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Wednesday, February 08, 2017 

Is Marvel suddenly coming to their senses, by letting go of ultra-leftist politics?

This can only be believed when it's seen, but according to this Bleeding Cool posting (via Heat Street), they may be considering a return to a recognizable look with the more familiar heroes of the MCU, and distancing themselves from the heavy-handed leftism that's become the norm in their 21st century output. It all began with TV producer Marc Guggenheim giving an interview where he said they'd be simplifying the X-Men's storytelling approach:
[...] And last week’s Marvel creative summit I am told by well connected sources who have proved themselves in that past there was more of a focus on what DC Comics internally called “meat and potatoes” comics that preceded their doubling down on the popular characters and bringing back old favourite takes with DC Rebirth.

I am told, as Marvel brings back the X-Men line with a bang, to expect a return to more of a status quo for titles such as Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and more. A more familiar looking Marvel Universe by the autumn – although, just as with Captain America, as classic-look-characters return, expect new characters to keep a number of their books.
But don't expect those new characters to do well in sales, if they retain political bents and characteristics. I must also take a moment to note that it's naive to think DC hasn't abandoned their own ultra-leftism of late, or that they've abandoned all the PC tactics they took up over a decade ago.

But this is probably unexpected, to learn Marvel may have learned their own lesson sooner than we thought. Their barrage of political storytelling that practically tied into the election could be just one of the reasons why Donald Trump was elected president, and they may realize it. Here's some steps they could take to prove if they really have learned their lesson:
  • They'll stop inherently demonizing rightists and stop alienating leftists who only seek non-political escapism too.
  • Besides restoring all the superheroes who were marginalized or killed off for the sake of "diverse", they'll also bring back civilian co-stars who were similarly marginalized, or worse. A leading example is Mary Jane Watson. If they keep belittling her, and won't restore the Spider-marriage, Spider-fans certainly won't be impressed or buy the book.
  • Abandon contrived changes to established cast members like Iceman, and don't turn him homosexual just to reflect a SJW soapbox.
  • They should restore comprehensive continuity, avoid crossovers and allow individual writers the freedom to write stand-alone stories that aren't required to be 6 issues or longer.
  • Joe Quesada, who's still a "chief creative officer", and Axel Alonso will both have to go, as will Dan DiDio over at DC, and even Bob Harras. Seriously. Their very presence alone is alienating and discouraging many superhero fans. There's a valid case to make that if they remain, the chances of biases and other bad elements seeping back in are still there. A publisher/editor with a more neutral approach and concentration on entertainment would benefit the companies a lot better.
  • Stop going by pamphlet formats for many of the series, and start trying to publish them more as Original Graphic Novels. This could provide better chances of getting into more bookstores, and they'd still be able to sell them at comics stores to boot; plenty already sell whole shiploads as it is. Replacing pamphlets with paperbacks could have a lot of potential for boosting the medium as a whole.
  • Quit pandering to SJWs and other PC jerks who clearly aren't buying the products regardless, and don't perform censorship at the expense of paying audiences with rationale. Also, stop whitewashing Islam and elevating it to sainthood.
  • At the same time, they should stop relying on variant covers galore, because it only suggests they're more interested in catering to collectors than in crafting entertainment and escapism.
  • Show a willingness to rehire conservative writers like Chuck Dixon and Mike Baron. In fact, show a willingness to stop marginalizing the former's creation, Spoiler, and if spinoff merchandise matters, it's time to show they're willing to develop action figures and add Stephanie Brown to cartoons.
If Marvel/DC's boards consider all this, there's a chance they could one day restore the medium to better success. For now, they shouldn't pretend sales well below a million copies are something to celebrate.
I am told that Marvel knows that the upcoming Secret Empire is probably too political for some readers given this current climate but they are in too deep to change direction on it now. They also believe firmly that it’s a quality book – though if people can’t get behind writer Nick Spencer‘s exploration of current politics to read it, that might be an issue. And, just as with recent Captain America issues and the recent Civil War II: The Oath, guaranteed to needle at people’s political beliefs – whatever they are.
Ah, here's something else to ponder. If Quesada and DiDio have to be let go, so too must a writer as biased as Spencer happens to be. In fact, Dan Slott, G. Willow Wilson, Brian Bendis, Geoff Johns, Eddie Berganza, Mark Millar and Jason Aaron should be let go too. Even Mark Waid. He's just too much around the bend at this point to expect talented storytelling from.

Some of the commenters seem to have a good idea what's gone wrong, and one said:
What's lost on modern leftists within the art community is that the civil rights issues paralleled in the comics of old were treated as moral issues, not partisan issues. No one party ever had the high ground in the real world. History is much more complicated.

