Sep 30, 2015

Yes, We Live in The Twenty-First Century

Yes, We Live in The Twenty-First Century
Travis Hedge Coke

Someone criticized the upcoming Blade book because it’s “ironic” that Marvel has a girl in it, since Blade was “already diverse,” being black. I’ve seen it suggested that Electricomics will fail utterly, because reading comics on a tablet is impossible for most people. Three different places online, this last week, have featured people complaining that there’s too much reference to twitter, cellphones apps, and pop music in comics right now. Peter Parker should not have apps on his phone.

I don’t believe these people are eighty or ninety years old. Even if they were, my grandpa’s in his nineties and used a tablet happily until he went blind a couple years ago. When I told my grandpa that Jane Foster had the power of Thor now, he told me that happened before I was born (and he knew, because he bought the issue at the time). My grandpa knows who Ariana Grande and Beyonce are and he knows which he prefers. If you’re between the ages of twenty and forty and my grandpa is hipper than you while being blind, old, widowered, and subject to about as many strokes in a year as there are months, you’ve dropped some balls.

This is the Twenty-First Century. The internet has been around for awhile now. The Daily Show is on its third regular host. Marvel’s Thor has been replaced by other people using the name Thor and/or the role of Thor at least four or five times now. Dick Grayson has been Batman for two extended periods. Commissioner Gordon has been a Batman at least twice in recent memory. Commissioner Gordon, right now, is of an age where, as a young beat cop, he probably rocked out to Prince.

I don’t care if Gordon listening to Prince makes you feel old. Maybe you are old. If Jubilee listening to Peaches or Ke$ha seems like a shallow ploy to act new and hip, I want you to stop and count the years between the here and now, and either of those musician’s first albums. If the times have passed you by, don’t freak, don’t fret; it is correctable.

You, too, can join the Twenty-First Century!

There is no magic number of girls or women who can be present, as supporting or stars, in comics. Even superhero comics. Ms Marvel having a title, Blade’s daughter sharing a title with her father won’t stop any male character from otherwise having a monthly ongoing. Spider-Man having three or more monthlies won’t prevent Black Panther, Jubilee, or Leapfrog from having their own monthly solo comic. It does not work that way.

Accepting this will help you enter the modern day without panicking.

Peter Parker is in his early twenties. He’s vaguely single but usually dating one or more of the fantastic, intelligent, beautiful women he’s traditionally surrounded by. Peter, of course, feels neurotic and complains about this. But Parker is going to text those ladies. He’s going to text his boss. He’s going to text Aunt May. You know why?

Twenty-First Century.

Aunt May is old. She’s not a dumbass. Aunt May can work a cellphone.

If this distresses you, ask yourself if you have a phone and use it. Ask yourself if your friends have phones and use them. If your mom or dad has a phone and uses it. If the answer to any of that is affirmative, then get over your weird hypocrisy against Aunt May and Peter Parker using their phones in comics set in the modern day. Chill. Let it be.

Marvel’s not going to force you to read any more comics with little girls or adult women in them than you choose to. Not every Marvel comic has to be for you.

DC is not going to make you accept Asians by shoving Asian characters down your throat until you surrender. You want to be racist, fine, you’re a racist.

Dynamite is not actively trolling you by hiring Leah Moore. It’s not a conspiracy to make you accept that women work in comics.

Bitch Planet is not a conspiracy against you. And if it is, boy, you must a done something to earn that.

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