Today, Latonya Pennington posted an open letter to Marvel Comics on BlackNerdGirls in protest against recent storylines and treatment of characters in regard to diversity, but much of her concern revolved around the Hydra-isation of Captain America.
It was a heartfelt letter and expressed concerns common to a large number of Marvel Comics fans right now. She called for Marvel to employ more marginalised creators in their titles. She also asked for them to “get rid of Hydra Cap and stop putting out comic events for a while. I don’t care if you have to create another alternate Marvel Universe named Earth 316-2 or flip a switch in Cap’s brain, but please get rid of Hydra Cap. As for the comic events, realize that superheroes are so much more interesting and less confusing when they aren’t fighting each other. Save the heroes versus heroes for your video games, and use new creators to make new storylines and bring in new readers.”
On that point, Marvel has said that after Secret Wars, they’ll be quitting events for a while, with a promotion not-a-relaunch Marvel Legacy approach, and something Bleeding Cool has heard referred to as Make Mine Marvel.
With a very non-Hydra Captain America. It’s just, as Marvel told retailers at the Diamond Summit, they want their PR to focus on Secret Empire right now. But Secret Empire won’t be around too long. And Captain America will soon be looking like this…
And they state they are committed to a range of characters, new and old. But that includes old Captain America, Bruce Banner Hulk and Tony Stark Iron Man – but keeping Sam Wilson, Amadeus Cho, Riri Williams and Jane Foster.
And the emphasis on “the world outside your window” is key, there. As to employing marginalised creators for a richer spread of storytelling backgrounds, this is something that Marvel has been doing more of, of late – and looks like they will continue to do, with a greater emphasis on intersectionality. From Roxane Gay to Afua Richardson to Yona Harvey to Gabby Rivera to Mags Visaggio – writing her first Marvel comic for June, a Secret Empire tie-in featuring Star Brand.
Marvel has had some very problems with their message, a variety of clumsy, tone-deaf messages, and words meant for one group then being interpreted differently for another. With issues that could and should have been handled very differently. They may not be everyone’s perfect publisher, and I’ve differed with them a lot over the decades. The kind of stories you are looking for, in superhero fashion, may be better served by the upcoming Catalyst Prime, launching on Free Comic Book Day from Lion Forge, starting with Free Comic Book Day.
But to anyone wanting to give Marvel another try, but can’t get past Hydra Captain America, just… close your eyes for the summer. Try something else for a few months. Odds are, when it’s time for Make Mine Marvel – they’ll let you know one way or another.
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