Less than 2% of Marvel comic-orientated films follow a female protagonist –
Straight white male – “They asked for a blog post. They received a rant. Why? Because I am a man and I feel like the world doesn’t work in my favour! Things that are usually seen in my image are being changed to represent others who are marginalised and under-represented which is SOOO unfair……to me, right? Right?”
Hi Guys! Kofi here. Sorry about before, I was channelling the Toxic Masculinity Spirits that seem to be doing the bits these days and it doesn’t seem to be going away. If you’re here, you’ve probably seen our sketch “Superhero Pitch: Toxic Masculinity Man” (versions of this are in cinemas NOW, forever and always) so thank you for that! If you haven’t watched it yet, thanks for reading and thanks for watching (because, you’re going to watch it after this….right?!).
No matter what you do the Toxic Masculinity Spirits always manage to find their way back into pop culture. Why? Because of needs? Demands? Who knows! All I can say that through our sketch, born out of the idea of taking real internet conversations and placing them in psudo-real life situations, we managed to make some sort of commentary on the pop culture and comic book landscape today.
Shades of Holloywood –
As an avid comic book reader and fan we live in an age where flagship characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron-Man and Ms Marvel can change race and gender, but the reason and rational behind it isn’t as forward thinking as you would expect.
Usually it can be seen as a gimmick and in no way something to drive the character’s story forward. It’s just another corporation, trying their hand at diversity bingo, hoping to come out as a winner. Which is weird because they’re taking a gamble against themselves, and as we all know, the House (of ideas) always wins.
That’s right, the Italian version of Blade and I are stood on the rooftops, brooding over the city, thinking “Imma lookin’ a’choo Marvel comics!”. I’m putting Marvel on blast as they seem to be the ones who have done this the most often and “seem” to have pulled it off:
- Kamala Khan is a teenage Pakistani American who has taken up the mantle of Ms Marvel.
- Sam Wilson an African American, formerly but also currently (I know right?) The Falcon, became Captain America.
- Miles Morales, part mixed-race (black/Latinex), part Donald Glover became Spider-Man – and holds that title to this day. He’s even got an animated movie coming out soon (yey go us!).
My problem with Spiderman –
Now this is where my gripe comes in a little bit. Miles gets an animated movie, not that I’m taking anything away from it because it looks awesome (like, totally awesome)! But the hopes of a live action Miles Morales Spider-Man movie may never come true as many vital parts of Miles’ world have been picked apart and care-packaged to another (white) Spider-man.
For instance Ganke Lee, Miles’ ‘guy in the chair’. His best bud. His Korean hermano. Always covering him when he’s late for class. Making his web fluid. He’s the first person to know that Miles is Spider-Man. He’s the heart and humour of Miles’ world. Miles without Ganke is like Kanye West without Trump: it just doesn’t feel right.
In the amazing ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, the “Ganke-like” character has been replaced by non other than Ned Leeds (played by Jacob Batalon) whose resemblance and relationship to Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland) is a hell of a lot like Ganke’s and Miles’.
(Ganke Lee and Miles Morales)
(Ned Leeds and Peter Parker)
When I first saw this in the film I loved it, but I was also a little sad because even the elitist school they attend in the movies was akin to the school that Miles and Ganke attend. Which has a different high school tale to that of the Ultimate Spider-Man film that set his adventures in higschool, a very different tale and tone. I couldn’t help but feel that parts of what makes Mile’s book special were taken away.
This didn’t stop me from enjoying the film though. I mean I loved it! Spider-Man in the hands of Marvel (let it go Sony), it’s so dope! It works. It’s just a shame they had to take the identity from one and place it in another.
I feel like I’ve gone off track with this but essentially, what we have is a case of, let’s give the fans and readers something new but then replace it with something they already know and are familiar with, which happens more often than not in the world of caped crusaders.
On the bright-side it’s not all doom and gloom. Ms Marvel, played by academy award winner Brie Larson comes out may 2019 (the studios first female hero flick) and early 2018 we were given Black Panther…It’s only taken us 11 years to get here.
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