I Asked A Bunch of Marvel Men About Their Feminist Agendas

Joelle Jones & Rachelle Rosenberg cover for Mockingbird #8, Marvel Comics 2016

And only three answered.

After Chelsea Cain was run off from Twitter by the baying of hounds affronted by a word (“feminist”), I decided to ask Cain’s peers, co-workers and higher-ups a question. Joelle Jones’ cover for the final issue of Mockingbird featured heroine Bobbi Morse in a t-shirt that read ASK ME ABOUT MY FEMINIST AGENDA. Marvel appropved and printed this; Marvel onlookers harassed Cain. Did Marvel protect their creative team from public outcry? They’re well aware that their writers sometimes experience Twitter storms in response to public statements; they’re well aware that misogynists exist in this world. So, does Marvel, do Marvel’s employees, have a feminist agenda of their own? If they care about women’s representation, if they care about women’s safety, they must do. A feminist agenda is a plan for the protection and inclusion of women.

I thought it might be useful to ask those men that work at or for Marvel, then, what theirs are. If publically holding a feminist agenda endangers women, men must step up and share theirs too.

James Asmus gave a detailed account of his feminist agenda as regards the creation and utilisation of fictitious characters. When pressed about real-world application of feminist values and action, he listened responsively and expressed a willingness to learn and improve.

Patch Zircher avoided a straightforward response but outlined the basics of workplace equality to me. He ended up asserting that he has no agenda, only an ethic.

Tom King favourited my question to him, as well as the same question to Zdarsky, but did not respond in text.img_8249

Tom Brevoort replied to me several times, but did not answer the question. And I thought it was such a simple one! I asked him four separate times (1, 2, 3, 4), received several answers, but received no answer appropriate to the question. Immediately after his last response to me, he made the following tweet:

Does Bobbi Morse, the character Mockingbird, have a feminist agenda? Surely, for all that she exists, I believe it. Does Chelsea Cain, real human woman, writer ex- of Marvel Comics, have one? Plainly, and she’s suffering for it.

Does Marvel Comics have a feminist agenda? No, Marvel Comics has a capitalist agenda. Do the men who work for Marvel Comics have askable feminist agendas?

A couple of them. One or two do. Some of them attempt to bluff the appearance of one for optics in the public forum. And some just don’t answer at all.

ASK ME ABOUT MY FEMINIST AGENDA t-shirts are all over the shop, sketches of characters in the same shirt are rife. But where is it actually getting us? Marvel needs policy changes — plans to support their creatives in the public forum, prepare them behind the scenes, condemn harassment and misogyny instead of make vague statements that easily add up to “well sorry but letting people abuse you and your peers and your image makes us a great deal of cash, though.” Marvel, and Marvel employees, need to have, implicate, hone and empower FEMINIST AGENDAS. Do you know what an agenda is? “Agenda” means plan. A feminist agenda is a plan for the endorsement and security of women.

How can commentators, consumers and communities encourage this? Maybe we can just simply ask.

Forgive how challenging this sounds — they’re the lyrics I have to work with. Do you plan to hush, little baby, don’t say a word? Or shall you take a cue from Mockingbird…????

Ask them. About their feminist agendas.

Claire Napier

Claire Napier

Critic, ex-Editor in Chief at WWAC, independent comics editor; the rock that drops on your head. Find me at clairenapierclairenapier@gmail.com and give me lots of money

One thought on “I Asked A Bunch of Marvel Men About Their Feminist Agendas

  1. Sadly, considering how they do emphasize business first and foremost, and given how riotous the misogynists have become this past year, chances are that what progress has been made will be downplayed for a while. Perhaps a very long time if the worst should happen next week.

    Dear GODS I hate 2016.

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