We all want characters to look up to in our comics. Like legends and heroes of the past, they reflect not only our values but our shared culture. With that said, calls for greater diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have grown louder with the release of Avengers: Infinity War.
LGBT lobby group GLAAD even went after Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, and other comic films for what they felt was a lack of LGBT representation. Though I’m not sure how they missed an island full of women where there were obviously couples.
Nyle DiMarco won The CW’s America’s Next Top Model Cycle 22 and would go on to win Season 22 of ABC’s Dancing with Stars. He’s also an activist for the deaf community and asked about deaf representation in the MCU and specifically called for a deaf Hawkeye. His call for a deaf Hawkeye came in response to a Mic article about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) perceived diversity problem.
Nyle took to Twitter to talk about disability representation and how it was “a part of diversity.”
Disability is also a part of diversity, @mic.
HawkEye is actually Deaf and MARVEL Cinematic Universe made the character hearing.
— Nyle DiMarco (@NyleDiMarco) April 23, 2018
What Nyle DiMarco is referring to is in the 80s and 90s Marvel revamped Hawkeye into a deaf character. Fellow Twitter user Nicky Evans shot a link with an explanation:
Hawkeye wasnt originally a Deaf character when created in 1964, only became Deaf in 80’s & 90’s. MCU hasn’t been based on this period. Good link that explains it here: https://t.co/fBsrbQ2qT1
— Nicky Evans (@nickyevansbsl) April 23, 2018
It’s quite easy to see the confusion. In the Marvel multiverse, you have many different versions of the same characters. Some with striking differences and others with few. The current MCU is based on a mix of the Ultimate Universe and the regular 616 Marvel Universe.
So it’s not as easy as to say that the MCU writers just simply brushing that aspect of the character under the table.
But the original questions remain. Should there be a deaf Hawkeye and does Marvel have a diversity problem?
To play devil’s advocate I could see why a deaf Hawkeye could work. It fits in with the Hawkeye most of us have grown up with between the 80s and 90s. Though I also see how this is a case of, if it isn’t broken, then why fix it? People of a certain political persuasion have always looked for dragons to slay, even when none are present. So this could be yet another example of this.
But does the Marvel Cinematic Universe have an overall “diversity” problem?
If you’re trying to judge from the lens where most modern comics play to check the person box of diversity in their character list, it might seem so. But if you have been a fan of these stories you’d know that wouldn’t be the case.
Either way, Nyle comments could open the door for us to see other lesser known story arcs about our favorite heroes.
Who knows, maybe if there is a Hawkeye solo movie it might center around one where he loses his hearing in battle. This newly found disability could become a great way to dive into the character’s history.
As seen on Netflix’s Daredevil, Matt Murdock tragically loses his vision in a chemical accident. However, the toxic waste that stole his vision also gave him a whole new way to see the world. Hawkeye’s lack of hearing could become something he uses to call upon to make him a stronger hero.
But, it’s up in the air, at least for now. What do you think, does Nyle have a point? Should the character be closer to its 80s and 90s roots? Or is this another case of people finding problems where there is none?
Tell us in the comments below!