April 30, 2014

Salon.com miffed superhero flicks feature straight white guys

Matthew Balan at Newsbusters features how Salon.com yet again is obsessed with pure nonsense regarding the usual race and gender paradigm, this time regarding mainstream superhero films.

...Marvel movies are often praised for being more progressive than your average summer blockbuster...but they're still decades behind the comics....none of those movies have starred anyone other than a straight, white man in the lead role. The Avengers franchise has managed a handful of female characters in non-romantic roles, plus Falcon and Nick Fury in the supporting cast, but the mere concept of an openly LGBT character still feels like a pie-in-the-sky dream. Meanwhile in Marvel comics, Northstar came out in 1992, opening the floodgates for a whole host of other LGBT heroes....

...[T]he chances of Peter Parker coming out in Amazing Spider-Man 3 are more or less nil. Hollywood is (sic) yet to produce a big-budget blockbuster with any kind of LGBT character in the lead role, never mind having an established hero come out after decades of heterosexuality....Considering the fact that white male geeks already have Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Reed Richards and Charles Xavier to heroize their nerd cred on the big screen, it's difficult to argue that they still represent some kind of oppressed minority. It's probably time to give someone else a chance.

OK, here goes:

1) The films are "still decades behind the comics" because ... they're decades behind the comics. But that's only because the technology that allows such films to be made (and made well) is a recent development. You couldn't make Spider-Man in 1985. Well, you could, but the result would be like this. Or like the 1990 Captain America flick -- so bad it went straight to video even after being promoted in cinemas. Obviously not big money-makers. Speaking of which ...

2) Does this Salon writer (Gavia Baker-Whitelaw) seriously believe that studio execs would make a move like turning Peter Parker gay? Or any other [of Marvel's] major character(s)? Only if they want to lose a ton of dough. Which they obviously do not. This isn't because they're "homophobic" or cultural dinosaurs; it's because they simply want to make money. And Hollywood makes the vast majority of its cash with safe, don't-have-to-think-too-hard films like Spider-Man and The Avengers.

3) No Marvel movies have featured anything but a straight, white man in the lead role? Wrong. In 1998, Blade came out and was a surprise hit (especially since it was rated "R"). Its star, in case you didn't know, is Wesley Snipes. He's black:


You better wake up. The world you live in
is just a sugar-coated topping.

4) Comicbooks (and their movies) don't actually represent real life. Or, they aren't supposed to for the most part. After all, hadn't you noticed that people don't actually acquire the powers of a spider after being bitten by one (radioactive and/or genetically modified)? Or, that we didn't actually have the means in the 1940s to transform a 98-lb. weakling into a superhuman powerhouse? The X-Men, of all superheroes, "represent" societal outcasts and/or oppressed groups. You can decide who that applies to ... and that's precisely the point. Marvel's mutants can relate to virtually anyone -- gays, racial minorities, bullied geeks/nerds, bookworm types, you name it.

Lastly, comicbooks are a much easier medium by which to introduce and/or promote traditionally underserved groups. I understand Baker-Whitelaw's point(s); however, you're not really going to "score any points" by pressuring film studios to make Spider-Man gay, or putting Tony Stark in polygamous relationship. Even altering something like the family of a staple character so as to "improve diversity" gets silly, as with Fantastic Four's rebooted Human Torch.

Unlike people like Baker-Whitelaw (by the way, that last name sounds "racist"), folks could really care less about racial bean counting. They're not "Hey! Johnny Storm needs to be black!" nor do they give a hoot that Blade is a black guy. (And the latter makes the point the best: A very fringe Marvel character with a minority protagonist in an "R" rated film which made a ton of dough.) They just want to be entertained.

Posted by Hube at April 30, 2014 04:53 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Leave it to Salon.com to come up with another inane guilt-ridden, racially-obsessed article and to hire someone who doesn't know s*** about comics to write about them. Ugh. I don't care what the main characters look like; I want to be entertained. If the movie succeeds in that regard, I'm happy.

I always bring up the success of Blade when debating people who moan about the "lack of minority heroes" on the silver screen. They usually respond by saying, "yeah, well, that's not enough."

Also, War Machine and the Falcon are both black and they've played prominent roles in recent Marvel movies. The screen version of Nick Fury is black. Luke Cage is getting a Netflix series. As for female characters, Black Widow might be getting her own movie soon and Agent Peggy Carter is getting her own show.

And Baker-Whitelaw sounds like she's channeling Andrew Garfield, who made those idiotic "Spider-Man should be gay" comments last summer. That would be a good way for Marvel to lose money if they actually listened to these cretins.

Also, I'm a straight white "nerd" (with Asperger's)and I was bullied. Apparently I don't count in her eyes, because I'm not a "historically oppressed minority."

Posted by: Carl at April 30, 2014 05:15 PM

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