So Marvel announced some big changes coming to their line-up this weekend in the mainstream media, allowing the masses(most of whom are probably unaware of Rick Remender and Jason Aaron’s phenomenal runs on Captain America and Thor: God of Thunder respectively) to expel their opinions on social networks.
Earlier in the week, on daytime-gossip show The View (America’s answer to Loose Women) it was announced Thor would soon be deemed unworthy of his mighty hammer and Mjolnir would instead be equipped by a mystery female. Then last night on the Colbert Report, it was announced Captain America’s replacement would be longtime partner Sam Wilson, better known as The Falcon. A black man.
This led to an outcry from several people, some of whom may even read the titles affected by these changes. A lot has been said by people more involved with the projects and those in the industry about these specific changes so I won’t get too far into why I think these announcements sound like good moves, but watching this whole thing brought to mind what I see as one of the worst traits of the comic book reader.
The problem is, comic book readers don’t necessarily appreciate what a comic book writers job is. To some, a comic book writer’s job is to maintain the long legacy of well-established characters, never stepping too far out of continuity - essentially a storytelling maintenance person. While the richness of a character’s history is what makes comic books unique and lasting, it can be a hinderance on quality storytelling if that becomes the main concern behind telling the story in the first place. Soon these characters would become trite and stale.
Personally, I’m more interested in seeing creative writers allowed to flex their muscles - to provide fresh stories with the characters I love but with a new POV. We’ve had decades of Captain America stories and there’s no denying there still remains a multitude of stories out there that could be told with Steve Rogers in the red white and blue. Remender’s current run for example feels entirely different from Brubaker’s before him, where once was spy-thriller is now sci-fi. And for all the controversy it (wrongfully) received recently, it remains one of the most unique takes on the character because Remender was allowed to write a Rick Remender book.
As of this writing, Steve Rogers is not Captain America. That happened already, we have already been told in the book that there will be a new Captain America - to which there was no controversy(or at least no more than usual). It is only today when the identity of that replacement became clear and it turned out that replacement was a black man, that the pitchforks were lit. The claims of “tokenism” and “forced Political Correctness” is another blog post that I don’t feel nearly qualified enough to write but needless to say, every decision in comics is “forced”, every run you love, every costume change and pivotal moment in comic books was done in an effort to entertain you enough to part with your money and keep you coming back for more.
The thing is, these sorts of changes happen in comics all the time. Every month there’s a shakeup to the characters’ core as a writer attempts to leave their mark and attempt to say something meaningful with their time on the series. If it turns out these newly revealed characters are poorly written, shallow and 2D then we can complain, but to complain at the very idea of change is incredibly short sighted and yet representative of the comments about these latest developments.
Lets be honest with ourselves as comic book fans, we know in comic book land a status quo shakeup like this has a max life of 5 years, because Steve Rogers IS iconic and there will always be writers and artists who want to tell Captain America stories with him at the forefront just like the books they read growing up. But for now, why can’t we get a different perspective on what it means to be Captain America? Why shouldn’t we be seeing Jason Aaron continue to put Thor into a position of vulnerability? And seeing, through new eyes, the weight and burden of being a God in the Marvel universe?
And to those who deny this is about race or gender, Iron Man is also being replaced by a villainous character but it’s most likely a white male, so there’s yet to be an uproar.
- 2 months ago
The video game industry was quick to industrialise. Where literature, music and cinema had chance to explore their artistic potential away from monetary preoccupations, video games were born into the arcade where, Cinderella-like they had to earn their keep on the bar floor, minute by minute, credit by credit. Atari, one of the earliest video game companies, would playtest its games in select American bars for a fortnight. If the game failed to earn enough money, it would be figuratively thrown out onto the street. In this way video games and money were yoked from an early age. Thereafter, the cultural conversation has always been secondary to the industrial question: how do we monetise this?
But this is only one kind of success story. Video games, like photography, music, cinema and literature, have tremendous value aside from any consideration of financial gain. If the incentive that we present to young people for making games is predominantly a financial one, then we are all the poorer. Video games allow people to express themselves and present the ways in which they experience and interact with the world and its systems in a unique way to others. Games are, predominantly, a way for self-expression and enrichment and yet the conversation is primarily focused on the “how” of making a living than the “what” of what might be possible within the medium’s bounds."
Dunbar - Harbour, Beach, Castle 30/06/2014, a set on Flickr.I just got back from a trip to the East Lothian Coast. Dunbar is fantastic spot for photography.
- 2 months ago
Around this time last year I compiled a list of critically acclaimed/popular films I hadn’t seen that I should have seen. I took five films from each decade starting from the 1950’s-2010’s, using FlickChart’s ranking system to determine which films were top 5 material. I made a solid effort to cut through the list, though fell way below the mark. Though in the process I got to finally scratch off some biggies(Vertigo, Ghostbusters etc) so that’s why I’m doing it again this year. I begin university in September for film and in the meantime have a whole lot of nothing planned, better to take in classic and contemporary cinema classics than throw my money at Steam.
This years list:
North by Northwest
The Night of the Hunter
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Cool Hand Luke
Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
The Princess Bride
Full Metal Jacket
My Neighbour Totoro
In the Mood For Love
Requiem for a Dream
The Royal Tenebaums
- 2 months ago
- 2 months ago
Short documentary exploring comic book writers based in Glasgow. This in no way covers the diverse range of voices writing and drawing comics in Glasgow - pick up something from the small press section, discover something new.
Filmed in City of Glasgow College and Geek Retreat.