RadioPress Reads – Comics – A change of pace….
We are a community of comic lovers….
I can still remember the first time I picked up a comic book, my step-dad rolled into my room at the lake house with a stack of musty paperbacks covered in images of Spider-Man, the Avengers, Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Kid Colt, you name it, it was probably there. My first two-week summer visit with my Mom that year was spent on a lawn chair lakeside ripping through that stack of 30+ comics, absorbing information, growing with the characters and learning to love them as the original authors from the 40s, 50s and 60s intended them. If you ask anyone else their introduction to comics might be very similar, or they might be wildly different, but regardless of how our love started we all care about these characters the same. Unfortunately, how we show this love is very different from person to person, sometimes we rally for a cause, sometimes we are divided for reasons that seem so insanely ludicrous and this is really why I’m not reviewing anything today as you would expect.
When I think of this community there is so much that inspires a person, so much love and acceptance over the years and so many people that have come together and defended their favorite characters. I was too young to remember at the time but when Northstar was finally allowed to come out to the world as gay in ’92, the community responded in kind, Alpha Flight #106 sold out in a week after its release, it had been ages, if ever since that happened. 20 years later after, New York State legalized same-sex marriage in 2012, Northstar was able to marry his longtime partner Kyle (Astonishing X-Men #51), and once again despite the backlash of right-wing group One Million Moms among others, the community accepted and celebrated this occasion.
Step back to 2001, I had just started my 9th grade year, I stepped into the school concourse and everything was a buzz. Even as a Canadian kid, I was shocked, confused and saddened by the events we were seeing on the news in our classrooms. This wasn’t just something that had an effect on the American people but rippled through the world like a wave of wanton despair. By this time, I had been reading comics for about 4 years, and two months later December 1 2001 an incredibly special issue of The Amazing Spider-man was released. This issue dubbed “The Black Issue” #36 had our heroes and even their most hated villains assisting in the cleanup efforts of the tragedy we all watched so powerlessly that fateful day. Again, the community rallied support and the issue is still currently sought after as one of the most relevant, poignant and touching pieces of literature and art ever to grace newsstands.
Fast forward to 2011, the Ultimate universe introduces Miles Morales (Ultimate Fallout #4), a young Black Hispanic man, reactions from the community were split. Some of us were excited by the prospect of there being a new kid on the block, someone who could step out of the shadows and take the position of a role model for non-white kids, others, as seems to be the case today were angry because it seemed like a politically correct ploy to appease the masses. If that’s the case, where was the outcry when Black Panther had his own series and was brought to the forefront? We know to this day that Miles is now an integral and loved part of the comic universe.
Jump two years ahead again, 2013, Kamala Khan debuts as the new Ms. Marvel when Carol Danvers dons the name Captain Marvel (Captain Marvel #14). A Muslim American girl from Jersey who turns out to be an Inhuman. Someone who was created to be a realistic female, not a sex idol or bombshell super heroine, just an average girl that other females both white and non-white can look up to. Reactions were overwhelmingly positive, pretty different from when Miles was introduced. What changed? Why was there such a divide with a young black man coming into the picture but not so much with a young Muslim girl? Believe me, I would love to have all positive all across the board for new characters whether they are white or non-white, I love diversity in my comics and most of all, I love great storytelling. If it makes sense, tell the story, move them into the comic house and make them sit at the family table.
One last time skip to 2016, Steve Rogers announces his weird but somehow intriguing loyalty to Hydra and Riri Williams, a 15-year-old MIT student is set to be the next replacement for Iron Man, the community is up in arms, and for what? I honestly don’t know but they are. It seems that as a group we can fully accept redemption from our favorite villains and group of marauders, but once a hero goes rogue, turncoat whatever you want to call it, it’s completely unacceptable. We want there to be growth, intellectual progression, and engaging plot, but not at the cost of what we thought our hero was in the first place. How is it, we as a community can hold such weird double standards? I understand the reasons why some would be offended by Captain America’s movement to Hydra (Captain America: Steve Rogers #1). I’ll be honest, I was surprised but seriously excited for a new path and story to be given to the Captain. I was sorely disappointed when I found out it was all a rouse and a fantasy created by Red Skull, sometimes that asshole is even our nemesis too. He’s also a convenient way for writers to not commit fully to a story which is sad.
Riri Williams, 15-year-old inventor and MIT student, leagues ahead of Tony Stark in the intelligence department and the heart of a hero, or she must since she found out he was missing and created her own Iron Man suit from scraps at the campus (Invincible Iron Man #6). With her introduction into the comic world and the announcement that she would be taking on the mantel of Iron Man, people were extremely torn, one person even took to twitter and asked “Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?”. That last comment sounds pretty racist and brutal. How do we allow ourselves to get to this point? Are we that afraid of change? Can we not get around the fact that we are supposed to be living in an all-encompassing and accepting world? Seriously, if she wants to stuff her fabulous fro into an Iron helmet and bash bad guys, then shit! Let her fucking do it!
As a community we have shared so many experiences, we’ve been with Peter Parker as he lost Uncle Ben (way too many times I might add), Gwen Stacy, and even Harry Osbourne. We’ve seen Cap shot before our eyes as he realizes his folly in a war with his own people, T’Challa’s own sister has taken up the mantle of Black Panther and ruled in Wakanda, we’ve accepted and celebrated gay heroes, black heroes, Muslim and the like but somehow we still can’t figure out how to accept all heroes. One day its ok, the next its not, we can’t seem to accept a hero turning villainous but we can accept a villain turning hero. We are a diverse community but recently, we’ve been a messed up group and a sad group. There was a time we would fight for things, a time we would celebrate everything, and that we would stick together on hard topics. Recently, all of that seems to have disappeared, I still have faith that there is some of it left in the community but maybe if it really is there still, we need to speak up and show it instead of stay quiet and watch the negativity bleed out.http://radiopressgaming.com/2016/07/rpg-reads-july/http://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/miles-morales-ultimate-spider-man.jpghttp://radiopressgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/miles-morales-ultimate-spider-man-150x150.jpgComicsCommunityCaptain America,Iron Man,Kamala Khan,Miles Morales,Ms Marvel,Riri Williams,Spider-ManWe are a community of comic lovers…. I can still remember the first time I picked up a comic book, my step-dad rolled into my room at the lake house with a stack of musty paperbacks covered in images of Spider-Man, the Avengers, Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Kid Colt, you...Nathan MillerNathan Millernate@radiopressgaming.comEditorEditor-in-chief of Radio Press Gaming. Comic enthusiast, Gamer dad and Tech nutRadio Press Gaming