British website The Independent ran an article written by KT Roberts calling to “topple every pale, male and stale superhero character we can.”
She would be straight forward and to the point as to why she wants to “topple every pale, male and stale superhero character” writing, “Superpowers get bums on seats… and sneaking in social justice messages under the radar is a tried and tested way of speaking to the masses.”
She goes on to explain why Marvel and DC Comics need to specifically be toppled in an attempt to refute the question about why Hollywood can’t create new superheroes. Roberts states, “Original characters, even the ones created by behemoths like Marvel or DC, have nothing like the traction of old favourites, meaning we’re starting the race seconds before the big boys cross the finish line. Stealing a few of their spots at the front is not only positive, but absolutely necessary.” She then claims, “Quite apart from anything else, it genuinely makes the art better and bigger.”
This is a simple fallacy and is easily refuted by actual success stories. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in comic book pages in 1984. Just three short years later they were already taking the world by storm with an animated series, and just six years after they had their first live-action film in 1990.
Japanese manga My Hero Academia began its print run in 2014. By October 2015, it was announced that it would be adapted into an anime series. The first season would premiere a year later in 2016. The popular manga series would go on to release an animated feature in My Hero Academia: Two Heroes in 2018. A live-action version of the series is currently in development from Legendary Entertainment and a second animated film is also in the works.
DC Comics character Harley Quinn was actually created for the wildly popular Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and would make her first appearance in the comics a year later. Quinn is one of DC Comics’ biggest properties with the character recently appearing in the live-action Suicide Squad film, getting her own animated show on DC Universe, and expected to be featured prominently in the Birds of Prey film.
Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby created Black Panther all the way back in 1966. The character has played a prominent role in the Marvel Universe ever since then interacting with the Avengers, X-Men, Daredevil, and more. T’Challa would eventually be featured in Captain America: Civil War and get his own movie in Black Panther in 2018. Black Panther has also appeared in numerous animated series and films from The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to The Avengers: United They Stand. He’s an original creation that has risen to wild success.
Despite the numerous success stories of the creation of new properties or even new characters by DC Comics of Marvel, Roberts doubled down on her call to culturally appropriate male heroes, “So yes, let’s plunder the male heroes – and Thor is an excellent place to start.”
She would then go on to falsely claim that “Marvel women have a history of relegation to the sappy love interest or worse, the “feisty” girl whose only power is the super-boyfriend backing her up.”
My guess is that Roberts has never read an X-Men book, Fantastic Four book, or most likely hasn’t even watched any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. The X-Men are full of lots of different women filling different roles whether it’s leading the team like Kitty Pryde or Storm, to playing a villain turned hero like Rogue.
Sue Storm not only plays the role of a mother and a wife, but she’s a superhero in her own right, working with the Fantastic Four to help save the world.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Scarlet Witch struggles to harness her powers as she works with Captain America to take out villains like Crossbones. But before that, she played the role of villain cooperating with Ultron before learning his ultimate goal was to wipe out humanity.
The MCU has also featured Maria Hill as Nick Fury’s second in command who was pivotal during the fight against Loki in the original Avengers, and she even rescued Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon. In fact, in the clip below Jane Foster is recognized as the “world’s foremost astronomer” and Pepper Potts runs the “largest tech conglomerate on Earth.”
Nevertheless, Roberts concludes:
“And that should be a call to arms for the rest of us, in front of and behind the cameras.
Women directors are few and far between and are only just starting to helm blockbuster films without a single female lead, with Chloe Zhao directing The Eternals.
We’re stepping out of the shadows – and if we can step on our male predecessors along the way, all the better.”
Let me reiterate that again, “If we can step on our male predecessors along the way, all the better.” I don’t think it gets any more sexist than that.