It’s Mighty Marvel Monday!
As promised, this week’s column will be mainly focused on the release of Fantastic Four, but before I get to that, I have to take a moment to address the Axel-In-Charge released this past Friday.
TL;DR — Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso spoke to CBR about “course correcting” Marvel’s diversity problem, and then proceded to demonstrate exactly why promises about doing better continue to ring hollow to fans.
Promises to hire diverse creators mean nothing if the stories they write aren’t equally inclusive. When a company claims that diversity is important to them, and then retcons a character’s bisexuality in what I have to assume is an attempt to reassure homophobic dudebros that Hercules wasn’t “like that,” I have to not only question their sincerity, but their understanding of history.
Even knowing nothing but the vaguest of intentions about this new Hercules title, we know enough to determine that this Hercules is the Greek hero, and not only was homosexuality (and homophobia) not a concept in ancient Greece, bisexuality was the norm. To quote from Byrne Fone’s Homophobia: A History:
The Greeks […] would have been perplexed by the idea that one could judge a person by exclusive reference to the object of sexual desire, without reference to a particular sex act, or that one could be “a homosexual” or “a heterosexual.”
[….] What most concerned the Greek male was not whether the object of desire was male or female, but what place that object occupied in the social and sexual hierarchy.
There is plenty of evidence to accuse the ancient Greeks of kink-shaming, misogyny, and classism…but heterosexuality? Nah, man. To write a Hercules who is not having sex with men is actually an insult to his masculinity by ancient Greek standards.
On a personal note, I want to say that it’s been ten years since Young Avengers came out, which was one of the titles that persuaded me that Marvel was more than just X-Men and Spider-Man and far more progressive than DC at the time, and I was just so happy to see a happy teenaged gay couple in comics. I find it incredibly disappointing that ten years later, Billy and Teddy are the only out gay superhero couple in Marvel Comics.
[Sidenote: Marvel has had several LGBT characters over the years, including the very first out gay superhero, but when it comes to superhero couples, and superhero couples within their All-New, All-Different continuity, Billy and Teddy appear to be it.
P.S. Marvel–where is Northstar?]
Alright, now for the fun stuff.
FANTASTIC FOUR IS FINALLY HERE!
So, I have been waiting for this movie for years.
To be a fan of the Fantastic Four these days seems to be a bit like being a dinosaur. The Fantastic Four were never Marvel’s most popular superhero team, and their first cinematic appearance had the same campy feel as all the other Fox Marvel movies of the same era, which is a nice way of saying they weren’t very good, and they certainly weren’t very good by today’s superhero movie standards.
I actually love them, but that’s mostly due to Chris Evans as Johnny Storm. Not gonna lie. Chris Evans made me fall in love with Johnny Storm. He was perfect. But don’t take my word for it. How about Stan Lee’s?
[Sidenote: I’m already in love with Michael B. Jordan’s Johnny Storm just based on the trailers. All the love for all the Johnny Storms.]
But even with all my Johnny Storm love, and my pre-existing love for Sue Storm and Ben Grimm, I was most nervous about this version of Reed Richards. Reed Richards is not a likeable character. In the comics, Reed Richards is basically like Age of Ultron!Tony Stark without any of Tony’s charm or self-awareness. It’s very, very difficult to make Reed Richards likeable. But after watching this short promo vid with Miles Teller, I think they’ve even accomplished that.
For those curious, my review should be up on Friday, Saturday at the latest.
The amazingly talented and funny casts of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter engaged in a Dubsmash war of epic proportions. In case you missed it, here’s a complete listing of all the videos in Dubsmash War I.
After Hayley Atwell nd James D’arcy flew to Atlanta for the sole purpose of enlisting Chris Evans, it seemed like the days of Dubsmash War was over, but this past week, Clark Gregg threw down a new gauntlet–for charity.
Do it for the kids.