Race & Comics Round-up: Around The Marvel Universe

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By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Over at Marvel, the solicitations for May listed two books starring POC characters. Perhaps the most surprising is Amadeus Cho, Prince Of Power, a mini-series starring the young Korean-American running buddy of Hercules. Amadeus, acknowledged as the eighth-smartest man on Earth, is tasked to assume Hercules’ mantle by Herc’s sister, Athena. Her reasoning is, to deal with a pending crisis, the next P.O.P should be more formidable mentally than physically.

Thankfully, Cho has been steered clear of “smart Asian” territory by his creator, writer Greg Pak. Pak has consistently played Amadeus as not just intelligent, but cocky enough to team-up or work against other other Marvel brain-boxes like Reed Richards and Henry Pym. So while this is just a limited series, it’s good to see Amadeus get more of a spotlight.

cagetboltsMeanwhile, the Thunderbolts series gets re-tooled yet again, this time with Marvel mainstay Luke Cage as the star. Cage has been a presence in the Marvel U. since 1972 (remember the Gold Shirt and Tiara?), and starting in Thunderbolts #144, Cage is placed in charge of a supervillain rehab program as part of the company’s much-hyped “Heroic Age” event.

It’ll be interesting to see how this isn’t presented as anything but a demotion for Cage, who was heavily featured by Brian Michael Bendis in both Daredevil and New Avengers over the past few years. (Speaking of the Avengers, what we’ve seen of the team’s new line-up looks very, uh, monochromatic.)

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Finally, a note on last week’s bit of mock-outrage over Captain America taking on “The Watchdogs,” which may or may not have been inspired by the Tea Party – who want you to know, by the way, that they would never mockingly call a black man “Obama,” as happened in Captain America #602. As MightyGodKing put it:

My word, why would anybody ever associate tea partiers with racism?

While the TP’ers rallied round their latest mock-cause, Marvel apologized for what it said was a mistake in post-production, going so far as to promise to re-edit some signs in a protest scene that quoted actual signs seen at Tea Party protests, while re-affirming that it does not delve into the political world.

Except, you know, when it’s good for sales.

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And, as our friends at Fantastic Fangirls pointed out, Marvel also got more than a year’s worth of stories from the Civil War miniseries. Which makes this particular apology all the more frustrating:

What makes me angriest about this whole situation, however, is how starkly it contrasts with the list of all the things Joe Quesada and Marvel writers have REFUSED to apologize for in recent years – all the people whose legitimate complaints have been brushed aside derisively in the name of art or the almighty dollar. Let’s start with Jonathan Hickman’s use of the offensive slur “retard” in a recent issue of Fantastic Four, defended in the letter column as necessary to his art because “that’s what a three-year-old would say.” Let’s talk about how editors spent months defending the Chameleon raping Peter Parker’s roommate in Spider-Man without repercussions or even acknowledgment that it had been rape. What about all the times people have brought up the sexism or racism in certain comics and been brushed aside as crazy entitled fans, as if they were banging on the doors of the Marvel offices demanding the return of Deathlok? Marvel does not make a habit of apologizing, even when it probably should.

But when Fox News starts whining, it’s time to bend over backwards to apologize and excise the material that offended a few ultra-conservative white people. Because, as we all know, it’s a FAR bigger crime to accuse someone of racism than to be racist oneself. And while offensive slurs MUST be used to preserve the realism of a preschooler’s portrayal, it’s unacceptable for a black character to call the Tea Party Movement racist. Right?