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  1. #1
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    Default Marvel & DC: Political Correctness gone too far?

    The latest story from the world of comics sees the latest version of Wonder Woman reimagined as a gay woman. Nothing particularly spectacular in its own right, you may think, but it follows hot on the heels of various other 'modernisations' of characters.

    Wonder Woman is the latest long-standing character to recently be revealed as gay, following the original Green Lantern and the original X-Men's Iceman (not to mention Sulu in the latest Star Trek movie - a move which George Takei himself was not particularly enamoured with); Thor, Captain Marvel, Wolverine, Hawkeye and (soon) Iron Man are now female characters (although admittedly female versions of the characters, rather than a straight gender-change!) and Captain America and the Hulk have changed race, one being the dark-skinned former Falcon Sam Wilson, and the new Hulk being a young Asian guy, there are multiple Spider-Men of various races (and sexes!) and Conan The Barbarian is a scrawny weakling (much like myself!)...

    It's all very well modernising characters to appeal to new audiences, and I applaud the two companies for taking chances with some of their biggest characters; but when you see just how many changes there have been in a short time, I feel the question has to be asked...is this truly modernisation or is it simply political correctness gone mad? Sometimes it feels as if the traditional straight white superhero feels a thing of the past, there won't be many left soon...I'm all for modernisation myself, the industry has to change with the times to survive, but all the same it's not always easy seeing old favourites changed (seemingly at times) simply to tick a few PC boxes.

    I suppose it's a similar argument to the Master/Missy in Doctor Who (and one which will no doubt come up again in the event of a female Doctor being cast)...of course it's nice to recognise and reflect a wider audience...but wouldn't it be better to create new strong characters in this vein rather than just lazily hijacking a character to be used to tick things off an imaginary list? Personally I just think it all smacks of lazy writing and marketing, using an existing popular character and/or brand name in this way rather than haviing the guts and making the effort to create new characters from scratch which takes a lot of work.

    Thoughts, everyone?

  2. #2
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    I read Wonder Woman was going to be bisexual, and that someone at DC said that it was quite obvious all along that she was.

    Really?! The fact that we've needed it pointed out to us after 76 years...? Not that I particularly mind, but it's the fact that it's being done as part of an overhaul of the DC range, bearing in mind that it's only been five years since the last major overhaul, and that this overhaul is a partial backtrack of New 52, merging it with parts of the Old 52 continuity. Can they not leave alone for ten minutes?

  3. #3
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    Admittedly I haven't actually read any of this stuff, so I don't know how well they're going about it. There seems to be two ways of going about things here, though...either replace a character with a completely new one using the same name, or simply change aspects of the existing character. With regard to the sexuality side of things, I can understand them wanting to give young gay people, maybe struggling to come to terms with things, role models to look up to...but from a creative standpoint you'd think it would be more satisfying to create and build from scratch a new gay character - and there are plenty of talented creators out there more than capable of doing this successfully - and use their marketing skills to maximise publicity for the character. This always takes time however, and a lot of effort...and that's where the cynic in me feels that a lot of this is just a big marketing exercise for a short-time sales boost...it's far easier and quicker just to take an existing popular brand-name character and add more facets to their character than it is to create an exciting, interesting new one (who will sell as many copies...)

  4. #4
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    I've a lot of mixed feelings about this, though I think the Wonder Woman thing kind of makes sense, she was born in to a society which had no men so I don't find it strange that she should be attracted to women, even if they haven't explored that idea previously.

    Sometimes it feels as if the traditional straight white superhero feels a thing of the past, there won't be many left soon...I'm all for modernisation myself, the industry has to change with the times to survive, but all the same it's not always easy seeing old favourites changed (seemingly at times) simply to tick a few PC boxes.
    I don't think we're at that point yet, if you look at the vast majority of superheroes they're still straight white males. I do think they're doing this to tick PC boxes at times, but then it can be very effective - the new Ms Marvel, Kamala Khan, is a superb character and her background is an important part of the story they're telling her. Plus it's really fun as well, something all too often missing from comics these days.

    Personally I just think it all smacks of lazy writing and marketing, using an existing popular character and/or brand name in this way rather than haviing the guts and making the effort to create new characters from scratch which takes a lot of work.
    That I do agree with. For me Captain America should be Steve Rogers, Spiderman should be Peter Parker, etc, and I'd much rather they create new and interesting characters rather than change established ones. And there's no reason why they can't have a female black spiderwoman along with Parker, and all of that sort of thing, the original Ms Marvel still exists along with the current one, and the Hulk and She-Hulk happily existed in the same universe for decades.
    "RIP Henchman No.24."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    I've a lot of mixed feelings about this, though I think the Wonder Woman thing kind of makes sense, she was born in to a society which had no men so I don't find it strange that she should be attracted to women, even if they haven't explored that idea previously...

    ...I don't think we're at that point yet, if you look at the vast majority of superheroes they're still straight white males. I do think they're doing this to tick PC boxes at times, but then it can be very effective - the new Ms Marvel, Kamala Khan, is a superb character and her background is an important part of the story they're telling her. Plus it's really fun as well, something all too often missing from comics these days.
    Despite my initial post, I'm really not against much of this stuff either (I think it's more a case of a lot of change in a short time), particularly as apparently it's mostly been handled pretty well, although I do have mixed feelings...some of it has been getting really good reviews, but my own feelings are just that it appears as if everyone is jumping on a bandwagon given the short timescale these changes have been occurring in. And of course my coments about white superheroes were meant sarcastically, although it may not have been totally clear in my post...!



