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January 12, 2020 11:44 AM Subscribe
The divide between Marvel and DC over politics [Polygon] “In the final issue of Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.’s 2019 DC Black Label miniseries Superman: Year One, there’s a framed newspaper on the wall of the Daily Planet offices. Squint and you notice the headline: “MAN BITES DOG: MSM BLAMES TRUMP.” This didn’t come out of nowhere. Over the last 30-odd years, Miller took a public turn from the beloved Mickey Spillane of comics, with The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, to the right-wing crank who once described Occupy Wall Street as “a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists.” (He walked the statement back in a 2018 interview).” See also 2011’s Holy Terror, initially pitched as a Batman project, and dubbed Islamophobic by critics upon publish. The past year has shown a pattern of writers giving overt voice to their political opinions through superhero comics, or for controversies where they were prevented from doing so. Marvel and DC, the most visible publishers, are at the center of the ideological debate. Based on the decision-making, the two companies appear to have distinct approaches to talking politics in their paperbacks.”
• Marvel and DC Get Political [comicbook]
• Marvel and DC Get Political [comicbook]
“The intersection of the superhero genre and politics dates back to the dawning Golden Age of Comics. In the first issue of Action Comics #1, Superman stops a wrongful execution and stopping domestic violence, implying a strong concept of what justice meant and who was at fault for these issues. Captain America Comics #1 provided a much more explicit political message less than 3 years later when it featured Adolf Hitler as its central villain, receiving a sock in the jaw on its cover. This came prior to the United States joining the war, when Congress was still pursuing a policy of neutrality, and resulted in several Nazi sympathizers threatening Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby on the telephone. There’s simply no extricating politics from superhero comics, but that doesn’t mean this crossover hasn’t changed across 80 years. To the contrary, reading superhero comics today reveals that both the issues and creators’ styles of addressing them have evolved a great deal.”• Of course your comics are political, Marvel [The Verge]
“American superhero comics were political from their earliest days, and Marvel’s are arguably more political than they’ve ever been. Captain America punching Hitler in 1940 is a bold, obvious statement. But exploring the specific experiences of Muslim Americans like Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan and queer Latinx Americans like America Chavez is no less political. Discussing how power and identity work in America is an inherently political act, even more so during an era when identity, and stories about it, have become so controversial and polarizing. [...] Whether Marvel brass wants to admit it or not, making diversity a priority over the last several years has made much of what it does political. This is the same company that made an entire event about profiling, literally called Civil War II. If sales are suffering, there are so many other things about Marvel’s approach that could use re-evaluation. Focus more on better stories and less on the next big crossover. Give writers more freedom to experiment. Stop killing beloved characters only to bring them back as zombies. (Sorry, Hulk.) But inclusion and politics are a big part of what Marvel is. We’ve come too far to even entertain the idea of turning back.”• Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus, calls out Marvel Comics for its “apolitical” politics [Vox]
“Art Spiegelman, one of comics’ most well-regarded writers and artists, withdrew an essay from a Marvel compendium after editors resisted his comparison of President Donald Trump to a comics villain. Spiegelman is the author of the legendary graphic novel Maus, which movingly portrayed his father’s real-life experience as a Holocaust survivor. Maus is the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize and is widely considered one of the greatest books of its kind ever written. In conjunction with this year’s 80th anniversary celebration of Marvel Comics, the Folio Society, a publisher known for putting out beautifully illustrated special editions of books, is releasing a detailed series of comics volumes from Marvel’s vaunted “Golden Age” — the decade between 1939 and 1949, when comic superheroes like Captain America and Superman became famed for fighting Nazis. Spiegelman told the Guardian that Folio Society editors had invited him to write the introduction to the first book in the collection, perhaps because of the relevance of World War II to Spiegelman’s work. But he said they asked him to change one line in it, because it ran afoul of a Marvel Comics editorial policy of remaining apolitical.”