The problem with modern superhero comics, especially Marvel, is that they are purely radical leftist with zero diversity of thought. They read like campus Marxist pamphlets found at a rally. They push an extreme ideology using super hero iconography as a mask.

Guess what? There are more self-identified conservatives and liberatarians than “liberals.” That's consistent in Gallop poles. And the left has no monopoly on righteousness, thank you very much. We have a strong sense of right and wrong and of justice. We have core beliefs and care about the world. We will not pay to be insulted and defamed by self-righteous, left wing comic book writers. We have in large part abandoned comics because of the SJW onslaught. Earning our trust and dollar back will not be easy.
Absolutely correct. The worst part is that, thanks to the obsession with insularity - which resulted in many publishers leaving the mainstream bookstores - SJWs were able to take over more easily than in movies. I suppose conservatives may have to shoulder some blame for failing to try and influence comics companies through investment or purchase of ownership. Another guy said:
The problem wasn't the fact that politics were in the comics, but that it devolved into poorly-written propaganda. I say this as an independent: Writers, especially the leftists/left-wing writers, at Marvel & DC are guilty of treating characters like their own personal podium for their politics with 2-3 pages giving paragraphs of dialog to characters who make forced, drawn-out, and cringe-worthy speeches without any consideration for said characters or the audience. Their long-winded rants belong in a blog. Not in a comic.

Again, I'm not against politics being in comics, but I would prefer it if writers respected the characters and good story-telling rather than dump their ego-centric, self-righteous nonsense onto readers.
Indeed, and Spider-Man too has been a victim, ever since the first Civil War. In fact, Wonder Woman was a victim of Greg Rucka's cruddy politics when he took part in writing Infinite Crisis crossovers.

Cosmic Book News addressed the news too, but there's something they say that I must dissent with:
My own two cents regarding Marvel Comics is that it has changed a lot in the past ten years. Back when Joe Quesada was EIC - and I can't believe I'm saying this - Marvel Comics was a lot better. Joe Q. basically said as long as a comic sold well, it would stick around, which is how we got the great Annihilation and DnA Marvel Comics line that inspired the billion dollar Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. While Joe. Q didn't have a friggin' clue about Marvel Cosmic or even liked the brand, as long as it sold well enough (which it did), it stuck around.
No, I can't agree with this. Less than 3 years after they claimed they'd refrain from crossovers, they were right back on it again with Avengers: Disassembled, House of M and Civil War. And seriously, how high did any books sell? Not very much at all. Nor did they have much independence from one another, and the writers they hired were knee-jerkers. The rise to nearly 4 dollars or more is no help either.
Things changed when Axel Alonso came on board as EIC and lots of characters got replaced. Obviously if you are a long time reader of this site, Richard Rider Nova comes to mind. It could be argued that Nova was actually the first character they replaced and completely butchered, which has been a huge failure for Axel Alonso and Jeph Loeb, so it's no wonder the pattern continued and completely failed as well with the other Marvel characters.
The same goes for for at least a few DC characters, like Atom, Firestorm and Blue Beetle. The older protagonists were thrown out for the sake of "diversity" - and this was several years before Marvel boarded the bandwagon - and they got nowhere. Most of this may have been reversed since, but the damage was done, and plenty of their own fanbase abandoned them to boot.

It's rumored that Wolverine might be getting his own death reversed in the MCU, and on this, Cosmic Book News says:
Long story short, Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter has been at odds with Fox Studios over use of the Marvel characters, which saw Fantastic Four and X-Men comics and merchandise cancelled, but Perlmutter's resentment seems to have subsided. Marvel Comics/TV is now working with Fox on the X-Men TV series, and the X-Men are coming back to the comics.
While I think it's great Perlmutter supported Trump, I can't say the same about how he's been running business at his end on Marvel matters. Canceling the Fantastic Four series/merchandise and marginalizing X-Men simply because Fox wouldn't sell back the movie rights was no way to handle business. And while he may have thought it wouldn't be a good idea to interfere with the rampant leftism edited into Marvel's books, that still doesn't mean he should've just stood by silently as the core was rotted from the inside out by more than just politics alone. IMO, another failure of Perlmutter's was not trying to work towards moving away from pamphlets and more towards paperback strategies. All this time, he's made it look like he has no love for the medium, and that's no way to win the respect and trust of readerships no matter his politics.

As much as I'm sure a lot of people would like to think Marvel/DC have learned their lessons, I think it'd be ill-advised to approach this news naively - after all, these do appear to be rumors so far - and that's why avoiding their modern wares so long as Quesada/DiDio, among other bad apples, are still there would also be advisable. Fans should find ways to make this clear. A letter writing campaign to Disney and Time Warner could be one way to do it.

And that's how fans can make a difference in some way or other.

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