Can you smell it in the air? Alien invasion, adventure, and some amazing characters. What could it be?

That’s the mega boom of awesome coming from Avengers: Infinity Wars and its opening weekend. Some estimates are saying that the latest installment of the Marvel franchise will bring in over $225 million dollars. So it’s of no surprise that we’re seeing some articles coming out of the woodwork trying to take the franchise to task for perceived offenses.

One such article written by Matt Keely claims there is a lack of queer characters in Avengers: Infinity War, but that wasn’t his only gripe. He claims there’s an ongoing problem with representation in the comic book industry at large. What’s his evidence? Comic book writer Kate Leth. Leth issued the following Tweet last week saying, “400 characters in Infinity War and not a single canon queer Sounds like the worst party ever”

She would also Tweet:

Should there be more LGBT representation in Avengers: Infinity War?

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Let me start with the obvious. If your willingness to consume any sort of entertainment hinges on some sort of diversity checklist, I cannot honestly take you seriously. I mean who really looks at the cast list and says “Oh, not enough of group B. Not going to watch this.” I mean that sounds like a horrible party pooper, to say the least.

This is the same type of argument we’ve seen before when there was a push to make Captain America gay. People like this would rather create a token character to have their “man” in then take the time to create a character with any sort of depth. A depth that for readers is what engages them with their favorite characters.

A great example of this was with Iceman in Heart of Ice. The storyline became a poor commentary on his sexuality. Heart of Ice turned a deep character with flaws and questions, just like any person, into someone that honestly was a complete jackass, to say the least. But not only a jackass, a flat one-dimensional jerk.

But let’s step back a moment. Couldn’t Matt and Kate have a point about LGBT representation in comics, and now the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Shouldn’t the entertainment we take in at least make an attempt to look like the world we live in?

That’s a good question and I agree, yes. Comics have been and are a mirror of our current world. X-Men, for example, was a metaphor for racism in the 1960s America. Charles Xavier took Martin Luther King Jr.’s approach and Magneto went in the opposite direction with a militant Malcolm X style worldview.

Charles looked for a world where mutants and non-mutant humans could live in harmony while Magneto pushed for a Mutant homeland. Doesn’t that sound familiar? These are conversations we’re still having almost a generation later with radicals in many groups demanding similar things.

The X-Men are one example, but it does seem that over the years the writers have worked hard to create a world of comic pages that talk to our own experiences. Even now the X-Men have many LGBT characters including Mystique, Rictor, Northstar, Shatterstar, Karma, Anole, Daken, and others.

In many ways, one of the greatest and most popular comic book teams not only tackles these issues of identity, but they do it in a way that utilizes some of the best elements of writing. There’s not only direct action, but also metaphor in the writing. “Why don’t you try and not be a mutant?” If that isn’t a metaphor for, “Haven’t you tried not being gay,” then I don’t know what is.

Now, I can already hear it in my mind’s eye. “But that’s only one group or one example.” Okay, well DC Comics also has some interesting interpretations of established heroes who are LGBT. Some of them include Constantine, Batwoman, Midnighter, Apollo, and others.

But for some, it seems it isn’t enough. It’s almost as if every character, no matter what, needs to be somewhere on the non-heterosexual spectrum. In there, lies a major problem that some publishers are now feeling. Instead of using basic writing tools that commanded some basic story structure, character development, and metaphors, you’re seeing the inculsion of characters solely based on one dimensional attributes that leave them flat.

SJW writers have gone out of their way to make comic books into an alternative lifestyle haven that only includes LGBT characters and that worldview. There is no room for dissent, and if your comic only sells six thousand copies, well it’s those homophobic readers, not your lack of ability.

Now in the article, Matt Keeley holds Kate up as the knowledge source of this issue because of her work on Hellcat, Vampirella, Adventure Time, Power Up, and other titles. What he fails to mention is that with each of these cases the comics were “short-lived” because of bad sales. Hellcat aka Patsy Walker got a comic after the first season of Jessica Jones premiered on Netflix. However, not even the popular show could drive people to pick it up. It’s first issue would ship 46,198 copies by issue two it only shipped 20,836. was. By issue 17 it was only shipping 6,943 copies. The book was cancelled after a little over a year.

Then you have Adventure Time that sells less than four thousand per month. Power Up doesn’t do more than six thousand. In each case, her work has been mediocre at best. If this is what you’re going to point as proof of expertise, then any failed musician is Grammy level.

Okay, but what about Kate in general, doesn’t anyone deserve a voice? Well of course, but it doesn’t mean people really should listen. After doing some digging it turns out that she isn’t someone I’d ever want to take advice from. Especially when it comes down to romance and sexuality.

Mistakes happen, and we all have our lapse in judgment that we later come to regret, but you have someone claiming to hold a moral high ground that all in all has no real morals to begin with. This goes beyond an affair, but her actions negatively influenced a family in multiple ways. Not only did a father stray, but his actions affect his children. And ultimately he died of cancer which of course robbed his kids of time with him. Something that Kate Leth apparently found funny.

That right there stuck out to me and made my skin crawl. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing people from all walks of life and one thing I’ve learned so far is that people who use labels, use them to hide the ugliness of their nature.

So please someone tell me, why should I be taking cultural criticism from someone who in all seems like a horrible human being? LateNight Comics made a great video about this subject and I recommend you watch it yourself to get the full context.

Now, why do her actions matter? They matter because we’re living in a world where political polarization is invading every sphere of our lives. You cannot watch TV or movies without having to take sides. You cannot even be a freaking musician without having to explain why you don’t support a political candidate it seems. And most of us are just freaking tired of this nonsense.

So will we see an LGBT character in the MCU? It’s probably going to happen sooner rather than later. But like any character, I expect that Marvel Studios will make sure they’re written well, placed well, and are people, instead of decorations and tokens.

As for the question of whether or not the lack of queer characters indicates a problem, normal Americans, and any group of people for that matter, honestly don’t give a damn. We all live together, eat together, and deal with one another in our lives. Thankfully, we have the general tact of just treating each other as individuals.

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About The Author

Jorge Arenas
Resident Star Trek Specialist/ Writer

Jorge Arenas is a Governmental Affairs Director working in the Southwest. If Starfleet were real his career would be in a much different place. Currently, he specializes in all things Star Trek. He loves DC but has a soft spot for Deadpool. When not writing you can find him on World of Warcraft. Battle.net, ID-PassStage6#1707

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