Wednesday Comments – Spider-Man Is Black (And Hispanic) And The Marvel Boycott

You’ve really got to give it to Marvel; they sure know how to steal back the spotlight. After all of the hype surrounding the DCnU, Marvel came back in a big way with two news items, one full of the good kind of controversy and the other with the ugly kind of controversy.

The first story is of course the reveal that Spider-Man is now Black. And Hispanic. And it’s really only the Ultimate Spider-Man. But apparently it’s split the internet in half. The comments on the news story about the new (Ultimate) Spider-Man were predictably ignorant.

Of course the story broke in USA Today, so really given its readership, is anyone surprised by the ignorance found in the comments? It’s USA Today, not the New York Time or the Wall Street Journal. We should be happy that the people who read the story had the wherewithal to actually hunt and peck out a comment at all.

And the thing is that the people who take offense at the ignorant comments aren’t really putting the comments into perspective. The people commenting aren’t fanboys. They aren’t readers of comics. They clearly aren’t people who can differentiate between the 616 and the Ultimate universe. They aren’t fans, so their uneducated opinion shouldn’t matter.

On a side note the people commenting are guilty of something their ilk often accuse people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson doing; taking something that involves race and making it a bigger deal than it should be. Oh the irony.

Yes the internet is full of bigots, who think they are more clever and wittier than they actually are, hiding behind anonymity and typing things they’d never have the courage to say to someone’s face. And yes it’s discouraging to see public opinion voiced in such a fashion. But as someone who is Black and who, as recently as last week, heard a coworker referred to a Black guy as “colored” I can say that there are worse things and people complaining about a fictional character.

(And that coworker is a 23 year old white woman. )

Furthermore intolerance within the actual comic book fandom is nothing new. I can recall the vitriol in the DC Comics Firestorm message boards when the Jason Rusch era began. Literally every other thread was an attack on Jason and usually involving a racial stereotype of some kind. For those of you familiar with comic history, it was like Kyle vs Hal debates, but with the added component of race.

Honestly it’s part of the reason why I abandoned the DC message boards.

And as recently as a week and a half ago on Twitter Gail Simone was vocally dismayed by the intolerance of fanboys in regards to the upcoming Batwing title. So I’m not surprised at the outrage over the (Ultimate Half) Black (Half Hispanic) Spider-Man because I know that prejudice exists. It just stinks to have it thrown into the spotlight in such a manner.

The second news item involving Marvel this week comes from Steve Bissette calling on comic book fans to take a moral stand and boycott Marvel titles, specifically those that Jack Kirby had a hand in creating.

His call for a Marvel Boycott comes on the heels of the Kirby Estate losing a court case against Marvel Entertainment. He makes the point Marvel is morally wrong for robbing Jack Kirby of his credit in the creation of such Marvel properties as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The X-Men, all properties that have been huge bread winners for the company and have all made the transition to the movie screen.

Bissette points out that as co-creator of John Constantine, he received a check for $45K when the movie Constantine came out. Whereas the Kirby Estate has received nothing from the multiple Marvel movies based on concepts co-created by Jack Kirby.

Bissette also makes a solid point that Stan Lee hasn’t had any really lasting creations beyond those he collaborated with others on, such as Spider-Man and the aforementioned Kirby co-creations.

It’s really quite a compelling argument. Compelling enough for me sign on board for the Marvel Boycott. I plan on being vocal about why I’m not purchasing Marvel Kirby books and products and hopefully the work will trickle up the corporate ladder and cause Marvel to remember morality.

Um and there you have my week.

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