    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    Personally I just think it all smacks of lazy writing and marketing, using an existing popular character and/or brand name in this way rather than haviing the guts and making the effort to create new characters from scratch which takes a lot of work.
    That I do agree with. For me Captain America should be Steve Rogers, Spiderman should be Peter Parker, etc, and I'd much rather they create new and interesting characters rather than change established ones. And there's no reason why they can't have a female black spiderwoman along with Parker, and all of that sort of thing, the original Ms Marvel still exists along with the current one, and the Hulk and She-Hulk happily existed in the same universe for decades.
    I think this is the area where I have a problem. Hulk and She-Hulk happily existed together for a long time, as did other examples such as Spiderman and Spiderwoman, Captain Marvel and Ms Marvel, the original Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel, etc...Superman and Supergirl, Batman and Batgirl, Flash and Kid Flash...the list goes on, but generally these were always seperate characters in their own right. What we're seeing these days is a tendancy to pass these secondary characters off as the real thing, such as Thor...for example, the writer went out of his way to state that this wasn't to be regarded as a female Thor, but Thor. This isn't meant as a criticism of the quality of the writing (it's very good apparently, and I'll probably be giving it a shot soon) but it's more about passing one character off as someone else completely. And totally deflating my argument, of course there are precedents going back decades, such as the rebooted Flash & Green Lantern in the 60s, and Wally West's Flash in the 90s...

    I'm maybe just an old fogey (don't answer that...I'd be the first to admit it myself!!!) but if you picked up a Tarzan comic, for example, I think you'd expect to be reading about Tarzan, not some long-lost second female cousin of ethnic origin who had travelled to the jungle only to find him dead or missing and taking up his name to continue his legacy...

  6. #6
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    After Marvel's latest new character (a female version of Hawkeye called, well,...Hawkeye) we now have yet another female take on an old DC series, it looks like they're digging a bit deeper into the archives for new ideas now but at least the title reflects the gender change...

    Shade, The Changing Girl

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacNimon View Post
    Despite my initial post, I'm really not against much of this stuff either (I think it's more a case of a lot of change in a short time), particularly as apparently it's mostly been handled pretty well, although I do have mixed feelings...some of it has been getting really good reviews, but my own feelings are just that it appears as if everyone is jumping on a bandwagon given the short timescale these changes have been occurring in. And of course my coments about white superheroes were meant sarcastically, although it may not have been totally clear in my post...!

    I think this is the area where I have a problem. Hulk and She-Hulk happily existed together for a long time, as did other examples such as Spiderman and Spiderwoman, Captain Marvel and Ms Marvel, the original Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel, etc...Superman and Supergirl, Batman and Batgirl, Flash and Kid Flash...the list goes on, but generally these were always seperate characters in their own right. What we're seeing these days is a tendancy to pass these secondary characters off as the real thing, such as Thor...for example, the writer went out of his way to state that this wasn't to be regarded as a female Thor, but Thor. This isn't meant as a criticism of the quality of the writing (it's very good apparently, and I'll probably be giving it a shot soon) but it's more about passing one character off as someone else completely. And totally deflating my argument, of course there are precedents going back decades, such as the rebooted Flash & Green Lantern in the 60s, and Wally West's Flash in the 90s...

    I'm maybe just an old fogey (don't answer that...I'd be the first to admit it myself!!!) but if you picked up a Tarzan comic, for example, I think you'd expect to be reading about Tarzan, not some long-lost second female cousin of ethnic origin who had travelled to the jungle only to find him dead or missing and taking up his name to continue his legacy...
    That's how I feel too, and it's why I was against the New 52 for that matter, when I read Batman I don't suddenly want him to be a young man, I want the guy who has all that history on his shoulders. And when it comes to new versions of Thor or Spiderman that's lacking too, which certainly lessens my enjoyment of the series at times.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacNimon View Post
    After Marvel's latest new character (a female version of Hawkeye called, well,...Hawkeye) we now have yet another female take on an old DC series, it looks like they're digging a bit deeper into the archives for new ideas now but at least the title reflects the gender change...

    Shade, The Changing Girl
    I was quite excited by that initially as the 90's Shade is one of my favourite series, and whilst this new one only references Rac there's no reason why it couldn't have been interesting. But I thought it was quite poorly written, and the new Shade an oddly uninteresting character, especially when compared to her predecessor. I'll give it a few more issues, but I'm not optimistic it'll win me over right now. The same sadly applies with the new Doom Patrol title as well, I was looking forward to that but something just seemed a bit off with it.
    "RIP Henchman No.24."

  8. #8
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    And there I was thinking I was the only person ancient enough to remember the original Shade - a character who, to be fair, hasn't been seen that often, ergo many readers may not know. Because of that, and since he got his power from a suit, they could probably do new things with the new character. As long as she doesn't turn out to be the new Bat Lash...

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