Wednesday Comments – The Mighty Avengers
by Mathan Erhardt on June 19, 2013

Right off the bat let me give some attention to two Comics Nexus alums Daron Kappauff and Chris Delloiacono who are embarking on an exciting endeavor; they are creating a graphic novel Horizon’s End. Joining Chris and Daron on this sci-fi epic are Darryl Banks, Moose Baumann, Troy Peteri, Stephane Roux and Dave Lanphear.

It’s a Kickstarter project, so it needs your support. Their page can be found here and it’s got all the specifics. Daron and Chris, if you’re reading, keep up the good work and we’re all proud of you here.

And now onto this week’s column.

A few weeks back Marvel let loose news about the upcoming Mighty Avengers title. It’s a team that’s made up of Luke Cage, Superior Spider-Man, Blue Marvel, Power Man, She-Hulk, White Tiger, Falcon, Monica Rambeau and Ronin. It’s a team that’s nearly devoid of white males, which is refreshing.

There is something that’s not refreshing about the title, but I’ll save that for a bit later.

As a comic book fan, I’m cautiously optimistic about Mighty Avengers. While I’m not the biggest fan of the 616, this is a book that I’m going to support and not just because X-Factor is ending. I’m primarily supporting this book to show Marvel that a book with a minority cast can be viable.

Granted it’s not the most difficult sell in the world. Firstly it’s falling under the Avengers banner, which is arguably the strongest team franchise out. Secondly it’s featuring Luke Cage who is probably as popular as he’s ever been in his entire existence as a character. And lastly, Spider-Man is going to be there. So the book has quite a few things going for it.

Of course the fact that book features to many Black character has already made it controversial. Some comic fans haven’t taken kindly to a team with a shocking lack of white males. There have been cries of reverse racism. It’s actually discouragingly par for the course when it comes to talking about race and comics. Oh well.

I remember the last time Marvel tried the whole “minority team” concept, it was a decade ago and it was written by Christopher Priest. I was a fan of the title. I was also a fan of the thread that it inspired on the old DC Comics Boards, “DC’s Version of The Crew.” (Why DC banish those boards and why didn’t anyone back up that thread?”) Hopefully Mighty Avengers will actually inspire DC to create a similar team for their universe.

Ok, now that all of the car waxing is done, here’s the not so refreshing aspect of Mighty Avengers; it’s written by a white guy. No disrespect to Al Ewing, I’m sure he’s talented writer, I’ve never read anything he’s written, but I’ve read plenty of hackneyed stories featuring Black characters written by white guys.

Plenty of people swear by Bendis’ handling of Luke Cage. I’ve read a little bit of his work and while it wasn’t terrible, I wasn’t completely sold. But again, that’s based on the small sampling that I’ve read.

But I think it’s fair to say that there are cultural differences between Blacks and whites that a white writer may not be privy to. There are nuances in the Black community that whites really don’t have access to. Case in point; Trayvon Martin. Before Trayvon how many whites were aware of “The Talk” that Black parents have with their kids? And honestly how many are even aware now?

It’s times like this that I wish that comics had something comparable to the NFL’s Rooney Rule. I wish a Black writer had the chance to write this book. Or any Marvel book at this point.

But like I said, I’m going to support this book so that maybe if Marvel sees that a book featuring Black characters is viable, they’ll give Black creators a shot in the future.

So that’s it for this week. Don’t forget about Daron and Chris’ Kickstarter! And it’s Wednesday, go out and buy some new books!



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