By Arturo R. Garcia
Verily, these be dire times for the brave souls at the Council of Conservative Citizens: not only is Marvel Comics once again publishing a comic book starring an African character, but at least one member of the overall ensemble cast in the upcoming Thor movie adaptation will be – gasp! – black! You can almost hear the call ring out:
Idris Elba as Heimdall? Forsooth! THEY TOOK OUR GODS! Robblerobblerobble …
Mind you, this is par for the course for the CCC, which, as Comics Alliance’s David Khouri reported, is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A glance at its’ “Statement of Principles” reveals that it believes the U.S. to be (spoiler alert) “a Christian country” and “part of the European people.”
Elba’s casting, while the impetus for the CCC’s organizing a boycott of Thor – complete with website and Facebook group, of course – isn’t the group’s only bone to pick with Marvel. Not only were they outraged at the perceived slight of the Tea Party movement depicted in the pages of Captain America (which the company quickly apologized for), but the mere existence of the Black Panther character is proof the company is in the business of publishing “extremist ‘Black Power comics.”
Questions about Elba’s playing Heimdall (sometimes called “The White God” according to legend) predate the CCC’s efforts, of course. But it’s curious to see many fans who treated issues like the Last Airbender debacle and the Runaways controversy earlier this year as “just movies” or “no big deal” raise a flag over this casting, or Michael Clarke Duncan playing The Kingpin years ago. Elba discussed the complaints in The Guardian a few months back:
There has been a big debate about it: can a black man play a Nordic character? Hang about, Thor’s mythical, right? Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That’s OK, but the colour of my skin is wrong?
Not just that, but consider: in the comics, Thor hangs out with a character who looks like a space horse! He takes orders from a guy who wears wings on his head! And, in the movie, somebody let an Asian guy onto the set!
The dumbest – though not surprising – part of the CCC’s woe-is-me attitude is their perception that Marvel “doesn’t think whites should have anything uniquely their own.” It’s the comics industry, for goodness’ sakes, where even getting a black Nick Fury is seen as a boost, if only because we get images like this that aren’t completely lily-white:
But, when you’re hell-bent on believing this country is “European,” any slight will do. The Thor boycott, by the way, had just under 200 “likes” on Facebook as this column was finished. Assuming those folks in fact don’t go see the movie, hey, plenty of good seats will be available!