The Crisis of Comic Book Nerds

tumblr_nabpamQG2B1rsex6lo1_1280It must be hard to be a nerd these days. Look what’s happening in the not real world! Captain America is now Black, Thor is now a woman, Wally West is Black (one of the many version of the Flash), there are two Black Supermen flying around, a  Muslim Green Lantern, and the crux of this whole thing is that damn Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man. Who said it was OK to have all this diversity in comic books?

Wait. Let me fix the first sentence. It must be hard to be a white nerd these days.

The socially awkward have a problem with the broad brush stroke of diversity that also includes feminism. These are big words that get thrown around in the comic book worlds because (surprise, surprise!) current comic book audience includes women and men of all races. So it would only make sense that Marvel and DC would make books (or at least characters) to address their changing readership.

Before I even go any further. I need to point out that I’m not addressing how well or poorly these companies actually represent people of color. I’m not going to address how horribly these companies portray women in their porn like renditions of variant covers or how they contribute to overall debate on standards of beauty when in reality most these fans boys just want to fantasize and masturbate to some form of super heroine.

Justice-League-of-America-Vol.-1-200-1982This is more about the nerds who are used to the norm. They are used to the role playing games in which they imagine a world of trolls and elves in which everyone is white (thank you Peter Jackson for the reinforcement). Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of a Black woman, Ranger class? If it exists then I wouldn’t know about it. These fan boys are used to a world where the the only diverse version of the Justice League of America is when Martian Manhunter was on the team.

So why are they up in arms? Their world is crashing in around them. The “minorities” are taking over their space. They are used to the one Black friend. Do you know what I’m talking about? Let me list the one Black friend in comics and beyond: James Rhodes (Iron Man), The Falcon (Captain America), Lando Calrissian (Star Wars), Cyborg (Teen Titans/Justice League), and John Stewart (Justice League/Green Lantern). Those just from the top of my head. Please notice that Cyborg and John Stewart are rarely on the same team at the same time.

comics-the-multiversity-1But now, we have books like Multiversity that depicts worlds of black superheros (I will not mention the plethora of independent books that have entire worlds dedicated black superheros…or maybe I will) and we have Marvel that is pushing the envelope in their cinematic universe as well as comic books. People are losing their minds in comment sections all over the internet that is reserved for them. Donald Glover is the voice of Miles Morales in the 3rd season of Ultimate Spider-Man. Just one episode and the fans boys have lost their 20 sided dice.

Why is this important to them? It is that impossible to see a diverse face in a comic? Neither comic book company has really scratched the surface. Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans are barely represented. Women are still portrayed with huge boobs and impossible outfits to fight crime. But you dare put pants on Wonder Woman? You dare make Green Lantern gay? You have the nerve to have Michael B Jordan play the Human Torch? You’ve just ruined comics forever.

I call it progress. Although real progress has already occurred.

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Title image by John Jennings

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9 thoughts on “The Crisis of Comic Book Nerds

  1. I agree that diversity is important in all aspects of literature. I disagree with your comment that it must be hard for white nerds to see diversity in comic books. I’m a white nerd (of sorts), and I welcome diversity. Seeing diversity doesn’t make anything hard for me. : )
    Either way, thanks for sharing and explaining your viewpoint. Every shape has more than one side.

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    1. Thanks for comment. Yeah, I was speaking in generalities. Not all white people (nerds or otherwise) feel the same way. I dig that, but I try not to enter the comments section of places like CBR. It is disturbing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s fair. I think it’s important to remember that support for diversity comes in every color. : ) Good luck in what you do! I still do love comic books. I’ll never outgrow them.

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  2. i’m tempted to just say every story with more diversity is “progress”. i’m all for it.

    i don’t know if older white comic nerd guys are going to learn new tricks. but i think it’s important for kids to have a broader view of what a hero might look like.

    plus, i just like anything that broadens the genre and makes room for more variety and more unique angles and stories. sounds like a good thing to me.

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    1. I think you hit it on the head when you mention kids. They should definitely get a broader sense of what heroes are, especially in this day and age where the news provides such negativity. Thank you for commenting.

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  3. As was discussed in the comments above, I do think that you are generalizing a bit. That said, yes, if you go to almost any online message board about comic books and were to judge fandom solely my the contents of what appeared there, you probably would come away thinking that 95% of comic boom fans were anal-retentive, reactionary lunatics. But there is actually much more diversity amon fans. It’s just that most people with open minds and broader tastes have learned to avoid venturing onto message boards and getting into unwinnable flame wars with trolls.

    As you have observed previously (and it is a sentiment I’ve echoed on occasion on my own blog) there is a growing amount of diversity in comic books. But in order to find most of it it, you MUST look past the Big Two.

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    1. “Look past the Big Two” — That is a great line and to be honest words to live by when it come to looking for something new and fresh.

      You know, I try to avoid comment sections but it’s like watching a car crash. lol Thanks for the comment.

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