Just as ‘The Midnight Sun’ was a reminder of human fragility, so too is the pushback against diversity efforts in the comic book industry. But where TMS highlighted how powerless humanity is in the face of a global catastrophe, the anti-diversity regressives in the comic book industry demonstrate the fragility of the human ego. I mean really, they’re angry that Marvel Comics (and the wider industry) is changing and becoming more inclusive of a wider range of readers. And that amounts to throwing a temper tantrum because you think the world should revolve around you.